So imagine the scene. You’re in Rio with the sun beating down on you with the sense of anticipation in the air as the carnival atmosphere begins. What would this experience bring?
Hang on a second – you don’t need to go to Rio de Janeiro to get into the carnival swing – why not try southern Spain instead? February is carnival month as they lead up to Lent, marking the beginning of their religious festivals. And if there’s one thing that Spain does REALLY well and a feista. The Murcia region is particularly well known for it flamboyant carnivals that serious rival the Mardi Gras.
Our first experience of this extravaganza was in Aguilas, which is reputed to be one of the best in the area. Nestled in between Cartagena and Almería this stunning stretch of coastline heralds a party like no other during mid-February every year. A five hour show entertains its adoring public with a procession full of dancers, feathers and floats that have you aghast. It truly toys with all your senses as the beat of the music resonates in your chest, the spectacle of professional dancers have you transfixed and buzz within the streets is electrifying. You will be magnetised, enthralled and thoroughly drawn into its magic.
There are three carnivals during the party week, the finale of which is meant to be the ‘pièce de résistance’ taking place on the third Sunday in February. Tickets for the tiered seating around many of the streets of Aguilas can be purchased from the Tobacco shops or Tourist Information and, for a modest sum of €10 per person, you have a ring-side seat that puts you in the heart of the action.
From 6.00pm you take your seats and the streets slowly empty as people hurry to get comfortable before the procession begins. And you hear it before you see it – there is most definitely a ‘rumble in the jungle’. From the very moment the first dance group arrives, you feel like you have your very own Mardi Gras experience and you simply cannot take your eyes off the very beautiful people dancing their hearts out for your entertainment.
Every age is represented at this party to end all parties, every genre show-cases their talent and the professionalism of the performers is just incredible. I defy you not to be impressed and if you go. And I promise you, you will be talking about it for years to come. So if Rio is too far to travel, then why not experience this European delight instead?
Sometimes, whilst pictures certainly paint a thousand words, in this case, a video paints a million. Check out our footage below. Bear in mind that this took some serious editing down from five hours! Enjoy the fiesta!
Check out the video to get a real sense of the amazing fiesta