The Archipencos and Arretrancos are two unique events that are held as part of the Puerto del Rosario Carnival Week. Carnival Week in Puerto del Rosario in Fuerteventura is held during either February or early March as it coincides with the week of the UK Pancake Day and Ash Wednesday. Here in Fuerteventura, the equivalent of Pancake Day is called "Martes de Carnaval" (Carnival Tuesday) and is a local public holiday in Puerto del Rosario, which is the capital of Fuerteventura.
The first main event of the Puerto del Rosario Carnival is the Arretrancos. This is a fancy dress trolley/cart race in which participants dress up and push/guide homemade carts down one of the main streets on a Friday evening. The street, Calle Virgen de la Peña, is closed to traffic as the ‘vehicles’ speed down the hill. They then turn a bend into Calle Leon y Castillo, and continue down the hill to the finishing line. Some competitors treat the event as a competitive race while others are just pleased to finish. Most of the ‘vehicles’ are made to fit into the theme of the Carnival, which changes every year. Many participants use the event to celebrate Carnival, so you see lots of people dressed up as policemen and men dressed up as women
The Arretrancos is watched by a large crowd of people along its route, but the event is soon over as the distance is about 1.5 km. A concert in the plaza, near the church, usually follows at the end of the event. It is a very unique Carnival event that starts off the Carnival celebrations in the town.
The Archipencos is a major event in the Puerto del Rosario Carnival. It is a fancy dress raft race that is held on the first Sunday of Carnival, with a start time of 1pm. The name Archipencos is a made up word that relates to the fact that they are ‘hydrodynamic carnival devices powered by non- polluting energies’. All rafts are self-powered and are all shapes and sizes, and they attempt to propel themselves from the start at the port in Puerto del Rosario, to the finish at the Playa Chica beach, about 1km away to the south. Usually the participants have the backing of a prevailing NE wind, which helps everyone along; but if the wind blows from another direction then things become more difficult! The event is also used as an excuse for drinking copious amounts of local rum and beer!
This event is watched by several thousand people, who line the seafront promenade and the main road, Avenida Maritima, which is closed to traffic. Stalls are set up and live music is played during the event and throughout the afternoon.. Prizes are awarded for various categories and for finishing positions.
The Archipencos is a must-see event on Fuerteventura if you happen to be on the island, as you are unlikely to see a similar event elsewhere. There are lots of photo opportunities, and the participants love to pose for you.