If you’re visiting Argentina this summer and want the carnival experience, Gualeguaychú is undoubtedly the place to go. Every year, this small town in the eastern reaches of the country dedicates the months of January and February to carnival, putting on a host of extravagant festivities that are considered to be the best in the world alongside the celebrations in Rio de Janeiro. Discover more about Argentina’s premier carnival, and ensure that you’re fully prepared with this handy guide.
Experience Carnival in Argentina this year / Image Source
EXPERIENCING CARNIVAL IN ARGENTINA
The carnival in Gualeguaychú takes place every weekend throughout the first two months of the year, with February being the most eventful month, and therefore, the recommended time to go. The carnival parades during this time feature different dance schools known as comparsas, who compete against each other, showing off their flawless dance routines, colourful costumes, and grand float displays. Tens of thousands of people from Argentina and abroad come to watch the shows, which are held in the corsódromo, a five-hundred-metre long arena purpose-built for the event.
Gualeguaychú Carnival Guide
As so many people come to participate in the carnival celebrations, we’d advise you to make sure you’re fully prepared ahead of the event by purchasing tickets and organising transportation and accommodation well in advance. You can buy your carnival tickets online or at the ticket office inside the corsódromo, which is open from 9am – 9pm Monday to Friday, and until 7pm on Saturdays.
Expect to see a lot of feathers, costumes, and dancing during the Carnival parades / Image Source
Getting to Gualeguaychú
Gualeguaychú is 225km from the city of Buenos Aires and the journey takes approximately three hours by bus or two and a half hours in a car. Buses depart from Retiro bus station roughly every half an hour and tickets can either be bought at the station or over the phone with a credit card. Be sure to leave plenty of time if this is your only option for travel, or else you may find yourself stranded in Buenos Aires with no means of getting to the carnival.
Accommodation in Gualeguaychú
During carnival, you can choose to stay in an all-inclusive hotel, hostel, or campsite. Those that camp tend to be looking for full-blown Gualeguaychú Carnival debauchery, whereas those who wish to be a bit more removed from the madness should opt for something outside of the city, such as an estancia. Again, it is essential to book in advance, particularly if you want to stay in one of the more popular hotels or hostels.
After a night of carnival parades and parties, relax by the river / Image Source
Other Things to do in Gualeguaychú
During your stay in Gualeguaychú, you should take advantage of the other tourist attractions the city has to offer, such as the many beautiful beaches and the Gualeguaychú hot springs located a mile outside of the city. Gualeguaychú also has historical areas that are worth visiting, namely San Martín Square, Urquiza Square, San José Cathedral, and numerous cultural sites which include the Railway Museum, Andrade’s House and Fray Mocho’s House.
Our final bit of advice would be to make sure you arrive at the carnival well-rested, for the festivities run late into the night and you don’t want to tire yourself out too early on!
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If you are visiting South America for carnival this summer, we can help you enrich your travel experiences. Check out our tours and activities in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, Buenos Aires, and across Argentina.
By Camilla Day