Gualeguaychú Carnival, Entre Ríos, Argentina

Gualeguaychú Carnival, Entre Ríos

Gualeguaychú Carnival is the most Brazilian of the Argentine carnival celebrations – it is impossible not to make the comparison!

In a country where visitors dream of gauchos, vast Patagonian landscapes and Andean peaks, this event reminds us that Argentina is an immense land with several cultures.

We are reminded that the Argentine Litoral is close to the tropics, especially from January to March when the samba groups parade the Sambadrome…

With dancers dressed in feathers, decorated floats and “batucada” style samba bands, the “Country’s Carnival” lives its ultimate adventure during Carnival weekends… Argentina, the alternative Carnival country!

This visit will give you the opportunity to discover the beautiful province of Entre Ríos, its National Park and fine sandy beaches along the Uruguay River… A trip full of emotions.

Gualeguaychú Carnival

Pucará Tilcara Dates and times: Carnival parade every Saturday in January, February and the first weekend of March from 11pm to 3am.

Pucará Tilcara Carnival parade ticket: included. A table in the VIP stands.

Hotels: Hotel Costarenas, in Colón.

Lunch and dinner: free and not included.

Transfers: an exclusive private chauffer throughout your entire stay.

Buenos Aires / Departure to Entre Ríos

The chauffer will pick you up at around 8am and you will leave Buenos Aires to enjoy an adventurous weekend. You will head North and after two bridges, you will be able to see the green peaceful landscapes of Entre Ríos, far away from the busy capital city of Argentina.

The province is bordered, as its name suggests, by two great rivers: the Uruguay and the Paraná Rivers, the latter is the biggest river in South America after Amazonas. You will go along Route 14, past Gualeguaychú and arrive in Colón at around midday. You will leave your personal belongings at the Costaneras Hotel that is perfectly located on the river front.

It has comfortable rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, spa and a good table. You can decide whether to have lunch at the hotel or at any of the city restaurants. Afterwards, you will take the route towards the North up to El Palmar National Park; a 30-minute journey.

El Palmar Park, Entre Ríos © Gustavo Almada

Visit to El Palmar National Park

This park was opened in 1966 to preserve the Yatay palm trees that were first present in the whole region and were then threatened by intensive cattle-rearing.  Its 8,500 hectares protect the famous palm trees that can reach up to 18m high, as well as splendid fauna, especially wild boars, deer, antelopes, ñandues and around 200 species of birds.

In the park, there are many tours available. You may go on a guided tour, discover the park riding a bike, a canoe or a horse (ask for more information). Do not miss the one-kilometer path towards La Glorieta stopover that stretches through the jungle towards the shore of Palmar Stream.

You will finish your tour along the river at Barquín ruins, an ancient estancia dating back to the 17th century. You will head back to the hotel in Colón at around 6pm or towards town to grab a bite to eat. It will be a short break because after having enjoyed the peace and quiet near the Uruguay River, you will head to the craziness of carnival, one of the most important events in Argentina.

The carnaval

After a quiet dinner, at 10pm the chauffer will drive you to Gualeguaychú for the highlight of your stay: The Country’s Carnival. Gualeguaychú’s carnival dates back to the end of the 19th century but it was created the way it is now in 1979.

Each year, on Saturdays in January, February and the beginning of March five associations: Club Juventud Unida, Club Central Entrerriano, Centro Sirio Libanés, Club de Pescadores and Tiro Federal from Gualeguaychú present their samba groups or clubs.

The samba groups Mari-Mari, Kamarr and Papelitos fight over the prize of the “King of the Carnival”, with scores awarded by the jury every weekend when they evaluate the five areas: music, dance, dresses, float and staging. As this event was very successful, in 1997, the organizers decided to create a 500-meter Sambadrome to welcome the audience and the parade in true style.

Gualeguaychu Carnival, Entre Ríos © Rahmat Dornbrook

You will reach the Sambadrome and take your seat in the middle of the party. From your perfectly-located table, you will realize how enormous the place is, with capacity for 40,000 people. The heat will continue to increase until 11pm when you will finally listen to the first percussions and the first floats will appear.

The samba groups took their names from the theater and literally mean “masked group of people” or “masquerade” could be made up of up to 800 musicians, dancers and stuntmen. Each one chooses a theme, the connecting thread of the original music of the percussion troupes: the “batucadas”, the huge floats and the dresses that may weigh up to 80kg.

You will be captivated by the choreography of the almost naked dancers, by the different rhythms, the magic of the set… Hours of tropical madness that will go by very fast… when you least expect it, the chauffer will arrive to drive you back to the hotel. On your way back, you will still feel the emotion of the show you have just experienced.

Tour around Colón / Return to Buenos Aires

Today you will enjoy breakfast by the river and you will go to visit Colón. You will go on a quiet tour around the small city founded in 1857 with its colonial architecture, all along its waterfront or along Quiróz Park that offers a very nice view.

The place offers different activities, among others: fishing, the thermal waters and a 7-kilometer beach to be discovered on foot, on horseback or by boat… your chauffer will be available to take you wherever you wish. At the end of this relaxing day and after this weekend in Entre Ríos, you will magically work your way back towards Buenos Aires.