Gualeguaychu Carnival - Argentina Carnaval - Argentina Travel Information
(Carnaval del País)
Gualeguichu is the place where the most important of Argentina's Carnival celebrations takes place - the "country's carnival" (El Carnaval del Pais). A carnival center (corsodromo) containing 38,000 seats was built in the city, and in this corsodromo samba bands dance during the Carnaval celebrations along its 500 meters.
During the Carnaval del Pais, 4 samba clubs (comparsa) compete for the title of "kings of the carnival". Each comparsa includes over 700 dancers, and is accompanied by 5 huge stages, a drum band (batucada) and a singing band. Each club chooses a theme and a theme song, and the theme is brought to life using the stages, costumes, decorations and songs.
Getting to Gualeguaychu Carnival
Gualeguichu is located in Argentina's north-east, in an area named "between rivers" (Entre Rios). The city is actually located on the middle of the way between Buenos Aires and the Iguazu Falls. It is possible to take a direct bus from the Retiro bus station in Buenos Aires.
Buses to Gualeguaichu leave every one and a half hours, and there are several bus companies (Nuevo Expreso, Flecha Bus and Ciudad de Gualeguay). It is about a 3 hours drive. In carnival times, you should purchase a ticket in advance.
What is a Carnival?
The carnival celebrations are being held two weeks before Lent fast. During that fast, the Christians are not allowed to eat meat, therefore before the fast they must eat all the meat that is left. This is where the root of the word ?carnival? comes from, in Latin word ? Carne Levale, meaning ?the putting away of meat?. The carnival celebrations are ending at Mardi Gras, the day before the fast.
The carnival celebrations in America received a unique shade and today include elements of other previous local celebrations.
Going to the Gualeguychu Carnival
The carnival is occurring every year, on Saturdays of January and February (sometimes also at the fist weekend of March). It is advisable arriving to the carnival towards its end, when the kings of the carnival are being chosen and a parade of the winning troupes is being held.
The dates of the carnival in 2005:
January ? 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
February ? 5, 12, 19, 26
March ? 5
The carnival is becoming more and more exciting towards its end when the dancing troupes are being chosen.
The entrance fee to the carnival stadium is 15 Peso. The cost of marked seats in the tribunes is 3 Pesos (unmarked seats are free), and the cost of seats close to the walking trail is 4-8 Peso (depending on the closeness to the parade).