Argentina’s carnival celebrations will be making a comeback in 2022 under health and safety protocols after a hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Argentina’s borders are open to fully vaccinated international travelers, and there has never been a better time to visit with an exchange rate that is highly favorable to American travelers.
Carnival is celebrated across Argentina with the biggest and best-known events held in the provinces of Corrientes and Entre Ríos as well as in the country’s northwest, each with their own unique customs and traditions reflecting Argentina’s vastness and diversity.
The Litoral (coastal) provinces, named for their geographic location wedged between the Paraná and Uruguay rivers, have carnival traditions that date back to the 19th century. Presently, they are home to some of the most popular carnival celebrations in the country.
For instance, the city of Corrientes, an hour and a half’s flight from Buenos Aires, is often referred to as the nation’s carnival capital.
The rival comparsas – different samba groups that compete with their own hymns, orchestras, dancers and extravagant costumes – parade in the city’s corsódromo, a facility with a capacity of 30,000 built specifically for carnival processions.
Due to the pandemic, celebrations will be held in limited locations with pre-determined protocols.
The province of Entre Ríos also hosts some of the most famous carnivals in Argentina with the city of Gualeguaychú (just under a four-hour drive from Buenos Aires) home to the largest carnival in the country and one of the longest lasting carnivals in the world.
Gualeguaychú has its own corsódromo accommodating 35,000 spectators. This year’s celebrations will start on January 8 and will be held every Saturday evening through the end of February culminating with special events on Feb 26, 27 and 28.
Markedly different from the celebrations in the rest of Argentina, the carnivals in the towns and villages of Argentina’s northwest – mainly in the province of Jujuy, a region with rich native traditions and multi-hued, arid Andean landscapes – blend indigenous traditions with Spanish colonial influences.
The celebrations here represent the liberation of man, with manifestations of rebellion towards established social norms, privileges, moral norms and power.
The devil is used as the carnival’s main figure as it gets rid of all the negative elements that have been repressed throughout the year.
The costumes that characterize these celebrations are Andean, and the music, regional folklore. This year’s carnival in the Quebrada de Humahuaca will start on February 26 and end on March 6 with the burial of the devil.
The city of Buenos Aires also hosts carnival celebrations with a long weekend of parades and displays of bright costumes, and murgas (street bands) in different neighborhoods throughout the city.
This year’s festivities will feature over 100 different murgas and 40 shows from February 26 to March 1.