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Carnival in South America: Devils, Foam Parties and Secret Blowouts in Argentina


South Americans are are not afraid of a good party, as evidenced by the celebrations that take place at Carnival in South America. With some fun options across Argentina, you’re sure to find a memorable way to spend the season! Unlike their more ostentatious neighboring cities to the north, Buenos Aires hosts a series of tamer Carnivals throughout February and March. More clothed, but just as fun, these celebrations take place in different neighborhoods throughout the city and tend to be a more family centered affair. The glittery costumes this time belong to the “murgas,” or traditional music troupes. Characteristic dress (for both men and women) include a top hat, cane, gloves and a long tailed coat. Colors are decided by the neighborhood you’re supporting. Don’t wear your fancy dress out, however. You might just have your Sunday best ruined by the foam parties in the streets. Children run about with foam cans, gleefully spraying each other to a sudsy mess. They tend to leave spectators out of the fun, but just to be on the safe side, you might want to bring some towels in your bags!

Carnival in South AmericaImage Via Washington Post

Heading out towards the northwest, in the Jujuy provence, there’s a different sort of celebration going on in Humahuaca. This 8 day party is a mix of surrounding cultures and religions. Melding ancient religious faith with the current dominant Catholicism practiced today, the event incorporates old and new beliefs. The party takes a decidedly and purposefully sinful approach as the the games begin with firecrackers erupting for the unearthing of the devil, a rag doll representing the celebration. With the occasion marked, participants gladly take to the heavy drinking, dancing, singing and general good time having throughout the towns. Basil leaves are spread throughout the streets, as they are rumored to help with the hangovers. Participants dress as devils or gauchos (cowboys), and dancers wear masks to help conceal their identity. Finally, on the last day, the devil is buried, with some kind offerings to keep him happy until he returns again for the next deliciously sinful celebration.

Carnival in South Americaimage via

During Carnival, the place to be for any large party, up all night, sequin-loving Argentinian is hands down Gualeguaychu. Never heard of it? The locals like it that way. This packed out parade goes every weekend through February and sometimes weekends in March. Tens of thousands of spectators come every year to watch participants dance their way to a hopeful victory  as “kings of the carnival.” The costumes are outrageous, the floats spectacular. It’s a great option for those wanting the show of Rio, without the crowds and cost. This is where you can actually go early and get right up front to feel as if you’re amid a true Carnival parade. And with it being only a three hour bus ride from Buenos Aires, it’s a feasible one night jaunt.

Here’s a little round up from the Gualeguaychu Carnival, compliments of our favorite in-house photographer, Tess….

Carnival in South America

 

Carnival in South America Carnival in South America

Carnival in South America

 

Carnival in South America Carnival in South America

Looking to add some Carnival fun to your South America tour? Class Adventure Travel has many destinations to make your vacation down south perfect!