Carnival Celebration: Gualeguaychú, Argentina

Guest Post By: Julie Mai, a Sophomore studying Marketing and Information Systems. She is a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient, and she studied abroad through Business Argentina during Winter Quarter 2024.

Studying abroad in Argentina was an amazing cultural experience. My fellow classmates were asking our program manager, Guillermo, about fun things to do around the city during Carnival, which would give us a brief break from school in February. He told us that besides the big celebrations in Brazil, there was a town three hours north of Buenos Aires called Gualeguaychú. Gualeguaychú is a vibrant town located in the province of Entre Ríos, Argentina, known for its rich cultural heritage and scenic beauty. It sits on the banks of the Gualeguaychú River, which is a tributary of the Uruguay River, making it an attractive destination for water sports and fishing enthusiasts. The town is most famous for hosting one of the most spectacular annual carnivals in Argentina, which features elaborate floats, costumes, and samba dancers, drawing comparisons to the famous Rio Carnival. Gualeguaychú is also an eco-tourism hub, with several nearby natural reserves such as the El Palmar National Park and the Gualeguaychú wetlands, offering opportunities for bird watching and nature walks. Additionally, the local economy is bolstered by agriculture, particularly the cultivation of citrus fruits, as well as a thriving thermal springs resort industry, catering to tourists seeking relaxation and wellness treatments.

Of course, my friends and I made plans to go there during Carnival. It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. The town is so small we couldn’t even use Uber to catch rides, we had to call a taxi service and tell them where we were. It was a great opportunity to use the Spanish we learned through a Spanish crash course we took through our study abroad. My friends and I stayed in a beautiful AirBnb that was located a mere 10-minute walk from the parade site. It was very hot in Gualeguaychú but the sunset that came out at the end of the day was nothing short of breathtaking. As the night got darker, we made our way to the Carnaval del País.

Outside the stands were vendors selling face gems, masks, light sticks, and costumes. There was also a grill that served Argentine classics such as choripan, milanesas, and pizza. Once the carnival got started, it felt like it would never end. The carnival has four segments, each filled with what felt like 35 – 45 minutes of songs. At the end of each parade was a huge float that carried the singers and musicians that sang in the segment. The costumes were so beautiful. Some of them were sponsored by local organizations or companies. I brought my Fujifilm XT3, and the performers were more than happy to spare a glance my way for some photos:















I’m so grateful to the Global Business Center and to my sponsors for supporting me in my study abroad. I hope these photos can communicate even a little bit of the joy I felt in Argentina with my classmates.