Carnival might be more closely associated with Brazil, which hosts some of the biggest celebrations in Rio de Janeiro and Salvador de Bahia, but the town of Gualeguaychu in the north of Buenos Aires province has festivities to rival those of its northern neighbour. Parades, floats, performances, dancing, singing and musical theatre, Carnival in Gualeguaychu has it all. Head to Gualeguaychu in January and February to check it out.
In January the National Folklore Festival comes to the town of Cosquin in the central province of Cordoba. A serious production with a big stage set up that hosts performances of traditional dances such as cuarteto and live folklore music, if you are in the market for a taste of provincial culture in Argentina, the folklore festival in Cosquin is for you.
While the country’s most famous gaucho festival is held in San Antonio de Areco in Buenos Aires in November, the rest of the country celebrates the gaucho, or the Argentine cowboy, at different times of the year. In January it is San Martin de los Andes’ turn to go rural. This Patagonian town plays host to hoards of gauchos, who come to show off their equestrian skills by rounding up their horses in a lengthy show parade and exhibition, where you can see them handle a rope and lasso with unimaginable expertise.
In February, head to the north-western province of Salta near the Bolivian border to experience a true taste of Andean culture in the Carnaval Andino. This festival offers a window into a different side of Argentine culture that you won’t find in Buenos Aires. Here, the indigenous communities that reside in Salta and Jujuy showcase their unique culture, with the nucleus of the festivities being located in the highland enclave of San Antonio de los Cobres, the site of the famous Train to the Clouds.
Tilcara, a mountain village high in the plains of Jujuy and set against the backdrop of the incredible Quebrada de Humahuaca, celebrates its traditions in January around the time of Carnaval. Expect to see local dances, rituals and customs played out all over the town, including the unearthing of the devil, and offerings to Pachamama, or Mother Earth, the god worshipped by the indigenous people of the Andes region.
In February, international tennis pros descend on Buenos Aires to take part in the ATP World Tour tennis championship in Argentina. Watch the stars battle it out in the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Court in the city’s riverside parks, a set of clay courts that will host men’s singles and doubles tournaments over the course of seven days.
In Jesus Maria, a town in Cordoba, Argentine culture is celebrated to its fullest extent at the Festival de Tradicion in January. Similar to other festivals that honour the gaucho, rural and country life is showcased in all its glory, so expect an array of gauchos in attendance, and plenty of carne on the grill.