bra22-carnival-pay-bernadettelou

We all know that Rio Carnival is the biggest party on the planet, a raucous carnival full of impossible dances and impossible bodies to gape at. However, Brazil is not the only place to host a world-class party. Other countries are doing just as well in their entertainment department.

Here are some examples:

ARG_Street art Buenos Aires_JP_Free

Carnival del Pais, Argentina

With Brazil for a neighbour, there is little wonder Argentina feels the need to compete and, lucky for us, doesn't disappoint. During the same dates as above, weekend before Ash Wednesday, carnivals take over major towns across the country, particularly in the states of Entre Rios and Corrientes, with elaborate feathered costumes and enormous parades. The largest of these is in the near-unpronounceable town of Gualeguaychú, known as the Carnival del Pais, or carnival of the region.

iStock ©

Carnival, Santiago de Cuba

Unlike the other fiestas in this list, the carnival of Cuba's second city, Santiago, has nothing to do with Easter and is instead centered around the summer festival of St James, the city's namesake. Unlike the others, too, it lasts a whopping ten days! Carnival bands make use of whatever instruments are to hand to fill the streets with Cuba's signature salsa soundtrack as dance troupes party the days and nights away amongst colourful floats. A unique element of the carnival is its conga parade, which takes place on the first day of the celebrations (July 18). In street after street, the whole community turns up to conga around with their neighbours, with still in their pyjamas!



Fiesta de la Candelaria, Peru

A bit more subdued to start with, this festivity begins with a religious service, followed by an equally pious procession through Puno in Peru. The fun starts with the traditional dances one of which is the well known Diablada - from then on, everyone dances, drinks and endeavours to be merry! To make the fiesta all the more important, this particular event has been declared World Heritage by UNESCO.

BOL_Las Tablas Carnival_Move Over Brazil_Azuero_Free

Las Tablas Carnival, Panama

Every year this otherwise sleepy town of Las Tablas erupts into a riot of merry-making, as two rival factions - Calle Arriba (uptown) and Calle Abajo (downtown) - compete in a truly epic dance-off. Parades, fireworks and music bring the party to life while the carnival queens in their astonishing costumes fight it out to be crowned the most beautiful. At the same time, water is sprayed over the crowd in a tradition known as the mojadera. The carnival is always scheduled for the weekend before Ash Wednesday; the dates in 2017 are 24-26 February.

BOOL_OruroCarnival_shutterstock1581649_freewithcredit

Oruro Carnival, Bolivia

Visitors to Bolivia in the days proceeding Ash Wednesday will encounter an altogether different affair to the more famous Brazilian carnival, but one that's no less traditional or colourful. Oruro, in central Bolivia, hosts the most important carnival of the country; one characterised by a dance style known as La Diablada which roughly translates as the Dance of the Devil. Parades of men dress in impressive demonical costumes whirl through the streets as crowds of onlookers celebrate in the stands, but this being Bolivia, there are also plenty of rustic touches; one minute you'll see a troupe of dancing girls in costumes they're saved up all year to buy, and the next you might spot a man proudly parading his llama along the carnival route!

 

Tailor-made holidays

Flexible, custom-made holidays to Latin America created to match your exact requirements: our tailor-made itineraries are as unique as the clients for whom they are designed.

Design my trip

Papagaio

Your edit for Latin American inspiration

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

View Extraordinary Inspiration
Bartolome, Galápagos

Meet our team

Real Latin american experts

  • Paul Winrow Giffin
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Juliet
    Juliet Ellwood - Travel Expert

    After graduating with a degree in Anthropology and History and having been fascinated by Latin America since childhood by the book featuring photos of Nazca, Juliet first visited the region in 2003. Since then, Juliet has visited the majority of countries in Latin America but has particularly extensive experience with Peru, a country she loves for many reasons but not least, its incredible archaeological richness and delicious food!

  • Alex
    Alex Walker - Travel Expert

    A globetrotter since her childhood, Alex spent a year studying abroad in Guadalajara and has returned to Latin America countless times since then.

  • Kathryn
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

  • Carrie
    Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert

    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.

  • Mary
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert

    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.

0 1 2 3 4 5