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The Llamadas de San Baltasar is a traditional festival of Uruguayan candombe which takes place every January 6. It’s a truly authentic spectacle as tens of drumming and dancing comparsas parade through the streets of Barrio Sur and Palermo flanked by locals.

My friend Soledad who I call ‘carnival royalty’ loves San Baltasar. She says it is just how carnival was when she was a child. 

Though carnival isn’t touristy at all in Uruguay, San Baltasar is really how carnival in Montevideo was thirty years ago—so expect simple outfits, no tickets and no security presence. Just people enjoying themselves.

Why January 6? The date is chosen to celebrate Three Kings Day (when Uruguayan children typically receive gifts) and the Afro-Uruguayan community.

Download the Guru’Guay Guide to Montevideo to your tablet, kindle or phone right now to find out more about carnival and candombe or buy it on Amazon

Click on the Guru’Guay map of the San Baltasar Parade to see the start and end points of the parade

The procession starts around 4pm and lasts till after sundown.

Photo: Jimmy Baikovicius

The Guru'Guay Guide to Montevideo


The only guidebook to the capital by a writer based 100% in Uruguay. The difference to other guides — whose authors jet in for a few weeks — is palpable. Also in audiobook.

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