Rosario – Victoria- Gualeguay – Gualeguaychu – 220.5 km (total distance is about 270km but we were not allowed to ride about 50km of it crossing the bridges from Rosario to Victoria)
There are two things we love that the province of Entre Rios, named because it is located in the fertile lands between the Parana and Uruguay rivers, is known for: hot springs and Carnival. We detoured from the straightforward freeway from Rosario to Buenos Aires adding an extra 200km to our ride by cycling into Entre Rios first from Rosario to Victoria, then to Gualeguay and finally to Gualeguaychu for its incredible Carnival celebrations.
The first day of riding from Rosario to Victoria had its share of challenges that made me question leaving comfortable Rosario where we had friends. However, this is one of the things about travelling…if you wanted to stay in your comfort zone, why travel? With travelling, you get into some frustrating situations but then there are also the joys of spontaneously experiencing awesome things that you didn’t even imagine before. It was about 10km to the epic 60km network of soaring bridges and sturdy land bridges diked up through the Rio Parana and its marshy delta. However, of the 70km distance, we actually rode only 20km as we discovered we weren’t allowed to cycle across the bridge and hitch-hiked the rest, making it to the colonial city of Victoria and finding out the biggest night of Carnival was that evening! You can read more about that journey and the rollercoaster ride of travelling with all of its highs and lows in a reflection blog entry here.
Victoria is rarely visited for foreign tourists but has amazing Carnival celebrations and nearby hotsprings set in a scenic location overlooking the river delta. The Victoria hot springs is a combination of hot spring pools and a cold water theme park with water slides and more. The thermal waters in Victoria is high in minerals including high levels of salt!
From Victoria, it was a hilly ride at first but the green hills were perfect for riding where the downhill sections gave amazing speed to power up the following hill. There were lots of picturesque creeks and marshlands filled with birds including black ibises, snowy white egrets and huge herons and cranes. We raced to Gualeguay ahead of a thunderstorm making it to the city before the sky crackled and the streets turned into rivers. The storm blew us fast and we rode 110km that day. The wind wasn’t with us the next day for the 84km to Gualeguaychu but it was still a beautiful green ride and it was my birthday! The next day, the hostel had a big asado BBQ to celebrate my birthday and on Saturday, we went to the Gualeguaychu Termas. It had four main pool areas, two with hot thermal waters and two with fresh cold water. However, since it was Carnival, it was completely packed and not as enjoyable as it could have been. Saturday night was the mindblowing Carnival celebrations in Gualeguaychu, which was the most professional I have ever seen with gorgeous, elaborate, fantastical costumes and equally gorgeous and amazing dancers. The Carnival celebrations is all about dancing and the music really gets both the dancers and the crowds going.