Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 19 Jan, 2008
This is the most complete 4-star hotels in the city of La Falda, and costs less than some 2 and 3 star hotels, so reservations are highly recommendable. It is only one block away from the house where I lived during eight years, so…Read More
This is the most complete 4-star hotels in the city of La Falda, and costs less than some 2 and 3 star hotels, so reservations are highly recommendable. It is only one block away from the house where I lived during eight years, so I am well acquainted with it. I normally use their internet service when I am visiting my sons and was allowed to tour through the premisses taking photos. There were no vacancies in the hotel when I went to take photos, so I have no photos of their rooms. But I do know that a single standard room costs 40 dollars and a double room 50 dollars per night, including breakfast.The hotel has two swimming pools, a large park (easily over one acre), and a playground for children. The use of tennis courts has an additional fee. At daytime a clay tennis court costs some 7 dollars per hour, this price goes up to two and a half times that price in the evening. Cement tennis courts are cheaper. Internet inside the hotel costs one dollar the hour, but although it is supposed to open at 9 a.m. but sometimes opens later. The only internet office that opens early in the morning in all the city is at the La Falda bus station, some 12 blocks away. It opens at 7 a.m. and the only two computers it has have USB connection for pen-drive. Most internet offices have 10 to 30 machines, but most open betwee 8 and 10 a.m. As far as I know the Nor Tomarza hotelrooms do not have internet connection.The hotel has its restaurant, but there are so many unexpensive options just accross the street, even an ice-cream shop and nearby tearooms, that you might prefer to use the services of La Parrilla de Raúl (7 dollars per person for an all you can eat barbecue, including cold buffet and pork tenderloin, but excluding drinks and deserts) or some of the other nearby more expensive restaurants. The Tomaso Di Savoia restaurant has also a number of options. Eating a la carte there is very affordable.Their all-you can eat cold buffet plus entree may be costing some 12 dollars per person.In other words, when visiting La Falda I would go first to the Nor Tomarza hotel, and then look around for other alternatives. The hotel El Castillo (an exclusive 5 star boutique hotel) is a mile and a half out of town, and is considerably more expensive. You will find many hotels walking along the Eden Avenue.Wingfields offers tennis and paddle courts a few blocks away. There is an excellent ice-cream shop on the corner. The legenday Eden hotel, founded by the German community in 1898 and today a museum is only two blocks away. And the miniature railway museum, that you should not miss, feaures all European and American railways (most of them in motion, like the Orient Express and the TGV) and is only some 5 blocks away. You can also rent horses a few blocks away from the hotel, and you have some interesting options for walking through the area. The small ducks lagoon (Laguna de los Patos) is some 3 blocks away, in front of the Salzburgo Tea room where you can enjoy German cuisine and delicious Black Forest cakes, lemon pie and many other delicious cakes.The Nor Tomarza hotel is only 6 blocks away from the downtown,where you will find many shopping options,and free live music on the street in the evening. Give it a try. You will not regret it.La Falda is a far quieter city than Villa Carlos Paz, where streets get overcrowded in the evening, and therefore is safer. And the type of tourism that goes to La Falda is upper middle class, an environment that you will really enjoy. Just round the corner, you have the most complete cashmere sweater shop in all the Province of Córdoba (Belvedere), Los Eucaliptus 1185).This is the web page of the Nor Tomarza hotel:http://www.cordobaserrana.com.ar/lafalda/nortomarza.htmLa Falda, in spite of having only 18,000 inhabitants, has 140 hotels and thefore many options. Here are some of them. There is an English version for many of the hotels listed.http://www.lafalda.com/Virtualafalda.htmHOW TO GET THERE. Four bus companies (La Calera, Sarmiento, ciudad de cordoba and Lumassa) connect La Falda with Córdoba city. Travel takes 2 hours. The last 3 also connect La Falda with Villa Carlos Paz. There are direct bus services from La Falda to Buenos Aires, Rosario and San Juan. There are direct bus services from Cordoba to Iguazu Falls (18 hours), Bariloche (20 hours), Puerto Madryn (22 hours), El Calafate (the glaciers, but 48-hour travel) Mendoza (10 hours), San Luis (6 hours), Mar del Plata (16 hours), Tucumán (8 hours), Salta and Jujuy (12 hours), La Rioja and Chilecito (6 hours), Catamarca (also 6 hours) and practically all destinations in Argentina. The best bus companies I would recommend from Córdoba city are:www.andesmar.com.arwww.crucerodelnorte.com.arwww.mercobus.com.ar (no meals on board)www.general-urquiza.com.ar (the Dorado premium bed service that lies back completely flat).A taxi from the La Falda bus station (12 blocks away) will cost you less than 2 dollars (you might have to wait some minutes for it). There are also local bus services along the Eden avenue, but they run about every half hour. In any case, walking along the avenue is delightful and the whole city is very safe. However, in any part o the world it is wise to keep an eye on your camcorder and photo camera. I took photos at about midnight all along the avenue and had no problem whatsoever.Welcome to La Falda, one of the three best climates in the world. Close
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 01 Aug, 2007
I lived in La Falda during 8 years, and am pretty well informed on the convenient hotel options that this city has to offer. La Falda has a permanent population of 18,000 and some 140 hotels, most of them of 1 and 2 stars. However,…Read More
I lived in La Falda during 8 years, and am pretty well informed on the convenient hotel options that this city has to offer. La Falda has a permanent population of 18,000 and some 140 hotels, most of them of 1 and 2 stars. However, there is a considerable number of very nice 4 and 3 star hotels, and I am including here some information on the most important ones.EL CASTILLO HOTEL, SPA AND RESORT (5 stars, located in Valle Hermoso, one mile and a half away from the downtown of La Falda). I have covered this hotel in a separate Experience, but here are the main facts: El Castillo, Santa Teresa 933, Valle Hermoso, phone (54-3548) 470344: This hotel is the replica of a French castle, and is really worthwhile seeing, even if it is only for taking photos. Is a boutique hotel that has everything, but is 1.5 miles away from the downtown of La Falda, and near the "downtown" of a small village, Valle Hermoso. If you want to go to La Falda that has a nice downtown, you will have to take a taxi, at a cost of some 2 dollars. It has an indoor swimming pool with Jacuzzi, two outdoor swimming pools, a small fitness center, music room, and meeting rooms. It is open to the public during January, February, and Easter, and is used the rest of the year for business events. The cost of staying here is one hundred dollars per night and per person, including all meals, but excluding drinks. Since it is a boutique hotel, it has no TV in the rooms, in order to assure rest to all guests, but has a TV room with a plasma TV set. I have been at a convention in this hotel before it was refurbished. If you are considering using this hotel for an event, keep in mind that it has only fifty five double rooms, so its capacity is limited to some one hundred persons. The policy of this hotel is that if you occupy at least fifteen double rooms, the whole hotel will be reserved only for your event, seminar, training, or whatever activity you have planned. www.welcomeargentina.com/paseos/castillo_entre_lassierras/index.html HOTEL TOMASO DI SAVOIA (4 stars): Av. Edén 732 Phone: (54-3548) 42-3013 VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. This hotel, together with the Nor Tomarza Hotel (two blocks away from here) and the hotel El Castillo in Valle Hermoso (rated separately) are by far the best hotels in La Falda. I had stayed at the Tomaso Di Savoia hotel some years ago, and went back last Sunday. I was really impressed with their indoor swimming pool, that is the largest one I have ever seen in an hotel; it also had a nice Jacuzzi. The hotel has been completely refurbished and now I believe it really deserves the 4 stars with which it has been rated. It costs US $50 per night for a single room or $65 for a double room (these are high season rates, lower rates apply just now). Rooms are not very large, but they are very comfortable. The dining room is one of the best options in all La Falda (you will find more information below). The hotel is located on the main avenue (Eden), that in any case is a pretty quiet area. Of course, if you can get a room that does not face the street, far better. Very near you have three excellent restaurants, and all of them are rated on my report entitled "Dining in La Falda" (La Parrilla de Raúl, El Fogón and Huesos). This hotel is located only three blocks away from the downtown, some four blocks away from the Eden hotel (now a museum, after having been abandoned for nearly half a century), and maybe seven blocks away from the Miniature Railway Museum. As I said above, it has a very nice indoor swimming pool. It is a good place to enjoy your stay at La Falda. The restaurant is excellent. I took some very nice photos a couple of months ago, but unfortunately it was too late, and the flash was not good enough, so I was unable to reach the other end of their Olympic indoor swimming pool, (obviously, it does not have Olympic diving boards), but I must say that it is really huge. Years ago I enjoyed taking my family there many times for dinner. The buffet dinner costs some 12 dollars, including a delicious cold buffet, the chef’s recommendation and as many desserts as you may wish (self-serve). But you can also eat a plate of pasta and a Coke for some four dollars. There are other very nice eating options in the area, already mentioned above, but none of them match this one. I have written a separate review on these restaurants. www.cordobaserrana.com.ar/lafalda/tomasodisavoia.htm HOTEL NOR TOMARZA (4 stars), Av. Edén 732 Tel: (54.3548) 42-3013 RECOMMENDED It is round the corner from where I lived during eight years, it has a nice park and a very nice open-air swimming pool, but I never visited the hotel beyond the front desk, so I prefer not to rate it. www.cordobaserrana.com.ar/lafalda/nortomarza.htm HOTEL SCALA (3 stars). Av. Edén 452 Phone: (54-3548) 42-3072 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED This is a nice 3-star hotel located in the center of La Falda, but half a block away from the traffic noise. This area is occupied by its park and swimming pool. It has no restaurant, but is next door to the Huesos Restaurant, that has excellent meat and wine at very low prices. The pool is nice, the garden is nice, prices are lower…it all depends on what you are looking for. www.cordobaserrana.com.ar/lafalda/scala.htm MIRADOR DEL CUADRADO HOTEL AND SPA (3 stars). This hotel does not figure in the hotel directories, since it was refurbished recently and upgraded to 3 stars. It is a very nice hotel, located next to Diagonal Los Eucaliptus, some 3 blocks away from Avenue Eden, in a very nice residential area. HOTEL L'HIRONDELLE (3 STARS). Another nice 3 star hotel, although I would prefer the Gran Hotel del Lago, that is cheaper. www.hospedata.com/hotel_argentina/alojamientos.php?reservas=cordoba_argentina+lhirondelle+00446+4+4 GRAN HOTEL DEL LAGO (2 stars and the best price value). Manuel Rodríguez 1651 Phone: (54-3548) 42-2407 / 42-1266 VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED This hotel is located a mile and a half away from the downtown, on the side of the only lake that there is in this city. It has tennis courts, two nice swimming pools and nice rooms with private bathroom and cable TV. You can take the hotel room with or without meals, but the deal including breakfast, lunch and dinner is very convenient, some 32 dollars per night and per person during the high season and ten dollars per person less in the low season. It is a very nice choice if you want to relax. www.granhoteldellago.com.ar HOTEL LA ASTURIANA (2 stars). Av. Edén 835 Phone: (54-3548) 42-2923 RECOMMENDED I stayed there a couple of weeks some years ago, when I was looking for a piece of land where to build my home. This hotel has a very nice open-air swimming pool and cable TV. You have a nice view of the mountains from the swimming pool, and it is located on the main avenue. www.cordobaserrana.com.ar/lafalda/laasturiana.htm
HOTEL BUONAVENTURA (2 stars). Another budget option. www.cordobaserrana.com.ar/buonaventura.htm However, I would go to the Hotel Tomaso Di Savoia if you want the best comfort (regardless of price) or to the Hotel Del Lago if you want a nice place where to relax, away from noise and at a low cost. HOTEL LAS VIOLETAS (1 star). Av. Güemes 124 Phone: (54-3548) 42-1826 ONLY RECOMMENDED IF MONEY IS THE PRIME CONSIDERATION (BUT IT IS OK) Budget…budget…budget. I do now know of another hotel in all Argentina with such a low rate: 5 dollars per person and per night, including breakfast. Rooms are not small, but obviously there is no TV in the rooms, no ceiling fan, no swimming pool, far less air conditioning... But if price is your prime consideration, there it is. Safety could be a problem, although I have never experienced safety problems there, but all room keys remain on the board at the front desk, sometimes with no surveillance, and some keys can open the doors of other rooms. If safety is a consideration, stay at the Tomaso Di Savoia, at La Asturiana, or at the Gran Hotel del Lago. I am sure you will enjoy your stay at La Falda.
This unique hotel is located very near La Falda, only a mile and a half away, in the village of Valle Hermoso. I used to visit it frequently while I lived in La Falda. It is an exact copy of a French castle. Originally it…Read More
This unique hotel is located very near La Falda, only a mile and a half away, in the village of Valle Hermoso. I used to visit it frequently while I lived in La Falda. It is an exact copy of a French castle. Originally it belonged to a very wealthy family, then was sold to the Metallurgical Trade Union, and five years ago it was resold to a hotel operator, that remodeled it (this exhaustive work took some 3 years) and converted it into a boutique hotel. It is considered to be a 5-star hotel. www.elcastillohotel.com.ar www.welcomeargentina.com/paseos/castillo_entre_lassierras/index.html
It is located in a very quiet place, ideal for relaxing, and only nine blocks away from National Highway 38 that runs from Córdoba city through Villa Carlos Paz to Cosquin, Valle Hermoso, La Falda, La Cumbre, Los Cocos, Capilla del Monte… This means that walking only nine blocks you have buses to many of the main tourist destinations of the Valley of Punilla. You can rent horses just crossing the street. This hotel, 45 miles away from Cordoba City, is only open to the general public in January, February, Easter, and during the World Rally. The rest of the year it is used exclusively for conventions, seminars, and training. However, if you want to set up a business event, keep in mind that it has a limited capacity (some 55 double rooms that can accommodate 110 persons) and that there are not many other hotels in Valle Hermoso, although there are many hotels in the nearby city of La Falda, that has some 14,000 beds in its 140 hotels (mostly 1 and 2-star hotels, but that also has some very nice 3 and 4-star hotels).
In Valle Hermoso there are a few 2-star hotels, like the Tehuel and Biondi and 1-star hotels like the Santa Rosa and Lucerna. There is also a trade union hotel, El Peñon, that is open to all public. I have not stayed at the hotel El Castillo but recommended it some years ago for a Convention and everyone was happy about my selection (I was a member of the Association that held the event). Actually, I used to live a mile and a half away from this hotel. It has an indoor pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, two outdoor swimming pools, fitness center, and Internet connection in every room. It is classified as a "boutique hotel" and applies ecologic hotel concepts. It is rather expensive for local standards, some 100 dollars per person and per night, including all meals. Companies interested in events must book at least 20 double rooms and obtain the exclusive use of the hotel during the event. I remind you that the maximum capacity of this hotel is 55 double rooms. Following the ecologic guidelines, there are no TVs in the rooms, but there is a large plasma TV in the TV room. It also has a well-equipped photography room and music room. Let the photos speak for themselves. If you need more information, look them up in Google, or give them a phone call. It is an ideal place for business conventions (away from the city, a quiet place, and with plenty of entertainment for the family). The hotel grants the exclusive use of the hotel with a minimum occupation of 20 double rooms.
Although Valle Hermoso is a small village, it has a good taxi service at affordable rates. As a general guideline for all Argentina, except Puerto Madryn, cost of taxis is from 70 cents to one dollar per mile, plus an additional fee of some 70 cents of a dollar. If you want to relax, it is a good place for staying. Although the hotel has a small fitness center, swimming pool, Jacuzzi and other services, if you want an active program of activities during your visit, I would suggest you stay at Villa Carlos Paz. Valle Hermoso is very near La Falda, and in this city you can visit the Miniature Railway Museum, the Eden Hotel, constructed by Germans in 1898, the Las Siete Cascadas (The Seven Falls) campground, a beautiful place for spending the day, and the Huerta Grande bathing area. Enjoy your stay in the Valley of Punilla.
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 14 May, 2007
Well over a century ago, the Estancia La Falda (La Falda ranch) had a surface of 2,250 acres and covered what is today all the city of La Falda, at least from the present railway station up to the La Banderita and Cerro El Cuadrado…Read More
Well over a century ago, the Estancia La Falda (La Falda ranch) had a surface of 2,250 acres and covered what is today all the city of La Falda, at least from the present railway station up to the La Banderita and Cerro El Cuadrado mounts, including them. The nearest railway station was Valle Hermoso, a couple of miles away. Valle Hermoso today has 2,000 inhabitants, while La Falda is a city with a population of 18,000. Actually the La Falda railway station was constructed at the request of the Eden Hotel, since it was only 15 blocks away from the hotel. Elegant carriages took care of the transportation of the hotel guests from the railway station to the hotel. At that time (1895 onwards) Europe was suffering a severe tuberculosis epidemics; it is said that mortality rate was at that time very high, and the valley of Punilla, where La Falda is located, was considered to be (and still is) one of the three best climates in the world for recovering from respiratory diseases, including the Suez Channel zone and another one that I do not remember. The idea was not to build a convalescence home for the sick (there is one in the nearby city of Cosquin, founded years later) but rather a place where people could strengthen their defenses against this mortal disease, since at that time there was no vaccine or shot against tuberculosis.
Some German businessmen constructed the Eden hotel in a very short period of time (they started the construction in 1897 and inaugurated it the next year). The hotel was well organized; different timetables for the use of the swimming pool (men and women could not bathe together); an area for single men, another area for the maids that accompanied the guests, and that took care of their children. Obviously, it was a place for the rich, but whether due to lack of promotion or poor administration, the hotel went bankrupt a couple of times. This obliged one of the administrations to make an urban development and sell pieces of land that originated Villa Eden, today the most elegant area in the city of La Falda. There was a sort of country-club regulation that obliged the buyers to construct elegant residences. I lived in Villa Eden during eight years, and really enjoyed it. With World War I, things changed drastically, and this favored the possibilities of the Eden hotel. The rich in Argentina could no longer go on vacation to Europe, due to the war, and many started vacationing in La Falda. And those Europeans that could afford it, started coming over here, to avoid the suffering that derived from World War I and later World War II.
The splendor years of the Eden hotel and casino lasted from 1914 to 1945, during which period personalities like the Prince of Savoia, the Prince of Wales and Albert Einstein, amongst others, stayed at the Eden hotel, apart from many Presidents, Governors, artists from all over the world, including famous poet Ruben Darío. In the archives of the Eden hotel there are letters from Hitler, and even from the CIA. However, nobody would dare to assure that Hitler came over here, although he was a close friend to one of the owners. The hotel produced its own food from its farm. All furniture was imported from Europe, and even the Carrara marble stone used for the sculptures was brought from the Old Continent. As a matter of fact, the cutlery and dinner service sets came from Europe, the same as the power generating sets and other important elements. You would think that a high-class society hotel would have had private bathrooms in all rooms, but this was not so.
Although the hotel had well over one hundred rooms, there were only 28 bathrooms in the whole building, most of them shared by the guests. Only the five suites had this service. To give you an idea of the service it had, for 300 guests they had 150 employees (one employee for every two guests). As the main objective of the hotel was to ensure healthier living, the minimum stay required was one month, and this meant paying some 15,000 dollars per person for a one-month stay...that included all meals, but not drinks. Since the people were going to be literally confined there for a month, there were many activities, including golf, horse riding, swimming, other sports (probably tennis, I am no sure), room for card games, and other activities.
When Argentina declared the war to Germany, only ten days before World War II ended (they wanted to play safe, since the country was exporting wheat to the whole world), the National Government confiscated all (or nearly all) German assets in Argentina, including the Eden hotel. It was said that one of the owners was a close friend of Adolf Hitler, that he had contributed financially to his presidential campaign, and that even eight sailors of the Graaf Spee, sunk in the River Plate, were working in the hotel. When the Government changed, the property was returned to its owners, but the discredit that linked the owners with Hitler meant, the fact that a vaccine against tuberculosis had already been discovered, and that there was peace in Europe, and Europeans did no longer need to come to South America to find a haven, changed the scenario. As well as the fact that rich Argentinians could again go to Europe on vacation, affected the economic feasibility of the Eden hotel. On the other hand, trade unions had started building hotels for their workers in La Falda, and the city lost its "exclusive nature", and the rich started to loose interest in coming to La Falda.
The hotel was then administered by local people, but its economy collapsed again, mainly because a casino was necessary to ensure its economic feasibility and the national government would not authorize this, maybe because the hotel was administered by a brother of the leader of the opposition political Radical party (Armando Balbin). The hotel was abandoned during two decades and became a "land of nobody", during which period vandals stole practically anything of value that they could find, including a complete huge generating set with its control panel, Carrara marble pieces of art, and many other things. Maybe the security personnel was involved. They must have needed a huge truck to load the generating set, but nobody saw anything.
A few years ago the hotel was taken over by the Municipality of La Falda, in payment of tax debts, and the Municipal Government declared it an historical monument, gave it in concession as a museum, and now it is being gradually restored. A visit to the hotel is very interesting, the tour lasts two hours and costs three dollars and a half. The restoration work respects the original aspects; You will see old generating sets, huge laundry washing machines and enormous ironing tables, and you will also visit the "Presidential Suite", and the hotel's open air theater. The refurbished areas include the cafeteria, the conference room (both look beautiful) and gradually other parts of the hotel are being restored, respecting the original layout. You will also see the Lions that guard the entrance and the Carrara marble fountain. If you come to La Falda, it is one of those places you should not miss.
The Miniature Railway Museum is only four blocks away from here, and half way between both attractions you will find the Salzburgo tearoom with its delicious German and European cakes (Black Forest, Struddel, Lemon Pie...) The Eden Hotel is only one block away from Cabañas El Edén, 2 blocks away from the Nor Tomarza Hotel, 4 blocks away from La Asturiana, L'Hirondel and Tomaso di Savoia hotels, and some 8 to 10 blocks away from the downtown. I was over at the Eden hotel yesterday taking some photos (I live only 25 miles away, at Villa Carlos Paz). Photos will follow in a couple of days. Welcome to La Falda.
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 12 May, 2007
Villa Eden has many places to enjoy: The Eden hotel, constructed by the German community in 1898, the hotel preferred by the rich and famous people during many years, where a room (at that time!) was costing 500 dollars per night and per person, the…Read More
Villa Eden has many places to enjoy: The Eden hotel, constructed by the German community in 1898, the hotel preferred by the rich and famous people during many years, where a room (at that time!) was costing 500 dollars per night and per person, the Miniature Railway Museum, tea rooms, the best hotels in La Falda, the best restaurants. If you go to La Falda and do not go to Villa Eden, you have seen nothing.
So let's have a look at some of its main attractions: 1) The Eden hotel marked the birth of La Falda. There was nothing there until the Germans arrived in 1898. Many presidents, artists and personalities stayed here, including Albert Einstein and the Prince of Wales, mostly between 1918 and 1945. The age of splendor of the hotel was between 1918 and 1945. When the hotel opened in 1898, the whole valley of Punilla, including La Falda, was considered to have one of the three best climates in the world for recovering from TB. Thus, people came to increase their defenses against tuberculosis (there were no antibiotics for this disease at that time) and a minimum stay of one month was required. Rates were astronomical: at today's value the hotel costed over 500 dollars per person and per day, although most rooms did not have a private bathroom... Not all the owners of the Eden hotel succeeded in this business, some went bankrupt and sold the hotel to others, but I want to make the story short. Ten days before World War II finished, the Argentine government declared the war to Germany and expropriated all (or most) German assets in Argentina, and then Eden hotel was one of these assets. One of the owners of the Eden hotel at that time sympathized strongly with Hitler, and it was believed to have contributed to finance Hitler's political campaign, so you may imagine the result. By the end of the Second World War it was expropriated by the Government that did not keep it running. It was given in concession years later, but without a casino, the hotel went bankrupt again. Vandals did the rest, many precious things were stolen, including Carrara marble statues; some pieces remained because they were too heavy to carry, but even a complete generating set was stolen at that time. During many years it was abandoned, until recently it was given in concession as a museum, and the whole building is being gradually restored. It may never function as an hotel, but to have a glance at its years of splendor is really worthwhile. I repeated the tour today (I love only 25 miles away from La Falda). The cafeteria looks beautiful, the auditorium is fine, soon other rooms will be reopened for events, and gradually the hotel is starting to look as it used to be... There are guided visits to the hotel every day, and these last about to hours, at a cost of some three dollars and a half. You will see the old generating sets, the room where meat was conserved, the huge laundry machines and ironing tables... all of them about a century old, or more... I am sure that you will not miss this opportunity of visiting a real historical relic.
2) The Miniature railway museum: Las Murallas 200, Phone (54-3548) 423041. This museum really deserves a visit, even if you do not enjoy the use of the swimming pool (included in the admission rate) or the view from its viewpoint at the top of the hill towards the valley of Punilla. It includes a replica to scale of all American and European railways, from the first ones up to the TGV. A few times during the day they put the miniature railways in motion in two different rooms: The American and the European room. Each room captures the atmosphere of century old times, with trains like the Orient Express, the Materhorn with typical Swiss homes, and old Ford Motor plant, tunnels in the mountain, old buildings, with lights that go on and off, bridges, the port area with its ferries... The work done by its creator is really admirable. There are also many shelves with hundreds of miniature trains, each one with its technical card. I know that you will enjoy it very much. The admission fee costs some 3 dollars per person.
3) Salzburgo tearoom. Between the Railway Museum and the Eden Hotel, about two blocks away from each one, in the midst of a beautiful residential area and just in front of a small lagoon with ducks ("Laguna de los Patos"), it is the ideal place to stop for a snack. You might go for Frankfurt sausages, but I prefer their delicious cakes (Black Forest, Lemon Pie, you name it, they have it...). And prices are quite affordable. A generous piece of Black Forest plus a jug of coffee (enough for three servings) costs some five dollars. Salzburgo may not be the only tearoom in the area, but when I want to taste delicious cakes, I always go there. Some other tearooms existed (El Descanso, el Molino) but I am not sure if they are still operating. Give it a try.
4) The best tennis courts: While some hotels have tennis courts, most don't. Wingfields is a good option: It has about very nice tennis courts and paddle courts at very affordable prices. They also give tennis classes for all ages. Andres Remondegui, the owner, is a professional tennis player.
5) The residential area: Villa Eden has an ancient forestation, that gives it a special taste. Add the Tudor style residences, the slopes towards the mountain, that you can see from the area, and you have the picture.
6) The best restaurants in La Falda: Whether by chance or by design, the best restaurants are here: The Tomaso Di Savoia restaurant (if you are fond of a generous cold and hot buffet before you start to eat, plus delicious deserts to end your meal), La Parilla de Raúl if you want a more budget-oriented menu, including barbecue, that also has pork tenderloin, Las Brasas if you want a more expensive "a la carte" barbecue, Hueso’s if you are looking for a cheaper option.
7) The best hotels in La Falda. The only two 4-star hotels (Tomaso Di Savoia and Nor Tomarza) and the nicest 3-star hotels (Scala and El Cuadrado Resort) are in Villa Eden. All these hotels (and nearly every hotel in town) has its swimming pool. There are also very nice cabin complexes in this area (Cabañas Eden, Las Ardillas...)
8) Walking in Villa Eden is delightful. It may not be Zermatt, but the mountains are within a walking distance. You can climb up to the Cerro La Banderita (5,000 feet above sea level) and come back in three or four hours, and have a fantastic panoramic view of the valley. Weather sometimes changes suddenly in La Falda. If it is sunny or not can make a difference of 10 to 15 Farenheit degrees. If weather cools down suddenly and you have not taken enough clothes, there are some sweater factory outlets in the area (and the price and quality of clothes in Argentina is very good). You will find the best variety at Diagonal Los Eucaliptus 1185, round the corner from the Nor Tomarza hotel (Avenue Eden 1100), on your way to the Miniature Railway Museum or Wingfield's tennis courts. There are other sweater shops in the downtown on Avenue Eden. For your information, there are direct flights from the USA to Córdoba, and that makes it easier to come down... Welcome to La Falda.
Although La Falda has a population of barely 18,000 inhabitants, it has more than 140 hotels, most of them small. This list is therefore only a list of those hotels I am acquainted with, or those hotels that I know are worthwhile recommending. I have…Read More
Although La Falda has a population of barely 18,000 inhabitants, it has more than 140 hotels, most of them small. This list is therefore only a list of those hotels I am acquainted with, or those hotels that I know are worthwhile recommending. I have stayed at El Castillo before it was refurbished, at the Tomaso Di Savoia, La Asturiana and Las Violetas, but have visited nearly all the other hotels and have omitted on purpose those that I consider are not worthwhile recommending.
Here is my overview: El Castillo, Santa Teresa 933, Valle Hermoso, phone (54-3548) 470344: This hotel is the replica of a French castle, and is really worthwhile seeing, even if it is for taking photos. Is a boutique hotel that has everything, but is two miles away from the downtown of La Falda, and near the "downtown" of a small village, Valle Hermoso. If you want to go to La Falda that has a nice downtown, you will have to take a taxi, at a cost of some 2 dollars. It has an indoor swimming pool with Jacuzzi, two outdoor swimming pools, a small fitness center, music room, and meetings room. It is open to the public during January, February, and Easter, and is used the rest of the year for business events. The cost of staying here is one hundred dollars per night and per person, including all meals, but excluding drinks. Since it is a boutique hotel, it has no TV in the rooms, in order to assure rest to all guests, but has a TV room with a plasma TV set. I have been at a convention in this hotel before it was refurbished. If you are considering using this hotel for an event, keep in mind that it has only fifty double rooms, so its capacity is limited to one hundred persons. The policy of this hotel is that if you occupy at least fifteen double rooms, the whole hotel will be reserved only for your event. See my review of this hotel: http://community.iexplore.com/planning/journalEntryOverview.asp?JournalID=59656
Nor Tomarza (4 stars), Av. Edén 1063, phone (54.3548) 42-2072/ 2004, a nice 4-star hotel, with a large park and a nice swimming pool. Just round the corner from where I used to live, but I have never been inside. It has no restaurant, but La Parilla de Raúl, a very nice place for eating, is only half a block away. www.cordobaserrana.com.ar/lafalda/nortomarza.htm. Gran Hotel Tomaso di Savoia (4 stars), Av. Edén 732, phone (54.3548) 42-3013. My choice if you wish to stay near the downtown. It is a very nice hotel, with a large indoor swimming pool with Jacuzzi, and it has the best restaurant in town. It is three blocks away from the downtown (La Falda is a good place for shopping, although rather more expensive than Córdoba city), six blocks away from the Eden hotel, and eight blocks away from Winfield’s tennis courts, from thee Miniature Railway Musem, and from Salzburgo Tea Room. I have stayed in this hotel. www.cordobaserrana.com.ar/lafalda/tomasodisavoia.htm
El Cuadrado Resort (3 stars). This hotel used to be a lower-category hotel, but has been beautifully refurbished. I saw it last week and liked what it looks like. I have not been inside. Scala, Av. Eden 452 (3 stars), 42-3072, a nice hotel in the downtown on the main avenue, but half a block away from the traffic noise. It has a nice swimming pool and park. www.cordobaserrana.com.ar/lafalda/scala.htm. L’Hirondel (3 stars) Av. Eden 861, phone (54.3548) 42 2825: a nice hotel, colonial style building, I have not been inside. It has a small outdoors swimming pool. Gran Hotel del Lago (2 stars, but it really deserves 3), this is a trade-union hotel open to all public, beautifully located in front of the La Falda lake, some 2 miles away from the downtown. Cable TV in all rooms, a beautiful park. Have a look at it. In my opinion, it offers the best price value for your money. www.hoteldellago.com.ar. La Asturiana (2 stars), Av. Eden 835, phone (54.3548) 42-2923. This hotel has a lovely outdoors swimming pool, with a nice view towards the mountains. Good for budget-oriented travelers. www.cordobaserrana.com.ar/lafalda/laasturiana.htm. Hotel Buonaventura (2 stars), another budget option www.visitelafalda.com.ar/buona.htm. Karun Hotel (2 stars), Av. Eden 1100, phone (54-3548) 42-2857. Rather expensive for a two-star hotel (thirty dollars for a single room in Summer), but well located, very near the Eden hotel, nearly in front of the Nor Tomarza. Las Violetas (1 star, the cheapest hotel in town) Av. Güemes 124 Phone (54.3548) 42-1826 No TV in the room, no ceiling fan, no cable TV, but a room here costs 8 dollars per person (8 dollars for the single room with private bathroom, it is centrally located, but in a quiet area). Rate includes a cup of coffee with croissants for breakfast. Cabañas El Edén: a very nice cabin complex on Av. Eden 1200. Cabins for 2 to 4 persons cost 80 to 100 dollars per day. During the low season rates are lower. Have a look at their website: www.cabaniaseleden.com.ar. I trust I have given you a number of good options for your stay in La Falda. All the above-mentioned hotels have a swimming pool, except Las Violetas.
Where to eat: I am copying for easy reference what I have already put in other Experiences: The Tomaso Di Savoia restaurant (if you are fond of a generous cold and hot buffet before you start to eat, plus delicious deserts to end your meal), Today (June 15) I had lunch there while waiting for my family. Some plates are very cheap. For example, a plate of spaghetti costs less than 2 dollars. I ate delicious grilled meat (with no side orders) plus a Coca Cola for slightly more than four dollars. In spite of this there were not many people in the dining room (of course, that was at 3 p.m.) But the restaurant that was really crammed even at that time was La Parilla de Raúl. They offer a more budget-oriented menu, including barbecue, that also has pork tenderloin. Their cold buffet will have ham, cheese, vitel thone (but not gourmet quality vitel thone), hard boiled eggs, salads, and some other things. But since it is an "all you can eat barbecue" don't fill up with the stuffing, because their grilled meat is delicious, and you can repeat as many times as you wish. Go with time, because the service is rather slow. Las Brasas if you want a more expensive "a la carte" barbecue, Hueso’s if you are looking for a cheaper option... But the cold buffet only has salads and things like that... The meat is fine. All these restaurants are on Eden avenue. Add to the list Salzburgo tearoom, where you can taste traditional German food. You will also find cheaper restaurant options along Avenue Eden towards the center, but they are not as good. Welcome to La Falda.
Distances are short in this case: 9 miles to La Cumbre, another 7 miles to Capilla del Monte, and about another 10 miles to Los Terrones. We will go through the Huerta Grande area, that has some very nice places for spending the day and…Read More
Distances are short in this case: 9 miles to La Cumbre, another 7 miles to Capilla del Monte, and about another 10 miles to Los Terrones. We will go through the Huerta Grande area, that has some very nice places for spending the day and bathing in the stream, including campgrounds and campfires, but we will not see these unless if we deviate to the left from the Provincial Highway 38. After some 8 miles we will find a Y on the highway; the road that turns towards the right-hand side goes to La Cumbre. Although it is a slightly longer road, there is a lot to see along this scenic road: the La Cumbre Golf Club and its surrounding residential areas, including the Gran Hotel La Cumbre (3 stars), a very nice and very good price value: 45 to 50 dollars for single or double occupancy, with a very nice panoramic view: www.granhotellacumbre.com.ar/home.htm Another good option for staying here is the FATLYF (Luz y Fuerza) trade union hotel. Near here there is an old castle-style residence in the mountainside. There is also a road to the Cristo (a huge statue of Christ in the mountainside).
Following the paved road towards Los Cocos, we will go through Cruz Grande and Cruz Chica, two small residential areas, where you will still find some families of the British community. Los Cocos is one of the main tourist attractions in Córdoba, since it has one of the 3 chairlifts in the Province (the other two are at Villa Carlos Paz, and the other one at Cosquin, this last one presently closed due to an accident occurred some years ago). The Los Cocos chairlift has a beautiful view, and across the road there is a labyrinth (El Descanso) that you will also enjoy. The whole village of Los Cocos is an ideal place for resting, but let me warn you if you are interested in nightlife that the nearest place where you will find any disco is La Falda, and to a larger extent, Villa Carlos Paz. There are some nice hotels in Los Cocos. This is the highest village in the valley of Punilla (5000 feet above sea level), and sometimes it enjoys some snowfalls in winter. Here are some hotels at Los Cocos, in case you wish to stay there. I have been at the Walcheren hotel, and found it was nice, and in a very quiet area: www.cordobaserrana.com.ar/loscocos/alojamiento.htm From Los Cocos we have some four or five miles to go until we reach Capilla del Monte.
This town has a number of attractions: 1) The El Cajón dam and lake, with very good silverside fishing and sail navigation and windsurf (motorboat navigation is prohibited in this lake). 2) San Marcos Sierras, a hippie paradise and honey-producing area. It also has an ancient church and a hippie handcraft fair. 3) The Uritorco mount, renown as a supposed UFO (unidentified flying objects) area, and where "meditation" groups meet frequently, that has a nice campground at its base, and also a bathing area in the crystal-clear water river. 4) But mainly Los Terrones, a sort of Valley of the Moon, but not desert as most of these areas. Vegetation is beautiful, and the whole scene is really enjoyable, as you may see in the photos. There is a small admission fee (some 2 dollars per person). Before you arrive here, you will find some handcraft shops in the midst of nowhere. A stop is worthwhile; they have beautiful articles at very affordable prices. Trekking at Los Terrones is enjoyable, but not very fit for "oldies". I went there, and was able to climb half way up. There are many natural forms in the rock, like God's finger, the lost city, and others. There is also a nice small waterfall in the midst of nowhere. There is a shorter circuit, that will take only half an hour, and where walking is easy. But even if you do no trekking, and only look at the scenery from the cafeteria, you will really enjoy it. By the way, prices at the cafeteria are reasonable, although you will not find any gourmet food, but food is OK. 5) Ongamira, an area renown by its natural caves, is also near Capilla del Monte. 6) Los Alazanes dam, with the largest rainbow trout in the Province of Córdoba. Only fly-fishing (catch and release) is allowed, and you will have to walk cross-country over the mountains for a couple of miles each way. Probably that is why this lake has not been over fished. 7) El Zapato (the shoe), a natural formation in the rock at a walk distance from Capilla del Monte, nearly inside the town. Just below it you can taste delicious "empanadas" at affordable prices, in a restaurant that is just across the street. If you climb "The Shoe" you will have a panoramic view of both El Cajón dam and lake and of mount Uritorco.
Here are some hotels at Capilla del Monte, if you wish to stay there due to the number of attractions there are in this area: www.welcomeargentina.com/capilladelmonte/alojamientos.html You can go on the bus from La Falda to Capilla del Monte, and from there there are local tours to Los Terrones (early in the morning) and to San Marcos Sierra (during the afternoon). Timetables combine and leave time for lunch in-between. There are also tours from Villa Carlos Paz to Capilla del Monte nearly every day, and to Los Terrones only occasionally. If you go on a taxi from La Falda to Los Terrones, it will probably cost you some 35 dollars, including waiting time (you will need at least two hours if you want to go up the most interesting trail, or half an hour for the shorter trail). I recommend you do both. I have included ten dollars of waiting time (2 hours) in my taxi cost estimate. And if you take a taxi from Capilla del Monte, it should be cheaper.
Bus companies from Córdoba and from La Falda to La Cumbre, Los Cocos, and Capilla del Monte (they run about every hour): La Calera, Sarmiento, Ciudad de Córdoba. Bus services from La Falda to San Marcos Sierra (about once in the day): La Calera. But if you take the bus to Cruz del Eje (this service runs about every two hours and is operated by the same companies mentioned above), there is a local bus service from Cruz del Eje to San Marcos Sierra every half hour. As you may have noticed, the Valley of Punilla has interesting palces to visit. Come and discover them.
The La Falda lake is the only lake near the city of La Falda, and it is beautiful. It is only some 2 miles away from the La Falda bus station, along Avenue Italia, that starts next to the Esso gasoline station. Going along Av.…Read More
The La Falda lake is the only lake near the city of La Falda, and it is beautiful. It is only some 2 miles away from the La Falda bus station, along Avenue Italia, that starts next to the Esso gasoline station. Going along Av. Italia, after a mile and a half you will reach a bridge over a stream, from where you will see the lake. Turn left after crossing the bridge. On the left-hand side you will first find the Gran Hotel del Lago, one of my recommended hotels that offers in my opinion the best budget value in La Falda: www.hoteldellago.com.ar. This is a nice place for staying, if you want to relax. It has two swimming pools, Jacuzzi, mini-golf, and children's playground. It also has a beautiful park facing the lake. Following the same road, you will reach the Club de Pescadores de La Falda (La Falda fishing club) that has restaurant, campfires, and a campground. It is a very pleasant place to visit, and to the best of my knowledge no admission fee is charged, as long as you do not use the campfires or the camping facilities. If so, low rates apply. Beyond the La Falda fishing club you can rent pedal boats, and beyond that you will find a place where they rent horses. You are already enjoying the scenery of the lake, and following the same road you will reach the La Falda dam, that is some 133 feet high, and below which is Las Siete Cascadas (The seven falls) campground, that is a beautiful place visited by thousands of people during the summer months. The campground has all sorts of installations, including a restaurant, a food store, convenience store, two swimming pools (although I preferred the natural pool that existed before). An admission fee is charged when you enter (some 2 or 3 dollars), that gives you the right to use all the facilities. Here there are seven small waterfalls that fall down into the stream. You can take beautiful photos. The photos of the National Tourist Board for La Falda have been taken here. Fishing in the lake and stream is poor, you may fish some small catfish, minnows and other small fish, but definitely no trout.
Returning to the crossroads, you continue you trip towards the Pampa de Olaen. It is a rather desert area, but the scenery is pleasant. There is a small waterfall (Cascada de Olaen) that only carries a trickle of water, except in the rainy season (December to March) when the volume of water increases considerably. Following the same road (it is a gravel road beyond the La Falda Cemetery), after some 15 miles you will reach the Río Pinto area. The river runs below in a canyon, and it is one of the nearest places where you can fish rainbow trout, although generally speaking they are small. If you continue beyond the río Pinto, towards the Avalos river, you run the risk of getting lost, so you should better take a compass and track the road to come back safely. Did I say road? It is really a trail in the countryside, that sometimes splits up, and there you have a problem...which one should you follow? We nearly got lost when we went with a friend in my car. So if you are fond of adventure, go ahead, otherwise, return to the Pinto river.
Here are some photos of the area, and an English "computer translation". If you do not understand it, click on the Spanish version, if you know this language. www.viajoporargentina.com.ar/cordoba/la_falda/pampa_olaen_ing.htm Characato is located some 24 miles away from La Falda, and some 65 miles away from the city of Córdoba. I did not go that far, but it is a very small village with an historical chapel, and it has the only hotel I know of in that area. Enjoy your stay in La Falda.
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 05 May, 2007
La Falda does not have as good options for trout fishing as Mina Clavero, since it is a more populated area. While I was living at La Falda I went trout fishing on the car to the Avalos river. We nearly got lost following trails…Read More
La Falda does not have as good options for trout fishing as Mina Clavero, since it is a more populated area. While I was living at La Falda I went trout fishing on the car to the Avalos river. We nearly got lost following trails in the countryside, walking up the river was rather difficult (sometimes you had to climb over huge rocks) and despite the fact that 7-pound trout catches had been reported in the area, my only "reward" was an eight-inch trout. There is good fishing at the Los Alazanes dam (80 feet tall) beyond Capilla del Monte, but you will have to walk a few miles cross country over the hills. The lake is small (some 8 acres) and only fly fishing (catch and release) is allowed there. The San Jerónimo dam and lake is another area where you can do some trout fishing, near La Cumbre, but the road is in very bad condition.
The Pinto river in the Pampa de Olaen has some small trout, but you will have to walk a lot before you stand a good chance of fishing nice rainbow trout. My daughter went fly-fishing there, and only caught under-sized rainbow trout. If you go over the mountains to Río Ceballos through El Cuadrado (earth road, 25 miles) you will find a nice trout fishing pond at Colanchanga. The scenery is beautiful, but you will have to pay some five dollars per pound of trout you take home. Catch and release is not allowed here; you must take home every trout you hook. It is far easier to go all the way to Villa Carlos Paz (25 miles) and from there to the Quebrada del Condorito National Park (see my report on this area), where you will fish small rainbow and brook trout, but where you stand a far better chance. Or you can also go to the San Antonio river, upstream from the Cuesta Blanca dam, but try to avoid those areas where access to the river is easy. Or go after a river flood and fish downstream from the dam (there is no fish ladder, so trout cannot return upstream beyond the dam).
If you want to go for something else (Siberian Salmon) there is a fishing pond on the road between Cruz del Eje and San Marcos Sierra. These fish are large, can be fished with fly-fishing, spinners or bait, and you only have to pay for the fish if you take them home. There is a nominal fee of some 2 dollars per car (not per person), and you pay some two dollars per pound of fish you take home. The Cruz del Eje dam has excellent silverside fishing (once I fished more than 50 in four hours), but most silverside fished there are small. Of course, I prefer dorado fishing; it is a real thrill to hook a 15 pound dorado (or even larger) on your line. The ideal place for this (you will probably have to go trolling, but trolling is far cheaper than in Bariloche) is Termas de Río Hondo. Here it costs some 50 dollars per day. I have written a separate report on this area. There is another place nearer than Termas de Río Hondo on the Salado River (Loreto) where dorado fishing is excellent, but it is a tropical area I am not familiar with; I know that there are many snakes in that area, so if you intend to go, take long boots to protect yourself. I have been told that fishing is really abundant, and dorados are large.
The final option for trout fishing would be if you take the tour to La Cumbrecita. If the stream is low, you will see the trout swimming in the pools at La Olla. Remember that only fly-fishing (catch and release) is allowed here, but the scenery is beautiful. I trust that this report will help you to plan your trip. Trout fishing in Córdoba does not compare with what you can fish in Bariloche, but since you are in this beautiful area, you will want to take a chance. Enjoy your stay at La Falda.
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 25 Oct, 2006
La Falda is the most important town of the Northern part of the valley of Punilla, and probably the second in tourist importance in all the province, since the 140 hotels that it has have a capacity for 12,000 tourists. When you come from Villa Carlos…Read More
La Falda is the most important town of the Northern part of the valley of Punilla, and probably the second in tourist importance in all the province, since the 140 hotels that it has have a capacity for 12,000 tourists. When you come from Villa Carlos Paz to La Falda, the only important town in-between is Cosquín, the National Capital of Folklore, where the Annual Folklore Celebration takes place. After some 8 miles you find Valle Hermoso, after this La Falda, and then come Huerta Grande, Villa Giardino, La Cumbre, Los Cocos and finally Capilla del Monte, where the Punilla valley ends. So Huerta Grande is practically a continuation of La Falda.
We can divide Huerta Grande in two very specific areas: to the East and to the West of Highway 38. To the east of Highway 38 is the (small) commercial center, with a block or two of shops, and after that a bunch of trade union hotels, most of them very nice (Police, sport trainers, salesmen, etc.) and on the other side of the highway the really quiet area, with a large Post Office Personnel Social Work hotel, open to all public, which has accommodation for up to 850 people, frequently used for Congresses, with a beautiful park swimming pool and other amenities. Beyond this hotel, there is a nice stream with a camping and bathing area, where I always enjoyed going with my children. It is the Huerta Grande stream, the same stream that forms the La Falda lake.
There is a Municipal bathing area, with campfires at the side of the river, a couple of small dams (7 feet tall) and a lot of shade. You will have to pay a (small) admission fee per car, but not if you come in walking. It is a place that you will really enjoy. There is a cafeteria just above the stream where you can buy a hamburger, soft drinks and maybe a steak or breaded meat. No buses go down to this area (local buses leave you at the crossroad on highway 38), but it is only a mile and a half away from the downtown of La Falda, and a taxi to get there should not cost at the very most two dollars. I am posting some photos below so that you may see what a pleasant place it is. If you go to La Falda, you will certainly want to spend an afternoon over there.