Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 30 Jul, 2007
Leading Hotels in Villa Carlos Paz There are many hotel options in Villa Carlos Paz, but prices nearly double during the months of January and February, the high season that is also the rainy season… It makes sense to visit Villa Carlos Paz after March…Read More
Leading Hotels in Villa Carlos Paz There are many hotel options in Villa Carlos Paz, but prices nearly double during the months of January and February, the high season that is also the rainy season… It makes sense to visit Villa Carlos Paz after March 1 and before December 31; you need no hotel reservations and you pay about half the price… Only the Portal del Lago hotel (4 stars) charges high season rates from July onwards, that is what I was told at their front desk: High season rates are already in force for the rest of the year.
Having said this, here are my recommendations. I have been inside practically all hotels in Villa Carlos Paz, because ten years ago I had a business in La Falda, 25 miles away, and used to leave my publicity in all hotels in the area. However, of the hotels I am going to mention, I have only stayed at the Taormina (3 stars), Alvear (2 stars) and Casino (1 star).
Hotels: Being near the bus station is an advantage, because tourist demand is so high in summer that you might have to wait ten or twenty minutes in line for a taxi at the bus station (over half an hour if it is raining). And remises (chauffeur driven cars) sometimes give you as much as a delay of one hour.
Four Star Hotels: There are no five-star hotels in Villa Carlos Paz, but there are half a dozen of four-star hotels, of which the best are the Portal del Lago (on the lakeside), the Libertador (on San Martin Avenue), and Las Lajas (at the entrance of the city, also on San Martín Avenue). All 3 are very good, but only the Portal del Lago is in a quiet area.
Hotel Portal del Lago (4 stars): This hotel has some advantages. It is nearly facing lake San Roque, is in a nice residential area (Santa Rita) and is near the Municipal Sports Center. You can enjoy walking along the coastal avenue that borders the lake. It has a nice convention room, with capacity of some 650 people as a ballroom, and 4 or 5 medium and small meeting rooms. But it is some two miles away from the downtown. This could be important, because you are 4 blocks away from the main avenue, and only local buses (that run about every 30 minutes) lift passengers. A taxi to the downtown will cost you some two dollars, but you might have to wait some time if it is a rainy day. Taxis at Villa Carlos Paz are not enough in January-February to cover the local needs. The rest of the year you should have no problems. The Portal del Lago hotel is already charging high season rates; a single room should cost some 70 to 80 dollars per night. This hotel also has a beautiful lounge. www.portal-del-lago.com
Hotel el Libertador (4 stars). This hotel is some 8 blocks away from the downtown, and is on one of the main avenues (San Martin). If you are sensitive to traffic noise, make sure that they do not give you a room facing the street. It has some large meeting rooms. If you are on business, it will be OK. Otherwise, you have nicer (and cheaper options). www.libertadorcarlospaz.com.ar
Hotel las Lajas (4 stars): San Martín 2475 -Phone (54-3541) 42-2134. It is nearly two miles away from downtown, also on Avenue San Martin that ends on the freeway to Córdoba city, with a lot of traffic. It has a swimming pool and park, and just in front of the hotel you can board the local buses and suburban buses to Cordoba city, Cosquin, La Falda, Capilla del Monte, Alta Gracia, Mina Clavero and other tourist destinations.
Three Star Hotels: Mon Petit (3 stars): This is a very nice (and expensive) hotel. It has tennis courts, swimming pool, and very nice rooms. The main setback is that it is on Avenue Libertad, one of the main alternative highways from Cordoba to Mendoza and Chile, with traffic all night. If you take a room that does not face the street, you will be fine. Otherwise, look for another option. www.monpetit-hotel.com.ar
Los Sauces: (3 stars). A very nice hotel, with a large swimming pool (covered in winter so that you can use it), with a Spa and fitness center, and a very good restaurant, but with a set menu. Food is delicious, but there is little variety. Price of rooms is lower than the average for 3-star hotels. Their low-season rate is 50 dollars per night for a double room. They also offer as paid services massage and relax. The fitness center is included in the room rate. Avoid rooms facing San Martin avenue. Rooms facing Avellaneda street or Liniers street are quiet. I had dinner once there, and their lasagna was delicious. However, it was the only main course option for dinner. This hotel has English-speaking staff. www.argentinatravelnet.com/cgi-bin/links/links2.pl?P-7003-S
Taormina (3 stars). Moreno 185 - Phone (54-3541) 42-1711 OK, but not up to the level of the previous two. Rooms are fine, but the swimming pool is far too small. I have stayed at this hotel. Do not accept their option with meals; the owners have changed a few months ago, so this could have improved (or not), but when I went there I was seduced by their "buffet" dinner, in which they ask you what you want and they serve the amount they consider meets their deal, so it is not really an all-you-can-eat" option.
Monaco Hotel (3 stars): San Martin y Zuviría, phone (54-3541) 421242/422153. A nice hotel but on San Martin avenue, and far away from the downtown. Avoid rooms facing the street (traffic noise).
Days Inn Jardin (3 stars): I have no doubt it offers a good service, but it is also on Libertad Avenue, although I imagine that they must have taken some steps to reduce noise inside the building. In any case, it would be advisable to find it out. Most buses turn right at the Days Inn corner to go to the bus station. www.argentinatravelnet.com/cgi-bin/links/links2.pl?R-14021-S
Two Star Hotels: I have stayed at the Hotel Alvear, and find it to be the best price value for Villa Carlos Paz. Just now they are charging 17 dollars per night for double occupancy, and about double that price in the summer months. Recently I sent an American engineer over there, he liked the hotel, but the people at the hotel asked me to not send over guests that do not speak Spanish because they find it difficult to communicate. If you understand Spanish you will be fine.
The Hotel Alvear: It is one block away from the bus station on a quiet street, has cable TV, private bathroom in all rooms, a medium swimming pool next to the parking lot, but no park.
Hotel El Monte on Caseros street (2 blocks away from the bus station) is OK and has its own restaurant, but it is too expensive for my taste, and actually costs nearly as much as a 3-star hotel.
One Star: I stayed at the hotel Casino, in front of the bus station. It has no swimming pool, and costs the same (or more) than the hotel Alvear. I have also stayed at the Augustus hotel, but it is in a noisy area, the hotel itself is OK, but I do not recommend it if you want to relax. In any case, it has no swimming pool. I have only scratched the surface. There are some four hundred hotels in Villa Carlos Paz, but trust that this information will be useful. If you keep these facts in mind, you might save a lot of money. Here is a fairly complete listing of hotels in Villa Carlos Paz, with links for sending E-mails. Keep in mind that Posada del Quenti is really a health resort, and is pretty well away from everything. www.welcomeargentina.com/villacarlospaz/lodging.html www.cordobaserrana.com.ar/carlospaz/alojamiento.htm If you are looking for a health resort, Posada del Qenti would be the option, but it is located some 8 miles away from the downtown, near Icho Cruz, and it could be expensive. Check their page: www.hosteriasyposadas.com/mostrar.asp?id=posadadelqenti
Welcome to my city, Villa Carlos Paz.
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 22 Mar, 2007
If you are fond of walking, you will really enjoy this one. El Diquecito is not on the San Antonio river, but is also very near Villa Carlos Paz. I visited it this week. If you are fond of solitary places, you will like it.…Read More
If you are fond of walking, you will really enjoy this one. El Diquecito is not on the San Antonio river, but is also very near Villa Carlos Paz. I visited it this week. If you are fond of solitary places, you will like it. You go along highway 38, pass the old downtown of Villa Carlos Paz with its traditional cuckoo clock, walk another half mile along the highway (you will start seeing lake San Roque, and Villa Carlos Paz on the other side of the lake), and turn left on Edison street. You have already walked more than half the way, so don't give up. The first 3 blocks along Edison street have nothing special, but then you start seeing a beautiful valley with costly residences, some of which I was told belong to a former Governor and to the present one. The whole scenery is charming, stop, enjoy the scenery and take beautiful photos, as I did.
After walking over half a mile since you turned left, you will find the Diquecito (small dam). You may also see some youngsters fishing minnows. There are two small dams with cement slabs for crossing the Los Chorrillos river (or stream). I know you will enjoy it. There are no cafeterias next to the river, so your last chance of buying a soft drink will be when you pass a small convenience store on Edison street, some 3 blocks after you turned left. On the way back, if you still feel like walking a little more, turn left when you reach highway 38, go beyond the Portobello building (you can take beautiful photos here) and go as far as the Puente Negro (Black bridge) where the National Tourist Board has taken its top photos of Villa Carlos Paz. In any case, local buses come along highway 38 towards the downtown and bus station, and the ticket costs 40 or 50 cents of a dollar, depending on the bus company.
You have 3 different ways of getting there. You can go along Liniers street from the bus station (the continuation of Maipu), pass in front of the Casino, cross the bridge and continue straight along Highway 38 until you reach Edison street; Or you can go along street Casafousth (the continuation of Alberdi, the Post Office corner) until you reach the San Antonio river, cross the bridge, continue until the street ends in front of a supermarket, turn right up to the Cuckoo clock and then left on Highway 38. This is the shortest route. Or if you are in the downtown, go along Avenue General Paz, and its continuation Nueve de Julio, cross the other bridge on the San Antonio river, continue straight along the Avenue through the Paseo de las Pérgolas (a budget shopping area, with small shops) until you reach Grido Ice cream shop, turn right up to the Cuckoo clock, and then left on Highway 38 up to Edison street, and then turn left again. This is the longest of all 3 alternatives, but also the most beautiful and varied alternative. Or simply take the bus that goes to Tanti at the bus station and get off at Edison street (ask the bus driver to advise you, or you will not notice it), and start walking from the intersection of Highway 38 along Edison street. Avoid coming back in the evening. Highway 38 has no sidewalks most of the way, and it could be risky if a car driver does not see you on time... There are no taxi stops in this area, so either you call a taxi with your cellphone, or you come back walking, or on the local bus service, than runs about every 20 minutes.
This area is dark in the evening, and Villa Carlos Paz is pretty safe, but not 100% safe. Probably nothing will happen, but why should you run any risks? I know you will enjoy this walk. If you prefer to go on a taxi, the trip will cost about 2 dollars each way, plus waiting time (5 dollars the hour). Have a nice time in Villa Carlos Paz. At this time of the year, a double room in a two-star hotel is costing some 20 dollars per night (breakfast included). And a meal at a budget restaurant (Federico or Villa Paz) will cost anything between 3 and 5 dollars plus drinks. Welcome to Argentina!
To say the truth, Fantasio forms part of Villa Carlos Paz. It is only 10 blocks away from the downtown, and both roads to reach this beautiful place are very attractive. The road along Leandro N. Alem (a street that starts on 9 de Julio…Read More
To say the truth, Fantasio forms part of Villa Carlos Paz. It is only 10 blocks away from the downtown, and both roads to reach this beautiful place are very attractive. The road along Leandro N. Alem (a street that starts on 9 de Julio Avenue 100), and continues along the El Prado street, goes through very nice residential districts, including one of the largest shopping centers in Villa Carlos Paz (Acuario gallery), the Artisans Fair, a small playground next to the San Antonio river, and then passes in front of a tearoom and a small square, to continue then along El Prado street until it reaches the river. If the river is high, and you have not taken your swimming suit, you may not be able to cross the ford or baden. Although usually the river is low and you can cross over the cement slabs.
The other route in my opinion is nicer. You go along 9 de Julio avenue to the river, cross the bridge (there are some beautiful views here for unforgettable photos) turn left and continue along the coastal avenue and then along Avenue Asunción. You will pass in front of the Dante Alligheri Association that has a beautiful park, and after some 6 blocks you will start seeing a small forest by the riverside. There is a nice 2-star hotel (Piedras Moras) in front of the river that by now (low season) should be costing some 20 dollars for a double room, breakfast included, and a couple of river crossings over cement slabs (there are no bridges in this part of the river). Most pools in the river are quite deep, so keep an eye on your children. The pools in the rock, with the landscape of the forest and beautiful residences form an attractive picture.
There is a campground next to the river (following the first route) that also has a cafeteria at affordable prices. The whole area is full of very nice residences. If the river is low enough to cross over the cement slabs (generally it is) go along Avenue Asunción and come back along El Prado / Leandro N.Alem. You will find a nice tearoom on the way back, where you might want to stop to enjoy a cup of tea and some tasty cakes. As I said, this attractive part of the San Antonio river is at a walking distance from the downtown of Villa Carlos Paz. If you prefer to go on a taxi, the trip each way will cost about a dollar and twenty cents. There are very few campfires here, so if you intend to use one, go early. There is a fee of five pesos (1.70 dollars) for using the campfire and tables. Otherwise, you can buy prepared food at very reasonable prices at a Supermarket you will find about half way from the downtown towards Fantasio, along Leandro N. Alem street. Or you can buy prepared foods at the Disco (Bell's) supermarket on San Martin 300, next to the bus station, where a serving of delicious chicken pie will cost you 70 cents of a dollar, and where you can buy soft drinks at low prices.
Keep in mind that it is always better to bathe in the river one or two days after a flood, or when the river relatively high, since the river swell "cleans up" the river from algae, and reduces the possible contamination of the water. Local people avoid bathing in the river when it is a trickle of water, but you can still enjoy the shade, campfires and the beautiful scenery. Some local bus services go to Fantasio from the Villa Carlos Paz bus station, including FONOBUS traffic vans. The ticket should cost half a dollar, but I am not sure where you should get off. Ask the driver. They go along the other side of the river (Asunción avenue). Enjoy Villa Carlos Paz. It is a beautiful city. And during the low season (March to December) hotels are far cheaper...
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 15 Mar, 2007
This is the most visited beach on the San Antonio River. In summer as many as 7,000 visit it per day. There are many cafeterias and restaurants just across the road, where you can eat at reasonable prices. The area next to the bridge is…Read More
This is the most visited beach on the San Antonio River. In summer as many as 7,000 visit it per day. There are many cafeterias and restaurants just across the road, where you can eat at reasonable prices. The area next to the bridge is generally crowded, but going upstream or downstream you can find very quiet areas. It is possible to rent chairs and tables at the place. The use of a campfire plus a cement table and chairs costs five pesos (US$1.70) per day. There are local buses to Villa Carlos Paz every 20 minutes (Transporte Carlos Paz) and traffic vans (Fono Bus). Both charge half a dollar per person each way.
Upstream from the bridge you have stone-free beautiful beaches. There is a lot of shade by the riverside. Downstream from the dam there is a rocky area, where people enjoy lying over the rocks to get a nice sun tan. Fishing possibilities are limited. You stand a far better chance of fishing where the river has deeper pools (Fantasio for "tarariras", a sort of large mouth bass, and beyond Cuesta Blanca for rainbow trout). There is a nice small wood some 1000 feet downstream from the Madrid street bridge, beyond which the road is interrupted by rocks. If you continue along this imaginary road, you will have beautiful views of the mountainside. About a block further on the road continues up to the Juncal Street bridge. Downstream from here you have again a very nice wood on the right-hand side of the river, this area is very quiet, even during the summer months. Have a look at the photos. You will agree with me that it is a beautiful area. Prices for eating are very low. A chicken with french fries (enough for 4 persons) costs about seven dollars and a half, and a family-size soft drink (Coca Cola or similar) will cost slightly over one dollar.
During the high season you can rent sunshades, tables, chairs, nearly anything you need. There are no hotels in this area, although it is possible to rent a room at affordable rates. Near the Juncal street bridge there is at least one budget hotel. There are some campgrounds in both areas. And there is a very nice swimming pool complex (Don Pepe) where you pay 2 dollars per person including the use of the swimming pool, campfire and sanitary services, including hot water shower. I go many times every month to Playas de Oro. It is very near Villa Carlos Paz (only 3 miles away), you can eat at very affordable prices, the bus service is cheap, and the place is very nice. You will surely want to visit it when you come to Villa Carlos Paz. If you are fond of walking, get off the bus at Juncal street, walk down to the river (some 6 blocks), cross the bridge and walk upstream. You will have nice views of the mountainside. Once you reach the Madrid street bridge (about half a mile walk) continue upstream. You can get on the bus again near the Madrid street bridge. Buses stop just in front of the cafeteria located across the road. If you prefer not to walk, get off on Madrid street (some buses come down to the river, others leave you on the highway, one block away). Enjoy your stay in Villa Carlos Paz (Córdoba).
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 06 Mar, 2007
I still have to discover some corners of Cuesta Blanca. When the bus arrives just next to the bridge over the San Antonio river, after crossing the bridge, you can turn to the left or to the right. I took the left turn, and was…Read More
I still have to discover some corners of Cuesta Blanca. When the bus arrives just next to the bridge over the San Antonio river, after crossing the bridge, you can turn to the left or to the right. I took the left turn, and was not aware that if you turn to the right there are some very nice beaches on the river some 3 blocks downstream from the bridge. The road to the left hand side is an enjoyable walk. Cuesta Blanca is still a very small village with some 150 inhabitants, but the homes constructed on the banks of the San Antonio river have beautiful parks and very nice residences, most of them with their swimming pool. I only noticed one hotel along the two-mile walk, and it was a trade-union hotel. There is also a panoramic cafeterianext to the bridge and some cabins for rent on the road towards the dam. There are some bathing spots on the San Antonio river about half way towards the dam, but nothing organized; everything is in its primitive state, and obviously there are no lifeguards, nor even cafeterias along that road. Once you get near to the dam, there are some beautiful pools in the river, where you should be able to fish rainbow trout, since there are many of these further up the river, and when the river swells after a strong rain it increases its level by twenty feet, and the floods usually bring rainbow trout downstream.
Very near the dam there is a convenience store. I also saw a very nice shady area (probably a campground) ideal for spending the day. Beyond the cafeteria, the road becomes a trail and turning slightly to the left and over the hill, you have a panoramic view of the whole area. Along this trail you will also find some places where you can rent a horse. From the top of the hill you can also see the hippie campground and bathing resort. Beaches are beautiful (I did not go down the hill, because I was short of time, but it is worthwhile). Of course, as you walk along the trail, watch where you step, because it is said that in this area there are rattlesnakes and pit vipers. I have never seen any, and never paid attention to this hazard, but recently I met a person that was bitten by a pit viper two miles downstream from here, and although she received immediate medical attention, she was unable to walk for a couple of months... This is very unusual, but I don't like running risks if I can prevent them. Pit vipers do not attack if they are not attacked, or tread upon or cornered. You only need to be careful. Some are one or two feet long, so watch your step, or use boots.
The hippie campground has one of the nicest beaches in the area, is nearly in a canyon and surrounded by beautiful hills. If you go all the way, you will really enjoy it. Some two miles beyond Cuesta Blanca there is a very nice trout farm in a beautiful environment. I have referred to it in a separate Experience. No buses go to the trout farm, and there are no taxis at Cuesta Blanca, but you can get a taxi or cab in the nearby village of Icho Cruz, and go from there. About one mile downstream from Cuesta Blanca, Icho Cruz offers very comfortable facilities by the riverside, with campfires, controlled parking and very nice small beaches. Tala Huasi is probably the best place in this area for spending the day, and this is not a crowded place. There are beautiful residences constructed on the top of the river banks (that are pretty high in this area). You can fish in the river, although here you will probably only catch minnows… Icho Cruz has all the basic services that a tourist would require: cabins for rent, cafeterias, restaurants, phone booths, Internet, and taxi service, as well as a regular bus service to both Villa Carlos Paz and Córdoba, that runs every 20 minutes. Enjoy your stay in Córdoba.
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 01 Nov, 2006
There is a fantastic combination of bathing resorts all along the San Antonio river, that usually has crystal clear water (unless it has rained very recently): Playas de Oro, San Antonio, Samay Huasi, Tio Joe, Tala Huasi (Icho Cruz), Cuesta Blanca. No local tours cover…Read More
There is a fantastic combination of bathing resorts all along the San Antonio river, that usually has crystal clear water (unless it has rained very recently): Playas de Oro, San Antonio, Samay Huasi, Tio Joe, Tala Huasi (Icho Cruz), Cuesta Blanca. No local tours cover this area, probably because there are local buses every 20 minutes that cost only half a dollar or 65 cents, depending on the bus line (Transporte Carlos Paz or FonoBus). I have visited every single one. Some of them, as Playas de Oro and Tala Huasi, have abundant shade, camp fires and picnic tables, at a minimal cost of 5 pesos (1.70 dollars). Others like San Antonio and Cuesta Blanca, have little or no infrastructure, but are still very nice to visit.
Let me give you an overview of these beautiful places:
PLAYAS DE ORO: It is the most renown bathing place in Villa Carlos Paz and is located 3 miles away from the downtown. It is very visited during the Summer. There are many tables and campfires for picnic, and the shade is beautiful. Upstream from the dam the bottom of the river is sandy. It is a very nice place for spending the day. The bus companies I mentioned above visit every single one of these bathing and camping sites.
SAN ANTONIO: The advantage of this place is that the bus leaves you only one block away from the river, that you can cross easily over the cement blocks. There is shade on the other side of the river. There is not a lot of sand here. SAMAY HUASI: This is a beautiful place, but you will have to walk more than half a mile through residential areas. The river has carved its way through a rock wall, and just below there is a beautiful pool with crystal clear water. Not many people go there. There is shade during the walk, but not at the riverside. There are very nice homes by the riverside, but no cafeteria, nor even a convenience shop where you can buy a drink. About half way from the highway to the river, there is a nice restaurant and tearoom, with a beautiful view of the valley. There are also cabins for rent, both near the restaurant and very near the San Antonio river. Both complexes have swimming pools.
TIO JOE (very near Samay Huasi): When I went it was closed, but I have been told that it has beautiful beaches on the river. This is a private place and there is a moderate admission fee.
TALA HUASI (ICHO CRUZ). You will have to walk a few blocks to the river, but it is a very nice place for spending the day. Just get off the bus at the entrance of the village and walk along the main avenue, it will take you to Tala Huasi. There are campfires, a very nice beach downstream from the river crossing, and high banks above which you will see beautiful residences.
CUESTA BLANCA: The bus ends just next to the river side. Cross the bridge, go downstream and enjoy the scenery. Then walk back to the bridge and without crossing it continue along the road. You will have to walk about two miles (if you go early you may have the chance of fishing rainbow trout here) until you reach the dam. There are beautiful pools just under the dam, so if you are fond of fishing, give them a try. Where the road ends there is a convenience store where you can buy soft drinks. It will be your last chance of buying a drink or a sandwich. But continue along the road, that then becomes a trail, walk up the hill and from the top you will have beautiful view of the village and of the hippie beach below in the river.
HAYKE TROUT FARM: This trout farm is located some 4 or 5 miles passing Icho Cruz or Cuesta Blanca (the same distance), The entrance road has a beautiful vegetation. You will have to pay a small admission fee, and they will walk you round the hatchery explaining the process. They also have a few free-water lobsters (they used to farm them here, until a very warm weather killed most of them and they transformed it into a rainbow trout farm. During the cold weather (July-August) they allow trout fishing in their pond, you only pay what you catch at some 3 dollars the pound. They also sell delicious products as smoked trout, trout and almond pate, etc. I remind you that buses run every 20 minutes along this highway, so you can get off where you wish and continue visiting more places. But buses beyond Cuesta Blanca towards the El Condorito National Park and Mina Clavero only run some 4 times in the day.
Enjoy your visit to Córdoba.
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 27 Apr, 2007
THE TOUR TO MINA CLAVERO AND LOS TUNELES (OVER THE MOUNTAIN RANGE)
This is a beautiful tour over the mountain range, climbing up to an altitude of nearly 7,000 feet (the highest mountain in Córdoba, Champaqui mount, has an altitude of nearly 10,000 feet). After…Read More
THE TOUR TO MINA CLAVERO AND LOS TUNELES (OVER THE MOUNTAIN RANGE)
This is a beautiful tour over the mountain range, climbing up to an altitude of nearly 7,000 feet (the highest mountain in Córdoba, Champaqui mount, has an altitude of nearly 10,000 feet). After reaching an altitude of some 7,000 feet at the Quebrada del Condorito national park, a condor watching area, 25 miles away from Villa Carlos Paz, we go along a plateau, Pampa de Achala, that may seem nearly dry in winter, but that constitutes an important fresh water reserve that drains down to the artificial lakes La Viña, Los Molinos, and San Roque, through small streams in the mountainside.
This tour will arrive in time for breakfast at the Parador Condor, a cafeteria and gallery of condor photos, property of Fabian Ramallo, the man who urged the national government to create the Quebrada del Condorito National Park to protect the condors, a species in danger of extinction, in the province. I have given you the whole story in my report on Quebrada del Condorito. Then it will stop at an Indian handcraft shop, where you can buy black clay pottery, goat skin rugs, and other articles. If you walk back some 300 feet, you will see a stone fence goat corral in the mountain. You will see more during the tour, but this one is ideal for very good photos, since it is small and completely circular.
Sometimes, if the guide goes out of his way, the tour detours of the highway and takes the road used by the World Rallye Car racers. If he does, you will see an enormous rock plain, and will visit the Niña Paula area, where there is a small chapel in honor of the girl that created a real legend in this area. Apparently, she died bitten by a snake, and miracles are attributed to her. I am not going to confirm or deny the legend, but I will tell you that it is an ideal spot for taking very nice photos.
Once we are back on the highway that leads to Mina Clavero, Mendoza and Chile, we will start to see the valley of Mina Clavero. I have not seen much agriculture in this area, or even irrigation ditches, but everything seems very green. Mina Clavero is mostly a tourist village, with a population of 6,000. We will go through the town, and stop on the way back. We still have a long way to go. We will go around the main square in the next town, Cura Brochero, which has this name due to a priest that dedicated himself to assisting lepers in the area over a century ago, and that is well remembered.
We will now leave the paved road and start off on a dirt road going through dwarf palm tree forests, called Caraday palm trees, and will see some stone fences or pircas constructed by the Indians, and will arrive at the Las Palmas restaurant, in the middle of nowhere, at Las Palmas. On the way back, we will stop there for lunch, and this is only a short stop for going to the restroom and advising if you are going to have lunch there, or not. It is a goat “all you can eat” barbecue, that costs $6 or $7. Empanadas, french fries, and salad are included in the price, not so the wine and deserts, but you will eat so much goat, as much as you want, that you will have no space left for the dessert. You will see the goatd walking around you, a nice time for taking photos of goats, goat corrals, and dwarf palm trees. If they do not stop there, you will be taken to another place, Taninga, a bus stop in the middle of nowhere although the food will be the same, Las Palmas is far more enjoyable with its pastoral scene.
The nicest place of the whole tour is about to come. Los Túneles (The Tunnels), that is on the old earth road to La Rioja, where there are real precipices and where you will probably see condors flying. The first time I went there, I was able to follow the flight of a condor with my camcorder for nearly four minutes. Another time I went and saw none, but generally speaking, you will have the chance of seeing some.
Try to make this tour in a traffic van. The driver will stop if he sees a condor, but if you are on a 46-seat bus, by the time passengers get off the condor will be far, far away.
The bus will stop a couple of hours on the way back at Mina Clavero. Just make sure where they will pick you up, and look for a taxi. Ask him to take you to Nido de Aguila, two miles away. It is a beautiful bathing resort in the mountainside, in a small canyon. You will have to go 200 feet down a staircase and wade through the stream as there is no bridge, but it is a beautiful spot. If you don’t want to go down and then up staircases and if you do not want to wade the stream, walk around the Municipal bathing resort. It is very nice, but is not comparable to Nido de Aguila. For more information, read my reports on Mina Clavero.
On the way back the traffic van, or bus, will stop again at the Parador Condor. A silver eagle lives in the hill just in front, and when Fabian offers the eagle some meat on the end of a pole, the eagle will normally come down to snatch the meat, and that is your time to take unforgettable photos.
This tour definitely would be my second choice for a full-day tour at Villa Carlos Paz, after the tour to La Cumbrecita, and far before the tour to Capilla del Monte. The cost is approximately $20 per person, excluding the meal, another $10, including wine).
Enjoy your stay at Villa Carlos Paz, the tourist capital of Cordoba.
Ancient Jesuit buildings, a beautiful lake, a German Alpine style village, the Home of the Oktoberfest, and more.
THE TOUR TO LA CUMBRECITA
If you only have one full day available, this tour would be the best option. You will visit the Alta Gracia Jesuit buildings,…Read More
Ancient Jesuit buildings, a beautiful lake, a German Alpine style village, the Home of the Oktoberfest, and more.
THE TOUR TO LA CUMBRECITA
If you only have one full day available, this tour would be the best option. You will visit the Alta Gracia Jesuit buildings, including the cathedral, the Jesuit residence, the stone dam (Tajamar), all constructed 350 years ago. Unlike other Jesuit buildings which became ruins, these are in perfect condition, and in the case of the dam, still in operation. These buildings have an enormous historical value since the Jesuit residence was, nearly two centuries ago, the vacation residence of viceroy Liniers, the delegate of the Spanish crown for not only Argentina, but also what today is Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, and Chile.
A visit to the Virrey Liniers museum is, therefore, a must. It has historical treasures inside, and even a balcony that overlooks the altar of the cathedral.
There are other interesting things to see in Alta Gracia, like the Sierras Hotel and Casino, where the rich used to vacation, operating again after its refurbishment. There is also another museum called Museo del Che Guevara, where the Marxist leader lived when he was a youngster. But I doubt if you will have time to visit them all, except if you come back to Alta Gracia from Villa Carlos Paz. Buses of Sarmiento run three times a day, and travel takes about one hour. These buses come back to Villa Carlos Paz and continue to La Falda. This same company also has bus services from Alta Gracia to Córdoba city.
The next stop on the road will be the Los Molinos dam and lake, a silverside fishing paradise. It is in a beautiful setting, surrounded by mountains, that the winding road goes below for some ten miles or more. Here you will probably stop for a cup of coffee but don’t waste your time trying to take coffee in Alta Gracia, see the Jesuit buildings, and also for buying some handcrafts; whether they are made or not by descendants of the Indians, I do not know. This is one of the tallest dams in the province, some 270 feet high, and forms a beautiful lake. You will see Hong Kong-style floating homes, but they are really weekend homes for fishermen who want to navigate into the lake to catch their silverside. Originally, these were simple barges mounted on oil drums, but later became sophisticated high-class residences with bedroom, dining room, living room, and kitchen. You will see maybe 30 or 40 of these, most of them at the port, and some in the middle of the lake. You can rent one by the day or week, if you wish.
We will continue through a number of small villages, like Villa Los Reartes, where we will cross a river, Los Reartes, that is good for rainbow trout fishing, although you stand a better chance at our destination, La Cumbrecita, where only catch-and-release fly-fishing is allowed. There you will see the trout swimming in the water, if the stream is low.
La Cumbrecita is a German settlement founded 70 years ago, and still preserves its German heritage. It has beautiful forestation, and a small stream with a beautiful waterfall, Cascada Grande. Vehicle traffic is prohibited in the village, so either you go walking or go on horseback. Take the trail to the Cascada Grande, it may be tiring, but the scenery is beautiful. If you have time left over, go to the trout pool in the river. All the way up and back you will enjoy seeing Alpine style residences surrounded by the forest. Every single pine tree is planted; it is a beautiful walk.
On the way back we will come through Villa General Belgrano, home of the Argentine Oktoberfest, held every year, where they revive German traditions. It really deserves a visit. The parade is incredible. People from many different communities including Russians and “gauchos” or cowboys who put on their best dresses and march through the village. You will have the chance to taste delicious German cakes at affordable prices. By the way, here they offer you 14 different varieties of beer. I know the cakes are delicious, because I have tasted them. Their goulash with pasta is very nice. I cannot talk about their beer because I am not a beer consumer, so you will have to come down and decide for yourself what rating their different varieties deserve. Just in case, there is a pharmacy across the road.
As you may easily see, this tour offers you a variety of attractions: history, landscape, tradition, and delicious cakes. What more could you expect in only one day?
Seven different travel agencies at the Villa Carlos Paz bus station offer this tour at a cost of around $20 per person. Come and enjoy it.
Welcome to Villa Carlos Paz, the tourist capital of Cordoba. Close
There are dozens of beautiful places where you can go on the local bus for .50¢: Fantasio, Playas de Oro, San Antonio, Mayu Sumaj, Icho Cruz, Cuesta Blanca, Dique San Roque. For .70¢, you can go to Tanti, and for a dollar and a…Read More
There are dozens of beautiful places where you can go on the local bus for .50¢: Fantasio, Playas de Oro, San Antonio, Mayu Sumaj, Icho Cruz, Cuesta Blanca, Dique San Roque. For .70¢, you can go to Tanti, and for a dollar and a half, to Cosquín. A ticket to La Falda costs $2. The ticket to the chairlift is free, the chairlift itself costs $3 or $4, and a city tour costs $3.50. Let`s have a look at these options:
1) FANTASIO is the nearest bathing resort. You can go walking. It is slightly more than half a mile away from the downtown. If you go on a taxi, it will cost you about a dollar and a half. The local bus service also takes you there. If you go walking, you have two alternatives: walk along streets Leandro N. Alem and El Prado until you reach the river, or go along Nueve de Julio Avenue, a continuation of General Paz, across the river, where you can take beautiful photos, continue along Av. Asunción and after some 5 blocks turn left towards the river.
2)PLAYAS DE ORO is the nicest beach and the place that is most visited by tourists. In summer you may find 3,000 people bathing. In winter, you will not see a soul. There are some 100 campfires, the fee for using them is less than $2, including a cement table and seat), and also half a dozen cafeterias across the street that have very low prices. It is a nice residential area and, one or two blocks away from the beach, you have phone and internet services.
3)SAN ANTONIO has an historical church; the river runs next to the highway, so you just need to get off the bus and turn right towards the river that is half a block away. It is mostly a rocky area, with small beaches.
4)MAYU SUMAJ is very nice and very quiet, but you will need to walk more than half a mile towards the right before you meet the river. On the way you will find a nice tearoom and restaurant with a beautiful panoramic view.
5)ICHO CRUZ is one of my preferred places, but here also you will have to walk some seven or eight blocks along the main avenue, turn left where it ends, and then turn right on the first corner. It is mostly rocky, but has some very nice small beaches and a beautiful panoramic view.
6)CUESTA BLANCA: The local bus service ends here, just in front of a cafeteria with a beautiful panoramic view. The bridge over the river is half a block away. If you cross it and turn left, after walking two miles you will reach the dam on the river. There are some beautiful pools below, where probably there are some small rainbow trout waiting for your hook. Don’t try fishing further down the river, because you will be wasting your time.
7)CUESTA BLANCA 2: Once you have reached the dam, you can continue the trail—a sort of extension of the road—turn left up the hill, and from the top you will have a panoramic view of the San Antonio river and its Hippie Beach. You can walk down, but I was tired by then, so just took a photo from the top. However, if the weather is very warm, watch your step. Occasionally, you could find a pit viper or rattlesnake. I did not see any; they normally stay away from transited areas.
You can visit all these places on the local bus (Transportes Carlos Paz, 50¢, or FonoBus 50¢-70¢, depending on your destination). You can board either of these buses at the Villa Carlos Paz bus station. Make sure that the sign says Cuesta Blanca.
TANTI: A small 3,500 inhabitant village, with two or three nice bathing resorts. I prefer El Diquecito, a very small bathing resort with a very nice waterfall. You can walk or take a taxi (less than one dollar from the Tanti bus station). The bus ticket from Villa Carlos Paz to Tanti costs 70¢.
COSQUÍN: La Toma is a beautiful place for taking photos. There are a couple of dams that form artificial swimming pools. The view of the Pan de Azucar (Sugar Loaf) mount and of the huge bridge over the river, constructed a century ago by the British Railways complete the picture.
VILLA CARLOS PAZ CHAIRLIFT. Go to the top and walk around. The fee is some $3 to $4, transportation to the site is free. There is a path for walking on the top. Below the chairlift, there is an aquarium, where you will also see some reptiles and snakes; admission fee is low.
SAN ROQUE DAM AND LAKE: The whole road is delightful. Some city tours take you there. If not, there is a local bus service every half hour run by Lumasa, that costs only 50¢ each way. You can also reach the dam by navigating on a catamaran, that costs $6. If the catamaran also goes to Bahia Los Mimbres, far better, but it you get off there you will have to pay an admission fee of $3.50, normally included in the tour price. It is a Caribbean-style resort on the lake.
THE CITY TOUR visits a number of very nice panoramic places like Villa del Lago, the San Roque dam, etc. Give it a try. It only costs $3.50.
As you must have noticed, there are many places you can visit in Villa Carlos Paz for dimes, using the local bus services. In any case, taxis are not expensive, about $1/mile, with an initial fee of 65¢.
I have put the prices in dollars so that you understand them better, but you will be required to pay in pesos. No tokens are required here for traveling on the bus. You pay cash, and normally buy the ticket at the bus station before boarding the bus.
Enjoy your stay in Villa Carlos Paz.
VILLA CARLOS PAZ: WHERE TO STAY AND WHERE TO EAT
In Villa Carlos Paz there is a sharp difference of prices from one place to another. You can pay $4 for a serving of french fries and a Coke (Macs, on the main street) or…Read More
VILLA CARLOS PAZ: WHERE TO STAY AND WHERE TO EAT
In Villa Carlos Paz there is a sharp difference of prices from one place to another. You can pay $4 for a serving of french fries and a Coke (Macs, on the main street) or get a complete meal for nearly the same price, including a bottle of wine. And I am talking of a nice budget restaurant, Federico, in front of the bus station, that charges $1.50 for a bottle of wine, Viñas Riojanas that is quite tasty; other restaurants will charge you $3 or more for the same drink.
When it comes to hotels, you have many options but prices nearly double during the months of January and February, the high season that is also the rainy season. It makes sense to visit Villa Carlos Paz after March 1 and before December 31; you need no hotel reservations and you pay about half the price.
Having said this, here are my recommendations. I have been inside practically all hotels in Villa Carlos Paz, because ten years ago, I had a business in La Falda, 25 miles away, and used to leave my publicity in all hotels in the area. However, of the hotels I am going to mention, I have only stayed at the Taormina (three-star), Alvear (two-star), and Casino (one-star).
HOTELS: Being near the bus station is an advantage, because tourist demand is so high in summer that you might have to wait ten or twenty minutes in the line for a taxi at the bus station, and over half an hour if it is raining. And remises (chauffeur-driven cars) sometimes give you as much as a one hour delay.
FOUR-STAR HOTELS: There are no five-star hotels in Villa Carlos Paz, but there are half a dozen four-star hotels, of which the best are the Portal del Lago (on the lakeside), the Libertador (on San Martin Avenue), and Las Lajas (at the entrance of the city, also on San Martín Avenue). All three are very good, but only the Portal del Lago is in a quiet area. The other two are facing the main avenue; with the consequent traffic noise most of the day and night. I am not familiar with the price of these hotels, but would guess that they should around $70-$80 for a double room in the low season, and probably $100 or more per night during the high season.
THREE-STAR HOTELS: I have stayed at the Taormina. The rooms are good, but the swimming pool is very small. Do not accept their option with meals; the owners have changed a few months ago, so this could have improved, or not, but when I went there I was seduced by their “buffet” dinner, in which they ask you what you want and they serve the amount they consider meets their deal, so it is not really an “all you can eat” option.
Last week I discovered the Los Sauces hotel. Although it is in front of my apartment, and I saw it has a beautiful swimming pool, I had never been inside. A friend of mine stayed there on my recommendation ($40 a night for a double room including breakfast and the SPA facilities: swimming pool and fitness center). They also offer massages and relaxation, but at an additional cost. It has no park, but it is across the street from the main square in the city, one block away from the bus station, and one block away from the San Antonio River. Another option you could consider is the Monaco Hotel, but it is on San Martin Avenue, and over a mile away from the downtown.
There is another very nice three-star hotel, Mon Petit, on Libertad Avenue. It has swimming pool, tennis courts, and a nice park, but is on an avenue where you have traffic all night, since this road goes over the mountain range to Mina Clavero, Villa Dolores, Mendoza, and, finally, Chile. Trucks go along this avenue, since they are not allowed on Avenue San Martin. If you can get a room that does not face the street, you will be fine, but check it out before you decide to stay there.
The Days Inn Jardin has the same problem. It is also on Libertad Avenue, although I imagine that they must have taken some steps to reduce noise inside the building. In any case, it would be advisable to find out. Most buses turn right at the Days Inn corner to go to the bus station.
TWO-STAR: I have stayed at the Hotel Alvear, and find it to be the best price value for Villa Carlos Paz. Just now they are charging $17 per night for double occupancy, and about double that price in the summer months. Recently, I sent an American engineer over there, he liked the hotel, but the people at the hotel asked me to not send over guests that do not speak Spanish because they find it difficult to communicate. At the Los Sauces hotel they have English-speaking staff in the afternoon. The Hotel Alvear is one block away from the bus station on a quiet street, has cable TV, private bathroom in all rooms, a medium swimming pool next to the parking lot, but no park.
Hotel El Monte, on Caseros street, two blocks away from the bus station, is OK and has its own restaurant, but is too expensive for my taste, and actually costs nearly as much as a three-star hotel.
ONE-STAR: I stayed at the Hotel Casino, in front of the bus station. It has no swimming pool, and costs the same or more than the hotel Alvear. I have also stayed at the Augustus hotel, but it is in a noisy area. The hotel itself is OK, but I do not recommend it if you want to relax. In any case, it has no swimming pool.
WHERE TO EAT: There are huge price differences in Villa Carlos Paz. You can take a cup of coffee with bread on the bus station platform in the morning for half a dollar; pay a dollar and a half at Federico, or at the Café Racing, or even $2 or more on some other coffee shops on the same street.
A Hawaiian pizza (8 slices) and a bottle of wine at the Café Racing will cost you $8, chicken with French fries and a bottle of wine will cost $4 at Federico. Both these places are nice, pleasant and clean. You will even find liquid soap in the restroom for washing your hands. They are budget places, but not shacks.
Two other very nice places for eating are:
VILLAPAZ, in front of the main Catholic church, on the main street (General Paz and Caseros). Here you will spend some $5 for a good meal, including a soft drink, and $3 more with a bottle of wine.
LOS SAUCES: The restaurant of the hotel Los Sauces has excellent food, but is not “a la carte”; they have a set menu that varies for every meal. They require prior reservation, because food is fresh and made on the spot. I was invited for dinner there and their lasagna was delicious. Their menu has a small entrée, the main course, and dessert, and costs $7 dollars per person, plus drinks. I went two days ago and the restaurant was packed, while most restaurants during the low season are empty. Draw your own conclusions.
ANGUS is another option on Avenue Libertad that you might want to consider. They have menus, including dessert and a soft drink, starting at $5. Food is not abundant, but is tasty, and this place is opened 24 hours a day. Just next door, you have IL GATTO, a medium-price restaurant with many options for eating, and round the corner on Belgrano Street, there is another option, the CLUB ITALIANO (Italian Club, open to all public) where you can eat nice pizza for affordable prices.
If you keep these facts in mind, you might save a lot of money.
Welcome to Villa Carlos Paz. Close