Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 29 Jan, 2007
This city of 30,000 inhabitants was founded in 1735. Towards 1886 the tracks of the British railways arrived here. A workshop was constructed to service and repair engines and wagons, and this gave the city a new pulse. Cruz del Eje is not included in…Read More
This city of 30,000 inhabitants was founded in 1735. Towards 1886 the tracks of the British railways arrived here. A workshop was constructed to service and repair engines and wagons, and this gave the city a new pulse. Cruz del Eje is not included in most tourist guides because it is not considered to be a tourist destination. However, there are a number of interesting places you can visit. Climate is very dry and warm in this city, it has over 300 sunny days per year, and it is a good place for visiting from March to November—that is also the dry season, when the probability of rain is minimal. This city, known as the city of the sun, is 270 years old, having been founded on September 22 of 1735. It is in a dry climate, and most agricultural activity depends on irrigation. A large dam was constructed here in 1944 that provides irrigation to some 25,000 acres. It is 2 miles long, and forms a lake of 3,000 acres. There is very good silverside fishing in the lake, where water sports are also practised. It is an area mostly dedicated to olive plantations, and olive oil is produced in the area. It is some 25 miles north of Capilla del Monte and some 15 miles away from San Marcos Sierra, so a visit to any of these tourist destinations can be combined with a visit to this city. The British railways had one of their main repair shops here, where engines and wagons were repaired. Railways were nationalized some 60 years ago, passed to the national government, and were then privatized some 15 years ago, at which time this railway line closed, including the workshops that provided work to many people. There are a couple of nice bathing resorts and campgrounds downstream from the dam, where there are campfires for spending the day, and good shade for protecting you from the sun. There are literally hundreds of ducks in the river. There are a number of hotels in the downtown, but none near the dam, which is the most interesting area. The dam is 4½ miles away from the downtown. In any case, taxis are not expensive. The Nuestra Señora del Carmen church, constructed in 1831, is another point of interest in this city. The Siquiman ranch, on the old road to the Quilpo River, is near some colonial constructions. At the Salamanca ranch some cowboy (gaucho) performances are held, including cattle marking, and barbecue lunch. Beyond Cruz del Eje, and near Serrezuela, there are thermal baths at a place known as El Quicho. There is a Siberian salmon fishing pond some 8 miles away from the downtown, on the earth road from the Cruz del Eje dam to San Marcos Sierra. The La Candelaria Jesuit chapel, constructed centuries ago, is one of the attractions in the area. Olive oil factory EXPRODAR is open to the public for visits. There are some old colonial constructions on the way from the downtown to the dam. The National Olive Festival has been taking place here in February every year for the past 50 years, including musical performances, industrial and commercial fairs, and other attractions. Many bus companies service Cruz del Eje from the city of Cordoba along two different itineraries: Villa Carlos Paz, Cosquin, La Falda, La Cumbre, and Capilla del Monte, and the other line through Colonia Caroya, Jesus María, and Dean Funes. Bus companies that offer these services are Sarmiento, Ciudad de Córdoba, La Calera, and Chevalier. Travel lasts some 4 hours from Córdoba, 3 hours from Villa Carlos Paz, 2 hours from La Falda, and 1 hour from Capilla del Monte. Enjoy your stay in Northern Córdoba. There is much to see. Close
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 28 Jan, 2007
It is not easy to get to this small and ancient village. Although the date when the village of 700 inhabitants was founded is not known, the present chapel was constructed nearly three centuries ago, in 1732. Due to the abandonment of the ranch founded…Read More
It is not easy to get to this small and ancient village. Although the date when the village of 700 inhabitants was founded is not known, the present chapel was constructed nearly three centuries ago, in 1732. Due to the abandonment of the ranch founded by the Spaniards, the Indian community submitted a Claim to the Delegate of the Spanish Crown and (something unbelievable in the history of Spanish colonization) the lands were returned by the Spaniards to their legitimate owners, the Comechingones Indians, on March 17, 1806. San Marcos Sierra is the main honey producing center in the province of Cordoba, but is well known due to its handcrafts. Artisans gather on the streets next to the ancient church, where they offer their products. The Honey Provincial Festival is held here. A small stream crosses the village, but 2 miles away there is a beautiful river (Quilpo) with some bathing resorts and campgrounds. If you are looking for a quiet place where to relax, this is the place to go. Buses come into the village about twice a day (La Calera from Córdoba, Villa Carlos Paz, La Falda, and Capilla del Monte). There is also a local bus service from Cruz del Eje (quite near) every 30 minutes. Capilla del Monte is probably some 15 to 18 miles away from San Marcos. A taxi from Cruz del Eje to San Marcos Sierras will not cost you more than $7 to $10, including a visit to some of the nearby places. Cruz del Eje is 15 miles away. About half-way along the road from Cruz del Eje to San Marcos Sierras (the earth road from the dam) there is a Siberian salmon fishing pond. Although it is open all the year round, you will only stand a good chance of fishing if you go on a warm day. Although I am a keen fisherman, I have never fished Siberian salmon, but by what I was told, they are as suspicious as trout, real sportive fish, and can be fished with natural bait or with artificial lures (flies or spinners). Their meat is very tasty, with a minimal content of grease, and they belong to the carp family. Fishing of the Siberian salmon has become popular in Argentina in recent years, including a fishing pond in the Buenos Aires Golf Club. This fish grows very fast, and after 2 years already weighs nearly 8 pounds. This fishing pond charges a fee of 5 pesos (less than $2) per car (not per person), and you only pay for the fish you take home, at a rate of less than $2 per pound. They clean the fish for you at no cost. And if you catch and release, you owe nothing apart from the admission fee. The Quilpo River deserves a visit. It was the natural habitat of the Comechingones Indians and this area was colonized by the Spaniards in 1671. Even in the dry season, the Quilpo River carries a lot of water. In winter you will not find anybody in this area, but in summer you will find a real caravan of cars with tourists (mostly hippies) heading towards the river, that, as I already said, is only 2 miles away from the village. The chapel is nearly three centuries old. You will also enjoy a visit to the hippie fair to buy some handcafts. The nearest artificial lakes are the Cruz del Eje dam, with one of the longest dams in Argentina (a mile and a half) with silverside fishing and water sports, and El Cajón (Capilla del Monte) where fishing can also be practiced, but where motor navigation is prohibited (only sailboats and windsurf are allowed). There are local tours to San Marcos Sierra only from Capilla del Monte. Please read my other Experience on Los Terrones, where I explain where you can purchase these tours. Enjoy your stay in Northern Cordoba. Close
I had heard a lot about the beauty of this place, but had never visited it. Yesterday I went. As weather was rainy when we left, we had to wait on the road until the rain stopped, but were able to do the tour. This…Read More
I had heard a lot about the beauty of this place, but had never visited it. Yesterday I went. As weather was rainy when we left, we had to wait on the road until the rain stopped, but were able to do the tour. This tour (when it operates) leaves Villa Carlos Paz at 7am and returns late in the evening. From Capilla del Monte it is a 5-hour tour, and leaves every day at 7am, at least during the high season. This beautiful place is some 13 miles beyond Capilla del Monte, famous for its Uritorco mount that attracts thousands of people to participate in meditation or esoteric activities or who believe in Unidentified Flying Objects or flying saucers. But the attractiveness of the Uritorco mount base does not compare with Los Terrones, a sort of Valley of the Moon, with figures carved in the mountain, caused by water and wind erosion. There is a lot of vegetation here (not very usual in Cordoba) and everything is so green...unlike Ischigualasto (San Juan), but with a similar landscape on the top of the mountains. It is another sort of Valley of the Moon, with the exception that the landscape is not arid, but covered with green trees and colourful flowers. And on the way to this beautiful place we also cross some dwarf (Caranday) palm tree areas. The park is located at an altitude of nearly 5,000 feet, and climbing is steep; I was only able to go up half-way, in spite of the fact that I have been in far higher places, like the Aconcagua Provincial Park in Mendoza (12,000 feet above sea level). So if you do not have climbing skills (no special equipment is required, only common sense and physical resistance) you might not want to go up the full length. Even at the base, the scenery is beautiful. You need good keds that will not slip on the rocks and if possible resistant jeans so that you can sit on the rock and slide down on the way back. There is a cafeteria at the base of the park. Prices are reasonable, food is average, nothing special, but it is a good thing that they are there. Even sitting inside the cafeteria and looking through the windows, the view is beautiful. Walking tours leave from the cafeteria at the base of the park. There are three circuits: a short one (maybe a thousand feet of easy walking) that is not the most beautiful, but that gives you a view of the park from a different angle. Walking along the main circuit takes about 2 hours (I went half-way). During the first minutes you see a nice small waterfall, cross a very small stream, and then start climbing steeply. There are only handrails in the most dangerous places, although there is no significant risk if you use your common sense. You see different natural forms, of which God’s finger is really impressive, plus the sleeping camel, the flying saucer, and many others, including "the lost city". The “lost city” is maybe the most impressive one. I was unable to get there—climbing was rather risky for my age—but my guide took the camera and took some nice photos. The third circuit goes to a beautiful waterfall, but since it had been raining, the guide considered it unsafe to go there. The guides of the park receive no pay for their work, and you are expected to give them a tip. I suggest at least one dollar per person, with a minimum of $5 if you are less than five, for the 2-hour walk. There is an admission fee of 8 pesos ($2.70) per person. Travel agencies that visit Los Terrones from Villa Carlos Paz charge anything between 50 and 70 pesos ($17 to $23) per person. I went with Cacho López (they have offices at the bus station in Carlos Paz) for 50 pesos. Tours leave from Villa Carlos Paz at 7am and take about 12 or 14 hours to complete the circuit. But they operate very seldom, so if they offer you the tour, take it, because you might not have another chance. This area has not been promoted very much, and it is difficult to get a tour there from Villa Carlos Paz, although occasionally they offer the tour. There are local tours every day from Capilla del Monte at a cost of 20 pesos ($7) that last some five hours, although they leave at 7am, since weather is usually very warm up there. There are a number of local tours from Capilla del Monte that are not offered from Villa Carlos Paz, or that follow a different itinerary, so you might want to consider a stop at this city. In Capilla del Monte there is a travel agency on Diagonal Buenos Aires (the roofed street) where you can purchase them There is another one on street Pueyrredon (Saeta), Pueyrredón 681, phone (54-3548) 48-2360/1766. Best hotels in this city are: Kuntur (3) Falucho 121, Phone (54-3548) 48-1766/1780 Cerro Uritorco Hotel & Spa (3 ) Leandro N. Alem 671, Phone (54-3548)48-2405/2069 Both of these hotels are three-star hotels. From Capilla del Monte you have daily tours to Los Terrones, and other tours that do not leave every day to places like San Marcos Sierras, Los Túneles (following a different route than from Villa Carlos Paz), and other attractions in the area. You can also climb the Uritorco mount. There are regular bus services from Córdoba and La Falda to Capilla del Monte, that run about every hour (Sarmiento, La Calera) and from Villa Carlos Paz (Sarmiento). The tour goes all along the Punilla Valley (Cosquin, La Falda, La Cumbre, Estancia El Rosario, and Capilla del monte), but since 3 hours are required for trekking at Los Terrones, it does not visit all the attractions in the valley of Punilla. It does go through the downtown of La Falda, in front of the La Cumbre Golf Club, and also visits El Rosario, from where there is a very nice panoramic view of the Valley of Punilla. The La Cumbre Golf Club area, where the British community used to live, and where still some descendants live, is a very nice area with Tudor chalets with huge parks. On the way back we also visited the base of Uritorco mount, the highest in the valley of Punilla, about 6,500 feet tall. If the day is sunny, you have enough time to bathe in the river. In a few words, it is one of the most beautiful tours you can take in Cordoba. Give it a try.
Since weather is very warm in this area, if you go during the Summer months, try to do this tour in the morning, or on a cloudy day, as I did. The cost of this tour is of 50 to 70 pesos per person (17 to 23 dollars) from Villa Carlos Paz, and 20 pesos (7 dollars) from Capilla del Monte. But remember, tours leave both cities at 7 in the morning. If you take this tour from Capilla del Monte, you will be arriving back at noon, and can take another tour to San Marcos Sierra about 2.15 in the afternoon, that will be a real treat.
Enjoy your trip to Northern Córdoba. Close
LA CUMBRE: Spanish colonizers took possession of these lands in 1585. But the town itself (population 8,000 inhabitants) was founded about a century ago. It had a strong British community influence, which founded its beautiful golf club in 1924, around which many Tudor-style residences with…Read More
LA CUMBRE: Spanish colonizers took possession of these lands in 1585. But the town itself (population 8,000 inhabitants) was founded about a century ago. It had a strong British community influence, which founded its beautiful golf club in 1924, around which many Tudor-style residences with large parks completed the picture. Some traditional English schools, like Reydon and St. Paul, gave the whole area a definite English flavor. La Cumbre does not have many hotels. The total capacity of these is 1,600 beds, compared to 14,000 beds in La Falda and probaly 40,000 beds in Villa Carlos Paz. A double room in La Cumbre costs between 100 and 130 pesos (33 to 43 dollars) per night, including breakfast, but it is advisable to make reservations. The best hotels in the downtown are the Gran Hotel (three stars, $43 to $53 per night, phone (54-3548) 451550), and if you want to be in the countryside, the hotels Zapata (phone(54-3548) 492058) and Reydon (phone(54-3548) 451056) are good alternatives. These last two are located at Cruz Chica, about half-way between La Cumbre and Los Cocos, in a very quiet area, with buses to the downtown about every hour or so. The Gran Hotel La Cumbre has a very nice panoramic view, and if you want to see what it is like, visit: http://www.granhotellacumbre.com/site/home.php?idioma=en.La Cumbre is only some 10 miles north of La Falda, and from here towards the north there are a couple of villages like CRUZ CHICA and LOS COCOS, with some exclusive hotels that receive high-class tourism. It is an area ideal for relaxing, but not for active tourism. LOS COCOS is the highest village in the valley of Punila, at an altitude of nearly 5,000 feet, and has the most popular chairlift of the valley, plus a labyrinth and some other attractions. The area has a beautiful setting and is extremely quiet. The view from the chairlift is beautiful. There are only three chairlifts in all the valley of Punilla (and in all the province of Córdoba, as far as I know): Villa Carlos Paz, Cosquin, and Los Cocos. I understand that the Cosquin chairlift is not operating presently. The earth road from La Cumbre to Ascochinga is interesting, and passes near an old Jesuit chapel (Santa Catalina), founded in 1622, that is THE LARGEST JESUIT CHAPEL IN ALL CÓRDOBA, and was declared Patrimony of Humanity by the UNESCO. A visit to the Jesuit churches and farms in Córdoba is a very interesting cultural experience. Some 3 miles from La Cumbre, about 1 mile beyond El Rosario, following an earth road in poor condition, you reach the SAN JERÓNIMO DAM, where you can fish rainbow trout and perch. Fishing of course is far better at the LOS ALAZANES dam in Capilla del Monte, but in this case you have to walk 3 hours in each direction to arrive at the fishing site. The secondary (earth) road from La Cumbre to Villa Giardino, Huerta Grande, and La Falda is now a "fashionable" area where there are a number of cafés that offer popular music performances. There are also some handcraft shops along that mostly unpopulated road. Finally, CAPILLA DEL MONTE is some 15 miles north of Los Cocos. I have given information on this place in my note on Los Terrones, but here I should add that there are other attractions in this area, like EL ZAPATO (The Shoe, a natural formation), the Ongamira caves, the EL CAJÓN DAM and lake, and especially the URITORCO MOUNT, the highest in this part of the province. In few words, La Cumbre, Los Cocos, and Capilla del Monte are three places for relaxing and taking it easy. If you are fond of a more active vacation and nightlife, Villa Carlos Paz is probably the best option. Enjoy your stay in the valley of Punilla, Cordoba. Close