I arrived to Cordoba Capital last week. The capital city of the province of Cordoba. Cordoba is known to be one of the most beautiful provinces of Argentina, with mountains, rivers, lakes, and nature galore. I’m staying temporarily with the mother of a good friend of mine, Franco, who I met 17 years ago in Buenos Aires. He currently lives in Cordoba, and he’s the main reason I came to the capital.
His family owns a small vacation home in Carlos Paz, which is about 35 minutes west of the capital. Carlos Paz is one of the most popular tourist hot spots for Argentines inside the country, as it is a central spot to head to many other natural destinations within the province. A jumping off point, if you will.
Being the excellent host that he is, Franco wanted me to see Carlos Paz, and get to know his province a bit more. Fortunately we also had his family’s place to stay. We left late Sunday morning to begin the short journey west, and while we drove Franco explained to me the importance of Carlos Paz’s central location to the rest of the province, as well as the various activities available in this small tourist spot: hiking, walking around the lake, boating, etc.
We arrived to a beautiful, sunny day. We first dropped our things off at the house, and headed out on our adventure. We walked along the lake, where we saw lots of birds, fishermen, and algae. The algae was as plentiful as the mate and thermos’s the fishermen had with them.
We wandered along the lake’s coast until we reached several bars and restaurants, and we decided it was time for lunch. We stopped at a place funnily called “Guapas,” where Franco ordered the “guapisima” (lomo sandwich, typical of the Cordoba province), and I ordered a mediterranean salad. Over lunch, Franco explained how, due to the huge inflation in the country, it is nearly impossible for Argentines to travel abroad these days. Especially with Covid in the mix. So both Carlos Paz, and Mar de Plata (along the coast), have become incredibly popular with domestic tourism, for their mountains and beaches, respectively.
After lunch, we headed back to the compound. The day was getting hotter, and we wanted the swimming pool. We spent the next couple hours around the pool, chatting, and drinking mate. Later in the evening, we went to the supermarket for some bife and salad to prepare back at the house. I’m still getting used to this late dinner thing, and my stomach was not happy while waiting in line at the market at 9:30pm, still not having eaten since lunch!
The next morning we woke up to grey sky and rain clouds, thunder and lightning. I read, and finished I might add, my book on the front patio, with the rain falling around me. Finally in the late afternoon, the rain stopped enough for me to take a solo stroll around the town. Franco had to work, so I went on my own to see what big adventures Carlos Paz had to offer. I tried a bola de fraile, a pastry filled with dulce de leche, and sat and watched the boaters and kayakers on the lake. I then wandered into the centro area. We had driven through it at night, but I wanted to get a good feel of it during the day. It was just what you might expect in a small town summer destination.
A few streets lined with restaurants, cafes, and shops selling touristy items, neon colored shirts, popcorn on the corners. Bad traffic. The downtown is quite small and took me just a few minutes to see most of it.
Afterwards I headed back in the direction of home. Just a couple blocks away from Franco’s home, is a ruin bar called La Terme Ruin Bar. A much smaller, outdoor, Argentinian version of what you might find in Budapest. I ordered a craft IPA and “Mexican Nachos,” which were not nachos at all, but a pile of tortilla chips with a small serving of guacamole on the side. Apparently you have to order “cheddar nachos” if you want actual nachos.
I drank my beer and ate my tortilla chips while I waited for Franco to finish work. Once he met me, we hung out for a couple minutes more and discussed whether or not Carlos Paz is worth a visit.
If you’re traveling with your family? Yes.
If you’re traveling alone? No.
If you’re with a group of friends? Yes.
If you’re with a partner? Yes.
If you’re looking for adventure? No.
If you’re looking for peace and tranquility? Yes.
To read a book? Yes.
For us to spend the weekend there? Yes.
Then we headed back to Cordoba as the night sky began to fall down.