Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The towns of Córdoba province: Villa Carlos Paz, Alta Gracia And La Cumbricita

The village of Carlos Paz

Just outside of Córdoba are a number of small historic towns that are easily reached either by bus or car.

Villa Carlos Paz

Villa Carlos Paz is a small town 30 minutes by bus from Córdoba. It's mainly a tourist town for locals who go there in summer to enjoy the river and nearby lake.

The San Antonio river in Carlos Paz

In the centre of the town is a strange tourist attraction - a cuckoo clock. It's listed in all the tourist guides as something to see - so dutifully, I saw it and 'enjoyed' its somewhat underwhelming 'cuckoo' on the hour.

Cuckoo Clock

Above Villa Carlos Paz is Cerro de la Cruz, a hill with commanding views of the city. The trail can be easily reached from the bus station and climbs about 700m in a well marked not too steep trail.

The start of the trail

From the trail there are several lookouts over the city.

Villa Carlos Paz from the lookout

Villa Carlos Paz

At the top of the hill is a giant cross.

The cross at the top of the hill

And more views of the city.

Villa Carlos Paz from the top of the hill

Alta Gracia

Alta Gracia is around an hour from Córdoba city and started out as a Jesuit estancia.

The Jesuit estancia from the main square

The estancia from inside the main gate

The town grew up around the estancia

The town clock

And the church attached to it

The church

Inside the church

The city is also known for being the childhood home of Ernesto 'Che' Guevara. The house in which he lived has been turned into a small museum with many artefacts from Che's early life.

Che's house

A bust of Che

Although the museum is small, it contains many letters and other documents from Che throughout his life through the Cuban revolution to his activities in Congo and in Bolivia (where he was caught by the Bolivian army and executed). The museum has also played host to visits from Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez which are also documented in the museum.

La Cumbricita

La Cumbricita is a tiny village in a deep valley around an hour from Alta Gracia. The road from Alta Gracia takes you past the hydroelectric dam, Lake Molinos.

Lake Los Molinos

The village was settled by Germans after WW2 and is designed in the style of a German village. Cars are banned from the centre of the village making it very pleasant to walk around.

A street in La Cumbricita

The village has several hiking trails around the town. The most popular is a 50 minute return hike to the nearby waterfalls.

The entry to the trail

The trail is easy although a little rough in parts and ends with a climb down to the bottom of the falls.

The waterfalls from the top of the trail

The waterfalls after climbing down

The trail is not particularly strenuous but it doesn't mean that a refreshing locally brewed beer is not required.

Local brew

There are other trails to other scenic areas around the river such as a local swimming hole.

The swimming hole

And a trail to a trout fishing spot that leads along the river

The river trail

Until it reaches a pond.

The trout pond

At this time of year the leaves of the trees are changing color providing a beautiful backdrop to the mountains.

Autumn colours

La Cumbricita is a beautiful little town and well worth visiting from Córdoba.

The river as the sun goes down

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