This is the beating heart of Argentina. Some of the best night life, restaurants and shopping are packed into these two provinces....
This is the beating heart of Argentina. With half the country’s population and the majority of the nation’s industry, these two provinces are the heavyweights of the Argentine economic and political machine. This stature brings with it some of the best night life, best restaurants and best shopping that the country has to offer.
Renowned for having the liveliest, friendliest and most open people in Argentina; you will be welcomed with open arms. Sip maté under the cathedral spires of Córdoba city with long haired students wrapped in bright colours and radical ideas. Crush some beers at Belgrano’s very own Oktoberfest, the largest outside Germany. Soak up the rays on Argentina’s most popular beach in Mar del Plata. Feel those revolutionary vibes at the childhood home of Che Guevara in Alta Gracia. El Centro is Argentina’s bustling, metropolitan hub.
Expect: Students, late nights and just sitting around, drinking mate.
Pack: Mate gourd and thermos flask.
As I emerged of out of the rocky wonders of Salta's reddened landscape, Córdoba came as both a bit of a shock and a seriously welcome surprise. Colonial facades overlook busy squares where students laugh over mate and wine. Nights don’t end till work starts the next morning - and you’re probably not working so the nights all roll into one. Argentina’s second largest city overflows with culture and sophistication but is loved for its down-to-earth, studenty feel. It has the colonial architecture and the glorious plazas, the world-class galleries and the great universities, the cobbled streets and the trendy bars; but, refreshingly, none of the pomp. In contrast to its big brother across the pampas, Córdoba is fantastically unpretentious.
Deservedly awarded the title “cultural capital of the Americas” in 2006, Cordoba lives its art. From alternative theatre on Plaza San Martin to snazzy designers selling out of pocket-size stores in Pasaje Colonial, ‘culture’ here is not dusty and nostalgic. Four excellent galleries, the spectacularManzana Jesuitica and two great cathedrals also more than satisfy the more classical taste of even the hungriest culture vulture.
Cordoba is an exciting place to spend a few days, weeks, or months. Many a day can be spent nursing a hangover in Las Tinajas, Argentina’s largest tenedor libre (all-you-can-eat), where ‘hair-of-the-dog’ can easily turn into the beginnings of another huge night.
When (if ever) you’ve had your fill there are also some nifty day trips to be had beyond the city limits. Be sure to make it back to Cordoba, though, you wouldn’t want to miss out on another classic night.
Villa Belgrano is a bizarre ‘German’ town two hours outside Cordoba. It supposedly traces its roots back to the survivors of the German battleship Graf Spee who settled here after their ship was sunk nearby during World War II. Here you can dig into some decent sauerkraut and bratwurst, but really the time to come is the first two weeks of October when thousands of beer lovers descend on this quiet town for its own unique version of the German Oktoberfest. Sipping Patagonian brew from a giant beer-mug, while dancing topless with a drunken Israeli, in front of performing Argentines dressed in German national dress, is about as weird a travel experience as you can have.
Alta Gracia is another popular day trip and although many claim to be going to see the 17th century Jesuit estancia, everyone is really here to check out the childhood home of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara. Located on a quiet, leafy street this cute house is now a museum. Small but personable, it is a worthwhile stop if you are interested in this controversial but enticing figure. The exhibition depicts, via well lit and good quality photographs, the life of Che from his childhood in Alta Gracia to his success in Cuba and his death in Bolivia. For the most part though, the pleasure comes from just being in the house that El Che grew up in.
|CórdobaColonial facades overlook busy squares where students laugh over mate and wine. Nights don’t end ti...|