Road Trip in the Cordoba Sierras
The Sierras and Valle de las Traslasierras Region of Argentina is not well-known like Patagonia, but it’s worth a trip there to get a taste of Argentina’s central region. You can spend some time in the Sierras after getting acquainted with the provincial capital of Cordoba province, the Ciudad de Cordoba.
From Cordoba airport, we rented a car 🚗 and drove 3 hours down the Camino de las Altas Cumbres to Mina Clavero, a small valley town on a river, southwest of Cordoba. The drive was very pretty and the landscapes ⛰️ were unexpected (tree-less, rocky, flat expanses next to mountain ranges). The Camino de las Altas Cumbres has expanses of nothingness that made us feel like we were alone. We got one traffic ticket for not having our lights on. After that, you’d think that we would have learned our less. So why not, we got another traffic ticket. When you drive in this area of Argentina, make sure to have your lights on!
We took a bit of a DIY road trip to see what the Sierras were all about. Without much understanding of the region, we chose Mina Clavero as our destination, having found a place to stay. Locals were surprised about this choice as it is not popular with foreign tourists.
Chilled-out 😎 Mina Clavero has its high season in Argentine summer, but we went in autumn (April), so it was quiet, relaxed and a bit empty. We like this approach as it allows us to get to see a place in a new light.
We stayed at Andamundos Hostel, which has river access in the backyard and a big kitchen for everyone to use. Bring your best Spanish! Mina Clavero is geared toward Argentine tourists, so English was not as present as in the metropolises.
Beware that bodegas and small markets for fresh food (🍚 🍳 🍅) close early, so do your grocery shopping before dark if you’d like to have cooking supplies for dinner.
What to see
We drove to a lookout point that was marked on Google Maps, but did not exist in real life. It was gated with barbed wire when we got to there, so we’d suggest staying on the beaten track as to not waste time. We attribute the closure to the off-season. We should have asked some locals or the staff at the hostel! We encourage you to do the same.
We took our hostel’s advice to go to the Nido de Aguila viewpoint (accessible by car) on the river in town. Go at sunset for dramatic lighting! You can climb on all the rocks to get a view of the river.
This whole region is popular in summer, but gets cold at night in winter.
Villa Carlos Paz
On our way back to Ciudad de Cordoba, we spent half a day in Villa Carlos Paz, a popular summer holiday destination for people from the city. It is not as lively in fall and winter, and for that reason, we felt like we had a bunch of the attractions to ourselves.
This was a quick way up the mountain, located in the back of the town. We hadn’t been on a open-air chair lift 💺 in ages! At the top of the mountain, there is a small walking trail, a big bridge over a valley with a nice view, and various viewpoints as you ascend the viewing tower that has a cafe inside.