Long established as one of Córdoba Province’s major holiday destinations, and where many cityfolk have weekend or summer homes, the green Calamuchita Valley begins 30km south of Córdoba city at the Jesuit estancia town of Alta Gracia – a popular day-trip destination from Córdoba – and stretches due south for over 100km, between the undulating Sierra Chica to the east and the steep Sierra de Comechingones to the west. The varied vegetation that covers the valley’s sides provides a perfect habitat for hundreds of species of birds and other fauna. Two large and very clean reservoirs, Embalse Los Molinos in the north and Embalse Río Tercero in the south, both dammed in the first half of the twentieth century for water supplies, electricity and recreational angling, give the valley its alternative name, sometimes used by the local tourist authority: Valle Azul de los Grandes Lagos (“Blue Valley of the Great Lakes”). It’s believed that the area’s climate has been altered by their creation, with noticeably wetter summers than in the past.
The valley’s two main towns could not be more different: Villa General Belgrano is a chocolate-box resort with a predominantly Germanic population, whereas Santa Rosa de Calamuchita, the valley’s rather brash capital, is youthful and dynamic but far less picturesque. Both, however, are good bases for exploring the beautiful Comechingones mountains, whose Camiare name means “mountains and many villages”. One of these villages, the quiet hamlet of La Cumbrecita, would not look out of place in the Swiss Alps, and is the starting-point for some fine highland walks. All the villages offer a wide range of accommodation and high-quality places to eat, making them ideal for anyone wanting to avoid big cities like Córdoba.Read More
- Alta Gracia
- Villa General Belgrano
Santa Rosa de Calamuchita and around
Santa Rosa de Calamuchita and around
In 1700, a community of Dominicans built an estancia and a chapel dedicated to the patron saint of the Americas, Santa Rosa of Lima, after which nothing much else happened in SANTA ROSA DE CALAMUCHITA, 11km south of Villa General Belgrano, until the end of the nineteenth century. Then, thanks to its mountainside, riverbank location and its mild climate, the place suddenly took off as a holiday resort, an alternative to its more traditional neighbour to the north. Now it’s a highly popular destination, swamped by thousands of visitors from many parts of the country in the high season, and makes an excellent base for exploring the relatively unspoilt mountains nearby. Many of Santa Rosa de Calamuchita’s visitors use it as a springboard to experience all kinds of outdoor activities, from diving and kayaking to jet-skiing and flying, all located at Villa del Dique, 17km away. Noticeably less sedate than Villa General Belgrano but more bearable than Villa Carlos Paz, from Christmas until Easter Santa Rosa throbs with disco music blaring from convertibles packed with holiday-makers.
- The Traslasierra
Some 35km south of Mina Clavero, the RP-148 branches off the RN-20 and heads due south towards SAN JAVIER, another 12km away. The tree-lined road takes you through some of the province’s most attractive scenery and settlements. If you’re driving, though, watch out for the often treacherous badenes, very deep fords that suddenly flood after storms; even when dry their abrupt drop and rough surface can damage a car’s undercarriage or tyres.
San Javier is a pretty little place, set amid peach orchards, and serves as a base for climbing to the 2884m summit of Cerro Champaquí, directly to the east. It has developed as an exclusive tourist centre in recent years, offering a variety of services including massages, reiki and even “solar shamanism”.