Brash VILLA CARLOS PAZ lies at the southern end of the Punilla Valley, on the southwestern banks of a large, dirty reservoir, the Lago San Roque. It sits at a major junction, that of the RP-34, which heads south to Mina Clavero, and the RN-38 toll road, which goes north through the valley towards Cruz del Eje and La Rioja. Nationally famous, but now spoilt by chaotic construction, pollution and overcrowding, the resort is frequently compared with Mar del Plata, only without the ocean. It started out in the 1930s as a holiday centre for well-off Cordobeses, with sandy beaches created along the lakeside. Nowadays people whiz around the lake in catamarans and motorboats, or on water skis. In the town centre, dozens of amusement arcades and theme parks blare music, while most of the bars and confiterías show video clips or offer karaoke. The town sprawls in a disorderly way around the lake – the western districts are generally greener, airier and more attractive. The local population of around 72,000 more than doubles at the height of summer.

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