Córdoba preserves the most impressive colonial remains of any large Argentine city, and that architectural heritage embodies its tradition as an educational and cultural center. Though much of the mid-1950s microcentro is insipidly utilitarian, and the area is nearly treeless, the creation of several pedestrian malls, the widening of sidewalks, and the restriction of automobile traffic are hopeful signs. Another encouraging development is the renascent Nueva Córdoba neighborhood, full of popular restaurants and bars, fronting on Parque Sarmiento’s open spaces.
Sprawling Córdoba (pop. about 1.4 million), 400 meters above sea level on the eastern piedmont of its namesake Sierras, is 701 kilometers northwest of Buenos Aires via RN 9, and about 400 kilometers northeast of San Luis via paved routes either over or around the Sierras de Córdoba. There are another 100,000 people in the metropolitan area.
Getting to Córdoba
Córdoba has better air connections than any other Argentine city but Buenos Aires, extensive bus services, and limited rail service.
By Air: Aerolíneas Argentinas (Avenida Colón 520, tel. 0351/4107676) flies frequently to Buenos Aires’s Aeroparque, twice daily to Mendoza, and less frequently to Tucumán, Salta, Jujuy, Puerto Iguazú, and Bariloche.
LAN (San Lorenzo 309, tel. 0351/425-3030) flies daily to Santiago, Chile, while Gol (tel. 0351/475-3027 at the airport only) flies to Brazilian destinations.
Andes Líneas Aéreas (Avenida Colón 532, tel. 351/426-5809) now flies Monday and Friday to Salta and Puerto Iguazú, making it possible to visit the Andean northwest and the famous falls without backtracking to Buenos Aires.
Sol Líneas Aéreas (tel. 0810/4444765, www.sol.com.ar) is a new budget carrier serving Rosario and Punta del Este (Uruguay).
By Bus: Facilities at the Nueva Estación Terminal de Ómnibus de Córdoba (NETOC, Bulevar Perón 300, tel. 0351/423-4199, www.terminalcordoba.com) include a tourist information office, ATMs, restaurants, newsstands, toilets, and hot showers as well as postal, telephone, and Internet services. Since Córdoba is a hub for overland travel throughout the country, it has dozens of bus companies traveling just about everywhere, and even some international connections.
Sample destinations, times, and fares include Catamarca (5.5 hours, US$19), Santa Fe (5 hours, US$17), Rosario (6 hours, US$20), Tucumán (8 hours, US$28), Salta (11 hours, US$42–48), Buenos Aires (9 hours, US$27–40), Mendoza (9 hours, US$37), Posadas (16 hours, US$62–70), Puerto Iguazú (21 hours, US$78–82), and Bariloche (21 hours, US$82).
For provincial destinations like Alta Gracia, Jesús María, Cosquín, La Falda, and Mina Clavero, there are frequent services from the Terminal de Minibuses at the Mercado Sud, on Bulevar Illia between Buenos Aires and Ituzaingó; buses park in a passageway on the market’s north side.
By Train: Opposite the bus station, Ferrocentral (Bulevar Perón 101, tel. 0351/426-3565, www.ferrocentralsa.com.ar) goes to Retiro (Buenos Aires) at 9:13 p.m. Wednesday and 4:21 p.m. Sunday from Estación Córdoba, on the former Mitre line. The trip takes 14.5 hours and costs US$8–24 pp, depending on the class of travel, with camarote sleepers for US$79 d.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition