Nearly as cluttered as Carlos Paz with hotels and parrillas, Cosquín is the events center of the Valle de Punilla, which rises gradually north toward and beyond La Falda. It has few sights, but major folk and rock festivals take place here in summer.
At 700 meters above sea level, Cosquín (pop. about 20,000) is 52 kilometers from Córdoba via La Calera, and 63 kilometers from the provincial capital via Villa Carlos Paz. RN 38 goes directly through the middle of town as Avenida San Martín, passing the central Plaza San Martín and, four blocks farther north, the Plaza Próspero Molino, site of the biggest musical events.
After straggling out of bed around midday, Argentine tourists head for the 1,260-meter summit of Cerro Pan de Azúcar, about seven kilometers east of town, for views of the Sierras to the west and the city of Córdoba to the east. A gravel road goes most of the way, but there is no scheduled public transport; from the parking area, the peak is a half-hour climb or a US$5 chairlift ride away. At the foot of the chairlift, souvenirs and simple meals are available from a pair of confiterías; at one of these, owner Luis de Giacomo has built a museum-shrine to Carlos Gardel, including a larger-than-life monument to the great tanguero.
Traditionally, Cosquín’s biggest draw is the Festival Nacional del Folklore (national folklore festival, www.aquicosquin.org); held the last week of January for more than 30 years, it lasts around 10 days and brings in artists like Horacio Guarany, Mercedes Sosa, and Soledad (who normally omits her surname Pastorutti).
The festival normally fills the 8,100-seat open-air theater on Plaza Próspero Molino, where hanging advertisements on the chain-link fence block the views of non–ticket holders (who can still hear the music). Events start around 10 p.m. and finish about 3–4 a.m.
Early February’s three-day Cosquín Rock (www.cosquinrock.com), which draws performers of the stature of Attaque 77, Babasónicos, and Las Pelotas, now takes place at San Roque, about 10 kilometers south of Cosquín.
Accommodations and Food
Cosquín has an enormous roster of hotels and other accommodations, but many are open in summer only or, perhaps, as late as Semana Santa; off-season, rates can drop dramatically. Visitors seeking peace and quiet, but still wishing to attend the festivals, should consider staying nearby in La Falda.
The simple but impeccable and modern Hotel del Valle (San Martín 330, tel. 03541/45-2802, US$19 s, US$26 d) has the drawback of being on the main drag. The inviting Petit Hotel (Sabattini 730, tel. 03541/45-1311, US$79 s or d, petithotel [at] infocosquin [dot] com [dot] ar) has kept high standards for many years.
Parrillada is the standard at places like San Marino (Avenida San Martín 715, tel. 03541/45-2927), whose specialty is chivito (grilled goat). Pizza and pasta are also popular, as at Pizzería Riviera (Avenida San Martín and Sabattini, tel. 03541/45-1152).
Getting to Cosquín
Cosquín’s Terminal de Ómnibus (Perón and Salta) is one block west of Plaza San Martín. There are frequent buses to Córdoba, and up and down the Valle de Punilla.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition