We were impressed by the wonderful geography, the vastness of Lake San Roque and the neighborhoods that seem to be hanging from the hillsides in Villa Carlos Paz.
Our ride on the panoramic bus had just started when we realized that we would never have been able to cover the vast summer village in such a short time on foot. Besides, we had a guide and that represented an added value that would let us call a spade a spade.
“A tour around the downtown”, was the driver’s promise, “and then I will show you how we live in this extraordinary mountain range town”. Like a good native of Córdoba, his sayings, explanations, references and cunning comments did not lack humor.
As we got past the Town Hall, we learned that this building is part of the history of Villa Carlos Paz, as it used to house Hotel Carena, famous for having sheltered celebrities from Argentinian politics and high society.
The residential areas
Lake San Roque background
Extraordinary mountain range town
The pyramid of Keops Disco
We had a guide
Our first stop was at the small square containing the cuckoo clock. We had a close view of the symbol of the city and waited for the right moment in which the bird appears through the upper trap door while the gong is heard. We listened to some information about its history and the magnetism it has on tourists.
The old center gradually appeared before us while we traveled along Sarmiento Avenue, with its colorful and busy commercial heart, the most ancient in the city. As we went over the Central Bridge, we found Paseo de las Farolas (Streetlamps Promenade), on 9 de Julio Avenue, with picturesque restaurants and shopping centers.
“During the 1970s, General Paz and 9 de Julio Avenues would concentrate most of the 27 theaters. Today, there are only 7 houses that have changed their structure. With several theaters and shows at each of them, they remain a special attraction along with the celebrities who perform there”, the driver told us.
As we received more and more information, we continued our way towards the waterfront. Recently refurbished and landscaped, several free sport activities have been included. Cárcamo Avenue leads to a sequence of swim resorts on the San Antonio River and to the route heading for the High Summits and Mina Clavero.
Nightlife in the village is associated with youth and discos. The pyramid of Keops Disco, which has been standing for several years, includes six dancing floors where different rhythms are played. The more recent Khalama Disco is in the students’ agenda due to its technological features. The famous Molino Rojo is still open. It has managed to make an impact on nightlife with shows and music of all times for over 50 years.
What really impressed us was to visit Complejo Aerosilla (the chairlift complex). At our second stop, we wandered among the various entertainment options available. The chairlift reached the top of the hill in a matter of minutes and let us catch a 360-degree glimpse of the valley where the city and the lake are nestled while we breathed the freshest air.
There is also a swimming-pool, a commercial center, an aquarium, horses, ATVs, and more. A well-sign-posted trail ends at the giant cross standing at the top of the hill after climbing its 2,250 meters of length through a medium-difficulty hike.
During the summer, this spot summons large audiences, as each member of the family may choose the activity they prefer. Everything is properly regulated and there are set timetables for each activity.
But there was one more thing to see. We continued towards the residential areas: the Alto, La Cuesta, Santa Rita del Lago and José Muñoz neighborhoods. As the best houses, almost all of them with a swimming-pool, were passing in front of our eyes, the driver told us which were owned by politicians and celebrities, as he added some summer anecdote.
As we reached the shore, we made out the different swim resorts on both shores: Bahía Los Mimbres and Bahía de los Gitanos, the Municipal Sports Center stadium, the station from where the tour motorboats set out. Every one of them with their own characteristics, their fashion styles and everything with some humorous comment from our guide. We would come back later to catch more details!
As we got off the shuttle, we felt the perfect combination of panoramic views and the account given by the guide would remind us of the facets of this attractive summer city. Growth, amusement and quietness are the conditions to host the thousands of people that visit this destination every year.
Mónica Pons Eduardo Epifanio
Villa Carlos Paz