A DAY IN LA CUMBRECITA
Argentina today is considered a country of immigrants, with large populations of Europeans, Asians, and other South Americans establishing themselves firmly throughout the country. One of the larger European immigrant populations are German, arriving to Argentina as early as the 1800s, with the largest wave arriving in the 1920s. Looking to create a small town reminiscent of home, Dr. Helmut Cabjolsky and the Behrend brothers purchased 500 hectares in 1934 in the Calamuchita Valley in the Grand Sierras of the Cordoba province and began to establish a mountain hamlet. Together, they planted spruce and pine trees to make the area appear like the landscape of Germany and Switzerland and began to build homes and other structures characteristic of central Europe. Today, La Cumbrecita is a buzzing and picturesque town perfect for a weekend visit.
From Cordoba | La Cumbrecita is 118km (73 miles) from Cordoba. Head to Mercado Sur in Nuevo Cordoba and make your way downstairs (weird I know), to a small room where you will find several stands selling bus tickets. Look for "Villa General Belgrano" written on the stands or head to the Pajaro Blanco stand. Here you can purchase your roundtrip ticket to Villa General Belgrano, the first stop on the way to La Cumbrecita. The roundtrip fare should cost about 282 pesos/person (roughly $17.60 at current exchange rates). The first bus picks up in front of Mercado Sur and takes about one hour and 45 minutes to arrive at the bus station in Villa Belgrano. Here you will have approx 15 mins to purchase your roundtrip ticket to La Cumbrecita before boarding the bus. These tickets should cost approx 238 pesos ($14.88). Board the bus and enjoy the approx 1 hour drive through the Sierras of Cordoba to the mountain village of La Cumbrecita.
From Villa General Belgrano | Follow the second half of the above steps.
If you take the 8am bus from Cordoba you will arrive in La Cumbrecita at approx 11am, allowing you plenty of time to explore the town as a daytrip before catching the 5:30pm or 7pm bus out. If you like to relax, or need more time, stay the night at one of the numerous establishments throughout town.
Late Morning | For your morning pick me up, step into Edelweiss Cafe for a steaming cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. They have a selection of baked goods and pastries if you need something to tide you over for a bit. Spend some time perusing the various stores sprinkled throughout town selling a wide array of souvenirs, hand crafted items, sweets and baked goods, and other local delicacies.
Early Afternoon | Lunch is at Bar Suiza, one of the first restaurants you see upon entering the main part of town, and a longstanding Cumbrecita tradition, having been open for 40+ years. The menu includes German/Swiss favorites including goulash, bratwurst, spaetzle, raclette!, and more. My group of 4 opted to share a raclette, some spaetzle, and a brat, all washed down with a few glasses of beer. The restaurant is cozy with both indoor and outdoor seating and is always bustling with activity.
Mid to Late Afternoon | Time to work off lunch! Follow the signs from the main road to La Cascada. You will slowly wind up and around the town, enjoying pretty views and quaint architecture as you go, including the small Capilla. After 20-30 mins up, you will arrive to the start of the mini hike to the waterfall - approx 15-20 mins. The pathway is rocky, so take your time and watch your step (wear comfy shoes). You will be rewarded with beautiful views of the town's larger waterfall from the rocks below and around it.
From the entrance to the waterfall, follow the signs for La Olla (the pot). After 10-15 mins of walking you will arrive to the mini waterfall opening into the pot or small pool surrounded by rocks. Spend some time enjoying the scenery or take a dip if the weather allows.
Early Evening | As the sun begins to dip, head to one of the cafes for a hot chocolate and the town's traditional Apfelstrudel or a piece of German Chocolate Cake. The charming Confiteria Liesbeth is open on weekends and sits on the banks of the river. Another option is El Encuentro Confiteria whose balcony affords lovely views of the surrounding landscape dotted with Cumbrecita homes. Head back down the hill to catch the bus back to Cordoba or Villa Belgrano.