We visited Argentina for a month starting in Mendoza and working our way to Buenos Aires. Of course, we stopped in Argentina’s second-largest city, Cordoba situated perfectly between the two cities. This city is 577m² with 1.3 million residents. Over 30% of the population is college students so it was a great place for inexpensive fun. Just our speed! In this post, I’ll share my favorite things we did in our week-long stay.
1. Go on a walking tour
We loved our tours with La Docta Free Walking Tours. We loved our first tour so much we did another one of their tours. Our favorite was “Córdoba the Modern” with our guide Macarena. Be sure to ask about her! The tour begins daily at 5 pm and lasts about 3 hours.
View this post on Instagram
2. Attend a college class.
College is free in Argentina for citizens and foreigners. You can walk into any college class and attend a lesson. Maybe, its the nerd in me but I think that is such a fun way to learn about a place. Courses are obviously taught in Spanish so it would help to know Spanish. The most popular field of study is law school. Our guide who was about to graduate joked when you don’t know what you want to do, be a lawyer. Both of our guides were current students and encouraged us to visit a class. We visited during summer break so we weren’t able to do this. If you visit a college in Cordoba, leave me a comment below on your experience.
3. Visit Paseo del Buen Pastor
Visit this cultural center between 6 pm – 9 pm for the water & music show on the hour. On a hot summer day, it gets really crowded so plan to arrive early if you want a seat. Until 2002, it served as a women’s prison right in the middle of the city. In 2007, the cultural center opened and became a place people gathered and relaxed. The prison is now located 20 minutes outside of town. This is a lot of history within the four walls that give a deeper insight into life in Argentina specifically around the dictatorships.
4. Visit the Jesuit Crypt.
It looks like a subway entrance until you get down the stairs. Then, it reveals that it actually is a small tunnel created underground where the legend is that it was built to pray in hiding to escape prosecution and move sneakily through the city. This was “re-discovered” in 1989 when a telephone company was digging in the city for a new line. They are still finding little tunnels around the city to this day.
5. Try Fernet and Coke
This drink is served everywhere in the Nueva Córdoba neighborhood. Fernet is a bitter type of Italian alcohol that is always consumed with Coca-Cola. Our guide emphasized that it is never served with Pepsi. Consumption in Cordoba alone accounts for 30% of the world’s consumption. Its the main factor that makes Argentina one of the top consumers of coca-cola. The most popular brand in bars is Fernet Branca and costs about $7 USD. It’s an acquired taste that we both really liked. Some tourists love it while others hate it – I’m somewhere in between.
6. Walkthrough Sarmiento Park.
The best choripan in the city comes from a food truck, El Dante. Choripan is basically a chorizo sandwich – chorizo + pan (bread in Spanish). The park is about 1 mile long and is filled with locals working out. We stumbled upon several workout courses while we were searching for this choripan. Its located at the very end of the park but it definitely worth the walk. (See? There’s some exercise in there). With each sandwich served comes an array of options for pickled veggies. We did our best guess and tried it with pickled onions, cabbage, and carrots. It was delicious!
7. Try the national drink, Mate
The best place to try this tea-like drink is at a rooftop bar in Güemes Neighborhood. Mate is the national drink all over Argentina. Because all locals already have their own thermos and cup for mate, it is rare to find a restaurant for tourists to sample it. The best way to try the drink is in a circle of locals since its a common way to connect with new friends. If you haven’t been invited to try mate, the rooftop bar in Güemes provides tourists with the proper way to consume this drink. It tastes like a very bitter green tea.
8. Hangout in Güemes Neighborhood
This deserves its own line but hangout in Güemes Neighborhood and enjoy the bar scene. Happy hour at the bars generally is from 6 pm -9 pm. The party really gets started after 11 pm. Cordoba is a college town and this neighborhood is where the college kids party. We enjoyed ourselves at Dada Mini for cocktails specifically. For craft beers, we enjoyed Peñon create your own flight samples.
The buildings have a very interesting history that gives this neighborhood its character. The neighborhood was built for poor people. While the buildings are multi-level and large, several families shared them. Each family was given one room and had to share common areas.
9. Visit the Paseo de las Artes
Paseo de las Artes is a flea market every Saturday and Sunday. It’s a full street selling all types of art. Unfortunately, we missed it because we had to head to Buenos Aires. I love outdoor markets in all of our cities. Walking through tiny stalls is my favorite way to spend a summer morning. Leave me a comment below if you get to check out the largest market in Cordoba.
10. Visit museums on Wednesday for Free
Yup! Every Wednesday, public museums are free for everyone. There are 3 particularly close together that would make the perfect day Ferreyra Palace, Provincial Museum Palacio Dionisi, and Faro Museo Emilio Caraffa. If you enjoy history and art, these three museums are not to be missed. At night, all public buildings are lit up in different colors so you won’t miss it. Fun fact: This polar bear was originally located by the port but later moved once the country realized there are no polar bears in the south pole.
Bonus: Where to Stay in Cordoba
Although the party is in Güemes, the best place to stay is in Nueva Cordoba. This area is walking distance to all of the main attractions. Because it is a college town and we wanted the local experience, we chose to stay at an Airbnb. If you’ve never done Airbnb, I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend it to dive into the local experience. It’s my most preferred accommodation. As a bonus tip, if you sign up for Airbnb with this link, you’ll receive USD 30 off of your first stay.
The exact apartment we stayed at can be found here. It was perfect for a week for two people. We were able to walk to all major points of interest. While it is small, we had plenty of space – enough to record this video.
One more thing: if you enjoyed this post, please share it!