Best South American City You Never Heard Of
When people think of traveling to or studying in a large South American city, they often think of Santiago, Buenos Aires, and Rio de Janeiro first. Many overlook the countless treasures to be found in other South American cities. Córdoba, Argentina is one that is often overlooked, but one can find infinite attractions in this city at a fraction of the cost of its popular huge city competitors. There are so many reasons why Córdoba, Argentina is the best city in South America that you never knew about.
Marlo Goldstein, a seasoned veteran in travel throughout Latin America, says: “I hesitate to say it because I’m still so new here, but here goes: I think I could fall in love with this place. There I said it. My goal now is to do everything possible to get to know it as well as possible in a short amount of time. I like that no one knows I am a foreigner until I speak. The people here dress and look very European/American. I feel very inconspicuous and very safe. I like the changing seasons (which I haven’t ever experienced in a Latin American country. Central America just has wet and dry). I also like that outside the city is country and country people, it looks more like the Latin America that I know and love.”
Córdoba is the second most important city in Argentina and it is called the “Heartland of Argentina.” It is located at the intersection of the routes that went from Chile and the Alto Peru (Bolivia) to the port of Buenos Aires; it was the most important city during the colonial period. Some 300 years later, Cordoba has retained its rich colonial heritage, as shown by its culture and architecture. The Río Primero, forms Córdoba’s main natural landmark. The Physical center is the Plaza San Martin, named after Argentina’s great liberator and the site of the city’s cathedral. South of the Plaza is Calle Obispo Trejo, an easily walkable avenue filled with some of the city’s most illustrious colonial buildings.
You will undoubtedly discover the contrast that exists between the technology of the 21st century and the history of the colonial period. Beautiful parks, historical places, museums and different attractions can be admired such as the colonial architecture of the Cathedral; the Cabildo that dates back to the 17th century; the Obispo Mercadillo House built at the beginning of the 18th century the Religious Art Museum, the Monserrat School, the oldest school that dates back to 1685, and the Jesus Society, the oldest church in the country and the famous and prestigious National University of Córdoba, which attracts thousands of students from other parts of the country and the rest of South America.
Because Córdoba attracts so many students to its university, it is not surprising that there are also schools for foreigners who wish to study Spanish. Europeans, particularly Germans, make up the present majority of foreigners studying Spanish. Gus Christensen, an American student who studied for four weeks through AmeriSpan’s program (www.amerispan.com) in Córdoba had the following comments for anyone interested in learning Spanish in Latin America: “It is a very comfortable city. It’s so easy to feel at home and the people are so friendly. It is easy to find culture, good food, and good nightlife. But, you’re reminded that you’re still in Latin America because of the bus system that doesn’t always work too well. I was also able to go horseback riding and enjoy the countryside about a half hour outside of the city.”
The most rewarding asset of it all is the province’s warm and willing people. The infrastructure is adequate though never luxurious, the roads are often winding but never hair-raising, and the sights are singular while serene. The seasons are opposite of North America, which makes Argentina a great winter getaway. Córdoba’s tourist circuits spread out from the capital city like the spokes of a wheel, and many can be covered comfortably in a day.