Capilla del Monte: the place of the famous Uritorco

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This article means something very special to me. It is the first article I write about my country, about Argentina, one of the most beautiful countries in the world at a landscape level (and not to speak at a human level). The first province that we decided to visit with our blog was the wonderful province of Córdoba and its lovely Capilla del Monte, one of those places that foreign tourists listen to but few of them go, giving priority to Patagonia, or Mendoza, or to the Iguazú Falls.

But Córdoba with its green mountains, its powerful rivers, its quiet villages, and the beautiful happiness of its people, is undoubtedly a must in an itinerary through Argentina.

So let’s start with Capilla del Monte, a place at the foot of the famous Uritorco Hill, that global energy center where alien life specialists claim that there lies a huge extraterrestrial city below.

But Capilla del Monte is not only the Uritorco Hill, and in this article, I intend to show you some of the most beautiful places to visit. There will always be more to discover, but as I always say there is nothing better than traveling without haste and slowly enjoying each place.

 

CAPILLA DEL MONTE:

LOS TERRONES, A TREKKING PATH FOR CRAZY PARENTS

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Yes, we are parents and sometimes we are a bit crazy. But fortunately, thanks to that, our son discovers corners that many children do not discover because their parents do not dare to go. It is only a matter of knowing the limitations of your children, and especially the limitations of your back and arms to be able to hold him when necessary (and when you forget the child-carrying-backpack on your trip through Europe).

The Terrones is a cultural and recreational autochthonous park according to its website. It is located in what is known as the Quebrada de la Luna, in Capilla del Monte, just 20 minutes by car from the Spa Hotel Terrazas del Uritorco.

It is a park that is privately owned by the Verón family – although originally those lands belonged to our aboriginal cultures that were unjustly and painfully eliminated from our territory after the Spanish invasion.

Those lands passed from hand to hand, by forced inheritance, and today they are in private hands. Luckily in this park endemic plants that only exist there were discovered so the place became protected and their owners lost the right to make of the site what they wanted.

Let’s try to put aside this question of privacy -although I know it can be difficult to do so- and let’s enjoy nature and a walk that is really wonderful. In the first place we have to know that the entrance to the place has a cost of 150 Argentine pesos, that to this day, when I write the article, it would be equivalent to 7 dollars (in a month, with the inflation that overwhelms the country, maybe we are speaking of much less), a really low amount for what the park offers.

Being a site with several trails where one can easily get lost, the walk should be done with a guide. The guide does not charge a salary and you are not forced to pay him. At the end of the excursion, you can give whatever you want at will.

But I assure you that after the tour where the guide not only takes you around the area but also tells you about the flora and fauna, the rock formations and the history of the place, you will want to leave more than what you paid for the entrance.

The trip through the Park of Los Terrones takes about two hours round trip, with a total ascent of 400 meters (from 1400 meters you go to 1800). We are before two hours of pure contact with nature. There is nothing else. Nature and yourself.

Ascents, descents, waterfalls, dry rivers, rock formations with strange figures, caves, vultures and hawks, breathtaking views – and some climbs that will also leave you breathless, literally.

But sometimes the words are not enough so I prefer to leave you a small video of the official page of the Park and some photos that we took during our tour.

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Why did we choose that title for this section? Because the hike is of medium difficulty. It is not complicated for people with a good physical condition, in fact, if you are used to walking and training, it is quite simple.

But doing it with a child of two and a half years old is somewhat more complicated. Anyway, we are happy to have done it because our son enjoyed it immensely. The walk is slow, quiet, at a leisurely pace, so you can definitely do it with your child.

You have to take the necessary precautions, you have to go with proper footwear and a good amount of water. But we are among those who think that having a child does not mean to stop doing things but rather to adapt. We know our son and we know he loves to walk.

We also know his needs and know when he is tired. So we chose to do the walk, make him discover a new place.

Clarification: being a protected place you can not go with pets, so Tita had to stay at the hotel for this opportunity.

 

CAPILLA DEL MONTE:

LOS MOGOTES Y EL PASO DEL INDIO, A HUGE PLACE IN A SMALL TREK

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As soon as you enter Los Mogotes -and after paying just 25 pesos per person (a little more than a dollar) – you are in front of a beautiful landscape with the Dolores River passing through a valley surrounded by large gray stone cliffs with green roofs.

On the banks of the river, several tables and grills invite you to relax with the sound of water and enjoy a meal. But we did not go there to eat but to get to the famous Paso del Indio.

Once again I tell you: going with your child is at your own risk. It is an easy walk but through large rocks and along the river. I repeat, you have to know your limitations and those of your child, and always prioritize safety over the discovery.

Once you are 100% calm with security, you can just go ahead. Children are curious and adventurous little people, and if you take care of them with responsibility, there are no limits to your imagination. Oh, and it’s a walk that can be done with dogs (also taking care of them on the way).

The Dolores River meanders under hanging bridges and caves, and there above, where the hawks fly, the rocky cliffs protect us from the sun and guide us along a path of barely 400 meters, almost without ascent, through rocks and stones.

The murmur of the river, the walk of the wind between the holes of the rocks, and the eyes that do not know whether to enjoy the landscape or look where the feet are placed. Some sectors are slippery when wet so it is always better to have your hands free and if you go with children, take them by the hand, slowly.

No one hurries you.

The whole day can be dedicated to these 400 meters. It is a tour that can be done in 20 minutes. But to dedicate the day to it implies to enjoy, implies to go with care and with responsibility, implies to sit down to listen to the water and to be in real contact with nature.

I leave some photos of the road, just before reaching the Paso del Indio.

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Now it seems that we have reached the end. But that small corridor between two immense rocks is a magnet for the curious. What can it be further on?

That is the famous Paso del Indio (the Indian corridor), a natural corridor that is around 50 centimeters wide, and where you must pass sideways since walking straight is not an option as you wouldn´t fit.

But the ground is not just dirt or grass. The ground is made of rocks and stones, so your back serves as a great ally to advance. There are barely 10 meters ahead and you will feel that you are caught between two rocks.

But it will be a matter of stretching your arms, resting your hands on the rocks above, and taking a small leap with the help of the strength of your arms to come out to a place that will leave you opened mouth.

There, from the top, the whole road we have made opens before our eyes in a 360-degree view with Cerro Pajarillo as the main protagonist.

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According to legend, the Spaniards cornered the Comechingones Indians in this place and the Indians managed to escape through this narrow corridor, but the Spaniards were trapped as their armor did not pass through the corridor. Hence the name “El Paso del Indio”.

From there we only have to go back down and undo our way. This last trip, the Paseo del Indio, cannot be done with small children because it would be impossible for them to climb, so you will have to take turns to stay down with your kid while the other climbs.

I leave a video of the place:

 

CAPILLA DEL MONTE:

URITORCO: A HIKING MORNING

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Climbing to the top of Cerro Uritorco was something that was in doubt in my plans because I had to do it alone. It is not a hike suitable for children under 8 years old or for short-legged dogs like Tita.

It was not that I did not want to do it because I was afraid of doing it alone. I simply prioritize family activities. But I was there, and not climbing to one of the most important natural sites in the world was a real pity.

So at 6.45 in the morning the alarm sounded and after a light breakfast, I traveled the 1000 meters that separated the base of the hill from the hotel.

You can go by car and leave it in the parking lot paying the 130 pesos (6 dollars) fee or you can access on foot. Once there you have to pay the 300 pesos (15 dollars) that give you access to the great walk to the summit. It sounds expensive but I must tell you that it is worth every penny paid.

Now, let’s talk about the walk. First, let me tell you that it is mandatory to go with suitable footwear – do not pretend to be authorized to enter if you go in sandals or leather shoes-. Trekking shoes, two liters of water, and sunscreen, mosquito repellent, and a windbreaker to enjoy the summit without being cold -I’m talking about summer.

In winter it is necessary to go with a jacket all the way. At the reception where you can buy drinks and something to eat, there is a sign indicating that the hike to the summit takes about four hours and the descent of another three. Do not panic. This will depend a lot on your physical condition.

The entire hike between the ascent, the rest at the top, and descent took me about four total hours.

During the ascent there are several breaks in which to stop to hydrate and rest your legs:

First rest: Mirador del Caminante (1237 masl)
Second rest: Posta del Silencio (1316 masl)
Third rest: Hondonada del Buey (1417 masl)
Fourth rest: Quebrada del Viento (1550 masl)
Fifth rest: Valley of the Spirits (1670 masl) This is where the mountain refuge with kitchen and beds where you can stay overnight (notice to the authorities of the Park).
Sixth rest: Pampilla (1800 masl)
Summit of the Uritorco Hill (1979 msnm)

It is a walk that anyone can do, but we must bear in mind that it is somewhat demanding especially in some sections, and if you do not have a good physical condition you will suffer a bit. I recommend that before you go you take a few days to walk and train to enjoy the climb and not constantly be thinking about how much you have left.

You have to think that you are going to ascend to 1970 meters high and you are going to make a route of almost 6 kilometers one way and 6 kilometers back. But I encourage you to do it. It is a wonderful experience.

I leave here some photos for you to discover a little of this ascent that goes through hills, between stone roads, the Calabalumba river, waterfalls and water pots, and the most overwhelming silence that we can get to hear. Only your steps are heard, and the nature that surrounds you.

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Getting to the top of this hill whose name in qichua means Cerro Macho (Male Hill) is a wonderful feeling of having achieved a goal after a demanding walk.

Sitting there on top enjoying a bird’s eye view of 360 degrees with the lakes on one side, and the mountains on the other, is a very intense moment. Much more if you are there, in solitude, knowing that this hill is known for its enormous energy, for being a place of many UFOs sightings, for being a site of great religious and energetic importance for the Comechingones Indians.

In short, it is not only to climb a hill but to be surrounded by a strong mystic that although you do not believe in it, it does not mean it is not present in the air.

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Capilla del Monte: where is it, how to get there, and where to sleep

Capilla del Monte can be reached by bus from the terminal of Córdoba capital. The train is not an option since the station in Capilla is not yet enabled. The ideal option is to have your own vehicle since not only can you arrive more easily but you will have total freedom when traveling through the region.

Capilla del Monte is 100 kilometers from the city of Córdoba on National Route 38 (for the type of route this is equivalent to a little more than an hour and a half away, almost two), and 800 kilometers from the City of Buenos Aires by the National Route 9. The ideal thing is to fly to the city of Córdoba and rent a car there (unless you are from Argentina and you have your own vehicle).

Today there are low-cost airlines that already operate between Buenos Aires and Córdoba for very cheap prices, such as FlyBondi. But we recommend traveling through Aerolineas Argentinas, as we were told that FlyBondi airplanes are RyanAir’s used airplanes, and we prefer to spend a little more and prioritize safety.

Once there, the lodging options are very diverse: from very rustic campsites, glamping with “cooler” options, cabins, and hotels. We were lucky enough to be invited by the Spa Hotel Terrazas del Uritorco to enjoy a few days in its beautiful place just 1 kilometer from the base of Uritorco.

It is a hotel with beautiful suites and cabins with enviable views to the hills and an ideal location to tour the region since it is very close to all the great natural attractions of the area. It also has a restaurant and spa service. Here I leave some photos for you to see. They did not pay us to stay, so what I tell is 100% real and not sponsored.

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There were four total days that we had in Capilla del Monte. We could have discovered more things, made more walks, traveled to Ongamira which is another magical place to visit. But we decided to travel slowly, leaving us wanting to return.

When you travel with children you have to adapt the times to their needs. And those needs involve going slow, respecting their breaks, their naps, their meals, their leisure times. So this is what we discovered in Capilla del Monte.

But three places were enough to make us fall in love with the region and feel the urge to recommend it to you. If you travel to Argentina, do not miss visiting Córdoba and the Punilla department where Capilla del Monte is located.

Very soon we will continue telling you about the wonders of this province and our beloved country. I hope we can encourage you to visit it. And do not forget to subscribe to our blog to receive all the news by clicking HERE.

 


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Written by Pie & Pata
Happy is he/she who enjoys family travel.