Stefan Arestis | Aug 29, 2017 | 4
Gay Córdoba: a pink guide to Argentina’s second city
Where did all the young pretty Argentinian gay boys go?
This is the geographical heart of Argentina, famous for having the country’s oldest university and one of the fewest offering free education for all. As a result, Córdoba has a large student population – some claim up to 20% of its 1.4 million residents.
Córdoba’s second biggest city brings with it a fun and exciting, albeit small gay scene, especially in the very Bohemian neighbourhood called Güemes.
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WHERE IS CÓRDOBA?
Córdoba is located in the centre of Argentina, around 700km (435 miles) Northwest of Buenos Aires. It is surrounded by picturesque valleys and mountains, called the Sierras de Córdoba, ideal for us adventure seeking nature lovers.
The Córdoba Province is especially famous for having the best, most fresh air in Argentina, thereby making it a place where Argentinians like to come to relax.
So much so that Che Guevara’s family moved to the nearby town of Alta Gracia from Rosario in 1932 when he was a young boy, to help ease his asthma. His house was later converted into a museum which can be visited today.
GAY MAP OF CÓRDOBA
We have created a gay map of the city of Córdoba and marked for you all the bars, clubs, hotels and restaurants we experienced and loved.
BEST GAY BARS OF CÓRDOBA
The gay scene of Córdoba does not compare to the big capital city, but there’s still an active scene in Córdoba town, made especially exciting by the young student population. Most of the places are located in Barrio Güemes, the nightlife and party soul of the city.
- Milk: (139 Laprida) Milk is a gay friendly mixed bar with dim lights, the perfect setting for romantic cocktails. We tried the famous Córdoban Fernet here (herbal alcoholic drink with coke). You have to try a Fernet at least once, but be warned, it tastes like medicine! Milk is open Wednesday to Saturday from 9pm-3:30am.
- Beep Pub: (171 Sucre) one of the popular weekend hangouts with funny drag shows, which helped us work on our Spanish slang. It’s located on the corner of Avenida Colon where the pretty flyer boys hang out and hand out discount flyers. Although it’s called a pub, it’s doesn’t get busy until after midnight and goes on till 5am.
- Capitán: (244 Achával Rodríguez) a restaurant and bar with an outdoor terrace, where the cool kids hang out. They specialise in artisanal beers, the most popular, Otro Mundo is a must try. It’s open daily from 6pm-midnight.
GAY PARTIES AND CLUBS IN CÓRDOBA
The Argentinians do everything late. Dinner is from 10pm and people don’t go out until after 2am. So if you’re planning a night out, try to factor in a disco nap beforehand – it’s gonna be a late one. There are 2 main gay parties going strong every weekend:
- Zen Disco: (Av. Julio A. Roca 730): the place to come for your Argentinian twink fix with mainly twenty somethings dancing to Reggaeton. It’s also a Resto Bar, so you can get a few choripáns snacks down you in between the dancing.
- Dorian Grey: (Bv. Las Heras 150): a heterofriendly club on Friday and Saturday evenings, which also has a bowling alley. They have live cabaret shows, popular DJs and plays great electronic music.
GAY FRIENDLY HOTELS IN CÓRDOBA TOWN
There’s a handful of gay friendly places to stay in Córdoba. These were the ones that stood out for us, either from our own personal experience or recommendations from fellow gay travellers:
Azur Real is one of the best boutique hotels we’ve experienced in Argentina. Located 2 blocks from the historic old town and around 15 minutes walk to the gay bars of Córdoba, this is a gay friendly haven in the heart of the city. It has a beautiful rooftop terrace, an outdoor jacuzzi and a small gym.
The spa is complimentary to all guests and can be pre-booked to have it all to yourself. Breakfast is a treat with fresh juices, delicious homemade breads, jams and more. We did not want to leave!
Rooms start from $249 a night. Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor.
Howard Johnson is a more budget gay friendly option, located by La Cañada river front, still close to the gay hangouts in Güemes, and just 4 blocks from Córdoba’s largest shopping centre (Patio Olmos).
We didn’t stay there ourselves but many fellow gay friends we met in Córdoba rated it highly. Howard Johnson also has a spa, a gym and a rooftop pool with panoramic views across the city.
Rooms start from $100 a night. You can read more about it on Tripadvisor.
We love having our own little love nest when travelling and renting an apartment gives us more freedom and flexibility than a hotel.
There’s plenty of apartments to rent in Córdoba, which can work out much cheaper than staying in a hotel, especially if you’re going to stay here for more than a few days.
Having a temporary home base also allows us to cook and practise some of the recipes we picked up during our travels.
OUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO EAT IN CÓRDOBA TOWN
There’s no shortage of decent restaurants across the city. These were our 2 favourite hidden gems we loved, recommend and would definitely visit again:
- Republica: impress your lover and bring them here. It’s in the same building as the awesome Azur Real boutique hotel. Miguel the extremely charismatic chef is as passionate about engaging with guests as he is with his delicious creations. The evening menu is a true gourmet experience with unique flavours such as macaroons with sour cream, Dijon mustard, soya sauce and pate de higado de pollo (chicken liver pate) with brioche and pear confit.
- Alcorta Carnes y Vino: the best parilla (steak house) we tried in Córdoba with yummy bife de chorizo (sirloin steaks) and excellent wines. Just remember: in Argentina, people don’t have dinner until around 10pm, so don’t expect much atmosphere beforehand!
Read more about our favourite food in Argentina.
ACTIVITIES TO DO IN CÓRDOBA TOWN
The young student population makes Córdoba town a fun city with an exciting, vibrant atmosphere, which we completely fell in love with. Here’s a few of our favourite sightseeing highlights:
- Free walking tour: Ladocta is an excellent company who uses local students as guides to show you different parts of the cities. This is a great way to discover the main sites of Córdoba including Plaza San Martín, Iglesia Catedral, and the famous National University of Córdoba, one of the oldest in Latin America.
- Museums: Córdoba has its fair share of excellent museums, which have free entry every Wednesday. Some of the most famous include the Museo de Emilio Carafa (modern art), Palacio Fereira (classic fine art) and the Museo de Memorio to learn more about the sad military history of the country.
- Learn Spanish: Córdoba is the perfect place to base yourself for a few days and do a language course. We did an intensive course at Set Idiomas, a highly rated language school and the only accredited one in Córdoba (by the Cervantes Institute). Not only do you get to learn Spanish in a one of the most beautiful cities of Argentina, but you will also make a lot of friends, learn about Argentinian culture, and take part in a lot of activities, like treks, guided visits and dance lessons.
EXPLORE CÓRDOBA’S COUNTRYSIDE
The beauty about Córdoba is that it is surrounded by the type of picturesque mountain scenery that needs to fill up your Instagram gallery. Whether you go North, South, West or East of Córdoba city, there is a Sierra that awaits you with its own unique landscapes, little villages, natural parks and estancias (cattle gaucho like ranches).
- Rent a car or use a public bus: there are frequent buses and collectivos to reach the countryside, but we found the Sierras of Córdoba are best explored on a road trip. We rented a car with Hertz, who have an office in the centre of town, making it very convenient to pick up and drop the car off. Their prices are very competitive and service professional and efficient.
- Romantic getaway: we strongly advise exploring the North of Córdoba by a car, particularly Villa Carlos Paz, La Falda, Camino del Cuadrado and Ascochinga, because this is one of the most scenic drives of Argentina. Spend the night in the gay friendly El Colibri, Estancia De Charme, an old Estancia recently refurbished by its French owners and modelled on Seville’s famous Maestranza building. Here you can relax, unwind, do lots of horse riding and just exist and feel part of the beautiful scenery.
- Alta Gracia day trip: Alta Gracia is perfect for a day trip and famous for the Museo Estancia Jesuitica, an old Jesuit estancia from the 18th century, converted into a museum. We came here for a day trip and had a lunch stop over at the highly rated Herencia restaurant. To make the most of the place and its history, consider a guided tour led by a local guide, which includes hotel pickup and drop-off.
- Che Guevara pilgrimage in Alta Gracia: this is the town Che Guevara’s family famously moved to so a young asthma suffering Che could benefit from the clean, fresh air. The Casa del Che Guevara is an excellent museum worth visiting to learn more about the young revolutionary.
- Trekking in Los Terrones: this National park, North of Córdoba city, offers some world class hiking, very interesting rock formations and amazing landscapes. You can explore it as a day trip from Córdoba (best to rent a car) or spend a night or two in nearby Capilla del Monte village.
- Quebrada del Condorito National Park: this is the place to come and see the largest birds in the world: the Condor! Located 86km from Córdoba town, the park is easily reached by public bus, and makes a perfect day trip. Come as early as possible to maximise your chances of spotting these elusive birds. If you’re lucky, sometimes you can even see Mummy Condor showing her babies how to take their first flight. A magical place!
For more about our travels in Argentina:
- read about our romantic road trip through Corrientes and Misiones
- see what it’s like to grow up as gay in Argentina with our interview with Juan from Buenos Aires
- check out our gay guides for Rosario and Buenos Aires
- learn more about our favourite Argentinian foods including our recipe for Argentinian steak
- laugh along with our 10 interesting facts about Argentina