The image of South American beaches filled with people and sun umbrellas in every direction you look holds true in Mar del Plata, a famous Argentine beach town.
This town can be considered the Rio de Janiero of Argentina; it’s 5 ½ hours south of Buenos Aires, on the Atlantic coast. Envision a beach town and city colliding…viola! That’s Mar del Plata. Mardel, as it’s affectionately referred to, is the escape for thousands of porteños during the withering heat of summer. Over ten different beaches offer everything one could dream up. From beach clubs called balnearios and sand volleyball to the young, hip Playa Grande this really is a scene for people of all ages.
Stake out on the beach for an entire day. Walk, run or bike the wonderful walkways that go for miles along the coast. Enjoy an ice cream. Eat lunch (the seafood is delicious!) at a beachside café and soak up the people watching. Or for the more adventurous there is parasailing, sky diving, windsurfing, and surfing lessons most days of the week. It’s the perfect place to escape the chaos of the city and descansar (rest and relax)! With clubs located right on the beach and several bars sprinkled throughout the main parts of town, the nightlife is just the right amount of fun after a long day on the sand.
Just remember to plan your visit according to how many people you want to sunbathe with. Late December through early March is the heat of summer and Mar del Plata is packed on weekends, especially holidays and long weekends. I visited during the latter part of March when there was still nice weather but a few hundred less people, plenty of space to be claimed on the beaches. Whatever time you visit you’re in for a treat!
How to get there:
PLANE: Aerolineas has 55-minute flights out from Buenos Aires to Mar del Plata a few times a day.
TRAIN: Daily trains arrive from Buenos Aires to Estación de Tren Mdq train station which is 2km from the main street.
BUS: It’s 5.5 hours from Buenos Aires Retiro Station, costs 220 pesos.
CAR: You can either rent a car or hire a car service at Buenos Aires Airport for around 290 Pesos one way.
GETTING AROUND: Taxis are available around the city, but you can also walk everywhere.