Mar del Plata

Located about two hours south of Buenos Aires, Mar del Plata is the largest vacation area in all of Argentina, and with its beaches, bays, coastline, cliffs and forests, it is easy to see why. About 650,000 people live in Mar del Plata, welcoming more than 8 million visitors annually.

With  nearly 30 miles of beaches, there are plenty of stretches of sand from which to choose, and surely one that will best fit your family’s ocean outing. For example, there are beaches closer to the downtown area, including Bristol, Popular, Punta Iglesia and Las Toscas, while small beaches with cliff backdrops are to the south. The best beach for surfing is Playa Grande, while Varese and Cabo Corrientes have calmer waters because of the breakwaters.

Mar del Plata Boardwalk along the beach

Mar del Plata Boardwalk along the beach © Danflcreativo | Dreamstime.com

Aside from having fun under the sun on Mar del Plata’s beaches, there are plenty of outdoor recreational activities to keep you and your family busy. More adventurous types may want to try SCUBA diving or shark diving, while those who want to fly — or feel like they can — can take to the air for paragliding and skydiving. Back on the ground there is bicycling, horseback riding, hiking, rock climbing and even 4×4 expeditions. And, back out on the water, there is always surfing. In fact, surfing is considered not only a sport, but a lifestyle in Mar del Plata, also known as the National Surf Capital.

Whether you are looking for a memento to take back home to remind you of your time in Argentina or a small gift for a loved one, there are plenty of places to shop in Mar del Plata. The San Juan Commercial Area is one of the oldest shopping areas in the city, with loads of shops to browse. If you are looking for traditional gifts and handicrafts, wander through Sierra de los Padres Commercial Area. More than 250 stores are found within Alberti Commercial Area, which blends a shopping mall with a cultural center. A more traditional mall can be found at Microcentro Commercial Area.

Its oceanside setting ensures Mar del Plata has plenty of seafood on offer when it comes time to eat, and you will surely enjoy its traditional preparation. If you are a landlubber, you will not be disappointed with the always-popular Argentinian meat dishes. The city is a melting pot, too, which means you can also find Italian, Spanish, Mexican and Japanese favorites throughout the area.