Side Trips from Buenos Aires: Places to Explore

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The Atlantic Coast

Southern Buenos Aires Province is synonymous with one thing—la playa (the beach). Every summer Argentines flock to resort towns along the coast, many of which were originally large estates. Now they all hinge around a long peatonal (a pedestrians-only street) or central avenue. It can be hard to see the sand in the summer months. However, by walking (or driving) a little farther, you can get some beach action in more-agreeable surroundings even in peak season. Locals prefer to be in the thick of things by renting a canvas tent at a balneario (beach club); weekly rents are extortionate but include access to toilets and showers, otherwise nonexistent on Argentine beaches. Happily, buying a drink at their snack bars earns you the same privilege.

Although the weather is usually hot and sunny December through February, the sea is usually bracing, and temperatures drop in the evenings. Off-peak, the beaches tend to be deserted, and luxury accommodations are half price or cheaper. Though the weather can get chilly, walks along the windswept sands—when followed by an evening in front of a warm log fire—can be very romantic. Bear in mind, though, that many hotels and restaurants open only on weekends April through November.

Busy resort town Pinamar has been the place for well-to-do porteños to buy vacation homes for decades. The nearby town of Mar de las Pampas is set among pine forests and has made its names as a more exclusive (and thus expensive) destination. Farther south is Mar del Plata, the grande dame of Argentine coastal resorts. Although unbelievably packed in summer, the city the only place on the coast to function more or less normally in low season.

The Atlantic Coast at a Glance

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