Long weekend at the Argentine Copacabana - Part 1

Many people think, that equally to Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires has long beaches on the Atlentic coast. True, that the city is at the waterfront, at the golf of the brownly rolling river, the La Plata. But the first real beach on the Atlantic coast can be found 300 kilometres to the south, where the La Plata reaches the ocean. In February, during the long weekend of the carnaval, we also headed for the biggest seaside resort of Argentina, Mar del Plata.

It seems that thousands of porteños - inhabitants of Buenos Aires - had the same idea. Despite we left from the capital in the early morning, we managed to do the 400 kilometres in 12 hours. Spending the whole day in the car, we were laughing on the fact that the porteños travel to Mar del Plata to get rid of the crowded capital, then a few hundred kilometres away they spend the weekend together, again packed. In the evening the Atlantic ocean finally appeared on the horizon, we reached Mar del Plata, and got through the local traffic jam, which reminded us to Buenos Aires.

The beach of Mar del Plata already crowded in the morning

In social realist mood

The main income of Mar del Plata comes from tourism. After its establishment in 1874 it was first dicovered by the nobles. Due to the peronism, which lifted the middle class in the 50s, more and more people could afford spending their holidays here. Trade-unionist hotels appeared one by one along the beach. We also lodged in one of them, which reminded me to the social realist hotels of Hungary with its huge dining halls and minimalist fururniture.

While looking for a tourist map, we discovered the city center the first morning. The fight for the better places on the beach started already in early morning, and soon the whole community was laying under bright and colorful sunshades. Shady parks, stands with chilled drinks, and the monotone singing of the vendors offering corn, all reminded me to the summers at the Hungarian sea, the Balaton.

The center of the city has an L shape along the bay, where the seaside promenade is opened by two huge sea lion sculptures to the two directions. Behind the promenade many hotels and restaurants are waiting for the public. The big sensation of the city was the Libertad frigate, which was waiting for long weeks at the coast of Ghana, waiting for the ransom from the Argentine government. Its return to the home country was celebrated with huge hype, and now everyone wanted to touch this modern heroe. People were queuing in front the whole day to get on the deck.

We sat in the car, and getting rid of the crowd of Mar del Plata, we drove to the north, to the seaside villages. These villages, Mar Chiquita, Mar de las Pampas, Villa Gesell and Carilo were built on sand dunes on the seaside.

The wind frightened a lot of tourists from Mar Chiquita

Underneath the settled pine trees, English style aristocratic villas were hiding. While Mar del Plata is serving the needs of the middle class, these little villages are more prepared for the upper class. Many luxury cars were waiting in the parking slot, while their owners spent time in the open-air shopping malls.

Mush-ice of the lovers

We went to the beach in Mar de las Pampas to dip in the water. Finally we only dipped our feet, because the water was cool. We rather sat on our towel, watching the brave windsurfers a little farther.

When reading about the Argentine beach in the Lonely Planet, many traveller suggested not to be surprised if the Argentines will be running around and will sweep the sand into our eyes without turning a hair. It was true, after a while our conversation became cracky because of the sand stuck in between our teeth. The weather is also windy around Mar del Plata, therefore I only managed to shake out my towel, that some grains landed in the mush-ice of a couple. Fortunately they were occupied with each other.

Mar del Plata is famous for its restaurants offering sea food. In the evening we decided to drive to the best place possible, to a restaurant complex, which was built just in front of the port, waiting for the hungry. We saw here restaurants looking like barks, Spanish seaside bars, seashells and crabs hanging from the walls.

Sea food plate in Chichilo

The first day we chose a classic, called Chichilo, which still had the feeling of a restaurant from the 50s. During the four days we tasted a huge selection of seafoods from polips, fish filled with shrimp, and squids.

In the next part you can read about a gaucho village, a mouth-watering festival, and you can see the animals we met at the seaside.

The original in Hungarian is published here.

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About Tiny Girl With Big Bag

Hobby writer and autodidact photographer whose passion is to travel and get to know new people and cultures. She has been on 4 continents and 30 countries, and the outcome is this travel blog where she shares travel stories, thoughts, tips and photography always through a subjective eye.

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  1. It looks like a nice beach but is very crowded that would really put me off. And we all know how sand can get everywhere!

    It is good to know that Argentina has some nice beaches though as it is perceived as a safer place than Brazil.

    1. Safer than Brazil and very pleasant, BUT not a tropical beach, indeed :)

  2. Oh my that beach is crowded! But I like all the colourful umbrellas in the picture.

    1. That beach is the destination of the crowds from Buenos Aires, better to avoid it in summer time :)

  3. Köszi a bejegyzést!! ( most találtam meg a magyar oldalt) Ügyes vagy!

  4. Szép tengerpart. :-) Most is jók lettek a képek és zseniális az élménybeszámolód ;-)

  5. The blog is nice collection of argentine destination and food. Thanks for sharing.