Mar del Plata
Mar del Plata is located about 400km south of Buenos Aires, Argentina. In the summer months, December through March, the beaches are crowded with Porteños on holiday. Outside the summer months, the city is much less crowded. However there are 700,000 residents who live there year round. It is a very large city with lots to do, and not only in summer months.
Mar del Plata features an oceanic climate typical for eastern Argentina. Winters are cool though and there is an average of about 6 days where temperatures reach 0°C (32°F) in the city center and 27 in the airport. The city remains warm during the day (around 13°C or 56°F). While the annual snow line for coastal Argentina ends in places like Necochea and Bahia Blanca to the southwest (150km and 450km respectively), heavy snowfalls do occur once every 10 years. Events that involved accumulation happened in 1975, 1991, 1995, July 10, 2004, July 15 2010 and on September 11 2015, while there were flurries in September 1986, June 2007, July 2011 and August 2013. The lowest recorded temperature is -9.3°C (15.5°F) on July 6, 1988. Summmers in the city are pleasantly warm and the heat is moderated by the ocean. Values range from 14°C (56°f) to 27°C (80°F) and there are 10 days each summer when temperatures climb above 30°C (86°F). This time of the year is when most precipitation also falls, mainly between October and April. Also, keep in mind that nights can become cold even in January so bring a jacket for the night (freezing temperatures have been recorded as late as December). Days above 35°C (95°F) are very rare and the highest recorded mark is 41.6°C (106.9°F) in January 1957.
Aerolineas makes the 55 minute flight several times a day during the high season.
Daily trains arrive from Buenos Aires. The train station is about 2km from the boulevard.
Buses are faster than trains, and incredibly clean. It's 5.5 hours from Buenos Aires (Retiro Station) and costs 900-1100pesos. Argentina has inflation and prices change every month. Find in web page www.plataforma10.com to get an idea of the actual prices.
Manuel Tienda Leon Colectivo service is available at the Buenos Aires Airport for around 1000 Pesos one way. The trip is 5 hours through the Argentine Pampas and scenery wise it is very boring - bring a book or a pillow.
Taxis are very cheap,is about 5 USD each 4 kilometers (year 2010) take into account that Argentina has +/- 45% annual inflation , prices change in ARS but remain the same in USD. Cabs drivers are plentiful, and pretty honest. There is a local bus network very large , you need a bus card in order to use it, it can be bought in terminal bus or in bus office (usually in downtown) and reloaded in drugstores. Another transportation service is Remisse , is like a cab with a discount , you have to call "the remiseria" , a sort of small terminal with a operator at phone. Almost for sure , no one speaks english , so be ready to make signs or talk in spanish with the drivers. If you want to walk, Mar del Plata is perfect , it has 28 kilometres of coast with lights and pavement and is pretty safe.
Great fish. The "Puerto" of Mar del Plata is a nice zone to know and try "mariscos", "rabas" and as many possibilities as you can.
"Alfajores" (a cake sandwich with dulce de leche)are found all over Argentina, and go perfect with cafe con leche. Many say the best are at the Havanna shops that are all around MDP. They make great gifts to bring home.
The Argentines love dulce de leche, which is a cream caramel, and put it on almost anything sweet. Medialunas (mini-croissants) and dulce de leche are a staple breakfast. Dulce De Leche Granizado Ice Cream (Helado) combines chocolate flakes into caramel ice cream. The best by far is found in the Alem section of town.
Parillas (mixed grills) are also ubiquitous and with the great exchange rate, eating steak almost every day is very possible. Sirloin Steak is referred to as Bife de Chorizo, not to be confused with the sausage of the same name. One of the best parillas in MDP is Palacio del Bife. Palacio del Bife is excellent, although pricey. Bargain bites can be found in casual restaurants, such as those found on the pedestrian strip, San Martin (pizza slices 2 pesos, whole pizzas feed at least 2 around 12 pesos).
Empanadas in Argentina are great for the first few days, but once you realize that unless you plan well in advance, this is the only food you can get during the daily siesta for lunch. Bariloche on Calle Mitre has some of the best around.
After you've entered a beef coma and can't take any more steak, Amigos Del Mar sushi restaurant is the only Japanese food in Mar Del Plata. There are several oriental "Tenedor Libres" (cheap buffet style restaurants) and some trendier restaurants in Alem that claim to do Chinese or Japanese food but just don't cut it.
The most traditional place to eat in the "Happy City", as Mar del Plata is also called, is "Manolo". This low-key restaurant has three branches (one on Rivadavia street, one right on the coast, and the newest one on Alem). Food quality is great and almost anything you order is to share. Great sea-food too. A very nice alternative to the pier... especially if you're on foot. You can't leave Mar del plata until you've tried "churros" from this establishment. They are the best!!! Don't expect anything fancy (tiny paper napkins and waiters always in a rush), but be sure to leave with a full, happy stomach.
Alem street is the heart of nightlife in the city. You will find countless pubs, bars, nightclubs in about a 6 square block area. The discos are located north of town: for 30 pesos, Sobremonte is quite an experience. Chocolate and Gap also are a lot of fun on the right night.
Mar del Plata boasts over 500 hotels, the majority falling into the two and three star category.As usual, things get cheaper the further inland you go, but you can still get a reasonable rate two or three blocks from the beach.
If the crowds and thumping beats of Mar del Plata are too much for you, head up or down the coast to some more sedate coastal towns.