Atlantic Coast

There are 500 km of beautiful beaches and some splendid resorts spread out along the great sweeping curve of coastline between La Plata and Bahía Blanca. Closest to Buenos Aires, there's a string of sleepy seaside towns known collectively as the Partido de la Costa, popular with older retired Argentines and better for sea-fishing than beachcombing. For more beautiful beaches, head further southwest to party town Pinamar, the jewel of the whole coast with its excellent hotels and fine restaurants. Its neighbour, smarter still, is chic Cariló, where the balnearios (swimming beaches) are exclusive and the cabañas luxurious. Nearby Villa Gesell is more of an ugly working town and best avoided. Nearby is a quieter resort becoming known for its natural beauty and complete peace: Mar de las Pampas, where you can find cabañas set in idyllic woodland right by to the sea.

Argentina's most famous resort, Mar del Plata was the very height of chic in the 1920s, but it's now a slightly seedy seaside city, with packed beaches and casinos - not the best place to relax. To the west, two old-fashioned resorts are rather more appealing: Miramar is quiet and low-key, good for young families; and larger Necochea has an appealing woodland park along its coastline, with a vast stretch area of unspoilt dunes, perfect for exploring on horseback. The southern stretch of beaches ends in the major port of Bahía Blanca, a useful transport hub if you're heading south, with an attractive town inland from the sea.

Getting there

All resorts on the coast are linked to each other and to Buenos Aires by frequent bus services. Trains also leave to Mar del Plata, stopping at many coastal towns. If you're combining beaches andestancias, it's best to hire a car. 

Best time to visit

Avoid January if you can, when the whole coast is packed out. December and late February are ideal for hot weather and fewer crowds. Many resorts are very pleasant in spring and autumn, but out of season (and the season is from December to March) most resorts apart from the busy Mar del Plata are ghost towns. 

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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