Mar del Plata beaches stretch for more than ten miles both north and south of this major resort city located about 250 miles south of Buenos Aires. In addition to being one of the premier resorts among the beaches in Argentina, the city is also one of the country’s major fishing ports. It offers great nightlife and a wide variety of excellent restaurants, hotels, casinos, shops, boutiques, galleries, and cultural events. It is difficult to choose which is the best Mar del Plata beach from among the more than twenty that line the coast and rival the beaches of Rio de Janeiro.
The best Mar del Plata beach north of the city is probably Camet Beach, which is framed by T-shaped breakwaters that moderate the waves and create small bays. This makes for easy swimming and is excellent for families. Just south of the city is La Perla, which is actually a number of beaches connected by boardwalks and all offering wonderful views of the city. If you want a wide variety of facilities, this is probably the place for you. There a numerous restaurants, shops, and bars as well as toilet and shower facilities. There are also children’s playgrounds, volleyball courts, and other recreational facilities. Here you can rent sunbeds, umbrellas, and tents.
Moving farther south, the Mar del Plata beaches become less urbanized and less crowded. Varese Beach is shallow fairly far out and there is no steep gradient to the beach, meaning the waves are quite smooth. There are plenty of large flat rocks for sunbathing and two breakwaters have created a small bay where the fishing is excellent.
The best Mar del Plata beach for a more remote experience and for the finest resorts and spas will be farther to the south of the Punta Mogotes lighthouse. There are sand dunes here reaching higher than 70 feet, making this a good place for four-wheel-drive adventures. There are also boat launch sites. While many of the resorts have private beaches, you can enjoy this part of the coast on many public beach areas also. The three main public beaches are Playa Chica, set on a rocky outcropping with a number of grassy areas in addition to fine sand and Playa Grande, with a number of exclusive resorts and the best wave action for surfing. As many as 1,000 cars can be accommodated at the Playa Grande parking lot, and as its name suggests, this is the longest beach along the coast.
One of the important things to remember about Mar del Plata beaches is that conditions can change, causing strong rip tides and currents. You should always check the flags or ask lifeguards what the day’s conditions are before swimming. There are three alternative beaches for those who wish more seclusion and privacy. There is a naturist beach about 15 miles from the center of the city and a topless beach near Santa Clara del Mar, about ten miles north of the city center. Near the lighthouse is a gay beach with small swimming pools, dance floor, and music bars.