Mar del Plata is located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean in the Buenos Aires province. This city is one of the major fishing ports in the country. It is also known for its seaside beach resort, the beautiful Torreon del Monje, and the Aquarium Mar del Plata, among other things. Tourism is the main economy of this city, as millions of tourists visit this city each year to see the beautiful beaches in the area. Behind the sea-front you can find attractive tree-lined streets and several museums worth visiting, housed in architecturally-stunning buildings. Below is our Mar del Plata travel guide with information on all the best things to do, places to go and what not to miss.
PUERTO MAR DEL PLATA – The port of the city is where one of the city’s main industries takes place: fishing. Here you can see the port area and the beautiful ocean view, and if you look carefully you’ll see some half-sunken ships in the distance. This is known as the Ship’s Graveyard, and despite public access being restricted, is still one of the must-do things in Mar del Plata.
TORREON DEL MONJE - This spectacular, castle-like structure looms over the cliff with the Atlantic Ocean below, and is one of the more beautiful places. It was built in 1902, and is a great spot to visit for a magnificent view of the Ocean. You can simply wander around the outside and take some photos, or get something to eat or drink at the restaurant and sit out on the terrace.
LAGUNA DE LOS PADRES – A truly great place to get away, this lake offers some fantastic activities, including fishing, biking, hiking, and rock climbing, as well as some other water sports. You can even enjoy some peaceful fishing.
SHIP GRAVEYARD – Here you can see a number of wrecked ships sitting half out of the water and rusting away. The southern jetty also found here stretches out some 2km from the shore into the sea. You can walk down it and get some good views looking back to the city.
AQUARIUM MAR DEL PLATA – The Aquarium Mar del Plata has many different animals on display, including penguins, crocodiles, flamingos and fish. There are also shows held, involving sea-lions and dolphins, as well as water skiing. You can also get the chance to swim with the sharks and other sea creatures here.
CENTRO CULTURAL VILLA VICTORIA – The founder of the literary journal Victoria Ocampo hosted some of the famous intellectuals from around the world here, including Borges, La Corbesier, and Rabindranath Tagore. It now serves as a cultural centre that has art, live music, poetry and yoga.
ARCHIVO MUSEO HISTORICO MUNICIPAL ROBERTO T BARILI – This museum has a collection of photographs from the 19th century, as well other exhibits about Mar del Plata’s history.
MUSEO MUNICIPAL DE ARTE JUAN CARLOS CASTAGNINO – This museum built in 1909 used to be the summer residence of a powerful family in Argentina, and now holds wonderful exhibits of art, sculptures and photographs. From the outside it looks like a medieval castle.
MUSEO MUNICIPAL DE CIENCIAS NATURALES – This is a small science museum that contains a mini aquarium and different types of spiders, as well as dinosaur bones. A small but interesting place.
*** WHAT NOT TO MISS ***
The beach and port are the main attractions of this city. If you are going to pay a visit here, then get down to the beach front and enjoy the most beautiful attractions that the city provides. With views of old sunken ships and beautiful sand beach, the water front has all the excitement to offer in this city.
Mar del Plata has great local food options. The fish and seafood area of the town is located near the port of the city, and it’s the perfect place to try some of the fresh catches of the day. Grilled meats are popular among Argentineans – it’s possible to eat meat every day with the abundance of restaurants you’ll find! There are lots of options for dining in the city and you can find nice local food joints.
Sur Restaurant (Alvarado 2763) is best known for its seafood, but here you can also find many other dishes. Delicious meals, very good service, and popular with locals! Be prepared as this place can get busy – make a reservation in advance if necessary. Other options for eating out include: La Lucila (Calle Dr V Alsina 2687) for the best empanadas - they use high quality ingredients, and the pizzas are also great, or if you fancy seafood, try Piazza Ristorante (La Normandina) - get a view of the beach and the surfers whilst you eat. For tea, coffee, and desserts, head to La Cabaña del Bosque (Bosque Peralta Ramos). Its location is unique, hidden in a forest, and there’s an adorable garden you can sit in. Beverages are served in beautiful china, and the food is impeccable - a magical experience not to be missed!
Within the city, you’ll mostly find pubs and bars, but they do make for a good place to enjoy a drink to cap off the night. Most of the popular pubs and bars are found on Alam Street, with bars lined up one after the other, so you can easily move from bar to bar. The clubs are located north of the town. You’re sure to mix with Argentineans and foreigners alike, all wanting a piece of Mar del Plata’s vibrant nightlife. In high-season, many people flock to the beaches to party, and even forgo Buenos Aires.
If you want a big night out, head to Constitucion Avenue at 2.30am. Here you’ll find some clubs, including Sobremonte (Av. Constitucion 6690) which boasts two restaurants and several dancefloors. Other places to go to include Discoteca GAP (Constitucion 5780), which sometimes holds live concerts, and La Caseta (Ruta 11 km 6,5, Paraje Alfar), which is a beach resort by day, and party venue by night. For dinner and cocktails, try Quba (Calle Escollera Norte) which has stunning panoramic seaside views.
The warmest month of the year is January, with an average temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. This is the only month that has an average temperature of above 20 degrees Celsius. December to February is the warmest time of the year, with temperatures averaging about 19 degrees Celsius. From April to November, the temperature drops and the average temperature never reaches above 10 degrees Celsius. There is a little rainfall throughout the year.
There are planes flying in from Buenos Aires several times a day: flights take less than an hour, and Mar del Plata’s airport is located just 10 minutes from the city centre. Another option is to take a train, the journey time being 5-6 hours from Buenos Aires. There is also the cheaper choice of travelling by bus, which also comes from Buenos Aires and is slightly faster than the train. A bus ticket will cost around $30. There are a variety of prices for the train, depending which you choose - the cheap ‘diario’ train costs just $4! Be aware that the very economical seats don’t include heating, and it can get very cold.
Mar del Plata boasts hundreds of hotels and hostels that offer all ranges of prices. The further from the beach you go, the cheaper the prices you’re going to find. The city does boast two five star hotels that are located near the beach, and are very beautiful buildings. For those looking for smaller hostels, it’s best to look a few blocks from the beach.
Etoile Hotel (Calle Santiago Del Estero 1869) is quiet, comfortable, and centrally located. The décor is a little vintage, the staff are kind, and there is a buffet breakfast. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly stay, Hotel Pergamino (Tucumn 2728), is located just five blocks from the beach. Here you’ll find both shared and private rooms, and there are common areas including a kitchen. A basic breakfast is also included. Another option is Casa de Mar (Calle Santiago Del Estero 1342), which is a laid-back and sociable hostel, very close to the ocean. If you fancy surfing, go to Hostel del Mar Backpackers House (Avenida Cristobal Colon 1051). The staff are a delight, and they can help organise surfing lessons, and lend equipment. You’ll really feel at home here, and the chef cooks delicious evening meals.
Be safe at night time, and avoid wandering alone on the outskirts of the city.