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Mar del Plata

Photo © SaraenStef

Travel Guide South America Argentina Mar del Plata

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Introduction

Mar del Plata is an Argentine city in the southeast part of Buenos Aires Province located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It is the head of General Pueyrredón Partido. Mar del Plata is the second largest city in Buenos Aires Province. The name "Mar del Plata" has the meaning of "sea of the Silver region" or "adjoining sea to the (River) Silver region". Mar del Plata is one of the major fishing ports and the biggest seaside beach resort in Argentina. With a population of 614,350 as per the 2010 census, it is the 7th largest city in Argentina.

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Sights and Activities

The main activities are the port, fishing, tourism and textiles. The main activities in the port are fishing, oil ships and grains. The city has a new passenger terminal for cruise ships and a naval submarine base. It has a lot of industries such as horticulture, construction and mechanical industries. Mar del Plata has a sports complex, which co-hosted the World Cup in 1978, where the Pan American games in 1995 were based and where the final of the Davis Cup was played in 2008. The city coastline extends for over 28 km. The most popular beaches in Mar del Plata for tourist are primarily those located in the south of the city and downtown.

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Weather

Mar del Plata has an oceanic climate, with humid and moderate summers and relatively cool winters, although polar air masses from Antarctica are frequent. The average temperatures for January reach 20 °C and 8 °C for July. The West-Southwest winds bring down the temperature below 0 °C, while the Southeast ones (the so-called Sudestada) are stronger, producing coastal showers and rough seas, as well as strong squalls, but the cold is much less intense.

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Getting There

By Plane

Ástor Piazzola International Airport is (MDQ) is about 7 kilometres north of the city and has flights to Buenos Aires, Bahia Blanca, Bariloche, Puerto Madryn, Comodoro Rivadavia, Córdoba, El Calafate, Viedma, Trelew and a few other smaller towns.

By Train

Three trains daily arrive from Buenos Aires. The train station is about 2 kilometres from the boulevard.

By Bus

Buses are faster than trains, and incredibly clean. It's 5.5 hours from Buenos Aires (Retiro Station). Manuel Tienda Leon Colectivo service is available at the Buenos Aires Airport for around 170 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.

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Getting Around

Taxis are very cheap. 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.

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Eat

The most important restaurants are Trattoria Napolitana, Taberna Baska, Mando, Casimiro Restaurante, Parrilla La Gringa, El Jarrillo, Papá Gino; in the port: Sarasanegro, Sur Restaurante, Justiniano, La Casa Vieja, Alito and the others, when you can eat seafood. In the Avenida Costanera where is the Casino and the San Martin Street, there is a pedestrian street. The modern city center and shopping area is on Güemes Street, where there are restaurants, bars and shops. In this city you can enjoy yourself day and night, that is why it is called “The happy city”.

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 .

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 seafood 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.

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Drink

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 90 pesos, Sobremonte is quite an experience. Chocolate and Gap also are a lot of fun on the right night.

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Sleep

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.

  • Hotel Ramos Mejia, Entre Rios y Moreno, ☎ +54 223 495 5949. Double $60.
  • Hotel Galeon, Buenos aires 2431, ☎ +54 223-4910877, fax: +54 223-4959200, e-mail: hotelgaleon@infovia.com.ar. Check-in: 1200, check-out: 1100. Family owned hotel, helpful staff, very pleasant stay. Double $100.
  • Hotel Mar del Mundo, Catamarca 1239, ☎ +54 223 493 0245, fax: +54 223 493 0245, e-mail: hotelmardelmundo@hotmail.com. Family owned hotel, superb location.
  • Hotel Patio Del Mar, San Luis 1362, ☎ +54 223 495-6660. Basic two-star, four blocks from the beach.
  • Hotel Selent, Arenales 2347, ☎ +54 223 494-0878. Offers quiet rooms three blocks off the beach behind the Casino. The trade off is no exterior windows. Nice lobby, friendly bi-lingual staff. WiFi in the lobby. Single ar$94, double $134, apartments starting around $300. Breakfast included.
  • Hotel Denver, Arenales 2477, ☎ +54 223 494-1618. Three-star hotel with mid-range prices has a gym, a stylish lobby, WiFi and breakfast. Often booked during the high season, so call ahead.
  • Hotel Dora, ☎ +54 223 491-0033. A faded four star with gym, pool, spa, some rooms with views, just off the beach. Some bilingual staff. Triple AR$320.
  • Sheraton Mar del Plata Hotel, Alem 4221, ☎ +54 223 414 0000. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 12PM. One of two modern 5 star in town, or, on the edge as it's located behind the port 4 km from the casino beaches. Nice view towards the famous Golf Club and the Port. This hotel was home to George W Bush during his visit to the city in 2006. Indoor spa (AR$40 extra charge, 16 and up age limit strictly inforced), large outside swimming pool, 2 restaurants and extensive conference rooms. Some services not available outside of high season (Jan-March 1, Easter week). US$100.
  • Gran Hotel Hermitage, Boulevar Marítimo 2657.
  • NH Gran Hotel Provincial, Av Peralta Ramos 2502. B7600JUZ Mar del Plata, ☎ +54 223 4995900. This recently renovated hotel was originally designed by architect Alejandro Bustillo in 1946. The beach is right outside the hotel and very easy to access. The hotel offers high quality rooms, a swimming pool and many useful amenities. Rooms from 157.29USD.
  • Costa Galana, Boulevar Marítimo 5725, ☎ +54 223 486-0000. The most expensive hotel in town, in a tower designed by renamed architect Mario Roberto Alvarez. Located across the street from trendy Playa Grande beach, and just a few blocks away from Alem street, the city´s best nightlife area.

View our map of accommodation in Mar del Plata or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes are still widely available in most places, even in smaller towns, though many people are connected through the internet at home or by mobile device. Many cafes and restaurants offer free WiFi with an advertisement in their windows. All you need to do is buy something and ask for the password. Apart from specific places, including soms airports and major stations, quite a few cities are offering free wifi, including Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Iguazu Falls.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Argentina is 54. To make an international call from Argentina, dial 00 followed by the country code and the rest of the telephone number. All 0800 numbers are toll-free numbers, except if you call from a mobile phone. Emergency numbers are available for Police (101), Ambulance (107) and Fire (100). Emergency dispatcher for Buenos Aires (city), Santa Fe (city), Rosario (city), Salta (province), Corrientes (province), and Buenos Aires (province) 911. In a mobile phone 112 forwards to 911.

You can get a prepaid Movistar / Claro / Personal SIM card for a few pesos / free at phone shops, all you pay is about 20 Pesos for your initial credits. Inserting the SIM card into your unlocked American or European mobile phone should work, although to register the SIM you have to enter your passport (or any 9 digit) number - you then have your personal Argentinean phone numbers. Calls cost around 1 Peso per minute. Receiving calls is usually free, except for international calls, and some cross network / inter-city calls - hence buying a SIM card purely to keep in touch with people overseas may not be worth it.

Without a cellphone, there are similar cards with credits for international calls. You get them at so called locutorios, where you can also use the phone booths. You dial a free number to connect to the service, then your secret number for the credits, and then the international phone number you want to call. Using these cards, a one-hour call to Europe will cost about 10 Pesos. Don't call without such cards or even from your hotel - it will be way more expensive.

Post

Correos de Argentina is the national postal service of Argentina. There are also two private carriers operating nationwide (OCA and Andreani) and a number of regional ones though Correos de Argentina will be the one most likely to be used by travellers. Post offices are mostly open between 8:00am and 8:00pm Monday to Friday and 9:00am to 1:00pm on Saturday, though there are regional variantions with longer hours in central post offices in big cities and shorter ones in small towns. Services are pretty reliable but slow, mostly taking about two weeks to deliver a postcard or letter to the USA or Europe, but usually within a few days sending it domestically. There is also a more expensive express options. You can track a package online at the Correos de Argentino website. Parcels take at least 3-5 days domestically and weeks internationally. Otherwise try international companies like FedEx, TNT, DHL or UPS to send parcels. It is probably more reliable as well as faster.

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Accommodation in Mar del Plata

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Mar del Plata searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Mar del Plata and areas nearby.

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This is version 10. Last edited at 12:45 on Feb 15, 18 by Utrecht. 5 articles link to this page.

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