Things To Do In Mar Del Plata
Blessed with 10 miles of fine sand beaches and crystal clear waters, Mar del Plata is Argentina's top shoreline resort town. It starts from the Arena Beach where you can get to the seashore with your vehicle and have a great time. Next to it is the famous Playa Varese, a beach with a good family atmosphere and simple fun as there are bars, or peddlers of churros, ice cream, and toys that kids will find hard to resist.
For a taste of history, a visit to the emblematic Puerto de Mar del Plata is a must. It is here where Italian immigrants settled in the 19th and well into the early 20th century up to the post war era. It has lots of seafood restaurants and dining options for all tastes. There are also stores selling packaged goods (fish, spices, wine, etc.) and souvenirs.
When To Go:
The city of Mar del Plata can be viewed as a year round vacation spot because the temperatures never get amazingly hot or too chilly. On the other hand, certain months of the year can be more agreeable than others. The seasons of this city (and whatever remains of the Southern Hemisphere) are inverse of the temperatures from those in the Northern Hemisphere.
Basically, the hottest summer months begin from January until February, amid which time the daily high temperatures will float around the upper 60's and a low of 70's. The visitor peak season rise up amid these months, when a large number of Argentineans go from Buenos Aires to the coastal towns like Mar del Plata.
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The coldest months of the year are from June until July, amid which time the daily high temperatures will be in the mid to upper 40's, and the evening lows will drop to the mid 20's. There are relatively few visitors that arrive during this time but it is around these months when accommodations and flight deals are much cheaper. The storm and rainy months of the year are both March/December.
If you want to enjoy the shorelines along with discovering a great city, these are the things to do and attractions to visit in the city of Mar del Plata…
Mar del Plata Cathedral
The Mar del Plata Cathedral is located on the main pedestrian street of San Martin and was once a place with beautiful shops and well attended but now it is quite decadent without much to see. Still, it is worth a visit and the experience feels like a blast from the past. The windows with their play of light and colors are really striking. From the Cathedral Square it winds around the center with old structures and much more. It is built on an exquisite architectural style and located at the end of a busy pedestrian street. At present it is being restored, but it can still be accessed.
The unique church in its neo-Gothic, "National Heritage" style was inaugurated on February 12, 1905 as the cathedral of Mar del Plata. The construction was directed by Engineer Pedro Benoit. The stained glass of the Cathedral are all from France and donated by prestigious families in Mar del Plata. The central chandelier was brought from the Hotel Bristol City. The floor is made from English tiles and the roof is made of glazed tiles of different colors, all European. The organ is Italian and was built the same year of the founding of the cathedral, with three manual keyboards with a total of 36 registers and 2500 pipes. The cathedral is truly beautiful and is a must see when in Mar del Plata.
Torre Tanque (Tower of Water)
The Torre Tanque or the Tower of Water is an ideal place to get to know some of the history of Mar del Plata City. The tower is a reservoir that is still active and in operation. The view from above is amazing and you can see the four corners of the city, the blue sea and the combination of historic and modern buildings completing its skyline. Located on the hill of Stella Maris, this tower offers a great view of Mar del Plata with a 40 meters high point of view and 360 degrees panorama of a beautiful landscape. Admission is free and there are guided tours to explain the construction of the tower. The tour lasts approximately one hour and you can take lots of pictures from above.
It is a historical place that recalls the early days of running water in the city of Mar del Plata and also recognized as an architectural icon. The water company still keeps and preserves the water operation. The staff monitors, receive visitors, and tell the story of the water supply to the city. If you get up to the lookout point, you get a wonderful view of all parts of the city.
Loma de Stella Maris
The Loma de Stella Maris is one of the most beautiful parts of Mar del Plata that is located near the Tower of Water. Nearby is the district of 'Los Troncos' homes in breathtaking Beverly Hills style. It's worth a ride because these are amazing houses with beautiful parks. Right next to it is a very busy commercial street called Guemes and is full of interesting shops. The Colón and Alte street are the busiest road of the Loma de Stella Maris.
Here you can find the town hall of arts Carlos Castagnino in the famous palace of Ortiz Basualdo, Villa Normandy at the corner of Viamonte and the Sea Museum which was created by the successors of the collector Benjamin Sisterna. The Viamonte street is famous for its beautiful Gothic Revival Chapel of Stella Maris, the patron saint of sailors and whose image was made in Paris by H. Weigel, a disciple of Rodin. In Falucho and Mendoza street is the Tank Tower Water Works which can be accessed and climbed to the top.
Puerto de Mar del Plata
The Puerto de Mar del Plata is large and hosts many fishing vessels flying the Atlantic waters in front. On the pier there is a large white statue of Christ standing on the large bay, while the cliffs at the edge of the pier has for years established a colony of sea lions, which lay to rest or engage in bitter struggles or darting in the water, gives a short but extraordinary spectacle, and also a characteristic strong smell. It is worthwhile for anyone looking for a different outing. There is a possibility that you can get very close to the sea lions and not have to pay for it. But be careful because they are not very sociable. The port is a significant place in Mar del Plata as well as its inhabitants, the sea lion which is also a symbol of the city. It is one of the mandatory tours for anyone going to Mar del Plata for the first time.
The fish smell in place is terrible but there is no way to avoid. With time it is possible to get used to it. There is not much infrastructure to welcome tourists at the port, especially since Mar del Plata does not get many tourists in the harbor. There is a cruise on the harbor and it is very basic and some teenagers take an account of the queue for entry into boats. The cruise service is of good quality with guides speaking in Spanish (only) and a bar serving drinks in various kinds. The ride is about 1 hour and shows the site of the seals. There are good shops to buy preserves and of course, fresh fish. No use complaining of the characteristic smell because it happens in various fishing ports around the world. It has a "Christ” to visit, but do not be surprised if you can take pictures only of his side.
Iglesia Stella Maris
The Iglesia Stella Maris is a wide church that is beautiful inside and out. Noteworthy is the white dome of the altar with the Virgin Mary between the stars. It is an elegant looking church with a great mural background on the altar and a sacred image that is popular among its local devotees. It has good architecture and the atmosphere of the mural is unmatched. The church is located near the Loma of Playa Varese.
It is a traditional Gothic designed church in the city that has a stunning painting behind the very symbolic image of the Christian faith called the “Madonna and the Sea”. The image of the Virgin between the sky and the sea is amazing. If you have enough time, get to know the church more with the guidance of the staff. It is a place in the city where you can go and pray and enjoy the silence. While you sit on a bench you can observe and enjoy the beauty of the place.
Laguna de los Padres
The Laguna de los Padres is located in the middle of a beautiful park with woods and hills for those who want to do some light trekking. You may also choose to rent a horse to have the best adventure here in Mar del Plata. The lagoon has no major attractions. It only shows the interesting reconstruction of the Jesuit reduction of Pilar.
The lagoon is a favorite hanging out spot for fishing and hiking. It has a beautiful panoramic view of the mountains and the residential area of the city. It's the best place to spend a Sunday afternoon in the fall or spring because if it's summer, it's more appropriate to go to the beaches in Mar de Plata.
The Arena Beach is larger, wider, and cleaner than the rest of the beaches that you can find here in Mar del Plata. It is more designed for the young people. The beach has a pool, lounge chairs, and live music in the subway with Dj’s playing their favorite hip music upon request. It is broader than the beaches of the downtown area that is located along the south of Mar del Plata and it is best for sunbathing, snorkeling, or just spend a whole day to relax and just soak up the sun.
The only downside is the public services are very poor and for everything you need you have to pay. There is no beach infrastructure near the shorelines, but the beaches are still the best of Mar del Plata because the waters are excellent, quiet, and have hospitable locals who will help and attend to what you need.
The Playa Varese is a surprisingly nice beach where you can spend a great summer vacation. It has complete beach facilities and equipped with swimming pools, cabanas, umbrellas, bathroom and toilet and can be used with a corresponding fee ($30).
The use of the tables, a room for changing clothes and loungers is included in the fee. The beach is very clean and quiet and the tables with umbrella are much cheaper. And, certainly, there are other beaches - maybe less maybe better, but most guests really like it considering that it is just within walking distance from the hotel.
Torreon del Monje
The Torreon del Monje is in the best location in Mar del Plata on a promontory which offers an excellent view of the city. There is a bar with tables outside, the staff is very nice and worth to go there in the evening after swimming at the sea and to have a drink and enjoy an excellent view of the power of the ocean when it slams hard against the rocks of the headland.
The tower was built about a century ago along with the neo-Gothic building that stands between the towers, bridges and battlements. It features a good restaurant and a beautiful terrace overlooking the ocean with an extraordinary view that justifies the reason to visit the Torreon del Monte. If you’re walking through the edge of the Mar del Plata it is impossible not to draw attention to this tower. The beautiful architecture looks imposing and well preserved and this place deserves visit while in the city.
Parque Gral San Martin
The Parque Gral San Martin is a wonderful park to enjoy both day and night. It is right on the seafront, well maintained and lined with beautiful flowers. At night it looks picturesque and stunning because of the lights. It is possibly one of the best parks in Mar del Plata because it has iconic statues with middle eastern style.
It is an ideal choice if you need to go out with friends in the afternoon and another option if you don’t plan to go to the beach. It is a beautiful place with enough shade to rest after a busy day grind or after a tour of the city. It is preserved and very clean, perfect place to unwind after a stressed out day in the city.
Museo Municipal de Arte Juan C. Castagnino
The Museo Municipal de Arte Juan C. Castagnino is an old wooden house with 3 floors on Avenida Colon in downtown Mar del Plata. The museum belongs to the city of Mar del Plata and often has exhibitions, artistic and cultural activities. It is located in front of the Museo del Mar. This art museum highlights the more than 25 years of Juan C. Castagnino’ s paintings, the interesting passages of his life, and the collection of his works from sepia, acrylic, up to his most fantastic creations.
The Punta Mogotes is one of the ideal beaches to spend the whole day. You can rent a "carp" which has table and chairs, clothing and baths. The spas are next to each other with varied food offerings.
The beach is wide and you can walk along the waterfront. The only thing, the water is cold and there are many waves but it is so in most of the coasts in Argentina. The atmosphere is mostly friendly and quiet. Punta Mogotes has wider beaches around Mar del Plata and it is highly recommended for everyone to find the south of the lighthouse in a neighborhood called Alfar where there are also good dining places but the prices are a bit expensive.
Mar-Museo de Arte Contemporaneo
The Mar-Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (Museum of Contemporary Art) attracts visitors from all over the world. You will be welcomed by the art sculpture of a sea lion created by an artist named Minujin. The sculpture is imposing, impressive to see and to discover what it is made. The museum invites you to discover new worlds and think about other possibilities and spend more time for observation. All of the staffs are very friendly. They have no problem explaining or answering questions and they do it with gusto. On the ground floor there is also a cafe and a souvenir shop.
If you want more variety of attractions to see during your holiday in Argentina, the city of Mar del Plata is the best choice. It has row of beaches, old and contemporary museums, fabulous skyline, interesting look out points, preserved sacred structures, and a busy old port with a landmark harbor. A tour of Mar del Plata is a learning experience and one of the best ways to understand the city’s history, culture, and natural wonders.
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