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Mar del Plata
(From top to bottom; from left to right) Mar del Plata Skyline; The Art Museum; Casino Central; Millennium Fountain and the Sea Lion Monument.
Mar del Plata is located in Argentina
Mar del Plata
Location in Argentina
Coordinates: 38°0′0″S 57°33′0″W / 38°S 57.55°W / -38; -57.55
Country  Argentina
Province Bandera-bonaerense.svg Buenos Aires
Partido General Pueyrredón
Founded February 10, 1874
 - Intendant Gustavo Pulti
 - Total 79.48 km2 (30.7 sq mi)
Elevation 38 m (125 ft)
Population (2001)
 - Total 541,733
 - Density 6,816/km2 (17,653.4/sq mi)
Postal code B7600
Phone code +54 223
Website (Spanish)
Summertime in Mar del Plata.
Vacationers enjoy Mar del Plata's Bristol Beach, circa 1910.
Colón Avenue.
Sea lion, symbol of Mar del Plata

Mar del Plata is an Argentine city located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean in the Buenos Aires Province, 400 km (249 mi) south of Buenos Aires. Mar del Plata is one of the major fishing ports and the biggest seaside beach resort in Argentina. With a population of 541,733 as per the 2001 census [INDEC], it is the 7th largest city in Argentina.



As part of the Argentine recreational coast, tourism is Mar del Plata's main economic activity with seven million tourists visiting the city in 2006. Mar del Plata has a sophisticated tourist infrastructure with countless hotels, restaurants, casinos, theatres and other tourist attractions. Mar del Plata is also an important sports centre with a multi-purpose Olympic style stadium (first used for the 1978 World Cup and later upgraded for the 1995 Pan American Games), 5 golf courses and many other facilities.

As an important fishing port, industry concentrates on fish processing and at least two large shipyards.[1]

The area is also host to other light industry, such as textile, food manufacturing and polymers. There is a well-developed packaging machines industry, its quality being recognized in international markets[2]. One of these companies was one of the pioneers in the automatic packaging of tea bags[3], exporting its original machine-designs abroad. Another company also exports its products and sold royalties to other countries.[4]

During the mid 1980s, Mar del Plata saw the birth of electronics factories, focused mostly on the telecommunications field, with two of them succeeding in the international market.[5]

Located southwest of the city there are quartzite quarries. The stone is traditionally used in construction (see Architecture). There is a huge area of farms in the rural areas surrounding the city, specialized mostly in the cultivation of vegetables.

Although the area had suffered from a high rate of unemployment from 1995 to 2003, Mar del Plata has seen 46,000 new jobs created from the third quarter of 2003 to the third quarter of 2008, representing an increase of 22%.[6] The 2008 Davis Cup Final was held in Mar del Plata and, after being shut for a decade the Gran Hotel Provincial (one of the largest hotels in Argentina) was reopened by the Madrid-based NH Hotels, in 2009.

Mar del Plata continues to lead Argentina's room availability: of 440,000 registered hotel rooms nationwide in early 2009, the city was home to nearly 56,000 (5,000 more than Buenos Aires).[7]


Mar del Plata is served by Ástor Piazzola International Airport (MDQ/SAZM) with daily flights to Buenos Aires served by Aerolíneas Argentinas and Sol Líneas Aéreas and weekly flights to Patagonia served by LADE.

It has a bus terminal serving most cities in Argentina. There is a train station with two daily trains to Buenos Aires' Estación Constitución.

Highway 2 connects Mar del Plata with Buenos Aires and Route 11 connects it through the coastline, ending at Miramar, 40 km (25 mi) south of Mar del Plata. Route 88 connects to Necochea) and Route 226 to Balcarce, Tandil and Olavarría.


Pre-Spanish era: The region was inhabited by Günuna Kena nomads (also known as northern Tehuelches). They were later (after the 11th century) strongly influenced by the Mapuche culture.

1577-1857: First European explorers. Sir Francis Drake made a reconnaissance of the coast and its sea lion colonies; Don Juan de Garay explored the area by land a few years later. In 1742, during the War of Jenkin's Ear, eight survivors of HMS Wager, part of Admiral Anson expedition, and led by Isaac Morris, lived through a ten-months ordeal before being decimated and captured by the Tehuelches, who eventually handed them to the Spaniards. After holding the Englishmen as prisoners, they returned Morris and his companions to London in 1746.[8] First colonization attempt by Jesuit Order near Laguna de los Padres ended in disaster (1751).

1857-1874: The Portuguese entrepreneur Coelho de Meirelles, taking advantage of the country’s abundance of wild cattle, built a pier and a factory for salted meat, but the business only lasts a few years.

1874-1886: Patricio Peralta Ramos acquired the now abandoned factory along with the surrounding terrain, and founded the town on February 10, 1874. Basque rancher Pedro Luro bought a part of Peralta Ramos land for agricultural production. First docks also erected around this time.

1886-1911: The railway line from Buenos Aires, built by the Buenos Aires Great Southern reached Mar del Plata in 1886; the first hotels started their activity. The upper-class people from Buenos Aires became the first tourist of the new born village. They also established a local government that reflected their conservative ideals. Build-up of a French style resort.

1911-1930: The residents, mostly new arrived immigrants from Europe, demanded and obtained the control of the Municipality administration. The socialist were the mainstream political force in this period, carrying out social reforms and public investment. The main port was also built and inaugurated in 1916.

1930-1946: A military coup reinstated the Conservative hegemony in politics through electoral fraud and corruption, but in the local level they were quite progressive, their policies viewed in some way as a continuity of the socialist trend. The seaside Casino complex opened in 1939, was designed by architect Alejandro Bustillo, and Highway 2, the main road to Buenos Aires, also dates from this period.

1946-1955: Birth of the Peronist movement. A coalition between socialists and radicals defeated this new party by a narrow margin in Mar del Plata, but by 1948 the Peronism will dominate the local administration. The massive tourism, triggered by the welfare politics of Perón and the surge of the middle class marked a huge growth in the city’s economy.

1955-1970: After the fall of Perón, the socialists regained the upper hand in local politics; the city reached the peak in activities like construction business and building industry. Massive immigration from other regions of Argentina.

1970-1989: Slight decline of tourism demand, counterbalanced by the increasing of other industries such as fishing and machinery. General infrastructure renewal under the military rule. The centrist Radical Civic Union becomes the main political force after the return of Democracy in 1983.

1989-Present: Though the Peronism replaced the radicals in central government amid a national financial crisis, the latter party continued to rule in Mar del Plata. Some resurge of mass tourism in the early '90s was followed by a deep social crisis in town, with an increase of poverty, jobless rate and emigration. By contrast, the first decade of the 21st century shows an amazingly quick recovery in all sectors of the ailing economy.


The Monk's Tower, another iconic building
The Museum of the Sea opened in 2000, and it holds a collection of over 30,000 sea shells, among other specimens.

Mar del Plata is the most popular destination for conventions in Argentina after Buenos Aires. Mar del Plata has a wide range of services in this sector. The summer season hosts over fifty theatrical plays.

These are the most important shows and festivals:

The local Government sponsors a stable Symphonic Orchestra, as well as a Conservatorium and a School of Classical and Modern Dance.

Juan Carlos Castagnino Municipal Museum of Art

The main museums are the following:

Culture and Sports Personalities:

Alberto Bruzzone's workshop

The common linguistic and social background of the city is that of the so called rioplatense culture.


Belle Époque fascination: Villa Normandie, built c.1919
An example of "Mar del Plata Style"

The development of the city as a seasonal resort in the early 20th century led upper class tourists from Buenos Aires to build a European-inspired architecture, based mainly on the picturesque and later on the art deco styles. This gave Mar del Plata the nickname of the Argentine Biarritz. The building industry became the main non-seasonal activity of the town by 1920.

During the '30s,'40s, and beyond, local architects and builders, like Auro Tiribelli, Arturo Lemmi, Alberto Córsico-Picollini and Raúl Camusso recreated and transformed the picturesque values into a middle-class scale, marking the beginning of the so called Mar del Plata Style, consisting in small samples of the luxury-laden summer residences of high society, built for the summer visitor as well as for the local resident.

These chalets are comprised of stone façades, gables roofs covered with Spanish or French tiles, prominent eaves and front porches. This gives the town some distinctive urban character compared with other Argentine cities, despite the fact that the growing mass of tourists in the '60s imposed the construction of large apartment buildings and skyscrapers as the predominant architectural style downtown.[14]


Climatogram for Mar del Plata

The weather pattern for the region is that of 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 (68 Fahrenheit) and 8°C for July (46 Fahrenheit). The West-Southwest winds bring down the temperature below 0°C (32 Fahrenheit), 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.[15]

Snow on La Perla beach, August 1, 1991
A snowy dawn at Playa Grande, July 10, 2004

There are about 20 days of frost each year, and almost 60 in the west hills area (some 300 mts above the sea level). Snowfall is not uncommon, but snow accumulation on the ground is rare, a phenomenon that takes place every 6 years or so, according to the last 40 year's data.

Among the most best known such occurrences were the 1975 and 1991 snowstorms, but there were also snow accumulations in 1994 and 1997, in the highest hills area of Sierra de los Padres, in 1995 along the southern coast, and the latest during the first hours of July 10, 2004. There were two low-intensity snowfalls in September 1986 and June 2007.[16] There is fog in the last days of fall, and springtime is often marred by sea winds and sudden temperature's changes. There are some ten days of 30°C (86 Fahrenheit) each summer, certainly milder values than the rest of the pampas region. Usually, the summer nights are cool and pleasant, with values between 13º to 17°C (55 to 63 Fahrenheit). The record high is 41º on January 1957 (105 Fahrenheit). The wet season occurs during spring and summer, specially in January, with values between the 70 and 80 mm. The average annual rainfall is 780 mm.[15]


City Hall
Teodoro Bronzini, 1919

Mar del Plata is the head of the department (Partido) of General Pueyrredón. The current Mayor of the city and department is Gustavo Pulti, of the local party Acción Marplatense.

The Honorable Concejo Deliberante (the town council) has some legislative powers. The term of office for both the Mayor and council members is four years.

In 1919, Mar del Plata became the first town in South America to have a Socialist Mayor, a son of Italian Immigrants, Teodoro Bronzini. The Socialist Party would dominate the city political landscape for most of the 20th century.

The Government official page has a comprehensive listing of all Mayors and Commissioners of Mar del Plata from 1881 to the present.

There is an extensive but interesting work by the American sociologist Susan Stokes about the democratic process in Mar del Plata since 1983 in comparison to other regions of Argentina.[17][18] One of the main thesis of her articles is that the social and economic development of Mar del Plata was quite atypical, with a strong prevalence of middle-class values that discouraged the policy of clientelism that is the common background in other urban environments of Argentina.[19]

Sister cities


  1. ^ Links:
  2. ^ TECMAR
  3. ^ Mai S.A
  4. ^ Orengia y Conforti Ind. y Com. S.A
  5. ^ Links:
  6. ^ INDEC
  7. ^ Argentina Municipal: La ciudad de Mar del Plata lidera la oferta hotelera del país (Spanish)
  8. ^ Historical Materials from Southern Patagonia
  9. ^ Murió el arquitecto Auro Tiribelli, creador del chalet marplatense (Spanish)
  10. ^ Argentine scientist gets L'Oreal-UNESCO award
  11. ^ Prize-Giving Ceremony for 2003 L’ORÉAL-UNESCO 'Women in science' Awards
  12. ^ Private eyes & time travelers
  13. ^ La Capital newspaper, 5 July 2009 (Spanish)
  14. ^ Cacopardo, Chapter VII (by Javier Sáez)
  15. ^ a b Roccatagliata, pp. 167-174
  16. ^ Retrieved from the following editions of La Capital newspaper:
    • 17 July 1975
    • 17 September 1986
    • 2 August 1991
    • 5 August 1995
    • 27 June 1997
    • 11 July 2004
    • 26 June 2007
    Clarín newspaper edition, Buenos Aires, June 28, 1994. Video files from Channel 8, Mar del Plata, TN news and Crónica TV
  17. ^ Helmke and Levitsky, Chapter 6
  18. ^ PDF-2
  19. ^ Shapiro and Bedi, pp. 191-195

Further reading

  • Cacopardo, Fernando A. & others: Mar del Plata, Ciudad e Historia. Alianza Editorial S.A./UNMDP, Madrid/Buenos Aires, 1997. ISBN 9504001556. (Spanish)
  • Rocatagliata, Juan A. & others: Mar del Plata y su Región. Sociedad Argentina de Estudios Geográficos, Buenos Aires, 1984. (Spanish)
  • Anniversary Editions of La Capital newspaper: 1955, 1980, 1985, 2005. (Spanish)
  • Barili, Roberto T.: Mar del Plata, Reseña Histórica. Published by the Municipality of Gral. Pueyrredón, Mar del Plata, 1964. (Spanish)
  • Zago, Manrique: Mar del Plata, Argentina. Manrique Zago Ed., 1997. (Bilingual Edition)
  • Stokes, Susan C.:Do Informal Institutions Make Democracy Work? Accounting for Accountability in Argentina. University of Chicago. Prepared for presentation at the conference, “Informal Institutions in Latin America”. University of Notre Dame, April 23-24, 2003.
  • Shapiro, Ian and Bedi, Sonu : Political Contingency: Studying the Unexpected, the Accidental, and the Unforeseen. New York University Press, 2007. ISBN 0814740448
  • Helmke, Gretchen and Levitsky, Steven: Informal Institutions and Democracy:Lessons from Latin America. John Hopkins University Press, 2006. ISBN 0801883512

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Beach in Mar del Plata
Beach in Mar del Plata

Mar del Plata is located about 400km south of Buenos Aires, Argentina. In the summer months, December through March, the beaches are crowded with Porteños on holiday. Outside the summer months, the city is much less crowded. However there are 700,000 residents who live there year round. It is a very large city with lots to do, and not only in summer months.

Get in

By air

Aerolineas makes the 90 minute flight several times a day during the high season.

By train

Daily trains arrive from Buenos Aires. The train station is about 2km from the boulevard.

By Road

Buses are faster than trains, and incredibly clean. It's 5.5 hours from Buenos Aires (Retiro Station) and costs 79 pesos.

Manuel Tienda Leon Collectivo service is available at the Buenos Aires Airport for around 80 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.

Get around

Taxis are very cheap, plentiful, and pretty honest. If you want to walk, Mar del Plata is perfect.

  • Museo del Mar Avenida Colón 1114. Featuring a massive (tens of thousands) collection of seashells from all around the world and a tidal pool exhibit. Good for a visit on a rainy afternoon. The small Confitería Gloria Maris, when open, severs coffee, cold drinks and light snacks surrounded by floor-to-ceiling fish tanks. Entrance: Ar$ 3, students Ar$ 2.
  • Aquarium Mar del Plata Av. Martinez de Hoz 5600. (223) 467-0700.
  • Museo Municipal de Ciencias Naturales Lorenzo Scaglia Av. Libertad 3099 (at Plaza España). Natural science museum and aquarium featuring local sea life. AR$2 adults, aR$1 for children under 11. Open Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm; Saturday- Sunday and holidays 4pm - 8pm.
  • Museo Archivo Histórico
  • Zoológico El Paraíso Ruta 226 km. 16 (C. de Acceso a Sierra de los Padres) (223) 463-0347. 300 species of exotic and domestic animals roam free (with a few exceptions) over an 8 hectare nature park. Night and day tours available.
  • Banquina de Pescadores
  • Historic homes Mar del Plata is chock full of Victorian summer homes, including some very electic choices in design and materials. Try strolling around Barrio La Perla or the waterfront Patricio Peralta Ramos Boulevard.
  • Museo del Hombre del Puerto Cleto Ciocchini
  • Get to the beach early to beat the crowds, and once you are there do not be offended by the Argentinian tradition of kicking sand on your blanket and face :)
  • Tango shows at Teatro Colón are fantastic and at only 15 pesos for Buenos Aires dance companies, they are a steal.
  • Enjoy mate, the very bitter and caffeinated but addictive beverage. Buy a mate gord, thermos, yerba and ask for agua caliente almost anywhere. No one in MDP leaves home without their mate.
  • Make the trek to Waikiki beach on the outskirts of town. It's a more relaxed environment than Punta Iglesia or Playa Grande and provides enough room to spread out. They have an excellent surf school there.
  • Capuro Helado, near Punta Iglesia, is always great on a hot day after cooling off at the beach. Some of the best ice cream in the world.
  • Take the 221 bus south of the city to hit the nicest beaches, such as Playa Serena.
  • Go window shopping on Güemes. You'll find the trendiest fashion and some nice cafés to sit and sip coffee while you rest your feet.
  • Visit the Casino. Even if you don't like gambling, the building is just beautiful - from a different era. The nice promenade along the coast is a great place for exercising or just enjoying a nice view of the sea and the city. You'll find the Casino and very traditional Hotel Pronvincial as you walk on it.
  • Go see a show! Mar del Plata has a wide range of theatre shows to offer. Get your tickets as soon as you arrive 'cause they run out fast!
  • Avenida Juan B. Justo
  • Diagonal de los Artesanos
  • Calle Guemes
  • Peatonal San Martín


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 Havana 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 (pizza slices 2 pesos, whole pizzas feed at least 2 around 12 pesos).

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 sea-food 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.


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


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, 0223 495 5949. Double $60.  edit
  • Hotel Galeon, Buenos aires 2431, 0223-4910877 (, fax: 0223-4959200). checkin: 1200?; checkout: 1100?. Double $100.  edit Family owned hotel, helpful staff, very pleasant stay.
  • Hotel Mar del Mundo, Catamarca 1239, (0054) 223 493 0245 (, fax: (0054) 223 493 0245). Family owned hotel, superb location.  edit
  • Hotel Patio Del Mar San Luis 1362. (223) 495-6660. [1] Basic two-star, four blocks from the beach.
  • Hotel Selent Arenales 2347. (223) 494-0878 [2] 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. (223) 494-1618 [3]. 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, (223) 491-0033, [4]. A faded four star with gym, pool, spa, some rooms with views, just off the beach. Some bilingual staff. Triple AR$320.  edit
  • Sheraton Mar del Plata Hotel, Alem 4221, +54 223 414 0000, [5]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 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 (single occupancy king bed).  edit
  • Gran Hotel Hermitage, Boulevar Marítimo 2657.  edit
  • Costa Galana, Boulevar Marítimo 5725. 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.  edit

Get out

If the crowds and thumping beats of Mar del Plata are too much for you, head up or down the coast to some more sedate coastal towns.

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Simple English

File:Mar del Plata
Mar del Plata

Mar del Plata is a city of Argentina in the Buenos Aires Province. It is found on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, about 400 km south of Buenos Aires. Mar del Plata has a population of 541,733 people. It is the 7th biggest city in Argentina.

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