Best Things to Do in Mar del Plata, the Happy City

I have always loved Mar del Plata because it’s where I was born, but now that I am a tourist there myself, I see what life is like in this beautiful city. It has changed my perception of how wonderful living by the ocean can be.

I haven’t been to Mar del Plata for four years, and the truth is that after 4 long years, I finally made it back. My sister and nephew even managed to come along too!

And it’s not the same to organize for two then four, more when we have different friendships, it wasn’t a holiday, and people work, so in the morning we visited the city a little bit, and in the afternoon we stayed with family and friends.

Mar del Plata Ramblas

In total, in Mar del Plata we spent 1 week, in which we visited family, and friends and of course, I had to do some sightseeing to tell you about my city, since every time I go it is different!

Mar del Plata, the city that saw me born

mar del plata, Argentina

It is a tourist town, about 400 km from Capital Federal (Buenos Aires City), has about one million inhabitants, and about 40 kilometers of coastline with different beaches.

There is always something to do. For example, in summer, there are free concerts, surfing, the Film Festival is held, the Sea Festival, the Valencian “Fallas” are held, etc.

The truth is that it is beautiful, not because it is my city that has nothing to do, lol.

Mar del Plata, the happy city

Mar del Plata is called “La Feliz” or “the happy city,” but no one agrees on why this name.

Some say it is because when the worker started to enjoy the vacation, they went to Mar del Plata, the whole family and all were seen happy.

Others say it is by the name of the ranch of Patricio Peralta Ramos, founder of the city. I prefer the way when people go; they’re happier.

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There are several areas in Mardel, depending on what you want to do. Usually, I visit Mar del Plata every two years, which is always different.

So it isn’t easy to name a place to go. You’ll have to ask in your hotel…

The pub area in Mar del Plata changes every time I go, sometimes it is in Irigoyen St. and sometimes in Alem Ave, and now it has joined Güemes St.

Taxi drivers are the same all over the world…

It was the first time I went with Fer to Mar del Plata; we took a taxi from downtown to my home, well, my grandparents’ home.

What do you do in a taxi when you go with someone? Talk, right?

Well, you can see that the taxi driver heard Fer speak Spanish, with a Spanish accent obviously, and I think that my Argentine accent is no longer so marked or it may be because I use words from Spain that the taxi driver must have thought this is time to scam tourists.

To get to my house, I tell you it depends where you come by an avenue, and as Mar del Plata is gridded, one street goes one way and the next in the opposite direction.

If you go down this avenue, my street is in a forbidden direction, then you can turn left in the street before or the next one, but which wanted to take this man, no idea. I think he wanted to take us for a walk through the port and then take us home.

If you pass the second street, you only have one more left before you got to an avenue when you passed the second option.

There I was, angry, and I made it known. He apologized and blah blah blah, but you didn’t get a sense of the anger I had when I realized he wanted to scam us.

So, be careful with this, everywhere you go!

lobos marinos en mar del plata

Driving in Mar del Plata

Another anecdote is from this last trip; my cousin lent us his car in Buenos Aires to use it in Buenos Aires and in Mar del Plata.

We’re in Mar del Plata, at my grandparents’ house and we say we’re going to the southern beaches. So we went out with my sister, Fer and me.

We went through the harbor; first, we saw the SeaWolves reserve, and before we pulled to the south, we passed Punta Mogotes, and my sister said to have a drink in Waikiki (the beach that follows Punta Mogotes), so we headed towards Waikiki.

But one of the “beautiful” things about Mar del Plata is signaled on the streets, as it was unclear where we had to turn.

We went through the parking lot of Punta Mogotes, which obviously did not arrive but we could leave the car and walk, but we decided to try again, so we went out to pick up the avenue again or kind of highway to take us south, but as the signaled shines by its absence.

We went the other way and saw that we were going to end up in the opposite lane of this highway, so we reversed; it would have been about 100 meters or less,

Vero at Mar del Plata

And that we see when we are doing this donkey, that there was a police in a quad looking at us, we already think we are going to get a fine, we’re driving reckless, an opposite sense… blab blab, but no, the police are, they looked at us, waited for us to finish and left, he didn’t make us a gesture of what you’re doing!!!

So we already understood why Mar del Plata drives worse than in Buenos Aires because nobody tells them anything.

We were already hallucinating that everyone skipped the traffic lights, and when we asked our friends or family, they would tell us: it was because of insecurity.

If I’m clear at 11 in the morning and also crossing them at 100 km/h, what I think is that they’ve been savaged, don’t take it the wrong way; if there’s any marplatense reading this, I’ve driven a motorbike until I left mardel. It wasn’t driving like this, and if you did, you’d be fined (I speak from experience, hehe).

On the subject of insecurity, in the week we were there, we didn’t see it, what’s more, we saw a living city, with people everywhere.

It is also true that we did not go into any strange place, just as in Madrid, I do not go to…

Another thing is that when you leave the tourist area, the streets are a bit bad and it looks like a different city. And it would be nice to be looked after everywhere alike, not only for the tourist but also for the people there.

If you ever go around La Feliz, have to eat some churros in Manolo (it’s in Alem, downtown and on the coast), some Boston “Facturas,” it would be nice if you could have a drink at La Princesa, but it’s gone.

I would give you more places, but every time I go, they have new names. You can eat well almost everywhere, and the customer attention is excellent, and you have to leave a tip. Eating is still cheap, despite inflation.

I’m probably doing another post to Mar del Plata another day.

Thank you for reading this far!


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Last Updated on 9 October, 2023 by Veronica

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Author: Veronica

Vero, a seasoned traveler, has explored 25 countries and lived in five, gaining a rich perspective and fostering an infectious passion for travel. With a heart full of wanderlust, Vero uncovers the world’s hidden gems and shares insights, tips, and planning advice to inspire and assist fellow adventurers. Join Vero and let the shared passion for travel create unforgettable memories.


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