|The crowded beaches of Mar del Plata|
Today’s edition of Clarin includes an article that proclaims that Buenos Aires is becoming a tropical city. According to Osvaldo Canziani, a doctor of Argentine Meteorology, the average minimum temperature in the Metropolitan area of Buenos Aires has increased by 2.7°C in the last century and has been joined by more humidity and south-easterly winds.
But as porteños struggle to deal with the increasingly hot weather this summer, some days of which have seen temperatures reach 44°C, there are thousands and thousands of lucky ones who have escaped the city and made the typically porteño excursion to la costa.
Every December, January and February towns along the Atlantic coast of the province of Buenos Aires are flooded with tourists looking to enjoy the beaches and their pleasant sea breeze and slightly lower temperatures.
The biggest city on the coast and perhaps the preferred destination for many, is the city of Mar del Plata. 400km south of the capital, Mar del Plata is reached from the capital by a four hour car journey on Ruta 2 or a six or seven hour bus ride.
Known as La Feliz (The Happy One), it is a coastal town which provides plenty of summer entertainment, from theatre shows to amusement parks and casinos. And of course, the beaches.
With names like Playa Bristol and Playa de La Perla, the beaches of Mar del Plata are jam-packed to the brim during the summer months. They may not be exotic looking with their dark, almost dirty looking sand and murky Atlantic waters, but the coastal climate makes them ideal for partaking in a little sunbathing, ice-cream eating and other beachy pursuits; much of which is caught on camera by television crews and broadcast on screens all over the country throughout the summer - just to let those stuck at home witness the sight of others having a whale of a time.
There are over 440,000 registered different hotel room options for tourists in Mar del Plata and so the city plays host to hundreds of thousands of sun seekers every year. But if it's not quite your cup of tea, the Atlantic coast offers plenty of other holiday opportunities. Popular seaside resorts further south include the small towns of Pinamar, Miramar and Villa Gessell, the latter of which was built in 1931 on sand dunes by Carlos Idaho Gessell, the son of a German economist.
With the more expensive price of the dollar in recent years, foreign travel has become increasingly difficult for many Argentine families and so the coast has tended to be the most popular choice for summer holidays. It is by no means cheap though (renting a family house in Villa Gessell last summer could cost up to $14,000 for two weeks (US$ 3,500); but with the burning temperatures and soaring humidity of the capital city, the beaches in La Feliz and other seaside resorts will always be enough to persuade porteños to head to the coast for summer.