While Argentina isn’t known for powdery white beaches and transparent warm waters like some Latin American countries, it does boast 4,989 km of coastline as well as lakes, streams and rivers. What Argentina lacks in tropical vibes, it more than makes up for in rugged natural beauty. Keep that in mind as you check out our list of the best beaches in Argentina.
Mar del Plata's heyday was in the 1920s, when wealthy porteños flocked here by train, hoping to exchange Buenos Aires’ swampy weather for cool Atlantic breezes. Today, the country’s largest fishing port is surrounded by a cluster of the best beaches in Argentina, each with a different personality. In January visitors pack in like sweaty sardines, but the bracing Atlantic Ocean is refreshing, to say the least.
Hands down Argentina’s biggest seaside resort, there are plenty of beaches to choose from. Playa Grande’s waves attract wannabe surfers and pro riders, beautiful people pitch up on La Caseta’s yellow sands, while Punta Mogotes fills with families sharing mates and playing games at low tide.
For the ultimate Mar del experience, spend the day on close-to-bursting Playa Bristol in front of the casino, just to say you’ve done it. Those who can afford to book into a balneario (private beach club) with various facilities such as a swimming pool and bathrooms rent a carpa (tent) and sunbeds for a fortnight; the colourful pointy roofs dot the coast.
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While this port city's main draw is as the jumping-off point for visiting Unesco world heritage site the Valdés Peninsula, Puerto Madryn offers up a few trump cards of its own. Playa Paraná on the Nuevo Gulf offers up a stretch of very white sand, which turns into a seaweed bed come low tide, and is a great beachy base for exploring the surrounding area.
Time your visit right and you could be sharing this bay’s waters with the famous southern-right whale (May to late November). Other bayside aquatic activities include snorkelling with friendly sea lions, SUP and kayaking.
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Golden sands, warmish Atlantic currents and manageable waves await at Pinamar, which translates to pine trees on the sea. This beach town complete with a fishing pier and surrounding forest attracts families with little kids as well as brattish teens let loose for the first time. Kite surfers head here each summer for the vigorous breezes.
If you can acquire a 4X4 or quad bike, drive north up and over the sand dunes up to one of the best beaches in Argentina - La Frontera beach for relative peace and quiet, and plan to stay for the unadulterated pink-and-purple ocean sunsets.
Looking for inspiration for your trip? Don't miss our guide to the best things to do in Argentina.
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A few miles south of the sister town Pinamar, Cariló’s fancy houses and lovely gardens attract the wealthy upper class that chooses to vacation in Argentina.
A quiet spot home to just 300 families out of season, visitors might be surprised by the number of cars that cross the dunes and park up on the beach itself, which somewhat goes against Cariló’s eco-friendly attitude. Regardless, this is the country’s top resort, chosen by politicians, impresarios and celebrities looking for a tranquil safe haven.
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When the end of the world hits its annual top temperature of around 24Cº in summer, fueguinos strip off at Playa Larga in Tierra del Fuego. The hardiest even brave the Beagle Channel’s icy waters. An hour’s trail from the main road leads visitors to this remote nature reserve, where a shingle beach awaits. Keep an eye out for whales, penguins and petrels.
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The endless hawkers flogging churros, ice cream, sunglasses and headgear form part of the landscape at Villa Gesell, the seaside bolthole for Buenos Aires’ working-class families and students – who pack out the surrounding campsites.
Wooden boardwalk lines the yellow sandy beach, which turns muddy come low tide, traipsed by joggers and dog walkers. Head south of the centro from calle 20 upwards (near the fishing pier) for a slightly quieter experience at balnearios such as Afrika.
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For mountain views and Alpine vibes from your towel, pitch up at one of the lakeshores around Lago Nahuel Huapi in Bariloche. Summer temperatures in this part of Patagonia can hit 30ºC so don’t forget to slap on some sunscreen.
Families while away days at Playa Serena, while sporty types head to Playa Bonita for scuba diving and kayaking. Lago Nahuel Hapi might not be the ocean, but its lakeside shores count as some of the nicest beaches in Argentina.
On this tailor-made trip to Bariloche & Buenos Aires, you will explore the stunning landscapes of Bariloche and immerse yourself in nature's wonders. Then, soak up the vibrant energy of Buenos Aires, with its captivating culture, history, and lively streets.
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It’s not all Atlantic waters around Buenos Aires – Tigre’s cola-coloured rivers and streams that form part of the Paraná Delta are just an hour’s train ride from the capital. Sound unappetising? Despite the colour, the water is clean (the coffee hue comes from sediment picked up on the rivers' journeys), and the real USP is that this collection of tropical islands is within easy distance of BA.
Escape the rather dull town of Tigre itself on a lancha colectiva (boat taxi) to an island resort such as Playa Catalina, which accepts day visitors, then work off lunch by kayaking or rowing. Tigre is busy year-round, especially at weekends.
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Las Grutas is a seaside resort located in the province of Rio Negro and is the main resort in Patagonia. It is renowned for its microclimate and the warmest waters on the Argentine coast.
Las Grutas Beach is one of the best beaches in Argentina and offers plenty of room for sunbathing, swimming and various water sports. This beach is also great for families, as the waters of San Matías Bay are clear and relatively calm. In addition, the local waters contain a high concentration of salts and iodine, which have therapeutic properties.
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Río Correntoso is famous for its fishing and, at barely 250m long, one of the planet’s shortest rivers. The road then skirts the northernmost tip of Lago Nahuel Huapi, by far the largest lake on the route. As you turn north, you quickly see Lago Espejo (“Looking-glass Lake”), renowned as the warmest and smoothest lake hereabouts.
Alongside the Seccional Espejo guardaparque post is a free campsite, by a beach that’s good for swimming. Just before the post is another site, with spacious pitches, a beach, and an easy forest trail opposite, which heads through woods to one of the best beaches in Argentina on the western shore of magical Lake Correntoso.
Beyond here you trace Lake Correntoso’s northern shores and pass a lakeside campsite, run by one of the area’s original indigenous families and offering tortas fritas, meals and provisions.
Marvel at jaw-droppingly beautiful Patagonian landscapes, walk the shores of deep-blue lakes guarded by snow-capped mountains - experience all of this with this unique tailor-made trip to the Great Lakes and Glaciers of Argentina!
Another place full of white sandy beaches in Argentina is the coastal town and resort of Mar de Ajó, located in the province of Buenos Aires. The city's beaches attract large numbers of visitors during the summer and offer plenty of sunbathing space, and various water activities including surfing, water-skiing and jet-skiing.
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Monte Hermoso is also a popular resort in the province of Buenos Aires. The town's main attraction is its beaches, which are well-maintained and have all the necessary beach attributes, such as showers and sun loungers and umbrellas for rent.
A unique feature is that it is the only beach in Argentina where the sun goes down and comes up into the sea, allowing visitors to stay on the beach for longer.
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Looking for more beach holiday options in South America? Explore our list of the best beaches in Uruguay.
Ready to start planning your trip? Check out the Rough Guide to Argentina.
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Top image: Mar del Plata is BA's busiest seaside resort © JopsStock/Shutterstock