School of Spanish - Mar del Plata

Last weekend I went to Mar del Plata.
Each year a lot of people from Buenos Aires and the rest of the country spend their holidays there. In spite of that, it is not very popular among the foreign tourists. In my opinion, Mar del Plata is a very good option to spend some days. Here I’ll tell you why.
Mar del Plata is an Argentine city located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean in the Buenos Aires Province, 400 km (250 miles) south of Buenos Aires. Here you can do many activities including water sports: swimming, windsurfing, jet skiing, diving and sailing.
There are many beaches.
The Northern beaches, in La Perla, constitute a classic that integrates all the downtown beaches through to Punta Iglesia, where a traditional touring area begins and extends up to the Torreón del Monje (Monk’s Tower).
Playa Chica y Playa Grande (the Chica and Grande Beaches), the nearest ones to the port, offer a contrast with its rocky outcroppings and beautiful parks.
In Mar del Plata´s harbour, you can enjoy a cuisine that has sea-fruit as a specialty.
Nightlife in Mar del Plata offers plenty of alternatives: pubs, discos, restaurants, cafés, casino and bingos. Theatre tickets are sold out when the most important plays of the season are on stage, so you need to book these well in advance.
The weather pattern for the region is that of an oceanic climate, with humid and moderate summers and relative cool winters, although polar air masses from Antarctica are frequent. There are ten days of 30º C (86 Fahrenheit) each summer. Usually, the summer nights are cool and pleasant, with temperatures between 16º and 20ºC (60 to 70 Fahrenheit).
You can go to mar del Plata all the year round but I recommend you to go in spring or summer.

  • How to get there?

By car: By National Route N° 2.
By bus: 5 hours from Buenos Aires (Retiro station)
By train: 5 hours from Buenos Aires (Constitución station)
By plane: 30 minutes from Buenos Aires (Jorge Newbery airport)

  • Important events

The Mar del Plata International Film Festival (Festival internacional de cine de Mar del Plata) is the only Class-A film’s festival in the Americas, along with festivals like Cannes, Berlin or Venice. It is a prestigious international film festival that takes place every year, during the month of March.
– The Mar del Plata Independent Film Festival (Festival de cine independiente de Mar del Plata) is still the most relevant competitive festival in the continent. Its audience averages 150,000 spectators. Producers, exhibitors, distributors and journalists from all over the world meet there, contributing to the global promotion of the event and the films. Usually it takes place in October each year.

  • Interesting museums

The Museum of Natural Science Lorenzo Scaglia (Museo de Ciencias Naturales Lorenzo Scaglia), specialized in Paleontology of the Quaternary species around the region. 1) Geology: origins of the planet, continental drift, minerals, fossils, water, earth, etc. 2) Paleontology: wealth of vertebrate fossils, such as the megaterium, the sable-toothed tiger or the dreaded thylacosmilus, emblem of the museum. 3) Mastozoology: native species, such as the dappled opossum, tucu-tuco, armadillos, etc. 4) Ornithology: chimangos, rheas, ducks, herons, etc., representative groups of birds that populated the distinct regional environments. 5) Entomology: three different exhibits about arthropods. 6) Aquarium: live aquatic organisms from the ocean to the southeast of Buenos Aires and freshwater fish from the large rivers of the Argentine coast.The museum also offers a library, educational services, laboratories, taxidermy, conference room, etc. Plaza España is the site of this museum (Libertad 3099, tel. 0223/473-8791, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. weekdays, 3–8 p.m. weekends).
The Museum of the Sea (Museo del Mar) has one of the most complete collections of sea snails of the World. It presents collector Benjamín Sisterna’s impressive assortment of 30,000 seashells far better than an earlier downtown museum ever did. Following a boyhood enthusiasm, Sisterna (1914–1995) collected shells from around the world over 60 years. It features a lower-level tidal pool set within its Confitería Gloria Maris, a perfect choice for coffee or lunch, surrounded by an aquarium. The second level contains the bulk of Cisterna’s seashells, a cybercafé, an auditorium, and a museum shop, while the third contains more shells, a lecture hall, and an art gallery. The fourth level has an exhibition hall and a rooftop terrace with outstanding views. It is located on the Stella Maris hill summit, just a 15-minute walk from downtown (Avenida Colón 1114. It is open from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily in summer; the rest of the year, hours are 8 a.m.–8 p.m. daily except Saturday, when it’s open 8 a.m.–midnight).

  • A must

You must buy alfajores for your friends at Havanna or Balcarce stores. An alfajor is a soft cookie with a sweet filling. The traditional Argentine alfajores have a dulce de leche filling. Some alfajores are covered, most typically with a powdered sugar or a dark chocolate bath.
I bought alfajores for the students and teachers and the new students tried dulce de leche for first time. Althought some of them considered it too sweet, in my view it is one of the most tasty products one can ever eat and it is always worth to try something new.
School of Spanish - Alfajor