Each summer, Necochea and Quequén's miles of coastline beckon to vacationing Argentines in search of a bit of surf and sand. The area's ample beaches are its main attraction, making Necochea hard to beat if your primary objective is to spend a few days of rest and relaxation under the sun.
Although it wasn't exactly beach weather, there was still plenty to keep my parents occupied during our stay in Necochea. If you take joy in the simple pleasures of nature, you will find plenty of interest in this corner of the province of Buenos Aires. We began our visit at the port, and we were entertained for quite some time by the antics of the sea lion colony that makes its home next to the jetty.
We then descended to the adjacent beach known as Playa de los Patos to take in a bit of sunshine and views of Necochea's high-rise buildings in the distance [see first photo]. After examining, with childlike wonder, the barnacles attached to massive boulders at the base of the jetty and breathing in a bit of salt air, we hopped in the car and made our way north along the dusty, unpaved road that leads to Costa Bonita. Mediterranean-style homes with uninterrupted views of the ocean accompanied us along the coast to Bahía de los Vientos, site of the barco encallado.
The hulking, rusty wreckage of the Pesuarsa II came to rest in the waters of Bahía de los Vientos after it broke free from its moorings in the port during a tremendous flood in 1980. Encircled by an almost continuous cloud of seagulls and appreciated by both tourists and locals alike, the mysterious-looking ship lies stranded on the coast as the saltwater slowly eats away at its hull.
The rest of the day was consumed by our visit with Daniel's family, but we awoke the following morning, fresh and ready to tackle the spiral staircase of the Faro Quequén. This lighthouse clad in black and white stands tall in Quequén, sister city to Necochea, and still serves as an active aid to navigation.
The climb to the top cost us nothing more than 163 footsteps, as we were not charged an entrance fee by the guard. We were rewarded with far-reaching views of the sea, the port, the city of Necochea and the surrounding countryside. A pair of binoculars comes in handy to gain a more detailed view of visible landmarks like the barco encallado (just don't leave them in the trunk like we did!). Unfortunately, we chose a very windy day for our visit, and we were almost carried away by the gusts of wind at the top of the lighthouse!
Interspersed between hours of talking and relaxing with Daniel's family and consuming mass quantities of food and beverage (this is not a complaint), we managed to take in a few other sights while visiting Necochea and Quequén.
Monumento a la Gesta de Malvinas: Erected as a tribute to the soldiers that perished in the conflict with Great Britain over the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) in 1982, this concrete monument stands over 111.5 ft. (34 m) tall in the city of Quequén. Backed by a gracefully-draped Argentine flag, the monument is oriented in the direction of the Falkland Islands. While my parents snapped photos of the memorial, I marveled at the spooky, abandoned hotel across the way and dreamed of how it must have looked in its heyday.
Parque Miguel Lillo and Lago de los Cisnes: A lovely retreat situated directly on the coast, Parque Miguel Lillo (Miguel Lillo Park) contains an extensive pine forest that offers a number of recreational opportunities. Outside of the tourist season things are a bit quiet, but hordes of visitors will invade the park come summertime, plunking down their lawn chairs under every available patch of shade and drinking mate to their heart's content. Lago de los Cisnes (Swan Lake) is a small, man-made lake located within the park. Ideal for picnics, paddleboat rides or a brief stroll, visitors can take a gander at the numerous ducks, geese and other animals that call the lake home.
Las Grutas and Punta Negra: Exploration of the coastal road Avenida 2 a few miles to the south of Necochea will yield both Las Grutas and Punta Negra. Visitors will find this portion of the beach quite rocky with many small caves along the shoreline, hence the name Las Grutas (The Grottoes). Punta Negra, meaning "Black Point," derives its moniker from the iron-rich sand peppered with black speckles. We whiled away the time searching for sea glass, shells and pebbles and snapping photos along this vast stretch of beach. It must have been our lucky day because Daniel happened upon a smooth shard of kelly green sea glass with a four-leaf clover emblazoned upon it.
Due to time constraints, we didn't have an opportunity to show my family all of the wonderful natural areas in the vicinity of Necochea such as the Río Quequén and Playa Verde; however, as my stepdad is fond of saying, there's always next time.
Please visit my Necochea & Quequén set on Flickr for more images.