With summer right around the corner, Necochea's 40 miles (64 km) of beaches will soon be teeming with umbrella-wielding, mate-drinking, sun-worshipping tourists and residents alike. The area is graced with some of Argentina's most ample beaches, in some spots up to almost 1,000 feet (300 m) wide. The following beaches constitute the most popular spots for enjoying the sun and surf in both Necochea and neighboring Quequén.
Las Grutas [photos]
Removed from the hub of tourist activity in the downtown area, Las Grutas lies about six miles (10 km) south of the heart of Necochea. The many small caves that dot the cliffs along the shoreline in this area gave rise to its name, since Las Grutas means "The Grottoes." Poking around the rocky alcoves provides good entertainment, and friends and families often huddle inside the caves to drink mate.
Downtown beaches [photo]
Necochea's downtown beaches boast fine sand, easy access and plenty of services for beachgoers. Beach clubs known as balnearios line this stretch of sand that borders Avenida 2. These clubs offer a variety of services including umbrella and cabana rentals, restaurants, snack bars, volleyball courts, etc. While the downtown beaches provide the most in the way of amenities, they are also the most crowded (though nowhere near as packed as the beaches in Mar del Plata, for example).
Playa de los Patos [photos]
This stretch of beach located in Necochea, adjacent to the Escollera Sur, offers easy access to the jetty for those who would rather go fishing than work on their tans. Visitors can also check out the sea lion colony that makes its home on the other side of the jetty. Though still somewhat centrally-located, this beach never gets too crowded, but it doesn't offer much in the way of services.
Monte Pasuvio/La Hélice [photos]
Popular with surfers and sunbathers, this stretch of beach in Quequén gets my vote as the best spot in the area to catch some rays and play in the frothy waves of the Atlantic. Plop down on a towel or in a chair on the broad, sandy beach, and watch the surfers ride the waves against the backdrop of the jetties and the port. Monte Pasuvio features a couple of small beach clubs that offer umbrella and cabana rentals and a bite to eat.
This beach received its name from the wreckage of the Italian steamship Monte Pasuvio, which shipwrecked in the midst of a terrible storm on April 1, 1924. The ship's propeller and a portion of the hull remain visible amid the breaking waves.
Bahía de los Vientos [photos]
The rusted-out, hulking remains of the Pesuarsa II, a mysterious-looking ship that lies stranded on the coast, easily lay claim to the most recognizable symbol of Bahía de los Vientos. The rocky beaches and cliffs in this area don't exactly lend themselves to sunbathing and swimming, but you're sure to find plenty of tourists snapping photos, examining the wreckage of the former fishing vessel, and hunting for shells and pebbles.
Costa Bonita [photos]
Just six miles (10 km) north of Quequén, you'll find yourself in the aptly named Costa Bonita ["Pretty Coast"]. This spot lies a bit further off the beaten path, so even in high season it maintains a sense of tranquility. The desert-like dunes make for some fun exploration, and beachcombers are sure to find something interesting on this pebble-filled beach. The balcony at Hostería Costa Bonita, one of the few places to stay in the Quequén area, provides a sweeping view of the beaches and Necochea in the distance.
Click here for a map of Necochea and Quequén showing points of interest.
[Illustration courtesy of Matt Jones]