A Visit to Pinamar

Pinamar Travel Blog

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Made it to the east coast - Villa Gesell, Argentina!

Today I hit the second disaster - or at least error - of my trip. (You may remember the first error was my mistaken booking of a bus all the way to Buenos Aires, without stopping along the way.)  Read on.

After a coffee and medialuna at a splendid cafe across from my hospedaje, I decided to walk the 2 blocks down to the beach. I had put sun tan lotion on my face in the morning, but no where else. But I figured it was the morning sun, it was 2 blocks, and I´d only be out for 30-60 minutes. I just wanted to survey the beach scene and figure out how I´d spend my day.

Well, hanging out at the beach down here is like hanging out in a microwave - it doesn´t take long to get cooked.

Strolling along the beach
When I got back to my room, just before noon, I was already looking pink.

So with that, I decided enough sun for the day. I´d take the bus down to neighboring town Pinamar which was supposed to be an up-and-coming Punta del Este. In other words, it was where the rich Argentinians vacationed. The "normal" people vacationed in Villa Gesell. You might say I was doing research on where I wanted to spend the next few days, including Christmas Eve or "Noche Buena" and Christmas Day - both potentially good party nights with young folks out and about in the bars and restaurants. I wasn´t sold on Villa Gesell just yet, and I wanted to see what Pinamar had to offer.

Villa Gesell has a nice boardwalk along its main beach

It took me an hour to figure out which bus to take, where to get on, and where to get off. But asking around, I figured out the answers. Of course, at the time, I forgot to ask how to get back home to Villa Gesell. Something that would be a problem later.

Anyway, by 3pm or so I was on the beach at Pinamar - in long pants, long sleeve shirt, and hat! I took a stroll and realized that the beach wasn´t really that much different than Villa Gesell. The town itself, however, was different.

Although both towns were about 20,000 people, Pinamar seemed to be a bit more sprawling with a less dense "center" than Villa Gesell. Villa Gesell had a very walkable, active main street - Avenida 3 - which was the focus of the nightlife. Pinamar, though, seemed to have bigger bar/club type establishments but since it was daytime, it was impossible to tell whether they´d be open yet (high season wasn´t til after Christmas), what kind of crowd they´d attract, etc.

Nice boardwalk and nice cafes and restaurants - though the nightlife isn´t here on the beach for some reason, it´s up off the beach about 3 blocks on Avenida 3.

The next step of my research was housing. I stumbled across a recommended hotel - Cedro Azul - so inquired about pricing. 150 pesos per night. That was 3x what I was paying in Villa Gesell, for not much better a room. Hmmm...

I decided to think about it on my way back to Villa Gesell. Wait. How do I get back to Villa Gesell? I knew approximately where the bus had dropped me off, so I went back to that location, but stood on the other side of the street hoping the bus would come back along the same route. The curb was painted yellow and there was a bench, so that was a good indication. But there was no "bus stop" sign. And I didn´t know when the bus might come, which one I should get on, or what the destination indicator on the front of the bus would say...Villa Gesell, or something else further up the coast?

Within a few minutes, a cute young Argentinian woman walked up and sat next to me.

Lots of cabana type things waiting for high season to come in January and February. I can imagine this place goes nuts.
And then within a few seconds, she started chatting with me. I couldn´t believe it. Maybe I should be hanging out in Pinamar! But actually, it gave me a great opportunity to figure out how the hell to get back to Villa Gesell. She was very helpful and told me which bus to watch for, when it would come, and that yes, I was in the right place. With that, her bus arrived, she stepped on, and I never saw her again. Damn.

So I did manage to get back to Villa Gesell. And this time I was smart enough to NOT go all the way to the bus terminal, but to get off earlier so I wouldn´t have to do the 35 block walk back to the center. But I still hadn´t made a decision about Pinamar vs Villa Gesell. I´d postpone the decision until later tonight when I investigate once again the nightlife here in Villa Gesell.

More cabanas

As I cleaned up for dinner, I noticed the "pink" burn from this morning was really not just pink - man I was red!  Ouch! Those few minutes in the morning sun really did me in.  Lesson learned!! 

I ate dinner at the highly recommended El Estribo - a parilla or steakhouse. I had a caprese salad, a huge steak, pure of pumpkin squash, a bottle of Malbec wine, and a coffee for about $20. And they brought a glass of champagne to me with the bill! Impressive value and service.

By now I´m totally comfortable dining alone, and enjoy the time to reflect on my travels, to plan the next step, or just to sit quietly and listen the activity around me. But tonight´s dinner was made a bit more exciting because another Boca Juniors game was on TV in the center of the restaurant.

Under the pier
So from time to time, conversations at the restaurant would stop and be replaced by an Oooh or Aaah...

I still don´t fully understand what happened, but although Boca lost the game tonight to Tigre, they apparently still won some sort of championshiop tournament - maybe based on total points or something. When I left the restaurant, to my surprise, the street was filled with people celebrating Boca´s championship, waving flags, lighting fireworks, waving a big blue-and-yellow parachute thing. You´ll have to watch the video and see the pictures. It was pretty crazy.

In search of some night life, other than a soccer game celebration, I took a walk up the road about 2 kilometers to the "sector discoteca".

Under the pier, acting like a column
This place has some sort of massive facility apparently with 2 pubs and 3 discos and a restaurant, or something like that. I´d seen it a few times from the bus. I wanted to check it out.

So by 1am I arrived at the facility - but it was completely dark, other than a few security lights. I guess it doesn´t open until after Christmas, when this place is supposedly flooded with partygoers.

As I walked back down the dark streets to the main center of town (I know, a no-no), I contemplated my next move. Do I stay in Villa Gesell or go to Pinamar? I couldn´t beat the price for the room I have in Villa Gesell. I have to stay in Villa Gesell on Thursday anyway because of my early bus from there to Buenos Aires the next morning. But Pinamar might have a bit more action going on - who knows.

Celebration after Boca game
I decided to just postpone the decision again until the morning.

By the way, I´ve been pretty lame these last few days about taking notes in my journal as I go through each day. The purpose of note-taking on activities and thoughts was so that I could then review, summarize, and tell a bit more of a cohesive story about each day. Unfortunately, I haven´t taken notes these last few days, and I´m a few days behind. So this entry, and a few others, seem more like just brain dumps. Hope someone finds it interesting. At least I´ll have some kind of record of how I spent my time down here. It´s amazing how quickly the days go by and how little I actually do.




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Made it to the east coast - Villa …
Made it to the east coast - Villa…
Strolling along the beach
Strolling along the beach
Villa Gesell has a nice boardwalk …
Villa Gesell has a nice boardwalk…
Nice boardwalk and nice cafes and …
Nice boardwalk and nice cafes and…
Lots of cabana type things waiting…
Lots of cabana type things waitin…
More cabanas
More cabanas
Under the pier
Under the pier
Under the pier, acting like a colu…
Under the pier, acting like a col…
Celebration after Boca game
Celebration after Boca game
Celebration after Boca game
Celebration after Boca game
Celebration after Boca game
Celebration after Boca game
First car goes under parachute thi…
First car goes under parachute th…
Second car goes under parachute th…
Second car goes under parachute t…
Uh oh, no way is this truck going …
Uh oh, no way is this truck going…
The major pub/disco facility at ed…
The major pub/disco facility at e…
photo by: timbo