2017 might be the year we finally realize that our fellow countrymen in Mar del Plata, Pinamar and Cariló have been taking advantage of us and our desperate need to take a vacation. According to La Nación, reservations in Argentina’s resort towns are stagnating at around 60 percent, far away from the full hotels we saw last summer. The news came as a surprise to some. Mar del Plata is the classic Argentinian holiday destination after all, but the inflated prices (up 25 percent since last year) have put Mardel and other beach communities in direct competition with other international vacation spots in Brazil, Chile or even Miami.
Let’s break this down. When travelling to Mar del Plata, you have a few options. Long-distance bus tickets start at AR $1108. If you drive, you’ll spend around AR $120 in tolls and an average of AR $800 to fill the tank, which makes a total of almost AR $2,000 going and coming back. The problem with highways 2 and 11 is that it can take up to four, five, six, sometimes even eight hours to cover the 404 kilometers between Capital Federal and La Feliz, depending on traffic. Planes, on the other hand, set us back one measly hour, but come with a hefty AR $4,000 price tag per person just for the privilege of avoiding traffic jams.
Once the transportation issue is solved, we need to discuss where we’re staying. Given that hotel room prices start at around AR $1,700 a day, it might be better to rent an apartment without room service or breakfast. You’ll need a cool AR $15,000 for a two-bedroom apartment on average or AR $25,000 for three rooms.
How about the private beach clubs? You are still looking at some hefty price tags. Whether you end up going to Playa Grande or Punta Mogotes, most will end up paying between AR $600 and AR $1,000 for a tent per day. It only gets more expensive from there.
A quick look at the numbers and we can see that it takes a minimum of almost AR $30,000 to spend two weeks in Mar del Plata or any other coastal city. That is without eating and without going out in a city full of the porteños you wish you had left behind.
These number seem to be turning tourists off. During the long weekend in the beginning of December, a notable influx of 200,000 tourists landed in Mar del Plata, but without any long weekends or extended holiday time associated with the holidays many hotels and short term rentals are registering a 40% occupancy rate in many of Argentina’s balnearios.
That trip to Florianopolis is looking even more tempting now, isn’t it?