By Joshua Rapp Learn, Contributing Reporter
PINAMAR, ARGENTINA – Witness a surreal landscape where steaming sand dunes roll into copses of pine trees, shimmering sunsets reflect off glistening, tanned bodies and bikini-clad beauties direct thumbs at passing quads on beach roads.
Every summer hordes of Argentinians descend on the small beach towns of Pinamar and nearby Cariló, and this year looks to be the busiest to date. Less than 400km south of Buenos Aires, these glitzy summer beach resorts are the places to be for Argentina’s “in-the-know”.
The whole “pine trees on the sea” idea was spearheaded in a small town just south of Pinamar called Cariló.
Back in the 1920s, Héctor Manuel Guerrero began an experiment planting pine trees on his enormous beach-side, dune-covered property. The results became evident not only in the beautiful scenery, but in the name itself. As one may guess, Pinamar literally translates into “Pine Sea.”
Pinamar’s principal architect, Jorge Bunge, initially organized Pinamar around a structured plan that was more or less copied from nearby Cariló, which lies about 10km to the south.
The whole area, particularly Cariló, eventually became an exclusive seaside resort for the well-to-do and its beaches and complexes have only recently become more accessible to the general public.
Today, Pinamar is an easy town to get ones bearings. Bunge Boulevard, named after the town’s founding father, is the main axis and runs perpendicular to the seaside.
A small number of apartment buildings are clustered around the boulevard and the rest of the town is made up of quiet houses and chalet-style cabin areas secluded in pine groves.
To uphold the good name of fashion, Pinamar boasts several yearly fashion shows, many of which unfold their catwalks directly on the sandy beach.
Furthermore, in the summer, Pinamar holds a large market for independent designers, reminiscent of the Plaza Serrano in Buenos Aires called De Vanguardia.
Indeed, the entire town is so fashion conscious that the modern center is architecturally reminiscent of a giant designer boutique, for better or worse.
As one would expect of a beach resort, Pinamar begins to party early in the afternoon and continues rocking until the first light of dawn.
On the beach just north of town, UFO Point (pronounced Oof-oh) is the place to be as the afternoon begins to wane. The beach bar sells cocktails and blasts house music for the greater province of Buenos Aires’ tanned and toned.
Make sure to spend a few extra days at the gym before going, as the majority of Argentinians who frequent the area are the types who manage to look great wearing very little.
If club music isn’t your thing, plan a vacation around the many guest rock appearances that bless the summer months with free concerts on the beach.
The real action unfolds throughout the legions of cabins and summer houses where vacationers renting for one-week or two-week periods throw all kinds of parties, from the ultra-exclusive to open free-for-alls.