As we in the northern hemisphere slowly inch our way into summer, down in Argentina they are finally saying goodbye to one of the longest and most glorious summers.
Argentines love summer and spend a good deal of the warm months outdoors. For the lucky, summer can mean month long work vacations and time to explore their own country. In Buenos Aires, summer means parks filled with sunbathers and an almost empty city as people rush to the beach in the south or the beach resorts across the river in Uruguay.
While plenty of people get time off for the summer, not everyone can afford a trip to the beach. The city of Buenos Aires, in an effort to bring summertime bliss to all its citizens, came up with a solution for those left behind in the city.
Buenos Aires Playa
The Buenos Aires Playas are “urban beaches” set up in the city’s parks to give people the fun in the sun experience of a beach vacation. The “urban beach” trend has become popular around the world with makeshift beaches popping up for the summer in cities like Paris, Rome, and Tokyo.
Unfortunately the Río de la Plata, the river that Buenos Aires sits on, is not safe to swim in so the beaches don’t actually include a ocean/river experience but that is about all they are missing.
The “playas” are set up with trucked-in sand, beach chairs and umbrellas, volleyball courts, blow up playgrounds for the kids, water games, fountains to cool off in, and much more.
There are two main beaches, one in the north in the Parque de los Niños and one in the south at Parque Roca. The other city parks also take part in the summer event by adding chairs, umbrellas, and organized events for their own community park visitors. The “playas” are opened from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 8pm throughout the summer.
The beaches offer food courts but guests are welcome to bring their own food and beverages and picnic on the beach. There is even free wifi though you’ll probably be having too much fun to check your Facebook.
In addition to volleyball and water games, the beaches also organize beach tennis, rugby and football (soccer) games, dance lessons, puppet shows, book readings, and live musical performances. There are beach program coordinators who help set up volleyball tournaments, “lifeguards” watching the children playing in the water fountains, and even daily spinning classes.
The best part? Everything from entrance to all the activities are completely free of charge. This is a chance for the city’s residence, no matter what their income, to enjoy a family beach style vacation.
Couple Travel Tips
- Outside alcohol is not allowed into the playas. Sure, you might be able to sneak it in but this is a family oriented affair so it’s probably best to save the drinking for the “after party”.
- There is some security at the Playas but you should still watch your stuff closely. Just like at a real beach, it’s all too easy for someone to grab your camera or purse when you aren’t paying attention.
- If you have a bit more room in your travel budget and want a real beach there is no where better than Punta del Este. Called the “Beverly Hills of South America” this beach, located a short trip away in Uruguay has the best summer parties.