We show you 11 of the best beaches in the south of Argentina to enjoy with your family.
Our country has a large part of its territory bathed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The beaches further north, in the province of Buenos Aires, are more popular and perhaps a little warmer than those of Patagonia, but the latter are also to be enjoyed, even if it is only with a few mates.
My dad was born in Trelew, so every summer our family vacation consisted of visiting family in the south (grandparents, aunt and cousins). It’s an area I know quite well and I feel almost local. Over the years I have been getting to know many beaches in the south of Argentina, which are not as well known or crowded as those in the province of Buenos Aires, but they exist and they are there. In fact, they are becoming increasingly popular.
Some of the ones I will mention in this article I have visited ad nauseam during my childhood and others were recent discoveries. Be that as it may, I do not want to fail to mention them.
But about the beaches in particular, we will talk in this article and below:
Map with the 11 best beaches in southern Argentina
Patagonia is one of our favorite places and that is why we visit it again and again, getting to know every possible corner. These are some of the beaches we know and love:
1) Las Grutas
Traveling from north to south, Las Grutas is one of the first beaches in Patagonia. It was born as a summer resort of the city of San Antonio Oeste but now it has consolidated as a small beach town. It is one of the best beaches in southern Argentina and not because we say so, but it was also chosen in a survey conducted by the company Flight Network.
Las Grutas is an ideal beach to travel with children, the waves are not so rough compared to the rest of the Atlantic beaches, the water is not so cold and the sand is great for playing and making castles.
The village is at the top of some cliffs in which caves or “grottos” were formed, hence the name of the place. But it is not all sand along the cliff, there is also a rocky part where there are natural pools that are filled with sea water when the tide rises.
📷 Book here the Las Grutas tour and snorkel in Punta Perdices, a fascinating adventure. Transfers and guide included.
2) Doradas Beach
This was one of the beaches in the south of Argentina that we had yet to visit and we were finally able to go. It is located a few kilometers from Sierra Grande in the province of Río Negro and is a small and quiet coastal town. We imagine that the name Playas Doradas comes from the large extensions of sand that it has on its coast.
In addition to being a friendly place for hiking, if you travel by car you can take the southbound route and visit one of its many wild beaches such as La Isla, La Bonita, Los Suecos and Las Casitas up to to get to Punta Coloradawhere a large pier of 1 km in length can be seen. There is an industrial plant and the ore port, where the iron ore is unloaded and processed.
3) Puerto Madryn
A somewhat personal confession: we would love to live in Puerto Madryn. It is not such a big city (like Mar del Plata for example), but it is not so small that it is only summery (like Playa de Gandía). Throughout the year there is a lot to do, whether it is strolling through the downtown full of stores, along the waterfront in winter watching the whales, going to the beach on a nice day to drink some mates and other things that we tell in our article about the city.
Even though I don’t think I know of colder water, with more algae and live waters than those of Puerto Madryn, it is one of the best beaches in the south of Argentina. The city sits on the Golfo Nuevo, forming a large pool of calm waters. In the afternoon “la brisa” (that’s what my aunt used to call it) usually arrives, forcing one to put on a coat in the middle of summer.
The most crowded and central beach of Puerto Madryn is called Mimosa, which extends from Gales Avenue (almost at the height of the port) to Jenkin Street (which is before the ascent to the Indio).
📷 Book here the tour to Punta Tombo and the tour to Gaiman and the Paleontological Museum of Trelew. Both depart from Puerto Madryn. Includes: transfers and guide.
🔝 Check out these recommendations on things to do in Puerto Madryn.
4) Puerto Pirámides
Puerto Pirámides is a small coastal town located, like Puerto Madryn, within the Golfo Nuevo. But it is also within the Valdes Peninsula, which is a World Heritage Site, and is a natural reserve where different native species are protected.
🔘 Check out the rest of the World Heritage Sites we have visited.
Although it has a mini bay with a beautiful sandy beach and calm, frozen water, Puerto Pirámides is best known for having the port from where the boats leave to go whale watching in winter, mainly from July to November.
Anyway, there are hotels, restaurants and a campsite that fills up in summer. It is a quiet place, since it has no more than 600 inhabitants and is 95 km from Puerto Madryn on a mostly gravel road.
📌 General admission price at Peninsula Valdes for 2023: nationals AR$ 3,100 and foreigners AR$ 7,200 (9 €). Discounts are available for children and senior citizens.
5) El Doradillo
This beach extends to the north of Puerto Madryn, about 15-20 km along the same gravel road that leads to Peninsula Valdes.
In summer it is quite crowded by those who are looking for a quiet beach where they can swim and have some mates between chats. But in winter it is a favorite of whales that come from far to the south to have their calves in the New Gulf. It is the best beach to see the whales from the shore without having to embark.
They are wild beaches, where there are no lifeguards or constructions because it is a protected area. Just a parking lot to leave the car, small stones instead of sand and the cold sea.
When it’s time to take a dip, remember that it gets deep very quickly. It is not for nothing that whales play so close to the shore.
📷 If you do not want to embark or go alone to El Doradillo beach, you can hire an excursion to go to El Doradillo beach.
You are almost half way through, continue reading about the best beaches in the south of Argentina that we have visited…
6) Parana Beach
This beach is south of Puerto Madryn, less than 10 km down a road that is now paved to the access road. It is very similar to that of El Doradillo, with small stones and notorious depth, although here the whales do not approach.
The peculiarity of Playa Paraná is that there is a ship stranded on the shore, no more than 300 meters away. The fishing vessel Foilas, which caught fire at sea and was not allowed to dock at the main dock for safety reasons, was left waiting in front of this beach, until the wind and inclement weather took care of leaving it there.
Many people come to drink mates, fish and dive in the sunken ship, although this is not advisable unless accompanied by a specialized agency. When the tide is very high, the ship is practically covered and becomes more visible when the tide begins to go out. Very nice view at sunset, when the sun shines on its rusty ironwork, giving orange sparkles.
7) Union Beach
Playa Unión is a city that was born as Rawson’s seaside resort and, like Las Grutas, it is growing every day with more and more permanent inhabitants who live there all year round. In the end, it is only 5 km away from the capital of Chubut and it is not so far if you have to commute to work every day, for example.
When we were younger, Playa Unión was our favorite beach. For us it was the best beach in the south of Argentina, mostly because we had a lot of fun with the waves. The beach is a mixture of sand and fine pebbles, and only when the tide is very low can the sand be seen.
When the tide starts to rise, that’s when the fun begins for us. The waves break against the rocks and you have to be very careful to get in and out of the sea. Once inside, there is a lot of depth and the strong current may take you south and you may have to walk meters and meters along the shore to the place where your umbrella is. It doesn’t sound that entertaining, but it was!
8) Magagna Beach
Years and years going to the south on vacation and this beach I met recently. It is not a tourist place like Playa Unión, where tourists and those who live in the Valley go. They usually go there for those who have a house there or who know that octopus, crabs and spider crabs can be extracted from its shores when the tide is low. In our case, we went because some of my dad’s cousins have a little house and we spent a day of barbecue and fishing. Had they had better luck, they could have caught roosterfish, silverside and snook.
The access road is paved along the 5 beaches that make up the area: Bonita, El Faro, Cangrejales Norte, Cangrejales Sur and Santa Isabel. It has no more than 100 inhabitants. At Magagna Beach, tranquility is assured.
It is a small coastal and fishing town, with no more than 1,500 inhabitants during the year, halfway between Trelew and Comodoro Rivadavia. Likewise, from Route 3 that joins these two cities, it is necessary to make a detour to the east of about 70 km.
At the end of the 19th century, a ship called Villarino, which on a previous occasion had transported the remains of General San Martin from France to Argentina, collided with its bow against the reefs of the White Islands, which is just in front of Camarones, while on an expedition through Patagonia. Last year TN did a documentary on this and they went down with divers to get a closer look.
Its beaches are ideal for fishing and the annual National Salmon Festival is held there. In addition, the rugged coast of the San Jorge Gulf where this town is located is the ideal habitat for diverse marine and terrestrial fauna, and a natural reserve was recently created at the provincial level to protect it.
Camarones is part of the Blue Route, together with Rada Tilly and other coastal towns in the province of Santa Cruz. We can guess why “blue” and that is that the sea takes on an impressive blue hue.
Within the protected natural area we visited a Magellanic penguin reserve, similar to the one that can be seen in Punta Tombo, near Trelew.
📌 The entrance to see the penguins is free and is located about 12 km south of Camarones by gravel road.
📷 If you don’t want to take a detour on the road, check here the excursion to Camarones from Comodoro Rivadavia and reserve your place.
10) Rada Tilly
We skipped the beach in Comodoro Rivadavia and went directly to Rada Tilly, where my brother Nicolás lives with my sister-in-law, Eugenia. It is a city where it will rarely be cloudy and raining, but where one of its regular visitors is the wind. Further south, there are other beaches where it is common to see people kitesurfing.
A rada is a natural harbor for large ships to dock, a small, somewhat enclosed and deep bay, but not quite a gulf.
The coast of Rada Tilly has a long sandy beach where it is common to see its inhabitants (and those of Comodoro) enjoying the days when the weather is good. It also has a promenade that is ideal for long walks or sports. In the meantime, you can see the houses that are on the first line of the coast, which are like palaces, some of them.
One of the most beautiful things of Rada Tilly are its viewpoints, which are on one side and the other of the city.
The southernmost one is called Punta Aguirre, which must be climbed very carefully on a day when it has not rained too much because the road is not paved.
The northernmost one is located on a road that connects Rada Tilly with Comodoro Rivadavia, which is closer to the sea. This road has been closed since May 2018 due to a displacement of the soil caused by heavy rains. Therefore, the viewpoint is also closed to vehicular traffic, although one can walk or cycle up to it. They make themselves desired as you will see, but once you are there, they are worth it.
11) Caleta Olivia and further south
Caleta Olivia is the first city in the province of Santa Cruz and from there to the south there are beaches, cliffs and natural reserves, but brave is the one who dares to go into the water. With a few exceptions that were even seen in the summer of 2019 with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees, there are no beaches to “tuck in” but more to enjoy in case of a warm (and atypical) day.
We visited Caleta Olivia from Rada Tilly and there we were welcomed by Gorosito, the monument to the oil worker. It is 13 meters high, quite tall considering that most houses are low.
It has a symbolic meaning since it not only represents the help and gratitude to the effort made by the workers for the extraction of oil, but it is also a warning. Gorosito looks to the north, towards the rest of the country and holds a kind of “faucet” in his hands. This is a sign of the power of those in the south to de-supply the country with this precious raw material.
Practical information for visiting the beaches of southern Argentina
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– Where to stay in the best beaches in southern Argentina
Where to stay in Puerto Madryn?
A base in the city of Puerto Madryn is the ideal place to visit Puerto Pirámides, El Doradillo and the beaches of the city. Three recommendations for lodging in the city are:
- Hostal del Rey: new facilities, excellent service and value for money. One of the cheapest options to stay in front of the sea and close to downtown.
- Luz y Fuerza: cheap and quality cabins, with fully equipped kitchen, barbecue and private parking, just behind the Indio. Ideal for families looking for tranquility.
- Rayentray Puerto Madryn: 4 star hotel located in front of the sea before going up the Indio. It is a giant new building with spacious rooms, an indoor pool and even a casino.
🏨 Do you want to look for other options? Find here the best hotels in Puerto Madryn.
Where to stay in Trelew?
Trelew is the city with the best hotel infrastructure to visit Playa Unión, Camarones and Magagna beach. Here are our recommendations for lodging in Trelew:
- Rayentray Hotel: located in the heart of the city center, it occupies a tall building. Comfortable rooms, excellent breakfast and indoor pool.
- La Casa de Paula Hosteria Artesanal: 500 meters from the main square, it is an accommodation to enjoy the tranquility of the garden, the decoration of its common spaces and a very abundant breakfast.
- El Colibrí Cabins: run by its owners, the cabins are located on the outskirts of downtown and very close to the Chubut River, ideal to enjoy nature. They have a swimming pool.
🏨 Do you want to look for other options? Find here the best hotels in Trelew.
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