Smaller and less flashy than Mar del Plata, if less tasteful and louder than Pinamar, laid-back Villa Gesell is a hit with the younger crowd. Unlike the other coastal towns, it offers a wood-planked beach boardwalk, making walks along the sand much easier. It’s also known for summer concerts (classical, folk and rock), and there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. In the spring, you may glimpse migrating whales, penguins and sea otters.
In the 1930s, merchant, inventor and nature lover Carlos Gesell designed this resort of zigzag streets, planting acacias, poplars, oaks and pines to stabilize the shifting dunes. He envisioned a town merging with that woodland, but it wasn’t long before high-rise vacation shares began their malignant growth and trees disappeared.
The town sprawls outward from its leafy nucleus, with most services located on Av 3, three blocks in from the beach.