Chapadmalal. Why did it become the new paradise for young people on the coast?
MAR DEL PLATA.- The caravan begins in the middle of the afternoon, on the shoulders, along with the endless lines of cars that come and go along that section of Route 11 that leads to the very nearby Miramar. They set out on foot, turning aside to walk downhill among tamarisk trees, towards the sand and the sea, where at sunset they assemble their own after beach and at the last minute they say goodbye with a unique photo from the top of the cliff, to enjoy that full sunset between orange and golden tones that illuminates them with a dreamy sunset from the southwest.
They average 20 years old, they arrive on vacation alone and move in groups with a single entertainment plan. They step little and swim the urban area of Mar del Plata, epicenter of the main bars and bowling alleys. Without going beyond the lighthouse, the best beach parties are ten minutes away by car or bus. And if not, a favorite option, they build them in the houses they rent in this green paradise and still without as many close neighbors as it is Chapadmalal, a place that during the last five years lives a real estate and business boom and this season it became the new mecca for the youngest who spend the summer on the coast.
They live there with families of tourists who also sniffed out this new profile of the area, with nearby country clubs and brand new style houses that, as never happened before, were rented early and at a very good price to arrive on the eve of the season without places available in the whole area.
“We liked it when we came for the long weekend in October and throughout the year in all our groups there was talk of coming to this side because it’s quieter and Mar del Plata is a lot of piling up”, they said José Ignacio Soriano, Andrés Emiliani, Luca Chiaro, Tobías Elizalde, Tomás Rivera, Santiago and Pedro De Elía, from Buenos Aires, who rented a house in front of the Chapadmalal complex. “At this time we prefer to enjoy this,” they say, guitar in hand, to show the beach full of people at sunset, far from the saturation of thousands of young people in the after from Big Beach.
This sector soon read the tourist movement and was nurtured by renovated inns, with services and brushstrokes of style that are beginning to capture and respond to a family audience that – at least this summer – due to the pandemic skipped their habit of vacationing abroad and played a letter to this place, almost 30 kilometers south of Mar del Plata. In the private spas there are now plenty of lounge chairs, gourmet restaurants and even cabins to stay on the seafront.
A 180-degree turn for a landscape that was all fields, ravines and ocean when the first important wave of residents was generated about two decades ago, also with some who had recently come out of adolescence and found low-cost land, few services but a lot of freedom and nature. Among those first summer houses, another community disembarked some time ago with surfboards in hand, tempted to live closer to those waves that are so good that there are in front of those coasts. The current pandemic brought two more batches: vacationers eager for more social distance and, later and also in the low season, homeworkers who know how to enjoy work and the outdoors. And this summer is, like never, that of the kids.
The public beach of the Cruz del Sur parador, perhaps the largest in the area, becomes the main meeting point. It has the protection of generous cliffs and during the very sunny first fortnight every afternoon it had crowds. The omnipresent clouds these days offer a calmer postcard, with comfortable groups, less bathing suits in sight and a little more shelter towards the twilight of each day. Young people from the northern area of the Federal Capital are, by far, the absolute majority.
“Two years ago the movement changed and grew, and this season it exploded with people, particularly with younger people,” he said. Juan Ratto, one of the lifeguards of the place and witness of this change of scene on a beach that distilled maximum tranquility and today has hundreds of boys every day. “They are polite, we have not had problems and sometimes they usually end the days with stoves,” he describes to LA NACIÓN.
The arguments of these groups to choose this destination as a base for their holidays on the coast are varied: some because they claim it is cheaper. Others because there are many friends in the area. Some raised that there are fewer Covid infections but, above all, because they move more freely and they can meet with neighbors without as much trouble as in an apartment or house in Mar del Plata.
“We connect with girls on the beach and at night we get together at their house or at ours, without having to move the car, and if larger gatherings are put together from there and it is not spent on bowling,” they explained Alfonso Serio, Luis Vidal and Camilo Diaz, also from Capital Federal.
On the sand, between liquefied and liquefied, Justina Galli, Sofia Petracchi, Teresita Lanes and Josefina Lopez count to THE NATION who stayed in the area attentive to the trend. “In Buenos Aires there was talk of stopping in Chapa during the summer”, they told how this election was conceived. They stay in cabins with groups of friends and confirm that the place is quieter than the city, with “more of a village profile.” “We go to Mar del Plata very little because to dance at night we choose the inns that are just here, before the lighthouse,” they point out.
Mauricio Dura, who has been in the area for 19 years and offers lodging and a brewery in La Hostería, says the destination has become a kind of combination between Praia do Rosa and Cabo Polonio. “Four years ago this great change was perceived, which started with a lot of surfing and today it also has very good level tourism,” he told THE NATION.
This movement led to the multiplication of the commercial offer and services. Much was built for rent, be it a private home or a complex of cabins. And premises were set up, even in private homes, where in particular gastronomy gained space not only to serve the resident and the nearby tenant, but also the thousands who arrive daily from the area, attracted by this new and attractive promenade.