Mar del Plata is located 404 km south of Buenos Aires city, on the Atlantic Ocean, and it is the main tourist destination of Argentina.
Beautiful beaches, broad bays, imposing cliffs and lush woods extend along a 47-kilometre coastline. Sierras, undulating fields, groves, lakes, creeks, farms and quarries comprise a colourful landscape throughout the year.
The average temperature in winter ranges from 12 ºC to 14 ºC and in summer from 23 ºC to 27 ºC.
The stable population amounts to 650,000 inhabitants with over 8,000,000 visitor arrivals per year.
Mar del Plata is the seat of the Municipality of the General Pueyrredon District. Its economy is strongly led by the service sector, within which the Tourist Sector outstands due to the city natural features.
Mar del Plata is undoubtedly a center for economic development in the region. Intense truck farming activity is carried out in the small nearby farms, which caters for the needs of other major urban centres. Due to the quality of the surrounding lands, the area is also an ideal location for crop growing and cattle raising activities.
Being the main fishing port of Argentina, Mar del Plata unloads tons of fresh fish every year, which is then processed in modern local plants. The Marplatense woolen textile industry is well known for its product quality and design. The mining activity is related to the quartzite quarries where the “Mar del Plata stone” is extracted and traded as seawall blocks, ornaments, etc.
As for its productive force, most major industries concentrate their activity on an industrial park, Parque Industrial General Savio, where important plants devoted to the processing of foodstuffs, the manufacture of plastics, implements for the medical activity, etc. have been set up.
The Indians, called Pampas or Serranos by the Spanish, dominated the region before the arrival of the Europeans and therefore boast the title of first settlers.
The arrival of the white man to this area of Buenos Aires province took place in 1581, with an expedition led by Juan de Garay.
In 1746, the Reducción de Nuestra Señora del Pilar (settlement of indigenous people converted to Christian faith) organized by the Jesuit order was founded by Las Cabrillas lake (nowadays Laguna de los Padres) at the Spanish king’s request. The indigenous population in the area amounted to 1,200 members, encouraging the priests to request the place be considered a town. Despite the acceptance of such request, life in this settlement was ephemeral, as it succumbed after the Indians’s attacks. The missionaries finally abandoned the settlement on September 1, 1751.
The idea of fostering a more active exchange current with Brazil induced a Portuguese consortium to found a salted meat factory in this area, for being geographically suitable. José Coelho de Meyrelles, who arrived in this area by the late 1856, was the man in charge of this establishment as well as of other undertakings.
The settlement next to the salted meat factory came to be known as Puerto de la Laguna de los Padres. The economic loss and health problems affecting José Coelho de Meyrelles made him finally sell his property to Patricio Peralta Ramos.
Aware of its potential, Peralta Ramos gave a boost to the area. In 1873, he decided to build Capilla Santa Cecilia (chapel), named after his wife, Cecilia Robles. In November of that same year, he started negotiations with the governor of Buenos Aires province, so that Puerto Laguna de los Padres was acknowledged as Mar del Plata. Finally, a decree dated February 10, 1874 signed by the governor of Buenos Aires province provided for the town foundation. This date would later become the foundation day of Mar del Plata.
The arrival of Pedro Luro in 1877 was a decisive event in the development of Mar del Plata. He took charge of the salted meat factory and the tallow factory, and even installed a new pier and built a mill, boosting agriculture and developing the area. In 1879, the provincial government authorized the foundation of the Partido de General Pueyrredon (district).