Separated from Cariló by a strictly off-limits nature reserve, VILLA GESELL is reached by taking the RP-11 a further 10km or so south. The town is named after its founder, Carlos Gesell, a mildly eccentric Porteño of German descent. In 1931, Gesell bought a large swathe of coastal land, largely dominated by still-moving sand dunes. Inspired by methods used in Australia, Gesell managed to stabilize the dunes by planting a mixture of vegetation including tamarisk, acacia and esparto grass. He sold lots, many of which were bought by Germans and Central Europeans escaping World War II. Favoured by hippies in the 1960s and 70s, Gesell has a more laidback feel than some of its smarter neighbours and teeters on the edge of being run down. The resort remains popular with Argentina’s middle and working classes, plus teenage groups enjoying holidays away from their parents. If you fancy something a bit livelier, head for one of Villa Gesell’s popular balnearios spread out along the length of the beach, such as Amy, AfriKa or 13 al Sur, which vie with each other every year to become the season’s show-off spot.
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