Pinamar takes its name from the surrounding pine forests that were planted among dunes by the town’s founder, Jorge Bunge, in the 1930s. This attractive setting is now somewhat overwhelmed, however, by the town’s mix of high-rise buildings and ostentatious chalet-style constructions. Long the favourite resort of the Porteño elite, in the 1990s the town became almost synonymous with the high-living lifestyle of the Menem era, and the exploits of the politicians and celebrities who holidayed here were staples of the gossip mags. Pinamar fell out of popularity for a while following the high-profile murder of a journalist here in 1997 and the economic recession, but it has bounced back with a vengeance, and it remains a hugely popular summer holiday spot, although it’s lost out to some of the smaller satellite resorts in the race to be crowned the most exclusive.
With its burgeoning popularity, Pinamar is no longer quite as exclusive as it once was, although by Argentine standards it remains fairly expensive. Its main street, Avenida Bunge, is a wide avenue flanked by restaurants and branches of the same boutiques that make up most of the capital’s malls. Bunge runs east to west through the town centre, ending at beachfront Avenida del Mar. Though the town itself has little to detain you, the beach is attractive, its pale sands dotted with delicate shells and, to the north and south of the centre, bordered by high dunes. Various companies offer excursions by jeep to the most dramatic section of dunes, where, during the summer, you can try sandboarding.
To the south, Pinamar stretches out along the coast, swallowing up the neighbouring resorts of Ostende and Valeria del Mar, tranquil places that can be easily reached as a day-trip, though they also have their own, interesting accommodation options.