Traditionally, Argentineans take their annual leave in the months of January or February, the summer months in the Southern Hemisphere. By law, employees have ten days annual leave (two weeks) and five days are added every five years they stay on the job. If they change jobs, they have to start all over again.

The mountains and rivers attract many holidaymakers but the most popular destination for summer holidays by far is the beach. People come from all over the country to the beaches of Buenos Aires. The city of Mar del Plata is probably the oldest beach resort in the country and it’s where my family and I used to go every year (actually, my family still does!). Families rent a house or an apartment for a fortnight, pack their buckets and spades and make for the beach.

Beach resorts get crowded especially in January: there are long lines at service stations, at restaurants, even at the bus stops! You can see bodies lying in the sun for miles, people treading over them, vendors touting their wares, the health-conscious power walking or jogging along, suffers (where allowed) carrying their surfboards and changing into wetsuits. It doesn’t seem very relaxing but each to their own, right?

Far away, the cities are blessedly free of crowds and traffic jams for two months. The quiet is almost deafening.


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About the author

Ana Astri-O’Reilly is from Argentina, where she lived until five years ago. She currently lives in Dallas, USA with her British husband, but they move a lot. Previously a translator and English and Spanish teacher, Ana first started writing to share her experiences and adventures with friends and family. She speaks Spanish, English and a smattering of Portuguese.