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1,374km (852 miles) S of Buenos Aires; 62km (38 miles) N of Trelew; 1,798km (1,115 miles) N of Ushuaia

A laid-back city of 70,000, Puerto Madryn's population boom came in the mid-1970s. Until then, the city had only 6,000 inhabitants, but the Aloar aluminum factory completely changed the town when it opened its doors here in 1973. Now, there are tile, fish, and ceramic factories on the outskirts of town. Tourism, too, is booming. And Aloar is still expanding. In fact, Puerto Madryn is now one of the fastest-growing cities in Argentina. Mostly used by foreign visitors, the coastal street, Avenida Roca, is lined with restaurants, bars, and hotels. Locals tend to patronize establishments at least 1 block inland. The wide beach is great, with frequently calm waters that make swimming possible from mid-December to mid-March. I also recommend that you take 30 minutes to stroll to the tip of the Old Dock for a great view of the area. The streets a few blocks inland are buzzing with locals. Here you'll find inexpensive clothing stores, and cafes and bars catering more to residents than to tourists. Very few visitors take the time to walk around here, but it's worth meandering in the residential neighborhood for at least an hour. With the bay shimmering in front, there's an easygoing and relaxed feeling about Puerto Madryn, and you may want to spend an extra day relaxing here, before continuing your journey.