No hotel tower or gritty boardwalk impedes the dramatic sunset over the wide, windswept beach of Mar Azul, a remote and laid-back vacation town a few hours from Buenos Aires on Argentina's South Atlantic coast. 'Blue Sea' may be something of a misnomer, as the water is brown and turbid, but the rugged landscape is no less lovely for it.
A few blocks from the shore, calmness prevails in the densely wooded terrain that surrounds Casa BB (named after its owners, Karina Blumencwejg, an industrial designer, and her husband, Cristian Bianchini, a furniture-store owner who trained as an architect). Tall, fragrant pines, black poplars, and sprawling acacia act as a shield from the blazing summer heat, shading the sandy, unpaved roads where horses and ATVs are more common than cars. The vegetation, introduced to the dunes when the town was founded in the 1940s, also protects against the polar winds that whip the beach when the sun goes down. With a resemblance to a rustic campground, Mar Azul is a refuge for artists seeking an escape from city life and contrasts sharply with some of the trendier nearby beach communities.