Take Me to the River: A Tigre Delta Day Trip

Tigre Delta, Argentina
The town of Tigre, teeming with tour boats.

As I’ve made abundantly clear here, summer in Buenos Aires is all about hot times, no doubt. And when the going gets super steamy, the Porteños hit the road to find respite. Trying to do as the locals do, we followed suit the other weekend, making our way to the Tigre Delta, 5,405 square miles of tranquil waterways and islands which eventually empty into the Rio de la Plata. It’s a super family-friendly getaway, easy to reach, and a great way to peace out and escape the bustle of BsAs.

What’s the Scene:
Arriving in the town of Tigre can feel slightly overwhelming, particularly on a blissfully sunny Saturday — this is not because tiny Tigre is massive or overwhelming in and of itself, but because hordes and hordes of people and tour buses have descended onto the town alongside you. Whether arriving by bus or train, visitors eventually find themselves in a small, cluttered area, built at the edge of a slice of the river crowded with wooden tour boats. It’s truly pretty. Don’t be alarmed by the enormous McDonald’s that looms ahead (probably the busiest restaurant in town, alas), it’s attached to a really helpful visitor center where you can get your bearings and figure out what exactly you want to do.

Whatcha Gonna Do:
The thing to do in Tigre is, in short, get out of Tigre. Oh, there’s certainly things to see in the tiny town, such as the Museo de Arte Tigre, as well as a fun outdoor market, and even a casino. But really, you took a day trip to the river delta, you want to SEE the river delta.

Tigre Delta, Argentina
Tigre Delta, Argentina

Options are two-fold: buy boat tour tickets from one of the booths outside the visitors center, and enjoy a relaxing tour of the twisting waterways, gliding past islands and grasslands while ogling the Belle Epoque-style summer homes of wealthy Argentines.

Your other option (and this is what I opted to do) is to take the very inexpensive public water taxi, and ride through the waterways, essentially passing the same islands and grasslands while ogling the same lovely mansions.

Spas and country clubs also line the delta’s waterways, and can be a relaxing option for visitors who want to spend more than a day in the sleepy region.

Tigre Delta, Argentina
Argies chillin’ at a country club on the Tigre Delta.

Hop off the water taxi in the “town” (and by god, ‘town’ is a remarkably strong word) of of Tres Bocas, where you can get a sense of typical island life in the delta. A pathway winds along tree-lined canals where it’s you’ll see families relaxing on their docks, enjoying an asado, or barbecue, and a few souls in their personal boats floating past. Don’t expect shops or amenities, this is totally residential with the exception of the so-so restaurant, El Hornero.

Whatcha Gonna Do Next:
After you’ve gotten a sense of delta island life (which takes about, oh, 30 minutes), ride the taxi back into the heart of Tigre. Wander through the waterfront Puerto de Frutos, the aforementioned outdoor market, where you won’t find fruit (surprise!), but you will find loads of vendors and shops, selling all manner of goods, from knock-off sunglasses, to the ever-present mate gourds, home goods and traditional gaucho-inspired leather goods.

Parque de la Costa, Tigre, Argentina
Parque de la Costa amusement park.

Families will appreciate the Parque de la Costa, a small amusement park adjacent to the market, while risk-takers might want to spend an hour or so in the local casino. Incredibly, it was like a flash to Atlantic City, as busloads of senior citizens were getting dropped off and picked up as we walked past.

How to Get There:
There’s all manner of transportation that’ll get you to Tigre from Buenos Aires, including a train that departs from Retiro Station, and a ferry that leaves from Puerto Madero. Ever the daring duo, Ayaz and I thought we’d try out the least mentioned route, via the number 60 bus. This actually proved to be incredible easy and direct and not much longer than taking the train (though it does depend on what part of the city you pick up the bus from; we were leaving from Palermo Hollywood).

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