Tigre is deservedly the city’s most popular weekend destination: a town based on the edge of the magnificent river delta of the Río Paraná, some 32 km northwest of the city. The delta is a maze of waterways and hundreds of islands, formed by the accumulation of sediment brought down by the mighty Paraná river which runs from the border with Brazil down to the Río de la Plata, slicing between the First and Second sections of the delta. The delta is a natural paradise, mostly wild and untouched, the lush, jungly banks of the islands making picturesque settings for quaint wooden holiday homes on stilts, the odd boutique hotel, and restaurants hidden miles away from the noise of the city and reached only by boat. In fact, some 3000 people live in the delta islands, and since there are no paths or bridges, the only way to get around is by boat; bringing services such as supermarkets, banks and libraries to the islanders. Tigre is the perfect place to cool down on a hot afternoon in summer, and even if you only come for a few hours, you can take one of the regular motor launches for a 60- or 90-minute tour of the nearby rivers for a pleasurable introduction to this watery world. If a tour isn’t your thing, just catch the local 1920-style wooden ferries to a point along the river to explore. Most people stop at Tres Bocas (45 minutes each way), as there are three restaurants to choose from. A return journey will cost around US$4, just wait at the little wharf until a boat comes past – every 10 minutes or so – and wave until they see you. With more time, hire a kayak to see the wonderfully overgrown expanses at more leisure, or try rowing or canoeing. There are many houses you can rent by the night on the islands (from around US$40, 20% more at weekends), reached by the regular motor launch bus service and visited by a mobile food shop. You could hide away here for a night or two on a romantic retreat, it’s a peaceful place to escape to. All houses have electricity and phone, but bring drinking water.
There are lots of restaurants scattered throughout the delta, and also recreos – little resorts which have facilities such as swimming pools and tennis courts, as well as waterfront bars and restaurants. One of these is El Alcazar, just 10 minutes’ boat journey from Tigre, with tennis and volleyball, by a sandy beach, where you can bring your own steaks to barbecue on the parrilla grills. Tigre itself has a funfair and an excellent fruit and handicrafts market; a short walk from the centre, along Mitre and turn right at the Delta station. The amusement park, Parque de Diversiones (Fri-Sun only) is immediately on your left, with the Casino next door in a soulless concrete building. The fruit market, Puerto de Frutos (daily 1100-2000) is four blocks further along on the left, on Sarmiento. There’s a fairly drab town centre with everything you might need, but the riverside area is the most picturesque, and here you’ll find one excellent hotel, Villa Julia, which also serves superb food . Tigre is a great place to visit any time of the year, with a mild climate even in winter, but note that it’s quietest midweek: in summer it gets very busy at weekends, though the festive atmosphere is very appealing in itself. Regattas are held in November and March. Remember to bring a hat and insect repellent in summer.
Tigre can be reached by bus from Constitución (bus No 60): the 60 ‘bajo’ takes a little longer than the 60 ‘alto’ but is more interesting for sightseeing. Tigre is also easily reached on the Tren de la Costa and you should get off at Estación Fluvial, not Delta. The direct train from Retiro station, Buenos Aires (TBA Mitre section) terminates at the Tigre train station which is different to that of the Tren de la Costa, it is more central and you can see the ferry terminal from the entrance. The journey takes 60 minutes and costs US$0.50, make sure you stay on the train until it reaches the last stop. Alternatively, you can take the train to Bartolomé Mitre and change at the Maipú station (the stations are linked) for the Tren de la Costa. There is an excellent tourist office (next to Estación Fluvial, at Mitre 305, http://www.tigre.gov.ar, T011-4512 4497, daily 1000-1800) with incredibly helpful English speaking staff who can show you the huge folder of houses to rent by the night (complete with photographs) and advise you of boat/bus times to reach them. There’s one excellent hotel in Tigre itself, and some average hotels among the delta islands, with a gorgeous boutique hotel, La Pascuala in the Second Section, on the other side of the Río Paraná.
Before you take a boat trip, have a stroll along the riverside, the path parallel to Lavalle which leads to Paseo Victorica. You’ll pass several rowing clubs, some of them in palatial old buildings, such as the British Rowing Club of 1873, the Buenos Aires Rowing Club, and the Italian Club, as well as the Tudor-style half timbered Club Regata opposite. The main tourist centre is around the old railways station, Estación Fluvial, the large old building, now tastefully restored, with souvenir shops, a McDonalds, and many companies selling boat trips: Sturla (T011-4731 1300) is one of the most reliable, offering a 90 minute trip for US$6. Boats leave from the quayside just by the Estación Fluvial, and you can take your pick from big catamarans or smaller wooden boats. The tour guides on all boats speak English and give an informative tour.
There’s one museum in Tigre, the Museo Naval de la Nación (Paseo Victoria 602, T011-4749 0608, Mon-Thu 0830-1230, Fri 0800-1730, Sat-Sun 1000-1830, US$0.60) which covers the origins and development of the Argentine navy, with lots of model ships. There are also relics of the Falklands/Malvinas War on display outside. You might also be interested in the Municipal Art Gallery (Paseo Victoria 972, T011-4512 4528, museo email@example.com, Mon-Fri 0900-1900, Sat-Sun 1200-1900, US$1.50) a 10 minute walk along the river and housed in the newly restored Tigre Hotel from 1909 – a wonderfully ornate building with many chandeliers. On show are mainly 20th-century works of art detailing the river and its inhabitants. In the delta there is a small museum based around the house of Sarmiento – one of Argentina’s most famous presidents. You’ll see it from the river, it is a huge glass enclosure with a small wooden house inside like a big fish bowl. You can ask the ferry driver to drop you off there....
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