The hour train ride to the delta town of El Tigre cost 30 cents. Before we even arrived, this was already one of the best excursions of my life for that fact alone. And even with the fanfare weekend crowds, this city on the delta of Rio de la Plata was a bubble of serenity compared to the tempo of Buenos Aires living.
Getting to Tigre is a simple affair: simply show up to the train station in Retiro and buy a ticket. Trains run often (pretty much every hour) between Buenos Aires and Tigre, which is the last stop on the line. If you get on the platform early there is no trouble finding a seat and the ride is comfortable. We stood all the way there because we showed up just as the train was departing, but made sure to get seats on the way back.
The moment you arrive and leave the station in Tigre, the surroundings become foreign. The lazy river, a naturally formed canal, looks like it could be somewhere in France. A nice bridge spans the water and a promenade follows along the bank where you can purchase tickets for boat rides on a variety of vessels from catamarans to kayaks.
We jumped at the first big boat we saw – 15 pesos for 1 hour – but regretted it after chugging away and seeing much smaller boats cruising around more nimbly. Renting a canoe, a rowboat, or a kayak can also be a good option to explorate the area quietly, but a motor boat is needed if you want to explore the whole delta area.
Our boat plugged away for half an hour before turning around to head back to the dock. We were constantly reminded of our sluggishness as small boats with groups of kids or families jetted by. However, later we saw one motorboat pulled over to the side by a police patrol. Suckers.
Along the banks and on the islands that pepper the river there were many houses for rent, some old rusted ships, and groups of vacationers staying at camp grounds with volleyball and swimming. Every so often a big plastic Coca-Cola sign indicates a little eatery where you can relax with food and drink.
The sun is hot and a bathing suit isn’t a bad idea. If you can find an empty dock at a house that isn’t being rented, you can hop in for a quick dip (another advantage of being in a small rented boat versus a large tour boat). After forty five minutes we done with the boat tour and ready to get some food.
The beer and sun had drained us and we needed some energy. We baked for half an hour in the sun at one sidewalk restaurant before walking away because there was only was server working the entire place. We finally did get a good hamburger though, after which you can take a walk around the city, which includes an enormous ferris wheel, other amusement park rides, and a rather large furniture marketplace.
Tigre is absolutely doable in a day. We arrived at midday, finished our tour, and left satisfied. However, if you have the time, staying at one of the campgrounds for a few days looked like a totally different way to experience the place.
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