Maybe it was because you spent a little too much time in Palermo Hollywood dining at restaurants that end with the word “fusion” or, perhaps, because you didn’t see the extra zero on the price tag for your trip to Ushuaia. Nonetheless, you are almost broke and have days or even weeks in Buenos Aires before returning home. So, do you punish yourself to hostel confinement and mope in your consumer hangover? Being broke doesn’t mean you have to end your vacation early, just that you have to be more creative in your travels.
Yeah I know, creativity takes more effort than doing the magnetic slide with your AMEX, but it doesn’t require heavy excavation into your savings account. With these tips, LandingPadBA will take care of the creativity and provide for you a low-cost, high-benefit day. How does a train ride to Tigre, an antique fair, graffiti wall, a picnic by the delta, a famous open air market and exploration of a small coastal town sound?
Before getting started, make a short trip to your neighborhood Coto and pick up some lunch supplies. You can put together a tasty lunch for well-under $30 pesos. If the damage to your cash flow is worse than you thought, just grab a baguette and some cheese. Now that you’ve got your lunch, it’s time to hop on a train to Tigre. “El Tren de La Costa” has 11 stops; the three stops that are most likely near your place of residence will be Maipú, Borges and Libertador. Boarding the Train at the Maipú stop offers the best chance to get your choice of seating. El tren de la costa runs about every 20 to 30 minutes. If your Spanish is decent enough, you can claim residency and pay only 20 pesos for a round-trip ticket. If not, you’ll be stuck paying the $32 pesos. The train is equipped with air conditioning and bilingual stewardesses that are more than willing to answer any questions or give you historical information.
Most people who board “El Tren de La Costa” go straight to Tigre and consequently, miss many little gems along the way (*Hot Tip: With a one-way ticket you can hop on and off as many stops as you like). There are multiple options for stops along the way, but I recommend getting off at the Barrancas stop. On weekends and holidays, you’ll exit the train into an impressive antique fair where you can find anything from old Beatles vinyls to antique jewelry.
After you wander your way through the small fair, you will find yourself on a quiet street only steps from the waters of the Río de la Plata. This is where your packed lunched or your baguette and cheese comes into the equation. Walking up or down the street, you’ll find several remote accesses to the Río de la Plata that lead to a great view and a quiet spot to enjoy your lunch. After your little picnic on the river bank, take a stroll down the road (towards the Maipú station) and check out the Barrancas graffiti wall that runs close to a mile long. After you are done exploring the Barrancas stop, hop back on the train and head towards Tigre.
The “Tren de La Costa” lands you in front of the Tigre casino and theme park – keep walking to Puerto de Frutas. Located directly on the delta, Puerto de Frutos provides a beautiful setting for meandering through one of the biggest fairs that the country offers. Although buying trinkets or souvenirs would be nice, that probably isn’t in the cards for you. The handmade crafts are so magnificent that window-shopping is gratifying enough. After passing through the fair, find a place to sit down or a small street to explore; enjoy the tranquility of the little city and your short vacation from the commotion of Buenos Aires.
I did almost this exact day trip a few weeks ago and had an absolute blast. It is incredible to see how dramatic the view and vibe change by heading a few miles out of the city. The scenic ride between Buenos Aires and Tigre is worth the trip alone. Day trips like this one offer ample opportunities to improvise and create your own entertainment, especially when you’re on a budget.