A how to guide for a day trip to Tigre from Buenos Aires
The city of Buenos Aires is huge. One can easily get lost for weeks exploring its urban gems of museums, historic buildings, restaurants, and nightlife, but sometimes, it’s nice to get away from all the hustle and bustle for a little while, to see how the other half lives so to speak. The town of Tigre is just a stone’s throw away from Buenos Aires’ city center, and although it’s still part of Buenos Aires province, it’s really in a class of its own.
So here’s what I’m going to do for you travelers: I’m going to to tell you how to get to Tigre, what to do in town and on the islands, where to eat, and offer a few little adventures you can embark on along the way on a day trip to Tigre from Buenos Aires.
How To Get To Tigre
Tigre is pretty accessible from the city center. From the Retiro station, which can be reached by a lot of bus lines or the Subte (subway), you can catch the Linea Mitre train to Tigre. The trip lasts up to 1.5 hours on a good day, but because you don’t have to transfer you can sit back and enjoy the ride. The train runs through some of the more quiet barrios on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, including Beccar, San Isidro, and San Fernando, and dead end in Tigre. If you’re not staying in Centro, simply catch the Linea Mitre in the Belgrano C station (a hub for many of the buses in the city on the edge of Chinatown) or Nuñez.
For those who want a little more luxury, try taking the Tren de la Costa. This 11-stop train goes straight to Tigre, stopping off at areas along the coast and ending in Delta station, only a few blocks away from the Tigre Fluvial Station (main Tigre train station) where you can catch the Interisleña ferry/boat bus. Revamped in 1995, this train offers some great views along the way. There are two ticket options: one for those who just want to take the scenic route straight to Tigre, and another for those who want to get on, and off the train to do some sight seeing. The Tren de la Costa is also accessible from the Linea Mitre line, so just hop on that then get off and transfer. It’s a little more pricey because you’ll be paying for two tickets, but the views it offers are well worth it.
How to take the Tren de la Costa: Get off the Mitre train line at the Maipu station, cross the Avenida Maipu pedestrian bridge.
If trains aren’t your style, or you’re not too bogged down with time constraints, there is a bus line that runs from inside Buenos Aires proper all the way to Tigre. All though it can take A LOT longer, it’s a good option to have available if you don’t want to take the train for some reason. The Colectivo Line 60 runs from Constitucion – Tigre. If you haven’t ridden a bus inside the city yet, here’s an article to familiarize yourself a little bit with the prices, and process so you can have a hassle-free ride.
If you’re planning on spending the weekend in Tigre, taking the Proa Urbana commuter boat is also a nice option. The boat runs from Mon.-Fri. and leaves from Dock 4 in Puerto Madero. Since it leaves in the evening, at around 6 p.m., it’s obviously not an option for day trips, but can make for a beautiful ride out to Tigre, especially in the summertime when you have extended daylight. Be sure to check the Proa Urbana website and reserve tickets in advance because the boat fills up fast. Lots of city dwellers will have the same plan to escape the city for the weekend.
Things to do in Tigre
Once you’ve made it to the town of Tigre, there are a lot of things to do, depending on your personal preferences. It’s a great place to walk, and most of the more touristy destinations are relatively close to each other. Here are a few fun things to do.
For such a small town, there certainly are quite a lot of cool museums in Tigre. The Museo de Arte Tigre is a great place to start. Located in a beautiful building built in the early 1900s, this art museum boasts a beautiful permanent collection of Argentine artists from the 19th and 20th centuries, including the work of Xul Solar, the Argentine painter, sculptor, and writer from San Fernando who called Tigre his home during his later years.
If you’re a history buff, check out the Museo Naval de la Nación, which traces the history of the Argentine navy through the use of a wide variety of exhibits. The museum has model boats, and airplanes, and is a great place to spend an afternoon. Since it’s owned by the Argentine Navy, the museum offers a serious, historical take on the nation’s naval history, while at the same time featuring strange exhibits, and scale models unique enough to capture anyone’s imagination. There’s also the Museo de la Reconquista, a place for those REAL history buffs. This museum lacks the flair of the naval museum. Located in historic home of Viceroy Liniers, this museum tells the story of how he coordinated the resistance against the British invasion of the early 1900s.
Museo del Mate is definitely one of the coolest museums in the city, possibly the entire country, this entire museum is devoted to the national drink. With more than 2,000 mates, bombillas, glasses, and more, the museum is notable alone for simply the amount of rare, historical trinkets it has. It traces the origins, and the history of the drink, and there’s also a cozy, little mate bar on the patio outside. Don’t worry about bringing your own yerba or bombilla; everything is provided.
There are a ton of great tours to take inside the city, but if you want to get a bit of exercise check out the Cycling and Kayaking tour is a place to start. The 8-hour tour (including travel time) is a great way to check out some of the sights of Tigre and also play around in the water of the delta for a few hours. Don’t worry, you’ll get a lot of exercise but it’s not too strenuous.
A boat tour through the islands is also a great way to get out on the water, and see some of the sights not available on land. There are a host of different tours to choose from, but don’t let yourself get talked into taking one of the overpriced tours being hocked on the dock near the station. Do a bit of research and book one in advance. There are tons of different boat tours available, from sailboat tours to riverboat tours, so it’s easy to find one that suits you. If you’re an outdoorsy type of person, there are also some fishing tours available.
The Delta Unplugged Tour is a unique tour run by a couple, Ralph (Swiss) and Ana (Argentina) that starts with breakfast at their delta home. Guests are treated to a traditional breakfast of jams and homemade bread whipped up by Ralph, a chef and nutritionist. Then, everyone piles into the couple’s sailboat, which navigates through cozy little nooks and inlets to the rio del Paraná de las Palmas, where a light lunch is served. It’s a great way to see the sights and also enjoy some sweet and savory snacks along the way.
Open all the time, but best Sundays, is Tigre’s Puerto de Frutos, a market boasting a wide variety of artisanal crafts, food, and more. The market winds around four docks on the delta and is definitely worth a visit. Some of the more popular stands sell handcrafted wicker furniture and homemade toys, and there are some delicious food vendors too. Similar to the markets in San Telmo and Recoleta, the Puerto de Frutos offers handmade, artisanal crafts that are typically much cheaper than the more popular tourist attractions in Buenos Aires proper.
On Sundays, there’s also a wonderful little pop-up artists market on the main dock near the train station that’s worth a visit. Although it’s what you’d expect from such a market, so typical of the ones that can be found in nearly any neighborhood inside the city of BA on a Sunday, it’s still nice to take a stroll through the stalls and look for anything that might catch your eye.
Parque de la Costa:
Like the name says, it’s a park on the coast, but it’s actually an amusement park, located just a short walk away from the Puerto de Frutos. The Parque de la Costa is open Saturdays and Sundays during the warmer months and it’s a great place to bring the kids or blow off some steam. There’s also a waterpark, video game center, and theater attached to it, so if you’re looking for a little entertainment, or have some time to kill before catching the next ferry, then check out the Parque de la Costa. Some of the rides offer a great view of the delta, and it is one of country’s few amusement parks.
Out On the Islas
Tigre’s delta is made up of many small islands, separated by little inlets and streams branching off from the three main rivers that divide the island: el rio Sarmiento, el rio Capitan, and el rio Paraná. If you want to check out some of the islands, there are a ton of clubs and restaurants open to the public that are quite easy to get to if you know what you’re doing.
Rather than hire a water taxi at Tigre Fluvial Station, which can cost upwards of $800 pesos depending on who you’re haggling with, a cheap alternative is taking the Interisleña bus boats, or ferries that go back and forth from the islands on a pretty regular schedule. For 50 pesos, you can book round-trip passage on any of the ferries, just be sure you take the right one to get to your destination. The office where you buy the tickets is located right next to the McDonald’s. Once you’ve done that, simply board the ferry at the appropriate time and let them know where you need to get off. The Interisleña boats run on a pretty regular schedule, every few hours or so; check the website for their regular hours. When you want to come back from the delta to Tigre Fluvial Station, be sure to be waiting on the dock where you were dropped off at least 30 minutes prior to the boats expected arrival time, and be sure to wave them down.
Sarmiento House: He’s already got a river named after him, so I guess it makes sense that the home of Domingo Sarmiento would also be quite famous. Declared a national historic monument, the small, simple white house of Argentina’s seventh president is certainly a sight to be seen. Encased behind a glass enclosure to protect it against the elements, the house is worth a ride on the waterbus. Sarmiento spent the later years of his life in the humble abode, and now it houses a museum and library that’s open to the public on the weekends.
Floating/Waterside Restaurants: One thing you’ll notice as you venture out into the delta is the amount of little restaurants that seem to pop up on the riverbanks. Once cool thing about spending the day on the river canoeing, or sightseeing, is that there are a ton of places to eat when your stomach begins to growl.
The Gato Blanco, located along the El Rio Capitán is a great waterside restaurant to stop for a bit to eat. One of the swankier eateries in the area, it boasts a large dining room and riverside patio, as well as a huge park with a great view of the river. It’s open year round, and the dining areas are all equipped with fireplaces, so don’t worry about being out in the cold. This restaurant serves a lot of typical Argentine fare (steak, pasta, etc) but also has a fresh seafood menu as well. Simply take the Interisleña from Tigre Fluvial Station, and the 50-minute ride on the water to the restaurant will no doubt help you work up an appetite. The Gato Blanco is one of the area’s most well-known restaurants, so telling the Interisleña that’s where you’re going should be enough to get you there, but just in case it’s not, the restaurant is located at the Delta del Paraná 1648 (yep, there are street addresses on the river). Again, be sure to check the departure times for the Interisleña and make sure to be waiting on the dock for them in advance.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, the Monkey Bar And Restaurant, located along the Rio Abra Vieja, is a great place to stop. The dining area sits on a dock that stretches out over the water, and it’s a beautiful place to enjoy the meal while watching all the boats and rowers float by. The menu offers quite a lot, including pastas, ravioles, risotto, bife de chorizo, and also some unique starters like the shrimp and sesame chicken. Like the Gato Blanco, this resto is only accessible by taking a boat, so again the Interisleña is your best bet. The restaurant is located at Rio Abra Vieja 1648, but again, telling the driver the name of the restaurant should be enough.
With two different island locations in the Sarmiento Delta, the Buenos Aires Rowing Club is a great place to spend an afternoon of recreation. Both the Isla Centenario and Isla Rufino de Elizalde locations offer a wide variety of activities, including rowing, soccer, swimming, and tennis, as well as clubhouses to relax and grab a bite to eat. They’re the perfect places to visit if you have children, or you want to kill some time before heading back into the city.
If you want to try and navigate the delta on your own for a few hours, there are a ton of places to rent canoes and kayaks from at Tigre Fluvial Station, and in and around the city. El Dorado Kayak is one of the more popular rental companies, and they also offer tours, including a moonlit tour of the delta. If you want to do some extensive kayaking or canoeing while you’re in Tigre, it’s always best to book somewhere in advance, and most places require some form of ID for security.