Howdy all. Today I’m writing about a little town which I believe is just outside the city borders of Buenos Aires, Tigre. This town was apparent so named because there used to be a number of jaguars in the area which were hunted, I’m not sure of that explanation so in my own mind I guessed that initially the settlers in the region didn’t know the difference between jaguar and tiger. I just checked online and there is a different word for jaguar in Spanish – yaguarete. Which would a more difficult name to pronounce I guess for the town. Anyways… this little destination is 28 kilometres from central Buenos Aires, and it makes an ideal day trip from the Argentine capital.
Getting there is half the fun, taking the train from Retiro on the Mitre line all the way to the end, the last station being Tigre. Well that’s the easy way. However, the more interesting way and the way we took was on the Tren de la Costa.
The line runs up and down the coast which I found really interesting. Although there is a port in Buenos Aires, it’s not an area I explored or one that was recommended as interesting. The train line at times allowed us to see the Southern Atlantic Ocean, which was pretty cool all said. To get the Tren de la Coasta, take the metro to Avenida Maipu Station. It’s an interesting walk from the Metro to the start of the Tren de la Costa through a covered walkway and past various stalls. This train in fact goes to the Delta station at the end of the line, which is not too far from Tigre station where the Mitre Line ends.
Tigre is positioned in an interesting spot, right on the edge of the Parana Delta, so there are islands aplenty in the area (the above map should give you some idea) and you have Tigre as the little town on the banks with a few museums and plenty of boats heading out to show people around the Delta. Not only that, but plenty of folks live in the Delta or have holiday homes in the Delta, so the boats are only partly for tourists and are essential public transport for others, as the Delta is basically bereft of roads and likewise bridges.
Obviously plenty of people have their own boat, so not everyone relies on these people moving vessels. Plenty of boats go up and down the river Lujan, which is the river that the town itself sits on. The train station is only a little way from the river, and not too far from the spot where all the boats leave from.
The town itself has a little bit of charm. There are a number of museums you can visit, but we limited ourselves to just one. The Mueseo de Arte Tigre is housed in a very fancy and impressive looking building, there’s a Naval Museum and the Museo de la Reconquista, but the one we went to was the Mate Museum.
Mate (ma-tay) is a special kind of tea or infusion that is drunk all over Argentina, and is so popular it’s the national drink. If such a drink were to exist, at least. It’s made from yerba mate, a kind of leaf, and it’s pretty high in caffeine. It’s usually drunk from a sort of ceramic container, with the leaves in a small metal sieve and then drunk through a metal straw. It can be mixed with other leaves too, and therefore can be differently flavoured.
The museum is, well, pretty quaint if I’m too be honest. In a bit of an old ramshackle house and basically has the history of mate on display, with a collection of different mate mixes and many many MANY different mate ‘cups’ if you like, along with posters and other stuff. Finally there’s a video too, in Spanish, as you might guess. I do like a museum that’s a bit different and this one fitted the bill.
The museum is over the river Tigre, which branches off from the River Lujan. Crossing the river is very pleasant, and there was a great hot dog stand at the end of the bridge where every man, woman and dog was buying hot dogs. And they were pretty good. Along the river are loads of restaurants too, not cheap, but no doubt there would be a decent steak or two to try if you wanted. Steak is BIG in Argentina!
We took a boat on the Delta, leaving not so far from the train station on the River Tigre, straight up and onto the River Lujan and into the Delta. It was a bit squashed inside – a smallish boat with two sets of three seats on either side of an aisle. But it gets you from A to B.
The Delta is really beautiful. It’s so green and there are loads of very large houses all accessed by river. The area must be the playground for the Buenos Aires rich and famous. We took the boat for 45 minutes or so and were dropped off at a little jetty. We hopped onto land, and there was this old house, wooden, surrounded by protective glass. This is known as the Sarmiento House, Sarmiento was an ex-President of Argentina, and this was his house from 1855 to his death in 1888.
Then we had to wait for a boat to take us back to Tigre, and that took a little while and we were getting toey because all that came past were private speed boats for quite a while, but eventually a passenger boat stopped and took us back and we took the Mitre line back to the centre of Buenos Aires.
I know we didn’t do much at all in Tigre, but I have to say it left an impression. It really is a beautiful part of the country, very different from any other part I visited. It would be nice to stay there and chill at a delta property for a few days. Maybe even a week. It wouldn’t be cheap of course, but still it would be very relaxing! As long as I didn’t run into any jaguars…
Thanks for popping by today – May the Journey Never End!