After decades of decay, the flood-prone riverside city of Tigre itself seems to be experiencing a renaissance. The train stations are renovated, the streets clean, the houses brightly painted and many restored, and it remains the point of departure for delta retreats and historic Isla Martín García. In a decade, the population zoomed from a little more than 250,000 to some 300,000.
From its beginnings as a humble colonial port for Buenos Aires–destined charcoal from the delta, Tigre languished until the railroad linked it to the capital in 1865. From the late 19th century, it became a summer sanctuary for the porteño elite, who built imposing mansions, and prestigious rowing clubs ran regattas on the river. After the 1920s, though, it settled into a subtropical torpor until its recent revival.
Tigre is 27 kilometers north of Buenos Aires at the confluence of the north-flowing Río Tigre and the Río Luján, which drains southeast into the Río de la Plata. The delta’s main channel, parallel to the Río Luján, is the Río Paraná de las Palmas.
East of the Río Tigre, the town is primarily commercial. West of the river, it’s largely residential.
In the Nueva Estación Fluvial, the Ente Municipal de Turismo (Mitre 305, tel. 011/4512-4497 or 0800/888-8447, www.tigre.gov.ar) is open 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily. The private website Tigre Tiene Todo (www.tigretienetodo.com.ar) is also useful for services.
Getting to Tigre
Tigre is well connected to Buenos Aires by bus and train, but heavy traffic on the Panamericana Norte makes the bus slow. Through the delta, there are numerous local launches and even international service to the Uruguayan ports of Carmelo and Nueva Palmira. The No. 60 colectivo from downtown Buenos Aires runs 24 hours a day, but when traffic’s heavy it takes two hours to reach Tigre.
Tigre has two train stations. From Retiro, Trenes de Buenos Aires (TBA) operates frequent commuter trains (US$0340) on the Ferrocarril Mitre from the capital to Estación Tigre; it’s also possible to board these trains in Belgrano or suburban stations.
Also from Retiro, a separate branch of the Mitre line runs to Estación Bartolomé Mitre, where passengers transfer at Estación Maipú to the Tren de la Costa (www.trendelacosta.com.ar), a tourist train that runs through several riverside communities and shopping centers to its terminus at Estación Delta, at the entrance to the Parque de la Costa. This costs about US$3 including intermediate stops.
From Tigre’s Nueva Estación Fluvial (Mitre 319), several companies offer lanchas colectivas, river-bound buses that drop off and pick up passengers at docks throughout the delta. Among them are Interisleña (tel. 011/4749-0900), Líneas Delta Argentino (tel. 011/4749-0537, www.lineasdelta.com.ar), and Jilguero (tel. 011/4749-0987). Marsili (tel. 011/15-4413-4123) and Giacomotti (tel. 011/4749-1896) use smaller lanchas taxi.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition