Tigre and the Paraná Delta

Posted by on October 30th, 2012

For many of our travelers, the cosmopolitan allure of Buenos Aires is enough to keep them busy and satisfied for a few days.  For some, a day or two in the metropolis is enough, and they want a chance to escape the urban density and reconnect with nature.  One great day trip from Buenos Aires is the town of Tigre, located 17 miles north of Buenos Aires and the gateway to the Paraná Delta.

Make no mistake: the delta is no sparkling blue waterworld. The water that flows through the delta is rich in iron after its journey through the jungle streams farther north in South America and can be described as a light coffee color. However, Tigre is a charming town with several sites of interest. One I recommend is the Museo del Mate (website in Spanish). This small museum is dedicated to the most Argentine of beverages: yerba mate. If you aren’t familiar with the Argentines’ obsession with mate, there won’t be any missing it once you are in the country.  The owner will take you through the three small rooms that are packed with all aspects of the history and culture of the drink. There’s an optional matebar tasting at the end of the tour, which is an excellent opportunity to sample the bitter, acquired taste of mate.  Fans of matcha green tea will likely find it delightful at the first go, however there’s no shame in asking your host to add a little sugar if the straight-up version is not to your taste.

Colorful bags of mate at the Museo del Mate

Residents of Buenos Aires make the journey all the way to Tigre just to shop at the diverse Puerto de Frutos. This “fruit stand” sells plenty of fruit but also specializes in all manner of housewares. This is a great place to find unusual souvenirs – or maybe that cheap wicker basket you’ve been meaning to pick up.

No trip to Tigre should end without jumping on a boat and heading into the delta itself. The population of the delta lives right on the water, with a boat at the end of their front lawns. There are no roads or bridges connecting the different islands in the flood plain, just canals that can be traversed by motorboat or canoe.  The deeper you go into the delta the more likely you are to see some of the wide variety of animal species that make their home here, such as capybara, Marsh Deer, the Pampas Cat, and the Neotropical River Otter.

One thing to keep in mind:  the delta region is best visited outside of summer when the mosquitos and the intense humidity can make even the biggest nature lovers wish they had stayed in Buenos Aires.

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