Tigre is a town about 17 miles north of Buenos Aires, accessible via the Mitre train line from Retiro station. The town is technically an island among several small rivers, and is named for the jaguars that were hunted there when it was first founded. The trip takes about an hour and costs US$0.75. Like Buenos Aires, the town sits on the delta of the Paraná River, the second largest river in South America behind the Amazon. The delta is around 200 miles long and 140 miles wide where it meets the Atlantic, so it’s no wonder that Paraná means ‘like the sea’ in the local Tupi language.
Tigre is a great day trip option from the city, although if I had to do it again I would definitely rent a cabaña and stay a night or two. There’s a fair amount to do in the town, from the giant casino to the many handmade furniture marts, to plenty of local craft booths and restaurants, and even an amusement park. But the big selling point is access to the various small rivers that feed into the delta, and the complete neighborhoods that lie along all the streams, including houses, schools/boat school buses, gas stations, and of course bars.
When you first show up there are lots of boat tour options to choose from, the most noticeable of which are the old-school mahogany commuter skiffs and motorboats.
These seem cheap at around US$5/hour, but it’s worth it to walk around the craft fairs a bit and find the booths that offer 3-6 hour trips on smaller boats which will take you way farther in to the delta. We ended up settling on a tour company run by a great guy named Frank who treated us to a 4-hour trip for US$20 a pop. This included not only a stop at his house on the river (and intros to his two awesome dogs), but also a trip down a very small stream where we were completely alone in the jungle for about an hour away from all the river traffic, a tour of the various neighborhoods, and finally a trip out onto the main delta where we took in the sunset over distant Buenos Aires.
If you’re up for a relaxing few days I would definitely recommend heading up to Tigre and spending a few nights. I can’t imagine anything better than grabbing a few steaks, renting a house for a few days (dogs included), and sitting around with some friends eating, drinking, playing cards, reading, and enjoying a few beautiful sunsets. If you want to plan ahead you can book a spot at Via Tigre, but most of the tour operators will know of cabañas you can rent on the spot for a night or two. I’d recommend finding something as far from Tigre as possible and along the main delta if available, or at the very least near one of the neighborhood bars.