Leaving the hustle and bustle of Buenos Aires (BsAs) behind us (but still carrying jet lag with us!), we headed just an hour north of the city to Tigres – so named by the big cats that used to roam the area.
The town was bigger than we expected, and we luxuriated in wandering wider streets, where the skies were more open, and feeling less worried about pickpockets than we had in BsAs. Delighted, we also found a modern art museum…frustratingly, it was closed!
We’d booked an Airbnb so that we could live in a residential area, and experience the town once the porteños (Buenos Aires locals) had returned home from their day trips.
Tigre is the gateway to the Paraná delta, a 300km network of waterways that stretches from central Argentina to the gaping mouth of the River Plate. It’s a vast stretch of lush green land chopped into hundreds of islands by veins of water running in all directions. The islands are made from sediment deposited over time by the river system. Those on the northern edge of the delta, towards the border with Uruguay, are mostly uninhabited but, here, near Tigre, there’s a thriving community of around 4,000 residents.
We were lucky to find Agustin, otherwise known as ‘The Delta Captain’, who took us out on his speedboat. A private tour for just the four of us! We’re rather fond of keeping away from droves of tourists if you hadn’t gathered that yet!
As we cruised away from Tigres, we started to realise the extent of the river system. A labyrinth of criss-crossing tributaries, the colour of milky coffee, opened up before us.
Weeping willow branches gently dip their leaves into the water’s surface, stilted jetties dot the banks, wooden houses peep out from the bushes in their vast gardens, ‘shop’ boats deliver goods to the community and locals are ferried around by long, polished-wood boats – water taxis (there are no roads here).
The water taxi
The ‘shop’ boat
Having expected a maze of stilted wooden houses, like the ones we visited in Thailand and Malaysia, we were surprised at how large and affluent many of the properties were.
Perhaps the highlight of the trip, for Lola and Albie, was having a go at driving the boat – thank you Agustin!
It’s another world, and one we didn’t even scratch the surface of.