The Tigre Delta is one of the most popular day trips from Buenos Aires. Boat rides, wicker baskets, street food, and flea markets await those who pull themselves away from the “Paris” of South America.
This post will give you an in-depth understanding of how to visit Tigre and things to do once you’re there.
Tigre Delta: Where is it?
Tigre is a town north of Buenos Aires. “Tigre” is a word used interchangeably to refer to both the town and the delta. Most people refer to Tigre as the Tigre Delta.
Fun fact: The town of Tigre is actually on the Paraná Delta. Since you won’t come across anyone calling it the Paraná Delta in casual conversation, spare yourself the stares and refer to it as the Tigre Delta.
Now you know the ins and outs of the delta. Let’s talk about how to visit Tigre!
How to Visit Tigre from Buenos Aires
There are a few different ways to get to Tigre. Among the most common are by train, car, and bus. However, taking a bus is the least popular option since the bus ride will take 1.5+ hours, depending on where you’re coming from. In case you plan on taking the bus, number 60 is the one you’ll need.
If you’ll be visiting Tigre by car, the drive time will also vary, depending on where in Buenos Aires you’re coming from. Roughly, you can expect around 60 – 90 minutes, with the shortest time being if you’re coming from northern districts, such as Palermo.
Traveling to Tigre by train is easy. However, the length of time will depend on the route you choose. For example, the direct train takes 50 minutes, whereas the more touristy “Tren de la Costa” train will take over an hour, including a train change.
Since the train ride is a popular choice among travelers who aren’t on a guided tour, this post will focus on how to visit Tigre by train.
Travel Tip: Visiting Tigre on weekends is ideal, in order to avoid traffic and enjoy a bustling market scene at the port. However, if you prefer to avoid crowds, aim to visit on a weekday.
How to visit Tigre by train
Taking the train to Tigre is the most popular option for the independent traveler. People are drawn to the Tren de la Costa, which means “Coastal Train” in Spanish.
Unfortunately, the name doesn’t quite match the experience. Nonetheless, taking the Tren de la Costa at least one way is worth it, so I’ll be covering how to visit Tigre by this train in detail here.
Before getting on the train, you’ll need to pay for your ticket with cash or with a SUBE card. The SUBE card is Argentina’s national transportation system. SUBE cards can be bought for a few USD at the train station or in convenience stores (“kioskos”) throughout the city. If you’ve already been elsewhere in Argentina, which was the case for me in Bariloche, you may already have a SUBE card.
How to visit Tigre by the Tren de la Costa
In order to take the Tren de la Costa, you first need to catch a train to the Mitre station. This train to Mitre departs from the beautiful Retiro station in downtown Buenos Aires.
If you read my post about La Boca, you should already be familiar with Bus 152. This all-purpose bus also runs by the Retiro Train Station!
Alternatively, if you’re staying in the northern part of the city, such as Palermo, you can catch the train to Mitre from a stop such as Belgrano R. Since Palermo is on the way to Mitre, this saves you some backtracking.
You can also hop on bus 152 to get to the Mitre and Maipú stations! More on the Maipú station soon.
Once at the Retiro Train Station, hop on the next train with the destination Mitre. This is a commuter route, so there’ll probably already be a train getting ready to head out. If you’re unsure about which train to get on, tell any worker “Tren de la Costa” and they’ll point you in the right direction.
You’ll need to swipe your paper ticket or SUBE card (the cost is less than .50 USD cents) and pass through the turnstile. Be prepared to stand- seats are for the lucky few when the train first pulls up to the station.
Accessible Travel Tip: Like buses in Buenos Aires, trains are wheelchair friendly. Cars are marked with signs letting you know that there’s a wheelchair accessible space.
The 40 minute ride to Mitre is interesting in the sense that it takes you through districts that gradually lead further out from Buenos Aires. The train goes slowly and stops frequently. You probably won’t be inclined to get off at any of the stops. However, if you do want to get off, I recommend the Florida station, where there’s a nice park.
Important: Make sure to be as close to the front of the train as possible, as you approach the Mitre station. I’ll explain why shortly.
How to change from the Mitre train to the Tren de la Costa
Bartolome Mitre is the last train stop you’ll come to. When you get to this station, follow the crowds. You’ll take a short stroll along an indoor overpass to get to the Maipú station.
Behold, the beginning of the Tren de la Costa!
You’ll see a large Tren de la Costa sign as you approach the ticket booth. That’s right. A ticket booth.
For having something as well organized as the SUBE card, it seemed odd to be required to stand in line to get tickets for the train.
You’re strongly encouraged to pay for the ticket with your SUBE card.
If you pay by cash, you’ll be charged double. The fare is also double for foreigners, compared to Argentine residents, regardless of the payment method you use.
Because of inflation in Argentina, I won’t get into peso prices. However, know that even as a foreigner paying by cash you’d only be charged a couple USD per person, per way.
The cost for the Tren de la Costa, as a foreigner using a SUBE card, is about $1 USD per person, per way. If you’re running low on SUBE credit, you can give the ticket teller cash and they’ll put it on your card. On the beautiful, fall Sunday when I traveled to Tigre, there must have been close to 100 people waiting in line to get tickets. And, since I wasn’t lucky enough to stumble on this information beforehand, I stood towards the back of the Mitre train, and was therefore towards the back of the Tren de la Costa ticket line.
It was rather painful watching a Tren de la Costa train come and go, taking everyone in the first half of the line with it. After getting my ticket and walking through the turnstile, I had to wait nearly 20 minutes for the next train.
Travel Tip: There aren’t any discounts for purchasing a round trip ticket. Therefore, if you’re planning on taking a more direct train back to Buenos Aires, you can purchase a one-way Tren de la Costa ticket without the guilt.
Experience on the Tren de la Costa
As alluded to earlier in this post, the Tren de la Costa is a bit of a misnomer. Yes, you will get to see glimpses of the river coast. But glimpses is the key word. If you’ve taken some trains in your life, this one likely won’t even fall on your scenery-rating radar.
If the Tren de la Costa really isn’t all that scenic, is it worth it?
In my opinion, it’s worth taking the Tren de la Costa one way. Whether you want that one-way journey to be going to, or coming from, Tigre is up to you.
The train ride lasts 30 minutes and makes 10 stops en route to Tigre. The Tren de la Costa goes a bit faster than the train to Mitre and offers more seats. For the occasional river view, make sure to sit or stand on the passenger side of the train, when traveling from Buenos Aires to Tigre (the driver’s side, if you’re doing the trip in reverse).
In addition to offering a brief (and distant) view of the Río de la Plata from the train itself, there are some nice places to stop and visit; most notably, Barrancas Station, which has a large outdoor flea market by the train station, and the San Isidro Station, which has a pretty church and a Palermo-like feel. If you want to stop by the river, do so at Anchorena Station. This way, you’ll get to appreciate real coastal views- in fact, much more so than from the Tigre port!
My favorite part about the Tren de la Costa was the train platforms. European styled, the wooden stations, and the little cafes that accompanied them, made me feel like I went back in time. Due to timing, I didn’t eat at any of the train station restaurants, but I recommend allowing extra time to stop to have a meal or coffee at one. The cafe at Barrancas Station looked particularly charming! Keep in mind that if you get off the train, you’ll have to pay for a new ticket when you get back on.
Drop off point for Tren de la Costa
A nice part about the Tren de la Costa is that the train station is near the Puerto de Frutos Market. You’ll have passed the market as you arrived, along with a little flea market lining the station.
“Delta” is name of the train station in Tigre and is the last stop on the Tren de la Costa line. You made it!
Now that you know how to visit Tigre by the Tren de la Costa, let’s talk about an alternative train option.
How to visit Tigre by regular train
Did you cringe through this account of the Tren de la Costa? If so, I’ve got good news for you- there’s a direct, faster train you can take from Buenos Aires to Tigre!
This Mitre train line departs from the Retiro Train Station in downtown Buenos Aires and passes through Belgrano C, for those staying in Palermo. Nice and easy, you’ll need to get off at the last train stop, which just so happens to be the “Tigre” station. The ride takes about 50 minutes. Buses run every 10 – 20 minutes, depending on the time and day of the week.
Important to note is that the Tigre Station is located in a different area than the Tren de la Costa Station. Both are centrally located and you’ll easily be able to walk around town from either one. Whereas the Tren de la Costa Station is located near Puerto de Frutos, the Tigre Station is located right on the water. The Tigre Station is also home to a tourism office and there are agencies where you can sign up for boat rides.
I recommend taking the Tren de la Costa one way and the direct Mitre train the other way. Now that you know how to visit Tigre by train, let’s take a look at things to do in Tigre!
Things to do in Tigre
The town of Tigre is small and easy to navigate by foot. Below are some highlights of things to do in Tigre:
1. Puerto de Frutos
This is Tigre’s main land-based attraction. A market that was originally designed to sell fruits and vegetables, modern day Puerto de Frutos is a tourist hub. You’ll find stores selling countless wicker and wooden goods. Souvenirs and fruit and vegetable stalls are also scattered about. Restaurants can be found with and without water views. Prices are high, so aim to purchase a meal outside of the market, if you’re on a budget.
2. Take a boat ride
Taking a boat ride is Tigre’s most popular water-based attraction. Getting out on the water offers an entirely different perspective of Tigre. You’ll pass by mansions, only accessible by water, and learn about the history of the area. You can take a boat from Puerto de Frutos, but many boats depart from the port near the Tigre Train Station (Mitre train).
3. Water Sports
Love being out on the water? You’ll find plenty of agencies offering kayaks and jet skies for rent. Prices vary, depending on the length of time you stay out on the water. I recommend checking with a few different agencies in Tigre before making your decision.
4. Parque de la Costa Amusement Park
There’s an amusement park right on the shore of Tigre. You’ll get one-of-a-kind views of the delta from the top of some of the rides. Because of this amusement park, I found there to be a lot of kids around, especially on weekends. As a whole, Tigre gave me a bit of a carnival-like vibe, probably in great part due to this park, and China Town.
5. China Town
Stumbling upon a China Town in Tigre was an unexpected and odd experience, but it’s worth perusing through, if you’re in Tigre when it’s open. China Town is open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10:00am – 8:00pm. They have a large building designed with Chinese architecture equipped with a Chinese food court, Chinese souvenirs, and mini Chinese grocery stores. There is also a small outdoor market that has a mix of Chinese and Argentine goods.
6. Eat a waffle at Waffles del Mundo
I know what you’re thinking. A fast-food waffle restaurant is an odd one to include here, but it just didn’t seem right to leave it out. It was amusing watching people walk around with specialty waffles in hand. Waffles del Mundo is a super popular chain that sells savory and sweet filled waffles on sticks.
I’m all about indulging in local food when I travel, but I also believe in doing as the locals do. I fit right in walking around with my waffle stick!
My Overall Takeaways
I liked Tigre in the sense that it got me out of Buenos Aires to see something different. It felt a bit gimmicky to me with the amusement park and China Town, although it’s a good option for people traveling with children. Hands down, the highlight for me was the boat ride. I recommend making a boat ride on the delta your first priority!
Personally, I feel that if you only have a couple of days in Buenos Aires, your time is better spent in the city since there are so many incredible districts to explore. Nevertheless, a day trip to Tigre is a nice option for longer stays.
I hope this post gave you a good sense of how to visit Tigre. Have you been to Tigre? What were your takeaways?