El Tigre: An Abundance of The Good Life

In which: My travel guide from Fodor’s helps my boyfriend and I plan a side trip to Tigre!

 

I’ve always found riding trains to be very romantic. When Enko suggested a trip to El Tigre, I had no idea that the whole trip would be primarily by train! It turns out that not only is Enko the best boyfriend ever, he is also full of fantastic, romantic ideas! It was also an opportunity to ride the subway in Buenos Aires. My little country town here in the valley requires a car to get from point A to point B since stuff is so far apart, and unfortunately the public transportation here isn’t very accessible. Traveling in and out of Buenos Aries by bus and commuter train sounded daunting at first. But oh, it was a delight.

The best part about the train is the fact that it takes you through several suburbs of Buenos Aires, far away from the tourist attractions, and the business and cultural beehive near Plaza de Mayo. Here, the richness of city life opens up to the neighborhoods of brick houses and cobbled streets lined with beautiful evergreen trees that make everyday appearances in the lives of Porteños. It is about an hour or so of travel to El Tigre, which is wonderful for being able to sit and relax, and to enjoy views of the city.

This is also a time to do some excellent people-watching in the train as well! Enko and I saw lots of people getting away for the day. Lots of ladies with their summer tote bags, a mother and daughter on a day trip, a grandfather and his grandchildren. I also saw lots of folks who make a living on the train. Here’s what I mean:

It is common for people to board the train at a stop, with small trinkets and items for sale. Sometimes they even sold candy bars or bottled beverages. They work their way from one end of the train to the other, and when they’ve made it through, they simply disembark on the next stop. My favorite of these was actually a gentleman who had an electric guitar and a portable amp! He clearly did this a lot, because his voice filled up the entire car! Whizzing comfortably past the shady neighborhoods of Buenos Aires with my head on my partner’s strong shoulder, listening to old-fashioned Argentine standards is one of my favorite memories of the whole trip. Here is another thing you should know: The general rule for etiquette is that if you stop and listen to or watch a street performer, then they have been effective at entertaining you/gaining your attention, and therefore deserve a little something from your wallet. Don’t be stingy. Smile and thank them, wish them a great day!

Standing on a bridge in El Tigre is a great way to get a beautiful view of the river!

Tigre is a riverport town, complete with its own thriving tourist economy. As you can see from the photo, the people here have capitalized on their riverside views, and the relaxing vibe of the town. Helpful hint: summer in Buenos Aires is hot and humid, but El Tigre was a good ten degrees cooler, and provided us with a light breeze all day! Promenades through town on both sides of the river provide access to tourist attractions, as well as more tree-lined pathways for walks and picnics.

The houses are chic and very impeccably groomed. Curb appeal is everything here! I had to stop more than once to admire the front of a house, and I loved that each one had its own style and theme. It reminded me of the chic houses one might find here in California, in such places like Carmel. (And the price tag on the homes is comparative to Carmel as well!)

If you get a chance, find a place to go sit and enjoy some lunch. It’s a pretty safe bet that you fill find a neighborhood restaurant that makes the most of the temperate climate and great views with an outdoor patio. We chose a barbecue place that was pretty much ALL patio! Those who know me know that I love and respect cows….because they are so delicious. This restaurant and I were a match made in heaven.

Barbecue in El Tigre: delicious, fresh cuts of vacio, and some chorizo, served with chimichurri on a sizzling cast-iron mini grill, fries, soda, and the standard salad of lettuce, onion, and tomato. The Argentine love to pummel you with more food than you could possibly eat in one sitting (though I took great delight in trying)!

Sunny day, light breeze, river views, ice cream, holding hands, walking with the man I love. See how this is pretty much one of the best days ever?

A promenade along the riverside gives views of the thriving city behind the tourism, as well as catamarans for hire! It is pretty affordable to buy a ticket for a ride around the delta in one of these. Aim for a covered, air-conditioned model, and you’ll have the perfect recipe for a couple hours’ worth of relaxation. Just don’t fall asleep after all that barbecue!

 

Views along the river.

It is great to have a travel guide like the one I have from Fodor’s. It’s still pretty important to keep an open mind, because sometimes talking to people who actually live here can reveal facts that totally contradict what a travel guide has to say.

Enko says it used to be that Porteños would purchase summer homes along the river; each large estate bearing its own private dock. This is actually what my Fodor’s guide explained, only Fodor’s says it is still this way. That isn’t the case, as Enko explained. Nowadays, people live here year-round!  We even spotted a riverside school for the children of these residents, accessible only by boat!

From a suggestion in the Fodor’s travel guide, we also visited the Maté museum, which was a fascinating surprise! Maté is more culturally significant in Argentina than coffee is to us here in the States, if you can believe it. It was really interesting to see all the memorabilia. I have photos from this portion of our Tigre adventure, but I’m not going to post them. It was a surprising delight to be greeted by the couple running the museum, and walking through the museum actually feels like walking through your grandmother’s house. Probably because the structure of the museum is actually an old house. Anyway, this couple makes you feel like they are inviting you to their house for a maté! To me, this experience was too intimate and special to just post photos of their gig on the internet. (Would you subject your grandmother to the wild forces of the internet? Some things are just worth protecting like this.) If you’d like to see it, you can explore here! Fair warning: this whole site is in Rioplatense, but who doesn’t need exposure to another language once in a while, yes?

I would like to bring your attention to my rip-roarin’ sunburn, which, mis amigos, happened even with sunscreen! If you go to Argentina in January, bring your sunscreen and apply, apply, apply! God bless Enko, who supportively sported a tinted tee out of flamingo-flavored solidarity. (Also, look how cute we are together! This is one of my favorite pictures of us.)

So why does it matter that Tigre has a year-round population, instead of just a summertime one? Because it means Tigre is movin’ on up in Argentine economy, that’s why. I wouldn’t be surprised if it became a destination all in itself, not just as a side trip from Buenos Aires. The whole Tigre experience is one of breaking free from the commercial fervor of the city, and feeling free to enjoy some finer things–especially if your idea of the good life is an afternoon of walking along the riverside with the person you love. Like I said: this place is special. And I hope this post serves as a taste that will inspire your own adventure here one day!

Until next time,

Maggie O’the Valley

Source for adventurous reading:
Fodor’s Travel. Buenos Aires, with Side Trips to Iguazu Falls, Gaucho Country & Uruguay. 4th edition. New York, NY: Random House LLC. 2015. Print.

(C) 2017 www.maggieothevalley.com
*This post was NOT sponsored.

Thanks for stopping by the L.A.B! Come back soon! Who knows how many great discoveries await us in the Library of Adventurous Books!

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