Friday, December 6, 2013

How NOT to Go to Tigre

FM and I? Not so much in to the tour thing. We'd much rather find our own way, go at our own pace and see what we want to see. However, with the parents in town we decided it might be best to go ahead and book our day visit to Tigre with Viator and save ourselves a little hassle. We've used them in the past and have normally found it to be an above average experience. And, really? This post isn't so much about the quality of THEIR tour, but how much cheaper and better it would have been had we went with our instinct and just winged it.

Included in our tour was a round trip boat ride from Buenos Aires to Tigre, about a two hour cruise through the Delta and some of the back waterways. This in itself was very enjoyable, and as you can see by the pictures, a perfect day for a boat cruise! We started from the Sturla boat docks in Puerto Madero.

Ready for launch, oh capitan!

The boat departed timely at 10AM. If you are heading down there, the tour folk will tell you to be early. However, the office itself didn't even open until 9:30, so. . . no need to rush too much. Off we go into the Rio Plata. Buenos Aires DEFINITELY underutilizes its riverfront property in town. You could be just a block or two from the water and not even know it was there. But seeing the city from the river was truly a treat. 

Adios, BA, Hello backwaters! 

Cruising by the old church (?) turned power plant

Receding more, but not as fast as you would think. . . 

San Isidro Cathedral. The steeple is the same height as the Obelisk in downtown BA, just over 200 feet.

Just over an hour into the cruise and BA is fading like an almost forgotten dream.

The boat has an uptop deck, which FM and I thoroughly enjoyed!

Heading into the Rio Sarmiento tributary, looking a lot less citified - FINALLY!
Adorable little houses and tiny resorts are built all along the waterway. The only access is via boat, so would take some commitment to actually purchase a place along here. Saw many places for sale, some that were even tempting! All houses are serviced by the river taxi's and also by supply/grocery boats.

Supply boat out for deliveries

River taxi and also school bus

Might want to spend a weekend here in January. . . if the mozzies aren't too horrible!

Arriving into the main port of Tigre

Roller Coaster from the Parque de la Costa looming over a rusting barge riverside
Upon arrival in Tigre, we were whisked from the boat dock immediately to the Hop On/Hop Off tourist bus. Which we waited over fifteen minutes for its arrival. It was a typical city bus, painted up, with no open top. This comprised the next 40 minutes of our day, and was a complete waste, as we were not able to "hop on/hop off", but sat inside a slow moving bus with very little visibility of the ten main points of interest in the town. This would have been a FAR better walking tour for FM and I. But when on a tour, one must do what the tour says. . . I guess.

One of about FOUR pics that turned out from the BUS. Mate (traditional tea like drink popular with Argentinians) Museum.

Town Insignia at the square. It's a Tiger. Can you see it? Squint.

Not surprisingly, the town of Tigre provides Argentina with most of its world class rowers. Rowing Clubs abound.
Next on the tour, a break for lunch and then off to the Puerto de Frutos (fruit port) for the required shopping. Although a cute area, found very few treasures that would travel well. Would have gladly traded this experience for more time to wander around town.

Some very un-Argentinian style products

Rowing club putting boats in
Things wrapped up pretty quickly after the visit to the market, and we were back on the boat heading to Buenos Aires. The water was a little choppier this trip, and we had a smaller sister boat to ours following that was having some difficulty with the water, which made our return trip three hours through the same scenery. Although the boat ride was the BEST part of the day, you can take the commuter train from Tigre to Retiro for about 4 peso and it takes 45 minutes. Had we not already committed to the tour, this is the route we would have taken home. It would have given us more time in town and my stomach would have been a bit more settled upon our arrival back in Buenos Aires!
Did get a nice shot of the Fishing Club building, though.
All in all, it was a nice day on the water, but for a fraction of the cost we could have done the same on our own and enjoyed a more leisurely time in Tigre. Good thing we have 2.5 months more so we can revisit whenever we want!