A journey into the riverside

El Tigre Travel Blog

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The River

            As much as we all love Buenos Aires, Luqman, Brandon and I decided that we desperately needed a change of scenery. Thus, we decided to take an excursion. Initially, we all wanted to go to Uruguay for a day, but looking at our expense accounts, we decided that it would be more prudent to go to the Argentine country side. This way we could save a lot of money but still be able get away from the city. We looked through the sacred guide book and decided that El Tigre would be our best bet.

            We started our journey by taking the subte, the subway, to the Retiro Omnibus Station.

Papparazzi aka Brandon
This is the main bus and train terminal in Buenos Aires. Everyday, massive amounts of people catch trains and buses that shuttle them outside of Buenos Aires into other cities and around the Buenos Aires province. Since it is the main bus and train terminal, the Retiro station is enormous. It is shaped like a giant dome and has almost an Italian architecture feel to it.

            We each paid our 95 centavos, that’s about $0.32 in American dollars. Thus, compared to the 186 pesos, approximately $62 American dollars, it would cost to travel to Uruguay; all three of us agreed that we made the right choice.

One of the historic churches in El Tigre
We boarded the train and sat down for a nice pleasant ride. Now, for those of you who are going to make this excursion, I highly advise that you get on the train about 15 minutes ahead of departure. The train ride is about an hour long and so it will be a long and tiring ride if you do not have a seat. The train fills up very fast and can get quite crowded so make sure you give yourself time to find a seat.

            The train ride to El Tigre was quite pleasant. Luqman and I got in some quality reading while Brandon took a nap. I enjoyed looking out the window and watching the concrete buildings and skyscrapers turn into country homes and the riverside as we made our way closer to El Tigre.

            We arrived in El Tigre and instantly could feel the difference on being outside the city.

Another view of the river
The air was so much easier to breathe! There was clearly an absence of smog from the air that is very prevalent in Buenos Aires. We walked around the city for a while and decided to find a place to eat. As we were walking by restaurants, we were inundated by fliers from people trying to promote their restaurants. For those of you who go to my alma matter Georgia Tech, it was kinda like walking down Skiles at 11 AM on a Tuesday… you get the picture. After examining the fliers from the various restaurants, we decided on a local parilla, that’s the word for traditional Argentine restaurant. We sat down and enjoyed a nice meal and discussed our options.

All three of us agreed that we wanted to do something on the waterfront. We saw ads for kayaks and paddle boats as well as boat rides.

Luqman relaxing on the boat
Brandon suggested that it would be fun to ride paddle boats so we made our way the tourist stands. When we arrived, we found out that paddle boats were not available due to the winter season. Thus, we found a company that gave boat tours for 15 pesos and decided that it was our best bet. We had about 20 minutes until the river tour would leave and opted to grab some smoothies at a fruit stand. I was so glad we decided to do that because those smoothies were DEE-LISH-OUS! Unlike many smoothies in the US, these smoothies were PURE fruit. There were no preservatives, powders, sweeteners, etc that were added to the smoothie. After finishing off our amazing smoothies, we made our way on to the boat dock to get on board for the river tour.

The crew hustled us into the main cabin and told us to have a seat.

The view at the Retiro bus and station before taking off for El Tigre
We were confused at first because we wanted to go upstairs so we could sit outside on the top deck. When we asked why we couldn’t go upstairs, the crew assured us it was due to safety and that we could move after about 15 minutes. Although this is a valid reason, I still think it was a ploy to try to get us to buy something from the bar.

Anyways, after our 15 minutes of “safety,” we made our way to the top of the boat. When we got to the top, all three of us instantaneously smiled. It was so relaxing and calming to sit in the sun, with the wind gently blowing through our hair for an hour. The tour guide told us about the many vacation homes, small beaches, and some old, rusty ships.  We also saw some historic houses and museums as well. The tour guide told us about El Tigre’s history of being a river town that hosts about 290,000 people. It is a popular weekend retreat famous for attractions such as Puerto de los Frutos and an amusement park called Parque de la costa. There are also markets and stores where you can buy wicker articles, carpets, furniture, adornments, and native handicrafts. El Tigre is also the location where you can see the house, and now museum, of the national hero and former Argentine President from the province of San Juan, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento.

After the wonderful hour river tour, we got off the boat and decided that we should probably head back into the city. We sadly left the riverside and got back on the train to journey back into the metropolis.

We decided to walk around Florida Street in order to show Brandon the major shopping area that Luq and I had already visited numerous times. We walked around and found that there seemed to be an unusual amount of black people around. Argentina is not known for its black populations, so we found this to be a pleasant surprise. None of us ended up purchasing anything so we made our way back to the apartment.

When we arrived at the apartment, I got in touch with our friend Deona and made plans to meet up with her and her roommates. We took the subway to the corner of Deona’s apartment and walked to the local strip of bars called Plaza Serrano. We settled on a bar called Tazz and played some pool and hung out. Tazz is a known hot spot for Americans and it was very obvious by the barrage of English that was being spoken. We met many Americans there and it almost seemed as though we weren’t even in Buenos Aires. We all commented that we felt as though we were in a pool hall back in Atlanta. After spending some time catching up, we made plans to meet up for my birthday, which I found out was also the birthday of one of Deona’s roommates, Brendan.

            We made our way back to the apartment, content after spending a fun filled day breathing in fresh air at El Tigre.

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The River
The River
Papparazzi aka Brandon
Papparazzi aka Brandon
One of the historic churches in El…
One of the historic churches in E…
Another view of the river
Another view of the river
Luqman relaxing on the boat
Luqman relaxing on the boat
The view at the Retiro bus and sta…
The view at the Retiro bus and st…
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El Tigre
photo by: hannahcho