It’s hard to leave Buenos Aires, but if you do yearn for some wide-open space, you don’t have to travel to Patagonia to find your escape.
Just over an hour outside the city, through the moneyed suburbs of Los Olivos and San Isidro, Tigre is a small town at the head of the Parana Delta: a vast network of tributaries that snake off from the Parana River as it flows into the Rio de la Plata and out to the Atlantic.
Tigre is the jumping off point for leisurely cruises down the delta, which can either be booked through tour operators in the city or at the port in Tigre. I'm travelling with Bsas4u.com, which organises transportation to Tigre and includes a stop-off in San Isidro for a short stroll around the neighbourhood.
From Tigre, small passenger boats cruise down the meandering waterways, passing elaborate riverside dwellings with private jetties (boat is the only form of transportation here) and the rowing clubs of BA’s high-society.
In smaller tributaries, the homes that line the river form waterfront communities, whose residents rely on supply ships that ply the waters, selling all manner of products and services – everything from medical and veterinary ships to floating libraries and transportation to take the kids to school.
As the river widens, its banks are covered in beach clubs where Porteños come at weekends in the summer to escape the heat of the city. Here, jet-skis buzz up and down and water skiers show off as we pass, carving huge arcs in the water.
Eventually the river widens into the expanse of the Rio de la Plata, which rushes past Buenos Aires before turning into the Atlantic Ocean.
As we approach the city, the towering glass and steel skyscrapers of Buenos Aires come into view, providing a rare perspective of the port city.
The cruise ends in Puerto Madero, the most exclusive neighbourhood in Buenos Aires, whose towering buildings command the highest rents in town, providing a poignant contrast to the slow, indolent life on the river just a few kilometres upstream.