Tigre and the Parana Delta

A coastal train ride or a drive through the shady riverside suburbs of Buenos Aires takes you to the riverport town of Tigre, the embarkation point for boats that ply the Delta del Paraná. A couple of hours is plenty of time to visit the town itself from Buenos Aires; allow a whole day if you also plan to explore the delta—a vast maze of canals, tributaries, and river expanding out like the veins of a leaf. Heavy vegetation and rich birdlife (as well as clouds of mosquitoes) make the network of rivers feel tropical. The delta's many islands hide peaceful luxury getaways and cozy riverside restaurants accessible only by boat.

The waterways and close-packed islands that stretch northwest of Tigre are the most accessible part of the 14,000 square km (5,400 square miles) that make up the delta, where roads are replaced by rivers. Churning brown waters and heavy vegetation are vaguely reminiscent of Southeast Asia, though the chic houses and manicured gardens that line the rivers of the Primera Sección (closest to Tigre) are a far cry from Mekong River settlements.

If you want to take in more of the delta than a short boat trip allows, do as porteños do and combine it with a day's wining and dining at an island restaurant or a weekend at one of the hotels or luxury lodges a little farther afield. Many offer private transportation. The delta gets very hot and humid in summer, and the mosquitoes are ferocious, so bring insect repellent.

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