Buenos Aires is a fantastic city to visit with plenty of sights and activities to keep travellers of all kinds entertained. But there is much more to the city than just the Capital Federal area so if you’re staying in Buenos Aires for more than a few days then we can highly recommend taking a day trip to one of these excellent destinations:
Tigre is a small town located approx. 30kms to the northwest of Buenos Aires city and is a popular weekend and holiday spot for porteńos (local Buenos Aires citizens). It serves as the entry point to the Paraná River delta, which is a fascinating and diverse series of interconnecting waterways and islands formed as the Paraná river winds its way to meet the Rio de la Plata.
The easiest way to get to Tigre is by train – you can either take the Tigre line from Retiro station in Buenos Aires direct to Tigre Central station (approx. 55mins), or for a more scenic trip take the Mitre line (also from Retiro station) to the end, walk across the well signposted bridge to the other side of Avenida Maipu and catch the tourist Tren de la Costa (ARS20 each way) along the coast to Tigre’s Delta station.
Assuming you opt for the more scenic route, as soon as you arrive at the Delta station you will see the Parque de la Costa, which is an excellent little theme park hosting several rollercoasters and an array of smaller rides, along with a sizeable waterpark located immediately adjacent.
If theme parks aren’t your thing, then visit the Puerto de Frutos (fruit port) which is Tigre’s former port area that has been converted into a craft market and restaurant area.
After filling the morning with either arts and crafts or roller coasters, then wander into the main marina in Tigre where you can find a number of kiosks all offering 1 hour scenic boat trips through the delta onboard vintage mahogany motorboats – although the captain’s commentary is most likely in Spanish, the trip is definitely worth the ARS100 cost just to see the countless English-style rowing clubs, marinas, waterfront dwellings, lodges and camping sites that line the waterways of the delta.
When you return to the marina, cross the bridge at the end of the marina and wander along Avenida Victorica to view the magnificent Tigre Museum of Art. On the way you’ll pass the Naval Museum and the Museo Del Mate, which is a museum dedicated entirely to mate, the ubiquitous tea that you’ll find people drinking throughout Argentina and Uruguay. If at any point you find yourself hungry, there are a string of restaurants along this stretch, each of which offers outdoor seating where you can park up for a while, enjoy a meal and watch as the activity on the river passes you by.
If you still have some peso’s dangling in your pocket as you head back to the train station, the feel free to try your luck at the Trilenium Casino, located right next door to the Parque de la Costa, before hopping on the Tren de la Costa back to Buenos Aires.
There is an information centre located at the main marina, but we didn't find them particularly helpful other than providing a map showing the main areas of Tigre. There is also a hop-on hop-off style tourist bus running around the key spots of Tigre but the town is small enough that you can walk around most of them.
Buenos Aires has a city zoo, located in Palermo on Plaza Italia, but it’s a fairly small complex and the buildings are somewhat dated, so if you are looking to get out of the city and embark on a much better wildlife experience then head out to the Temaikèn Bioparque for the day.
The bioparque is just one part of the overall Fundación Temaikèn which is a national organization involved in the protection, research and preservation of nature and ecosystems. The park itself is beautifully laid out across a vast area with plenty of trees and water features, with each of the spacious enclosures designed to replicate as closely as possible the natural habitat of the hundreds of different species contained within. A particular highlight is the excellent “El Lugar de las Aves” (The Place of the Birds) which is a sprawling interconnected aviary hosting over 2500 birds from across 5 continents, allowing you to get up close with stunning birds such as toucans, parrots and macaws (a favourite of the Red Bird Safari crew!).
The 360° Movie Theater is an amusing audiovisual experience which seems to blur the lines between the theories of evolution and creation – there is an English screening once a day at 1:30pm if you're interested in checking it out.
There are numerous keeper talks throughout the course of the day (though more are scheduled on weekends and holidays than during weekdays) and there are plenty of reasonably priced food options spread throughout the park – including our first introduction to the concept of a pizza-cone – an idea we wish we’d thought of first!!
The Temaikèn Bioparque is located approx. 50kms northwest of Buenos Aires in the Escobar district. It’s not the easiest place to get to on public transport – the best option is to catch one of the Chevallier Costera Metropolitana buses that run regularly from the north side of Plaza Italia as some of these buses will drop you right outside the front entrance. You can even buy your entrance ticket to Temaikèn from a small booth located at the bus stop on Plaza Italia and they will make sure you jump on the correct bus – otherwise just double check with the driver before boarding.
Prices for Temaikèn are listed on their website, but if you’re flexible then go on Tuesday’s when entry is half-price and you avoid the weekend rush.
Whilst the overall range of animals at the Bioparque is not enormous, it is certainly one of the most beautiful and peaceful zoo’s we have ever visited and definitely worth the trip out there – for kids and big kids alike!
#3: Colonia del Sacramento
Colonia del Sacramento is a small Uruguayan town lying directly opposite Buenos Aires on the Rio de la Plata. It is one of the oldest towns in Uruguay, established in 1680 by the Portuguese in response to the growing Spanish power in Buenos Aires, and it changed hands between the Spanish and Portuguese several times before becoming part of the new nation of Uruguay in 1828. This history is reflected in the Barrio Histórico (Historic District) which is an immaculately preserved example of a colonial settlement that in 1995 was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. This area, which is located on a low promontory jutting out into the Rio de la Plata, features cobblestone streets, quaint colonial houses (many now converted into shops, restaurants and accommodation), a lighthouse, a church, a section of the former city wall and various other historical sites.
Colonia is the main transit point for entry from Argentina to Uruguay, with at least half a dozen ferry sailings per day (more in peak season) between Buenos Aires and Colonia. Buses then run from Colonia to the capital city Montevideo (2.5hrs) and onwards to the popular beaches of Punta del Este (a further 2hrs) or into inland Uruguay. However, it’s a perfect destination for a day trip from Buenos Aires as the ferry crossing only takes an hour and the Historic District is small enough to wander around in the space of a few hours. For URU50 (approx. AU$2) you can purchase a pass that will gain you entry into the 8 small museums dotted through the old town – though they each take turns at closing for the day so on any given day only 5-6 of the museums will be open. There are plenty of restaurants, both in the Barrio Histórico and up the main street in the newer part of town where you can do your best to polish off the Uruguayan staple – a chivito plate – which is essentially a steak sandwich mounted on a pile of French fries with a boiled egg on top, usually accompanied by a token salad or two.
Bear in mind that this day trip is an international journey as you are crossing from Argentina to Uruguay so passports are essential but the process is streamlined by processing both the Argentinian exit and Uruguayan entry formalities before boarding in Buenos Aires, so when you arrive in Colonia you can stroll straight off the ferry and start exploring. The same process occurs on the return journey. In fact many people use the trip as an opportunity to renew their 90 day Argentinian tourist visas.
To get to Colonia, the best option is Seacat Colonia – they utilize the same ferries and terminals as the main operator Buquebus but their ticket prices (somehow!) are usually half the price. There is a 3rd operator known as Colonia Express but their terminal in Buenos Aires is located close to the La Boca area and there are reports of taxi drivers refusing to drive to this terminal so the more centrally located Buquebus terminal is a much better option.
These three options are by no means the only or the best day trips you can do from Buenos Aires, but if you’re looking to escape the noise and traffic of central BA for a day then these are definitely a fantastic option, whatever your budget or travel situation.
If you have any other examples of great day trips from Buenos Aires, we’d love to hear about them so drop us a line or leave a comment below.
Disclaimer - All opinions are our own and not representative of or endorsed by the suppliers of these products or services.