We Recommend: Isla Martín García

(Photo by Ostrosky Photos)

Between Argentina and Uruguay, in the middle of the Rio de la Plata is a scantly populated island called Martín García, one of Buenos Aires´ natural reserves and historical landmarks.

The island, which was discovered by the expedition of Juan Díaz de Solís in 1516 was initially used as a prison 1765 until 1886 since it was very difficult to escape from due to the turbulent waters around it. Later on it was also used as a political prison and military garrison and some of the country’s most important and controversial political figures such as Marcelo Alvear,  Hipolito Yrigoyen, Juan Domingo Peron and Arturo Frondizi  served time there.

Now a days the island functions as a tourist destination and ecological reserve with over 800 species of plants, and more than 250 species of birds. Historical sites include a museum, a lighthouse, the prisons and a cemetery amongst others. The island is also famous for its Panettone.

 

How to get there

There are only two ways to get to the island, one is by a light aircraft which takes approximately 20 minutes from the city, and the other is by the Cacciola boat company in Tigre which offers day trip excursions including snacks and lunch and also overnight excursions with lodging at the only hostel in the Island.  Aircraft information here. La Cacciola here.

Day Trip to Tigre

(Photo by escalepade)

 

At the starting point of the Paraná delta, in the outskirts of the city, is the town of Tigre, set on an island lined by small rivers and streams. This rugged location surrounded by nature offers a variety of attractions including canoeing,  kayak  and other excursions by boat, trekking, ecotourism, motorboat and commuter boats to take you to different places on the riverside, restaurants, spas, tea-houses, picnic sites, a naval museum, an art museum, a mate museum, a casino, a crafts fair and an amusement park.

How to get there:

By train:

The train is one of the fastest ways to get to Tigre and you have the option of taking the regular train or the “Tren de la Costa” which includes a scenic view and the possibility to stop at different train stations where you can shop for antiques (Borges station) or organic food (San Fernando station on Saturdays.)

Direct train from Retiro Terminal Station
- At Retiro station you have to take Mitre line train going to Tigre. Trip duration: 50 minutes.

Tren de la Costa from Retiro
 Terminal Station

1. Retiro to Tren de la Costa: At Retiro station you have to take the Mitre line train heading to Mitre station. Once you have arrived at Mitre station you have to cross the bridge over Maipu 2600 Ave, which takes you to Maipu station of Tren de la Costa.

2. Maipú station of “Tren de la Costa” to Tigre: At Maipu station of Tren de la Costa you have to take the train going to the Delta. It is a 30-minute long trip in a modern train with a beautiful view of Rio de la Plata and you can get on and off as you please.

Getting to Tigre by bus- Take Line 60 bus which starts its route at Constitucion. Trip duration: 90 minutes.

Getting to Tigre by car- Take Panamericana Highway up to Acceso Norte, then Tigre road on the ‘Autopista del Sol’

For a great lunch on your way to Tigre stop by Tipula, a Spanish inspired gourmet restaurant belonging to Fierro Hotel’s chef, Hernan Gipponi. Vicente Lopez 76, Martinez. 4793-7185.

Off The Beaten Path: Tito Ingenieri’s Bottle House

 

(Photo by Justin Bugsy Sailor)

Six million bottles are the building blocks of sculptor Tito Ingenieri’s home.  The project, which began 21 years ago after a few other impressive feats, such as walking to Peru, and building a theatre out of junk (to name a few), was born from economic need, the desire to have a unique home and the search to transform garbage into something useful. The unique house, set in Quilmes, is also surrounded by Tito’s sculptures and has become a neighborhood emblem. Although it is not officially open to the public, it is the artists desire that the house, on Av. 25 de Mayo and Los Naranjos, be turned into a museum and that the philosophy of building with recycled material expand.

 

Our 7 Links

(Los Siete by Eduardo Amorim)

We recently got nominated by Jeff from Lengthy Travel Blog (which has some excellent tips for travelers) to participate in the 7 Links projects. The project which is being organized by Tripbase consists in linking 7 of your  own posts which meet previously specified criteria and then nominating other bloggers to do the same so that an exchange and circulation of information takes place.  We though it was a fun idea and also a great way to revisit some of the tips we have posted in the past.

 

Our 7 links are:

 

1-Most Beautiful Post:  10 Things We Love About Buenos Aires

2-Most Popular Post: 10 Things to do in Buenos Aires Off the Beaten Path

3-Most Controversial: Vegetarian Buenos Aires

4-Most Helpful: How to Make a Typical Argentine Asado

5-Most Successful: We Recommend: Cooking Classes in Buenos Aires

6-Didn’t Get the Attention it Deserved:  Lunfardo: A Slang from the Prisons and Tango

7-Proud of: 5 Best Hotels for Food and Drink

 

And our nominees are:

Eat like a girl: Wonderful food and travel blog, including special recipies!

The Lost Asian in Buenos Aires : Great reviews of Buenos Aires food and restaurants!

Juanele AR- Art in Buenos Aires: A wonderful art blog and the best art tours in the city!

The Real Argentina: Travel tips, reviews, suggestions and anything else you need to know!

South American Travel News: A useful resource for those of you planning your trip!

We Recommend: Tours by Air and Water

(Photo by Humberto Terenziani)

 

Helicopter tours: Taking a helicopter to see Buenos Aires from above is a wonderful way to get a scenic view of the city whilst acquiring a sense of its dimensions and distribution. Helitours Buenos Aires offers 20-minute tours through Puerto Madero or La Boca, a 45-minute tour through the city center and its surroundings and a VIP 60 minute tour including outskirts of Buenos Aires such as Tigre and Pilar.  Helitours BA are offered every day from Monday to Saturday from 10am-6pm. Contact: 4555-4973, info@helitourba.com.

Balloon tour: Another interesting alternative is to tour the rural area of Buenos Aires in a balloon.  These day trips take place in Capilla del Señor (80km away from the city center) and include transport from the hotel and back. Balloon trips offered by TANGOL, are carried out every day and last approximately an hour, overlooking extensive fields and streams.  Book your place here.

Sailing tour:  Hop on a sailboat in Puerto Madero and set off to see the city from the river. Smile on Sea offers 2 ½ hour trips, extended 4 ½ hour trips, full day trips and night sailing where you get to see the sun set behind the skyscrapers.  Contact: info@smileonsea.com.

Tigre Boat Tour: On the starting point of the Paraná delta is the town of Tigre, set on an island lined by small rivers and streams. Many excursions, in kayak, canoes and boats are available to visit different hidden places in this rugged location. We recommend Safari Delta Tours, which offer day trips through the island, stopping at different hotspots that are well worth visiting. Contact Fernando at safaridelta@sion.com, 155 111 0619.

Off the Beaten Path: Museo Casa de Yrurtia

(Canto al Trabajo- Rogelio Yrurtia by puroticorico)

Once the home of sculptor Rogelio Yrurtia, this beautiful colonial house displays his belongings including interesting objects, textiles (which he collected) and ceramics, many from China, Japan, Holland and Java, a collection of Argentine paintings, and many of his own sculptures and sketches of some of the city monuments which he was responsible for. Amongst the monuments you may have seen whilst walking through the city are  “Canto al trabajo” on Paseo Colon and Independencia in San Telmo, “Justicia” in the Tribunales Palace, and Monument to Coronel Dorrego on Suipacha and Viamonte amongst others.

Museo Casa de Yrurtia

O Higgins 2390, Belgrano

4781-0385

Opening hours: Tue-Fri 1pm-7pm, Sat-Sun 3pm-7pm. Closed on national holidays.

Off the Beaten Path: Day Trip to San Isidro

(Museo Pueyrredon by Fernando)

Although out of the way from the downtown area, San Isidro is a historical neighborhood founded in 1706, which is well worth visiting. The upscale residential area still conserves many of its colonial constructions and offers shady streets lined with jacarandas to walk thorough and explore.

Start the day early and take the Mitre train from Retiro or Carranza station (close to the hotel). Check that you get on the train going to Mitre, which is where you have to get off.  Cross the Maipú Avenue and go into the Tren de la Costa. Take the train to the Barrancas station where a weekend antique fair. A close walk away is the Pueyrredon Historical Museum set in an old homestead where General Pueyrredon and San Martin planned strategies against the Spanish. Whilst in this area of San Isidro you can stop for lunch at La Anita, an old food store with a courtyard which was turned into a restaurant preserving the 100 year old furniture.

Get back on the train and get off at the San Isidro station where you can walk up the beautiful Mitre Park to get to the neo-gothic San Isidro Cathedral. Around the block, set in the Tres Ombues lane is the well worth visiting Beccar Varela museum at Quinta los Ombues, which was built during the vice royal period, and displays the historic heritage of the area.

Only ten blocks away is the stunning Villa O Campo where you can explore the local literary legacy, walk through stunning gardens and end the afternoon by having scones at the Villas teahouse.  On your the way there is El Altillo pizzeria a neighborhood classic and El Piove ice cream where the owners have their ice cream maker displayed and it is sometimes possible to get a scoop right from the churners.

Museums

Pueyrredon Historical Museum

Rivera Indarte 48, Acassuso

4512-3131

Quinta Los Ombues

info@quintalosombues.com.ar

Adrián Beccar Varela 774, San Isidro

4575-4038

Villa O Campo

Elortondo 1837, Beccar

4732-4988

Places to eat

La Anita

Vuelta de Obligado 415, Acassuso.

4743-7604.

El Altillo

Av. Libertador 17000, San Isidro

4743-0990

Piove Ice Cream

Av. Libertador 17002, San Isidro

47477856