Tigre is not really a "barrio" like you would think. Most barrios are sections of the city, with housing and apartment buildings like you see in most other cities or like here in Buenos Aires. Most barrios are localized, with their own sports teams, favourite bars, etc. etc. Tigre is different. Tigre (pronounced "teegrey") is an entity unto it's own, primarily because of it's location and life style.
Tigre is the part of the greater Buenos Aires regional district but sits alongside and part of the Delta region of the Rio de la Plata. The town itself is on the edge of the city, at the confluence of the Rio Lujan and Rio Tigre, both of which flow into the Rio de la Plata. It is the northernmost section of the city of B.A. and from where we live (Palermo) it is a one hour ride by bus (fascinating way to travel) to get there. The bus driver on one occasion (we've been to Tigre a few times) asked us why we didn't take the train, as it is so much faster. I told him we had taken the train to Tigre once, but found we could see much more of the city and the people by taking the bus. He agreed and thought what we were doing was a good idea.
In Tigre, there are some interesting sights. They have a number of river-side rowing clubs, a full fledged casino/hotel complex and a couple of fairly nice coffee shops and restaurants. However, the big draw is the river delta area. On the various islands in the delta they have a wide variety of hostels, spas, B&B's, as well as some people's permanent homes. The folks from downtown come here for weekend "getaways", business events (at the conference centres on the various islands) or to vacation at their own little cottage.
To cater to all of these activities there has to be some mode of transport to get people from point A to point B .... and there is. In Tigre proper, alongside the Rio Tigre, there is a complex of wharves, docks, and jetties, and an entire system of river-taxis to service the islands. I have spent the better part of a couple of hours just sitting at the main pier watching people loading up their "goodies" onto the water taxi, getting ready for the ride home. Most of the taxi services also offer tourists rides through the delta and it is by far the most economical and enjoyable way to see the area. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the loading process, the dogs on the roof, the myriad water bottles, the food bags and luggage, plus people crammed into the interior of the boat, it all makes for a really interesting experience. What amazes me is that the boatmen know all the residents of the delta and where they live. As you wander your way through the river channels and side streams, they invariable pick just the right jetty to cozy-on up to and off load a couple of people coming home.
I spoke with one of the boat fella's and we had a nice chat. Seems that there are a lot of places on the delta that are owned by "town folk" from Buenos Aires. He didn't have too much good to say about them, as he thinks they are mostly '"transients". They may come for a weekend or a couple of weeks in the summer but for the most part their cabins or homes in the delta are empty. What a waste. Mind you, having seen the area myself and realizing how cool it can get in the winter months, I imagine that living in the delta year round is an experience you would only want to do once. As for me, I'd live there all summer and for part of the spring and fall ...... only coming off to visit the local golf course on the odd occasion.
They do have their own set of problems though. In some months of the year the tidal waters from the River Plate raise the level of the delta waters to the point that everything floods. All the docks that belong to the delta residences are water-borne, meaning they float. When the water rises, so do the docks. A local told me that it is not unusual that you go shopping in Tigre, take the water-taxi home, climb off onto you own jetty, then slosh through 2 feet of water along the path to get to your house. Which probably accounts for the fact that most houses in the delta are built on stilts.
I am also told that there are times when the power to the islands fails .. and it can be off for as many as 5 days at a time. In the summer heat and humidity, the last thing you need is no air conditioning for a week at a time. Very uncomfortable and you can trust me on that score .... been there, done that !
And one last thought ... what about garbage? They do have septic systems or chemical toilettes in all of the islands, and garbage collection is, once again, by boat.
In any case, taking a bus to Tigre and a boat trip through the delta is one of those experiences that you will remember for a long long time. Well worth the minimal cost (.50 cents for the bus & 8 dollars for the round trip ticket through the delta on the water taxi).
For a more comprehensive look-see at http://globalodyssey.ca/p883583327 or http://globalodyssey.ca/p421891063