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I knew the Paraná Delta existed because I’ve seen the boats heading there from Tigre, but they may as well have been sailing into another country for all I could picture of the network of islands, rivers and wetlands. Ana, our guide, traces the upcoming route on a map and explains we will see a tiny segment of the area, which expands for a total of over 5,000 square miles. On the map the tributaries of the Delta spread out from Tigre like the veins on a leaf. Look closely and it seems you could spot twin-headed serpents staking out the smallest winding creeks and mythical creatures with the heads of lions lying in wait for unsuspecting boats. Mapa Gelvez-ToritoThe Delta is another Argentina; one that is neither well-known nor particularly well-visited, save for the routes of the main tourist craft. Our journey into the unknown begins with a bright and breezy early boat from Tigre River Station. Boarding, we tell them we’re going to “lo del suizo” (the Swiss place). Around 40 minutes later after passing the schools, shops, petrol stations and churches of the first stage of the Delta, we hop off at the home of Delta Unplugged.

Tigre river boatsA multitude of companies offer private tours of the Delta by boat but Delta Unplugged sounds interesting. Owned and operated by Ana, an Argentine tourism expert and Ralph,a Swiss chef, Delta Unplugged provides a tranquil day’s excursion along with tasty food. Clambering onto the jetty we are greeted by the family including baby Octavio, who is immediately intrigued by the sight of my baby (who is wondering what is going on, having woken up from a nap to find himself surrounded by water). After a breakfast of homemade breads with dulce de leche, aubergine jam and honey we set off in their wooden boat to explore the waterways.

(Photos courtesy of myself and also Ana from Delta Unplugged)

Delta Unplugged

Taking the stream less traveled at the start of the tour.

Tranquil waters

Still, peaceful waters of the Delta.

Doggy lookout

Some of the residents of the first stage of the Parana Delta.

Tigre birds

Bird-spotting at lunchtime from the Delta Unplugged boat.

Turtles of Tigre

And more wildlife – turtles, this time.

Delta lunch

Lunch is an impressive spread with cheeses, meats, empanadas, tarts, dips, vegetables, chicken and beef, all rustled up by Ralph on the boat itself.

Yellow houseBrightly coloured homes on the waterways.

Supermarket boatThe “supermarket boat” – provisions delivered to the jetty.

Tigre Delta viewTo finish the day there’s nothing so relaxing as mate and cake surrounded by lapping water. A tranquil place.

Imagen 057
I didn’t see any two-headed serpents on the boat trip and the only mythical creatures were the supernaturally persistent mosquitoes, but I did get a glimpse of another world. A swift water taxi ride back to Tigre and we’re back on dry land, but rocked by invisible waves for hours afterwards.

Swiss

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