If you are looking for some ups and downs, then take a trip to Parque de la Costa in Tigre to experience breakneck roller coasters and bumper boats. Apparent Argentine slackness with regards to health and safety measures makes the rides even more stomach-churning!
Arriving at the park is simple. Catch the Tigre train from Retiro and follow the signs to Parque de la Costa on arrival. It’s about a five minute walk.
On entering, head to your right. All the best stuff is this way. The two main roller coasters are El Desafio and Boomerang. The English are famed for their love of queues, so can enjoy waiting upwards of 40 minutes for El Desafío, although it is probably the best thing in the park. Without being an expert in theme park terminology, it goes fast and spins you around a lot. Whether I’m a tough old Englishman I don’t know, but the stomach-in-your-throat sensation that I anticipated didn’t really happen. The ride was over just as it was beginning.
The lines for Boomerang move more quickly, which possibly makes the ride more enjoyable when you get in your cart. It involves ascending a steep curve and then being released at high speeds, firstly facing forwards and then backwards. Again, my stomach handled the experience pretty well, although if you plan on tanking up on alcohol and fast food during the day, your insides might respond more violently. Be prepared for having your head thrown around in your carriage. Unfortunately, trying to hold a rigid position won’t help you avoid this!
Another exhilarating ride nearby is Disorientados. Best explained as a large rotating swing, this definitely gives you a rush of blood to the head. On being suspended upside down I can only describe the sensation as “swallowing your throat”. Those looking for an adrenaline rush will get off satisfied, if not light-headed.
Another attraction worth checking out is Botes en el Nilo. It involves getting in a motorised rubber ring boat and bashing everybody else. If you gain enough momentum you can wet your mates, but the motors sometimes cut out leaving participants stranded and embarrassed. We luckily avoided the humiliation of needing to be rescued by park staff along with having everyone’s attention on us because of the warning of “STAY AWAY FROM THE RED BOAT” over the PA system.
One ride that certainly would not pass UK and US health and safety standards is Samba. There is a circular platform with seats all around the sides. Instructions on posters suggest you should hold on to metal bars above and around you. Getting on last is not a good idea, with limited metal available. And having something to grab on to is important. Samba thrashes you around like a rag doll with legs flailing everywhere. Holding on for dear life is the key, even at the expense of bruised forearms. The sadistic in me wanted to see a kid lose grip and slide across the floor, but miraculously that didn’t happen. I think this was my highlight of the day.
One small problem is the amount of queuing. With the park only being open on weekend and holidays, it gets very full. Queues are often tiresome, especially for the big roller coasters. Consequently we didn’t have time to go on everything. We missed out on a few fairground classics such as the big wheel, log flume, abandoned mine and classic pirate ship, as well as different shows such as magic and theatre going on throughout the day, although these are probably more appropriate for young children. Places to buy food and drinks are aplenty, and not horrifically priced.
Be aware of the different tickets, and what each one entails. A Pasaporte Plus guarantees access to all rides and costs $48. If you were thinking of going for the cheaper $38 Pasaporte Promo, don’t bother. It doesn’t include the biggest roller coasters and other main attractions. If you change your mind after entering, you must pay an additional $10 for each ride not included.
To complicate things further, there are some things you have to pay for regardless of what ticket you have. To go on the Vertigo Xtremo, a human bungee, it costs upwards of $60, but going in groups of two or three earns you a large discount. My excitement at seeing Go-Karts was quickly extinguished when I saw that there was an additional price, not helped by long queues.
The price may seem steep, but Parque de la Costa is well worth a trip for an alternative day out. We were luckily enough to be treated to a scorching afternoon, and if it rains before 6pm the park will give you a set of free tickets to visit again.
Parque de la Costa is open from 11am to 8pm on all weekends and holidays. Full access entry is $48.