NEDERLANDS // ENGLISH
February is one of the least interesting times of the year. Belgium is cold and wet, everyone seems to suffer from a winter depression and most European theme parks are closed. Doesn’t that sound like a perfect month for travelling? Yes, it sure does. On Valentine’s Day, we cross the Atlantic Ocean (plus the equator) and exchange the European winter for a South-American summer. Our home for the next two and a half weeks is… Argentina. This country is well-known for its natural wonders, its wines and its juicy pieces of meat. We’re about to enjoy them all and our journey starts in the country’s bustling capital. Buenos Aires is everything I expected it to be. It’s huge, it’s hot and parties generally end well after sunrise. That makes it hard to get out of bed in the morning. However, on our first full day, we’ve got a good reason to get up early: a visit to our first and only South-American amusement park.
That amusement park isn’t located in the capital, but in the nearby city of Tigre. We arrive in Tigre after a 45-minute taxi ride and we immediately sense a totally different atmosphere. Life seems more relaxed here and people aren’t as rushed as the Porteños in Buenos Aires.
We’re spending our afternoon at Parque de la Costa, an entertainment destination. The place consists of three different parts: a water park, an amusement park and China Town, some kind of retail venue. You could describe it as a South-American, cheap looking version of Downtown Disney.
China Town isn’t special at all, so let’s head to the nearby theme park. Our visit to Parque de la Costa starts with very good news. In February, there’s a special 2-for-the-price-of-1 discount. That means that Nick and I get park admission and an all-you-can-ride wristband for only 756 pesos. That’s less than 17 euros for two adults. Pretty amazing, right?
This is probably the cheapest amusement park I’ve ever visited*, so my expectations are low. However, the park is clean and staff members are friendly. So… shall we do some rides? (*Update 2020: I’ve found an even cheaper park in Vietnam)
Parque de la Costa can be considered as a permanent funfair with a few bigger amusement park rides. Keeping in mind that most South-Americans aren’t used to large theme park chains, this makes perfect sense. There’s a big variety of attractions which look standard to us, but locals seem to enjoy them a lot. These rides include a classic wave swinger, some children’s carousels, a Ferris wheel…
… and a Tagada! This crazy flat ride can be found at some European funfairs, but it’s notorious for its safety issues. Consider it as a revolving bouncing castle on steroids. There are no restraints, so you might end up on the gondola’s floor. Never ever will this ride be accepted in the United States.
It’s a warm and sunny Friday in Tigre. That means that locals take off their T-shirts while riding the log flume. That’s not the worst sight in the world.
Surprisingly, Parque de la Costa offers a dark ride. A very small one, though. La Mansión del Terror is a ridiculously bad haunted house with poor scare effects and an old-fashioned, low capacity transportation system. Not a must-do, but hilarious.
The two biggest roller coasters are placed right next to each other in a corner of the park. Argentinian visitors seem to consider them as highlights, but they’re actually very standard to us. A Vekoma Boomerang and a Suspended Looping Coaster called El Desafío are the main thrill rides at Parque de la Costa.
During my entire life, I made one single ride on a Boomerang coaster. That ride (Cobra at Walibi Belgium) made me feel so nauseous that I’ve refused to ride Boomerangs ever since. This precept has cost me lots of coaster bingos, but I’m not planning on changing my mind. So please Nick, go ahead and ride Boomerang on your own.
The reputation of a Vekoma SLC isn’t necessarily better than a Boomerang’s, but I decide to join Nick for this next credit. Let’s start with the good news: I love Desafío’s colour scheme and…
… this is the kind of queue I like to see.
If that queue was full, I would gladly buy a Pase Rápido. This is Parque de la Costa’s costly alternative to Disney Fastpass.
By the way: Desafío’s standard queue offers a very picturesque view.
This Vekoma’s ride experience is exactly as I imagined it to be. In other words: its lift hill and its final brake run are the best parts.
Everything in between could be described with thoughts like painful, horrible and why am I doing this? I admit that this isn’t the world’s worst Suspended Looping Coaster, but please don’t take this as a compliment. It’s still really bad. However, there are SLCs which cause even more pain. And yes, El Condor, I’m talking about you.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the most spectacular roller coaster in Argentina. I really feel sorry for them.
Although both coasters are horrible and unoriginal, they’re still very photogenic.
Two Belgian guys, two pairs of Italian sunglasses, two Dutch roller coasters and one clear blue Argentinian sky. This is undoubtedly the most European photo of this entire trip report.
I like observation rides a lot. But unfortunately, this Ferris wheel remains closed today. So please don’t expect any aerial photos of those great (yeah right) Vekoma coasters.
I’m not interested in spinning rides…
… but spinning coasters are okay. Most guests seem to agree, which results in a 50-minute queue for Montaña Rusa Torbellino. It’s not busy at all, but operations are unbelievably slow. Let’s hope that the actual ride experience is fun.
Unfortunately, this turns out to be a very tame ride. Torbellino is a Chinese copy of the classic Reverchon spinning coaster, but the drops are notably less steep in this version. I don’t consider this as a bad thing, because I really don’t trust those cheap Chinese roller coasters. Arriving in the station alive, that was my main goal.
Parque de la Costa offers a total of four roller coasters, but one of them is hidden in a remote corner of the park. I’m talking about El Vigía, which can be seen on the far left side of this map.
El Vigía may be tucked away, but its location is beautiful nonetheless. It can be found at the shores of the Luján River. This creates a tropical atmosphere, which is perfectly complemented by today’s weather conditions.
Just like the park’s other coasters, El Vigía is a standard model. In this case, we’re talking about a large Tivoli coaster manufactured by Zierer. This ride can be found at many amusement parks, but it’s almost never integrated in an artificial mountain. I think that this is one of the better looking Zierers in the world and those happy passengers in the next photo seem to agree.
I’d almost call this the Argentinian version of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Almost.
Parque de la Costa is Argentina’s largest and (probably) best amusement park. From my perspective, that’s a little sad. The park is rather small, theming is limited and most attractions are standard. From a coaster enthusiast’s point of view, I could state that the park lacks a few signature attractions. However, Argentina just doesn’t have the roller coaster culture we know in Europe, Asia and North-America. I probably won’t come back, but I’m very glad I paid a visit to Parque de la Costa. The overall atmosphere is perfect and local visitors seem to enjoy the park a lot. That’s what counts, right?
Interested in reports about Argentina’s natural beauty? Then please check the Dutch part of my website for following photo reports: