Buenos Aires Travel Planet

Buenos Aires visitor’s guide

La Boca


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Perhaps most widely known for the Boca Juniors, one of the world’s top football clubs, the neighbourhood of La Boca also goes down in Argentine history for being one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Buenos Aires, the arrival point for immigrants in the 1900’s, and today, responsible for the most passed around pictures depicting Argentine; the row of brightly painted houses.

Located in the very southern part of the city of Buenos Aires and at the mouth (‘la boca’ in Spanish) of the Rio Riachuelo, this area of the city was once a trade centre and shipyard, and the main port of the country. During the late 1800’s and into the 1900’s, La Boca became the entry point for immigrants, approximately 6 million, especially those coming from Europe (mostly France, Spain, and predominantly Italy), and La Boca became the blue collared neighbourhood of the capital and home to Buenos Aires’ first ‘Little Italy’. The working class continued to thrive in La Boca and with the new European community the Tango was born and became the dance of the neighbourhood, celebrated in tango halls, milongas, bars, and brothels. La Boca kept up this appearance for quite sometime, however unfortunately, as the years past, the neighbourhood began to lose its flavour, the lower class began to move in, and the areas living standards and safety fell.

Today, La Boca is mostly frequented by visitors for its famous Caminito street, tango shows, and to catch a world class football game.

Caminito (meaning ‘ little way’ or ‘ little walkway’) consists of a few streets in La Boca, near to the Boca Football Stadium and next to the river, that are lined by brightly painted houses and buildings, tango shows, restaurants, and artists selling all sorts of art works. The bright buildings were first painted years ago by Italian boat painters that traditionally, back in Italy, would take any leftover boat paint and paint their houses with it and, for that reason, the buildings and houses of Caminito are a rainbow of bright colors. The architecture is also very unique, mostly constructed from materials found or discarded at the ship yard, so the style of the buildings and houses is, to say the least, eclectic. This part of the city is really spectacular to see and for tourism reasons the houses have been well-kept by the community, especially for those who rely on the income of visitors coming to the area to eat, catch a show, or buy arts and crafts.

The Boca Juniors football club are the number one reason locals visit La Boca, and for visitors, a close second. The stadium was first opened in 1916 and has been reconstructed and improved over the years, today being able to hold 61,000 La Boca Juniors fans. It is often said to understand Argentine culture one must visit a football game; real football fans in Argentine go absolutely wild at their teams football games, yelling, screaming, waving flags, and much more, to express their enthusiasm or disappointment. If you are looking to do something very ‘Argentine’ in Argentina, go to a football game, and better yet a La Boca game; its working class status has made it into one of the most adored football teams in all of the country.

** It must be noted that La Boca is not a very safe neighbourhood for foreigners. The only areas to see in La Boca are Caminito or the football stadium, both safe for foreigners. To arrive and to exit La Boca, take a taxi. To not wander into other parts of La Boca or go exploring the surrounding areas. If you are traveling between places in the neighbourhood, also take a taxi. Also, if you go to a football game, only take what you need, go in a group, and do not make any smart words at other Argentine football fans. Fans can get out of hand at certain times during a football game and it is best to avoid any confrontation.**

Sights

Museo de la Pasión Boquense

Located under the La Boca stadium, this football museum features the history of the La Boca neighbourhood, the stadium itself, soccer idols, game highlights, championships, and famous goals.

Restaurants

Don Carlos

Right in Caminito this colorful restaurants features great Argentine food and a great atmosphere. Head here for lunch on the weekends!

Tango Shows

Boca Tango

This fantastic tango show is located across from the La Boca soccer stadium and features a first-class dinner and tango show. The dinner features traditional cuisine from Argentine, lots of meat and wine, and is followed by a very traditional tango show. Take a taxi there or from Caminito.

Check for more neighborhoods in this Buenos Aires travel guide.

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