Buenos Aires-La Boca, Argentina (2 of 5)

La Boca neighborhood (barrio) is located southeast of Buenos Aires, at the mouth (Boca) of the Riachuelo River. Being near the port, its residents are referred to as Porteño or “Port city person”. As immigrants first arrived to this area -mainly from Genoa Italy, they built houses using scrap material from the shipyard, mostly metal. These structures are known as conventillo or tenement houses. La Boca initially housed shipyard workers. Today it remains a neighborhood for the working class.

The walls were not always painted in the bright colors we see today. In 1954, famous La Boca-born Argentinian painter Benito Quinqela Martin led a project to paint the tenements walls in various colors making Caminito street the most visited in Buenos Aires. Other artists joined the effort, and the area quickly developed into a tourist attraction. I was struck by the cacophony of Blues, Reds, Greens, Yellows that fuse together to create a very distinct, colorful architecture. Caminito street is now considered an open-air street museum. It is likely the most photographed street in the city.

We visited on 2/18/2023. We walked down Caminito street observing the abundance of souvenir shops, restaurants, food and juice stands, street art, and tango dancers who performed short dances to lure tourists into paying money to pause with them for a photo. The area was very crowded, our guide urged us not to wander beyond that street as the neighborhood is not the safest away from the touristic streets.

La Boca is considered the birthplace of Tango. It is also home to Boca Juniors one of the largest soccer teams in Argentina. We drove by their stadium with its distinct blue and yellow colors locally referred to as La Bombonera.

In my opinion, a visit to Buenos Aires is not complete without a stop in La Boca. It is an area that is sure to spring to my mind when I think of Buenos Aires in the future. Once our travels are over, what is left but a list of our most unforgettable experiences? La Boca is certainty one I will not forget.

References Tripadvisor, Wikipedia, La Boca Houses, Benito Quinqela Martin

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