No visit to Argentina would be complete without experiencing in some shape or form the passion for football (soccer) that Argentines have. Its borderline crazy and goes beyond the normal fanatics you might see at NFL game in the United States. Sadly I did not get to experience a game as the football season was over but I did the next best thing and took a guided tour of La Boca Junior stadium. The tour starts of with a visit of a musuem filled with photos and trophies and then proceeds to visit every aspect of the staduim. We visited the locker room and was able to sit in the seats in almost every section. The highlight was being able to briefly go out onto the field and imagine what it might be like to be the focus point of thousands of insane football fans. The tour guide did a great job of describing what games were like and even took the time to translate into English as I was the only non Spanish speaker on the tour. Definitely was worth the price of admission and served as the next best thing to the real thing!
Somehow I managed to spend over a month in Buenos Aires in 2002 without visiting the La Boca district at all, let alone the icon that is the Boca Juniors stadium. With a football fan in tow this trip it was time to see what it was all about...
And I have to say I was quite excited as we set out from our apartment in Retiro. A long walk on a very hot November morning, watching the streets change in mood from corporate downtown to meat sizzling on grills in the street and finally the laidback, colourful area that is La Boca itself.
The stadium isn't much to look at from the outside at first. It certainly doesn't seem very slick if you're used to seeing European grounds like Camp Nou or Old Trafford. But the simple, concrete building certainly exudes more feeling - there are numerous imaginative murals in the famous blue and yellow illustrating the history and lore of the club.
Enter the museum and you're on official sightseeing territory again. Loads of official merchandise (much seems cheaper in the shops all around La Boca) and ticket booths. We paid for the full stadium and museum tour (ARS 60 per person, I think).
Our guide was very enthusiastic and seemed genuinely passionate about the club. She delivered the tour in Spanish, taking time to answer questions, and then helped non-Spanish speakers with an English explanation. I was impressed with the array of facts we were told and the time we had to look at and take photos from all angles of the stadium without either being rushed or - for those of us who aren't exactly fanatics - bored with tedious footy data. You also see dressing rooms. The pace and content was perfect.
While going around, for ARS 99 extra you can choose an extra photo package, and my boyfriend opted to do this. For this price he was entitled to walk onto the pitch (the rest of us entered only a small patch of astroturf at the side) for a photo with a trophy, a rather cheesy but fun photoshopped pic with him seemingly palling around with Maradona and Martin Palermo (you can choose from various football stars), a phial of grass from the pitch and a keyring.
Warning - we declared the grass at the border with Chile and had it confiscated, although they did allow us to have the container back!
After the tour you can take a look around the Boca museum. Lots of football videos and content here, but there's also nice info on the La Boca area and its connections with Italy. I thought the displays were really well done and - like the tour - had something to offer both serious fans and those with a passing curiosity.
Can't say I left La Bombonera with a passion for Boca the team, but I thought it was very well done and a great part of the trip. And it was the absolute highlight of the holiday for my boyfriend!
People lucky enough to be in Argentina during July 2011 should definitely try and get tickets for the Copa America. One of the biggest football tournaments in the world. It only happens every 4 years and everyone is hoping that Argentina and Brazil will be in the final!
Read this great 'guide to Copa America 2011' by Expanish Spanish school to find out a bit more
Copa America Guide Expanish Spanish School
Argentina's passion for football is rivaled only by Brasil. The Boca Juniors, or CABJ, is one of the premier football clubs in South America. It is known by football fans throughout the world. Many of its best players have gone on to stardom in the World Cup and/or clubs in Europe, including Diego Maradona.
CABJ has its own stadium, La Bombonera, located in La Boca. It hold over 57,000 crazed fans. If you cannot attend one of its matches, the stadium is open during the day. Unfortunately, there is an overpriced admission charge which includes entrance to the Boca Junior's hall of fame.
If the Boca Juniors are not playing while you are in Buenos Aires, go see a River Plate match.
Even though Argentina is a Catholic country, the real religion in Argentina is football, this passionate 22 player game is probably THE most important aspect of Argentinean culture and life in Buenos Aires.
Every Sunday millions of people go to the stadium to see their favorite teams or they at least watch the game on TV. If you switch the TV on in Argentina on a Sunday (and actually on any other day of the week!) it is very likely that you'll see mainly football.
The phenomenon is most popular in the capital city, Buenos Aires, but the rest of the country shares the same passion.
In Buenos Aires there are 7 football teams that belong to the first division of Argentina, most of them are teams with a lot of history and are recognized on a global level; Boca Juniors, River Plate, Vélez Sarsfield (who won the last championship, Claussura 2009), Huracan and San Lorenzo to mention just a few names.
Going to see a Football Game In Buenos Aires is an obligatory experience that you wont forget, the excitement of a good football game and the passion of the players who give everything they’ve got during the 90 minutes of the game is indeed a good reason, but it's also a cultural experience. The real show at a football game in Buenos Aires is the way that the home crowd sings throughout the entire game from the moment the game begins until it ends, regardless of the result of the game, the weather conditions or the players\’ performance.
The Argentinean fans are very dedicated and will always follow and cheer their favorite team no matter what.
Every Argentinean football team has its own Barra Brava, which is a group of the most dedicated fans who follow the team wherever the matches are played; in Argentina, South America and even around the world. The barra brava are the die-hard fans who entertain the crowd and cheer the players, they usually carry drums and trumpets that convert the entire stadium into a carnival for the 90 minutes. The fans usually sing songs for their team, and the Lyrics are often romantic, including phrases like “you'll always be in my heart,” “I will always follow you” etc. The fans repeat each song for about ten minutes in order to help the newcomers understand The Words and get involved in the atmosphere,so you won’t be left out!
Being a football fan in Argentina is something that runs in the blood and usually in the family, it is very common to see the whole family from the grandmother right down to the grandson going to watch their favorite team together and if for some reason a child decides to rebel and become a fan of another team it can cause family arguments, a divorce between married couples and other tragic consequences. You shouldn't make fun of a football team in front of its fans, even as a joke, the consequences can be irreversible as football is a very serious matter in Argentina.
The Argentinean League has 20 teams and unlike any other major football league in world it is divided in two:
The first half, Apertura (opening) Tournament is played from August through to late December. The second half, Clausura (closing) Tournament is played between the end of January and the end of June. Each tournament consists of 19 games and has its own champion.
Wow, the folks at these games are not messing around! There is no alcohol sold within miles of the football stadiums and once arriving into the stadium you can buy coke, coke or coke. No water - no kidding!
At River Plate, there is a whole section of fans that wait until the minute the game starts and then they create a procession into the stadium and their seats with flags and whistles and drums. They're making all kinds of noise and don't stop the entire game - pretty impressive for a team who's winning streak is awful this season.
Definitely a must see activity when you're in town. If you don't see these guys, Boca Junior is the other most well known club - sure to be an experience!
Argentina is know as one of the countries with more football soccer fans!
Football soccer is the most common and popular sport in Argentina!
If you never been in a football soccer match or if you like them, there are some Agencies that sells you tickets for the games, they pick you up at your hotel and you will be join the whole match with a local guide (some of them speak english)
Cost: $arg 120 aprox ( u$d 40.00 aprox)
the most popular Football Teams are Boca Juniors, River plate, Velez, Rancing, San lorenzo (the actor Viggo Mortensen, from the lord of the rings, used to live in Bs As, and he has always been a huge fan of San lorenzo! )
Boca Junior's soccer stadium, it's like a temple for the soccer fans because of its environment and history. There's also a Boca's museum inside the stadium and you can schedule a tour around it, including the cloakrooms, interview room and the lawn.
Very nice trip, because the soccer is one of the national's love and the Boca is the most popular soccer team in Argentina. It's located on the La Bocca neighborhood and everything in that place is made for the soccer team (all the walls painted in blue and yellow, all the stores selling suveniers from Boca, etc.)
We went with a local to one of the soccer games. It was held in the only all concrete stadium in the world that is still in use i believe he said it was built in the 1920s. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. People in BA take their soccer seriously. I wish I had pictures as my discriptions will not do it justice. Our local friend told us that we shouldn't bring anything that we wanted to leave with. The stadium was located in a pretty run down shady area. Security was intense around the field. There was a moat with a large barbed wire fence encircling the playing field. Hundreds of riot police walked german shepards across the field before the game started to show their authority. Right before the game started both sides ( the visitors and the home team) fan would sing their team songs at each other while waving big flags and shooting fireworks. They would also shoot fireworks at the refs and the opposing players. One of the refs was hit with a flare from a flare gun. The stadium itself was extremely steep. At the top of the rows of seats you felt like you were right above the players as you almost had to look straight down to see them. pretty scary stuff. There was also no ailse or railings and choas was the only order of seating.
I would say to catch this if you can but go with a local as it can get pretty dangerous.
Going to an Argentine soccer match is a must.
I've been to several including Boca And River ( although not playing each other ) and both the football and the atmosphere are electric. The fans are really crazy about their teams and it shows from before kick-off to well after it.
Tigre is another not to be missed gem- 2 pesos return by train from Retiro and about a 40 minute ride it has a calmness about it that only a river can bring but has plenty of activity( boat trips, Amusement Park and Casino ) you want it.
The outdoor restaurants overlooking the river ( not in the town ) are also great value for money.
Another little treasure that I found on my last trip was the Musee de Immigration down at Puerto Madero - pretty close to the Buquebus Terminal.
It took a little bit of finding -tucked away in a kind of Boulevard and not well signposted -but it was worth the effort.
Not a very big display and looking very like an old hospital it did , however, give real flavour of how it would have been for those poor souls getting to Argentina by boat via Europe Africa and Brazil. It certainly had the Ellis Island feel to it
Boca Juniors stadium, my argentinian soccer team ...despite of my argentinian friends ....River supporters lol!!
its located in one end of la Boca neighbourhood that its like a circle on the southern part of Capital
There is a museum and a merchandising shop not so huge as other teams but you can fins whatever from boca and the entrace to the museum
The huge Monumental Stadium is where River Plate the most famous "enemy" of Boca Juniors play its matches ... located in the opposite side of the city to La boca ..its surrounded by well positioned houses and neighbourhoods...this one is called Nuñez and walking by those streets you are noticing that it isnt unsafe or dangerous at night as southernmost Bs Aires quarters
The history is really curious ...When soccer begins Boca Juniors and River share the same neighbourhood but for any reason River left the quarter and moved northwards... as if they were scared of something ..that the main reason why Boca supporters called River fans as "gallinas" that means hens...and River called to Boca's fans ...."bosteros" ..its argentinian slang and comes from "bosta" that means ***... so bostero you could imagine what it is ....lol !!!
Go watch one of the big teams play a game. Its usually on sunday. River Plate and B*** J****** are the most famous teams and those likely to have the best atmosphere at homegames. People travel from all over latin america to attend them when they meet at the Superclassico. Although hard to admit, the B*** stadium is a tad more atmospheric than El Monumental as it is more intimate and hence noisy. Racing, Independiente, Velez Sarsfield and San Lorenzo are also good options though. B*** got a nice museum at their ground.
All the people speaking about River Plate, Boca Juniors ... but no one do it about Velez Sarsfield.
It's the last champions (won the first term of 2005) and one of the best team in the actually.
At this moment, it's second, a point underneath first who is Boca Juniors. It's more like a neighbourhood team, because most of the fans is calm.
Nevertheless, try to go to the "Platea Norte", the best place to see the match, and very near the field. There's no problems if you want to get the ticket in the stadium, but try to not go to a very popular match because most probable it is than it does not obtain any ticket.
If you want to get a ticket, try in this page: http://www.elpotrero.com.ar/venta_de_entradas_partidos_de_futbol.htm
Surely they will be contentments to take you to the match and to bring you back.
While in Argentina, one cannot miss a futbol game! This is more than a sport here, almost a religion with Diego Armando Maradona as permanent pope :-)
The best game to attempt to is El SuperClassico, the bi-annual championship game between Boca Junior and River Plate. People told me the best is to see it in La Boca, but in River's stadium it should be already good!
If not in Buenos Aires during this occasion, another game will do don't worry. In general it is better to go see a game in La Boca, because the stadium is smaller and the spectators get mad and you really feel it (as I was told, I went to a River's game)
And one more thing, you don't need to love futbal to enjoy yourself, believe me!