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We have been advice to take a taxi and we did. This place has a reputation of being prone to more crime than central areas. Tourist areas are relatively safe, going beyond the unmarked borders (crossing a street can be enough) of the tourist area can put you at risk of trouble.
This wonderfully colourful neighbourhood right next to the old port of Buenos Aires, La Boca is synonymous with both tango and football
With its multi-coloured houses and taverns, the neighbourhood maintains its tango tradition, football passion, and Italian roots
Today it is one of the most important cultural centers and tourist attractions in Buenos Aires. Take a walking tour, watch a soccer game at the famous boca stadium or attend a local tango show.
- Arts and Culture
La Boca and colorful houses of El Caminito
I saw pictures of the colored houses in La Boca when I read the travel books, and so I took a taxi to that famed street of El Caminito.
The taxi driver was very kind, but he looked very concerned that I was walking alone. He warned me to just stay where people were since there have been reports of tourists being attacked in the area. I followed his instructions.
In the mid-19th century, La Boca was home to Spanish and Italian immigrants who worked in meat-packing plants and warehouses in the beef-shipping industry. They used leftover paint to color the corrugated metal they used for building their houses. El Caminito, whose name is derived from a Tango song, is the most famous street with these colourful houses. And as expected, you can see tango dancers here and even take a photo or dance with them for a small fee.
Someone then handed me a brochure about a boat ride, and I went to the stall and bought a ticket for the 1PM ride. "Diego" who handed me the brochure was the same person who drove the boat, and unfortunately for the company, I was the only passenger. So, it was like I rented the whole boat all for my own as it set off into the open river!
I made a video of my short trip to Buenos Aires on Youtube. Hope you like this:
JUMPING NORMAN IN BUENOS AIRES
- Historical Travel
- Sailing and Boating
If any neighborhood of Buenos Aires typifies Argentine history and spirit then it has to be La Boca. This area has a distinct European flavor, particularly Italian. This is where tourists congregate for a snapshot of Argentina: tango, asado, politics, and soccer. Although the influx of tourists have pushed prices up in this neighborhood, it is still possible to enjoy a day out in La Boca without hurting your pocketbook too much.
The world famous football team Boca Juniors play at the La Bombonera stadium. Outside the stadium there are monuments to all the great footballers that have played for the team, including arguably the greatest soccer player ever, local boy Diego Maradona.
Caminito is the place to visit in La Boca. The multitude of brightly colored houses extols the virtues of tango and other Argentine pastimes. Artists line the streets offering their wares and tourists gather round tango dancing couples plying their trade on the cobblestone streets. Head for Boca Tango at Brandsen 923 for a raucous show and hearty meal right in the heart of tango town.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Colorful "La Boca"
A small colorful area with lots of cafes, souvenir stores, a few museums and street tango shows.
No need to book an excursion here, as you can easily get to La Boca by bus which goes directly to the famous "El Caminito", only for 2 pesos (you can pay in coins or with card SUBE).
Any local person will recommend you not to visit this area at night, as it is quite dangerous.However, during the day, it is full of tourists, so you will be fine. My Argentinian friend recommended to take just enough cash with me, but leave credit cards and documents at the hotel.
There are lots of souvenir stores selling overpriced "recuerdos", just walk around and look the prices. You can buy the same fridge magnet at one place for 10 pesos, and at another you can buy 5 for the same 10 pesos. Generally, souvenirs on the streets are cheaper than in stores.
There are also tango artists offering you to take a picture with them.
Don't go far from the tourist zone, as there you will be in danger. I also don't recommend taking taxi from there, as many taxists do rip off not only foreigners, but also Argentinians from other provinces.
Overall, La Boca is a nice place to take pictures and spend an afternoon, especially on sunny day, when colors of the houses look even brighter.
- Budget Travel
- Arts and Culture
BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU GO TO LA BOCA!
It was a sunday at 1 pm. Me, my mother and my sister were in la boca, after we went to San Telmo. We didn't have coins to take a bus, so we decided to take a taxi.
There's only one place in Caminito that you can take a taki, and there's a guy organizing a line, so the tourists can get into a taxi.
We took a taxi, the guy was really weard, and in 2 min, he took us into a small street and stop behind a bus, sunddely 6 guys or more with guns showed up and took everything we had. They were drugged...really drugged!!!
After the assault, the taxi drove really fast to another street. We asked him to stop because we were pretty shure he was involved. We asked 2 polices guys that were in the street help, but they said we had to live the neighborhood with that guy...
at the same time, the taxi driver was screaming: "I think I did that? It was not me, I didn't know". We pretend to believe him, because we were afraid to more bad things to happen. so, he took us next to our hostel and we ran away.
We didn't took his name, we were afraid..he knew where we were staying.
So, we spoke to the police and the consulate. They said this is normal!!! A LOT of taxi guys are corrupt, and so the police. BE CAREFUL!!!
My advice is not to go to caminito...only if u go with a big group.
Estadio Boca Juniors
Home Stadium to one of Buenos Aires most beloved and...ah..er, currently medically challenged heroes, Diego Maradona. Slovenian engineer Victor Slusic, who also designed the Abasto Market, designed the Boca Juniors Stadium. The stadium was originally opened in 1940, and had a major facelift in 1996.
The stadium is affectionately known as La Bombonera. Between 1945 and 1947 Boca was never defeated in its own stadium, thus the moniker "The unbeatable". In its current configuration, the stadium has a capacity for over 60, 000 people distributed among its boxes and tiers.
If you want to find out more about the teams history, I recommend that you check out the De La Pasion Boquense Museum at 835 Brandsen, where there is a large display.
I must admit that I never was actually inside the stadium, though I took a walk around the perimeter. I was particularly impressed by the many murals that are all along the perimeter, including the one I used here, La Maestria, or "The Teachers" of the game.
Tickets are available at the Yellow house, or by their Web Site: www.bocasistemas.com.ar
- Adventure Travel
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
La Boca is the colourful and artistic heart of Buenos Aires. It’s a poor neighbourhood (barrio) with a richness of life and a riot of colour that can be a real riot if you step into the wrong street. The 3.3 sq km area was originally settled by Italian immigrants from Genoa and is home to the world famous football (soccer) team – Boca Juniors. The main pedestrian street, the Caminito, is full of ornate houses, multi-coloured buildings, statues, fountains, street performers, dancers, musicians, art galleries and even small dogs dressed up like their owners (pictured).
Some of the main attractions are the La Ribera theatre, Museo de Bellas Artes Quinquela Martin (known as the Fine Arts Museum of La Boca), La Bombonera (football stadium) and many Tango/Dinner venues.
La Boca is also a traditional hotbed of left-wing politics and, unfortunately, crime. Please watch your bags and don’t wonder off down side streets if you are not sure where you are going.
- Family Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Boca was our destination today. We are so spoiled by the cheap taxi fares ...we opted to forgo public transport and catch a cab.
I guess the surrounding streets can be dicey but honestly the coupleof streets around Caminito are so filled with tourists and venders working for their dollars...it felt more like a touist trap.With that aside though the colorful streets are a fun stroll and we enjoyed our afternoon.
There are some interesting little shops and restaurants and lots of tango.
Word of caution though some restarants do not accept credit cards and the ATM'sare a bit of a hike.Pat had to "stroll" 5 blocks to find one while I was "detained"Thihs was the only place this happened in our 5 days here.
- Historical Travel
Buenos Aires street art
It's worth checking out the graffiti scene when you're in La Boca. There's lots of football type graffiti near La Bombonera and all around the neighborhood.
I also came across a good blog about Buenos Aires street art
It is recommended to visit La Boca for the infamous Calle Caminito where you can see the coloured houses. Around and near Calle Caminito, there are also some interesting museums and a number of nostaligic bars, cafes and restaurants. A lot of visitors also come to visit La Bomnonera, Boca Junior's football stadium, to see the team play and/or do a stadium tour. At the Southern end of Calle Caminito, you can see the Puente Transborador, a transport bridge on the Vuelta de Rocha where acitivity took place in the early 20th Century around the river.
- Food and Dining
- Budget Travel
It's where Tango started!
Colourful, touristy and interesting. You don't need much time here and probably don't want to spend too much of it - the area is right next to an extremely poor section of town and as a tourist, you'll be targeted after hanging around too long. Keep your hands on your things and your purses (or manbags) in front of you.
Keep in mind this is where Tango started and where Maradona currently coaches the football team "la Boca". As the Argentines say, ". . . as a football coach, he's a pretty good singer."
You see Tango dancers in the street and can buy whatever souveniers you felt you missed elsewhere.
- Historical Travel
La Boca a colorful place
We decided to visit La Boca one afternoon after spending the morning at Cementario Recoleta. We asked around and were told that the best way to get there would be the collectivo, so off we went to find the stop.
We really didn't know what stop to get off, but the bus' last stop was La Boca, so we figured it was a good option. We were surprised when the bus driver dropped us off under a bridge pretty far from the city center, and it was here where we realized that of all the places we had visited while in Buenos Aires, La Boca had a larger amount of poverty.
Once in the center of La Boca (which is Caminito) we noticed a big change. The buildings were so colorful, full of life and very well kept. The majority of the area was more of a tourist (trap) area than anything else. There were a few restaurants (prices so much higher), many shops to buy Argentinian trinkets and the wanna-be Tango dancers stopping you so you can take a pic with them (at a price).
We spent about two hours in La Boca of which about an hour was spent just enjoying a few empanadas, a Quilmes and watching the "free-shows" that are hosted by the restauants (after the show the dancers came around collecting money while you were eating, so not quite free).
Overall, La Boca was interesting, but not a place I would go out of my way to visit again when I visit Buenos Aires.
- Arts and Culture
Be careful--very careful
Our guide book advised us to spend some time in La Boca at El Caminito and walk two blocks to the Boca Football stadium and take the tour. We went to La Boca by taxi and decided to follow the advice and walk to the stadium. After about one block we were approached by a young man in an Argentina soccer shirt brandishing one big knife who demanded our camera and money. This was a bright sunny day at noon on a Sunday with tourists and police a mere block away and pedestrians on the opposite side of the street.
We retreated and he did not come after us. When we spoke to the police they advised us that that 2 blocks between El Caminito and the stadium was very dangerous at all times and we should not attempt to visit the stadium on foot. So much for the guide book. My advice would be to stay in El Caminito surrounded by the police and visit the stadium by taxi ......or not at all.
Who Is Watching You in La Boca?
The hodge-podge of colours and disjointed buildings in La Boca made it a very interesting area to be in, especially since the sun decided to come out and throw some light on all those colours!
The residents of this neighbourhood seem to relish coming up with odd-ball things to display, and this caricature sticking out of a window above one of the streets was my favourite! This part of La Boca is a real 'tourist trap' area, and many of the stores and shops had gimmicks of various kinds set up, such as full-size Tango dancer mock-ups where you could stick your face in the empty hole and have your photo taken. Speaking of which, there was also a live couple doing Tango performances and also photo taking sessions with willing participants (see my Local Customs tips for more details). We did not have any problems in our short time in La Boca, but many of the tourist guides still advise to stick only to this small part of La Boca for your own safety, especially at night. Better to be in a tourist trap area than to be mugged!
Despite the rain, it was still quite humid and sticky and it was also close to 4 PM , so we decided to call it quits. Time for another taxi back to our hotel to pick up our luggage and then head for the International Airport.
Ciao Argentina, it was an absolutely fantastic two weeks!!
- Family Travel
What you can do with a few cans of paint
La Boca, renowned for its bright painted corrugated iron houses, is a tourist must-see, some might say a tourist trap, in BA. Be warned though - wandering too far away from the albeit very touristy strip of the Caminito and the immediate waterfront area in search of something more "authentic" is decidedly risky. The area is renowned as much for its crime as for its tango dancers and pavement artists.
Traditionally the first stopping place of Italian immigrants in the late 19th century, the Genoese fishermen among them are credited with introducing the custom of painting houses in a bright patchwork of colours as they used up the paint left over from painting their fishing boats. I'm not sure how many small fishing boats operate out of the harbour these days, but the custom prevails, though the brightest colours and freshest paint are reserved for the streets around the Caminito. The rate at which the tourist strip is expanding is noticeable too, as the old "conventillos" (tenement dwellings where whole families lived in single rooms) are being converted into new cafes, galleries, artists' ateliers, museums, bars and clip joints - all with the obligatory multi-coloured facades. The sound of the tango is everywhere, pavement artists jostle for room to set up their easels and parties of school children and tourists straggle through the streets taking in the sights and the sounds of what is a cross between an outdoor museum and a place where people live.
The barrio is also renowned for its football team - Atletico Boca Juniors - famous the world over. Guided tours of their stadium and museum are on offer every day.
Bridge buffs will want to take a closer look at the transporter bridge, the Puente Transbordador, across the Riachuelo whilst lovers of kitschy souvenirs will find plenty to tempt them in the shops that line the streets. It's all a bit seedy behind the bright paint and you don't have to go far to see the rust and the rubbish of what is still essentially a very poor part of the city. Catch the bus here from the centre and you'll pass shanties tucked under an overpass that wouldn't look out of place in the favellas of Rio.
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