Five very full on days in Buenos Aires, and I completely left my heart in the uber vibrant barrio of La Boca.
Located near the old port in the south-eastern part of Buenos Aires, La Boca is a popular destination for tourist with its colourful houses and the well known street, Caminito where Tango dancers perform and markets sell their goods. Literally translated, La Boca means, The Mouth, due to its location at the mouth of the river Riachuelo. It’s also famous for its football club, Boca Juniors and stadium La Bombonera (The Chocolate Box).
This area is adorned with these beautiful, hand-painted signs very typical of Buenos Aires. This style of artistic writing is called Fileteado with stylised lines and flowered, climbing plants. If you’re looking to take one home with you, I say you’re better off being recommended a place which personalises them for you rather than picking one up in the markets as they’re quite commercial and artificial looking.
I was there on a weekday so the throng of Tango dancers and markets wasn’t that large. I recommend going on a Saturday to experience this part of Buenos Aires at its best! Still, these two dancing to the melancholic tunes of the guitarist were absolutely mesmerising!
I wish I could’ve taken this entire wall home with me!
This area originally consisted of immigrants from Europe, working on ships in the old port. Houses were built with disposed ship building materials meaning they had to use planks, sheet material corrugated iron. They were painted in bright colours to cover up these waste materials.
Although a popular tourist destination, it is only really safe to visit during the day as chances of being robbed (especially if you are a tourist) at night are quite high and it isn’t recommended to hang around after dark. Hence the lack of bars and clubs in the area.
Today, La Boca remains a rough and working class neighbourhood with crime being a continuous problem. When I visited, I was advised not to stray too far into the neighbourhood as it wasn’t considered safe despite there being police at nearly every corner. It’s definitely not recommended to visit the area after dark!
Some stories say that Tango was actually born in La Boca and that prostitutes, mafia, sailors and immigrants lived there, providing a huge variety of personalities.
Whatever is said and done, I personally loved this part of Buenos Aires!
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