CAMINITO, LA BOCA
For a vibrant, bohemian neighbourhood in Buenos Aires, La Boca is the barrio (neighbourhood) to visit. Located in the southeast of the city, this historic and colourful working class area sits at the mouth (la boca) of the Richuelo River near the old port and is the site of many popular attractions and historic events.
Quite possibly the biggest mainstream tourist hotspot in Buenos Aires, the colorful Caminito street in the otherwise run down barrio of La Boca. The place most visitors flock to in La Boca – the colourful Calle Museo Caminito, meaning ‘little walkway’.
An outdoor museum teeming with tango dancers, street performers, and tourists.
(Expect to be charged a few pesos to take pictures of tango dancers or pose with props.)
The street is the canvas of local artists, who painted the walls of the abandoned streets.The area became a magnet for artists and performers and retains a certain charm with cobblestone streets, colourful corrugated-iron houses and artists’ studios. Essentially an uninhabited open-air art and history exhibit, and officially the world’s first outdoor pedestrian museum.
Buenos Aires can be a very secure place on one block and a really scary dangerous one on the other block, you just have to learn how to navigate the city.
The same is true for La Boca. There are zones of La Boca where there is almost a 100% chance that absolutely nothing will happen to you, sadly the opposite is true for other areas of the neighborhood and the city.
We were there around 5pm, and the whole vibe of this part of the city changed – almost an eerie vibe. Taxi’s became harder to get, shops were not only closing but boarding up windows and locking everything down.
All I can elaborate is listen to the locals – if the taxi drivers (in the very little, broken english) are telling you its not safe in certain areas – dont be a hero and try to get amongst these streets.
And as with anywhere in the world … Keep your wits about you and dont “LOOK” like a tourist!
Majority of the Italian(from the port town of Genoa) immigrants in La Boca worked in the port & proudly brought their unique identity to La Boca. One of their old traditions was to paint the outside of their homes with the leftover paint from the shipyard – as nothing else was available or could be afforded.
However, they took things one step further in La Boca, and actually built the houses almost completely from materials found or discarded in the shipyard. This was because of the huge population explosion due to the immigration at the turn of the 20th century – there just was not enough homes for all of the people in Buenos Aires.
The answer to the problem was conventillo (tenement / shared) housing. Conventillos were long houses with small rooms that opened out onto a central outdoor common patio. Hastily constructed from scrap corrugated metal and wood from old ships, and spruced up a little, the façades, doors and windows were then decorated in the famous bright color combinations with the leftover paint from the port, that tradition brought from Genoa.