La Boca – Birthplace of the Tango
La Boca is one of the more famous tourist attractions that Buenos Aires has to offer. La Boca is a neighborhood, or barrio of the Argentine capital. The neighbourhood has its traditions deeply rooted in socialist traditions as this area was and still is populated mainly with factory workers. This is although not what has made La Boca famous. It’s tango, football and the colorful buildings that have captured the attention of tourists over the years.
We took a taxi from our hostel, the Garden House, in San Telmo as we were getting fat and lazy off all the steaks and couldn’t be bothered with walking.. La Boca is by day a perfectly safe area, but I’ve heard warnings about wandering around here at night. La Boca is charming, colorful and busy all at once. The first thing you realize is that the colorful buildintang you’ve seen on photographs really are that colorful, and they give the whole area a distinct feel. The area has although lost its original touch as it is now repainted to please the tourists and not because they had left over paint in different colors from the docks like it used to be. Every single building that is located around the Caminito, the main tourist street in La Boca, is now serving a tourist purpose. Even with all the souvenirs and people that are trying to sell you stuff I still really liked it here!
The place is a haven for a photographer so I snapped away and quickly filled my memory card with beautiful pictures of colorful wooden buildings. We walked around for an hour or so, checked out the souvenir stands and just enjoyed the sunny weather before we decided to have lunch at the corner restaurant right at the beginning of the Caminito. The cafe was charming and medialunas and coffee did not dissapoint me here either!
If you are interested in a tango show while eating lunch they practically throw them after you while walking around the area. We were pretty much tired of being dragged into places so we decided to wait with the tango untill later. One of the guys trying to get you into their cafe was actually a death metal fan that lit up when we said we were Norwegian. Sweden has got ABBA, but in the international scene of death metall Norway is the dark overlord. He pretty much forgot about the tango and asked me about all kinds of bands that I had honestly never heard about…, but it was a refreshing change from the usual conversation that goes something like this:
Where you from friend?
Ahh! Norway! It’s pretty cold there yes?
Want to see a live tango show?
So hadn’t it been such a shady area that was a bit too cold for an outdoor snack then I had definently been persuaded to sit down at his place.
Doing La Boca doesn’t take more than a few hours maximum, and there issn’t really that much to see except to enjoy the buildings and maybe do a bit of souvenir shopping (it’s definently the place with the highest density of souvenir shops I saw in BA). There is also supposed to be an excellent tour of the Boca Junior’s stadium, La Bombonera, that is located right next to the tourist area. We didn’t have time to try it, but some friends that we met at the hostel did it the day after we went to La Boca and they really recommended it.
In my eyes a visit to Buenos Aires is incomplete without checking out the Boca area. Sit back, relax and enjoy the pictures!