Buenos Aires, Argentina
History and Character
La Boca means ‘the mouth’ in English. The neighborhood was named for its position on the mouth of the River Riachuelo. This area was once dominated by shipyards and the immigrant families that worked in them. The buildings were built using ship building materials, such as corrugated iron, giving the neighborhood a ton of character.
Today the neighborhood is the home of the working class and bohemian artists. It’s unique history and colorful past help make this area a popular tourist attraction. Here you’ll find many shops, restaurants and bars. However, it’s a rough and tumble neighborhood and you would be well advised to explore the area only during daylight hours.
Caminito or little path in English, is the main tourist area of La Boca, and perhaps all of Buenos Aires. Tourist flock here to take pictures of the beautiful art and colorful homes, watch Tango performers and eat delicious Argentinian dishes.
La Boca, especially Caminitos is a must do. But keep in mind that is a relatively poor area of Buenos Aires and it comes with its fair share of dangers for the unwary tourist. Its popularity with foreign travelers also makes a perfect target for pickpockets and thieves.
My friend lived in BA for a few months. On his first visit to La Boca he was chased by a gang of boys on bikes. Luckily a stranger saw him running away and told him to jump in his car. He was later told that it was likely the boys would have beaten him up and taken all of his things, including the clothes he was wearing!
Don’t let this scare you away! If you know what to avoid, you can make sure you don’t have any negative experiences. My friend didn’t and he exposed himself to danger.
- Avoid walking alone.
- Stay within the “caminito” area. Your taxi driver will drop you off in front Plazoleta de Los Suspiros in front of the entrance to caminito. You can also get a cab in the same area.
- Don’t cross the railroad tracks. Several locals have warned us about this. You can walk around the area, but make sure you stay to the east of the tracks.
- Avoid walking around this area at night.
- Go on a walking tour instead of venturing out on your own.