La Boca

This Sunday, I have had the pleasure to meet my friend Jérôme for a little tour around San Telmo and La Boca. Jérôme is a friend from Switzerland who was in the same Tango class for almost two years! He was in Argentina with his family for a wedding and before he left, we met in Buenos Aires to visit a bit but mostly to enjoy a milonga at night!

At the entrance of Caminito

We started our tour by visiting the San Telmo neighborhood, which I already talked about in a previous article. There is a very touristic street with loads of street merchants, musicians and a few outdoor tango dancers. We then headed to la Boca in a colectivo to visit the famous Caminito, tiny little street in the middle of a poor neighborhood. This is a very touristic street but really worth a visit.

 

Every restaurant features a tango or folklore show

La Boca, which means the Mouth in Spanish, is the immigrant neighborhood. Its name is due to its geographic location at the entrance of the city from the sea. Many very poor immigrants having for only possessions their boat tickets to the New World started their life in Buenos Aires in this very place, hoping for a better life than what they had in Europe. There has been several immigration waves of several millions people to Argentina throughout history from Italy, Spain, Germany, and even Switzerland.

Most of them even have singers and musicians

La Boca is the place where the worldly renowned football team of Boca Juniors plays. Diego Maradona played there in the 80s and in the famous stadium of La Bombonera, he has his own seat, or throne, for life. I hope I will be able to go see a game in there someday!

There are many little side streets with funky painting and souvenir shops

The Caminito street is without any doubt the most famous of La Boca. It is a tiny tiny little street where every wall is painted with bright colors that give an exceptional charm to this place. It is said that back in the days, when boats were repainted and there were leftovers colors, it was used to paint part of a wall. I do not know if this is true but in any case, the result is a very multi-colored and bright street!

Can you recognize these characters?

The tango was greatly developed in the poor neighborhood of La Boca, in a time when this dance was not accepted by the high society. Therefore, we find many tango dancers in the street of Caminito as a reminder of this epoch. They dance or pose for a picture for a few pesos. Every restaurant also has its share of dancers for the highest delight of its client. That would be a cool summer job, wouldn’t it? Just a “little” bit of work…!

A bandoneón player

The houses of Caminito are all brightly painted!

Myself, Diego, and Jérôme

Would you like some souvenirs?

Part of the lyrics of the tango “Caminito”

Caminito is also famous for a tango sang by Carlos Gardel, real legend of tango history. Below, you can listen to this tango. It is by the way interesting to note that the Caminito of the song is actually not the same street as the Caminito we walked in!

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About nbeuchat

I am currently traveling South America to discover its culture, landscapes, and fascinating people. I am passionate about photography, scuba-diving and dancing.

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