This weekend I visited one of the ‘must sees’ of Buenos Aires. It felt good to cross it off my (imaginary) list. I didn’t want to feel that I’d come all this way and not done the obvious thing; it would be like going to Paris and not going up the Eiffel Tower, or going to Athens without visiting the Acropolis.
So I took a trip to La Boca.
The area was originally thrown together by immigrants, using cast-off ship building materials, hence the rather haphazard appearance.
Then in the late 50s an artist, Benito Quinquela Martín. decided to resurrect the area, making it into a little artistic community.
It all sounds good in theory but in reality it has become a bit of a tourist trap, with overpriced souvenirs and ‘tango shows’ that are far from authentic.
That said, I really enjoyed spending an hour or so there taking my photos and such; it is very picturesque. However I didn’t buy anything and I don’t think I’ll ever need to go again.
Any quick internet search will warn you of the dangers of La Boca. It’s not surprising; it’s what happens where you have an economically disadvantaged area next to a tourist attraction. Generally, the advice is not to stray far from La Caminita and the touristy part (‘far’ can mean just a couple of blocks) and not to wander in after dark. I took everything out of my bag and travelled with just enough cash for the day.
There’s no sube (underground) stop at La Boca but there are lots of buses. Number 20 worked for me; I got on near to Plaza de Mayo.