The neighborhood of La Boca is, as many would say, a tourist trap. It is not uncommon to encounter more foreigners than locals wandering through the streets. You can definitely expect to see overpriced everything. And the tourist shop workers will go to any length to draw you in with hopes that you’ll buy some of their souvenirs. Yet, even knowing all of that, it is a spot that I recommend every Buenos Aires traveler should experience. There is a reason that so many tourists make La Boca a priority on their itinerary, and once you are there you will soon be overwhelmed by its charm and understand exactly why.
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April 15th was one of the days that everything stops in Argentina. Yes, it was a Sunday, maybe that had something to do with it, but I doubt it. That particular Sunday was the Boca – River soccer game, el “Superclasico.” I was fortunate enough to get into the stadium through a series of extraordinary and somewhat unexpected events.
These days, the streets of La Boca are awash with tourists. Down by the river, the colourful tin and wood houses of Caminito are the star attraction, to which there is constantly a swarm of visitors. It has become an obligatory attraction for the transient visitor, and this has made the area tackier than ever, with tourist prices to match, and souvenirs on every corner. If you are looking for a more genuine place, which is almost unknown, and where Porteños actually live, there is an alternative: Calle Lanin.
La Boca, a neighborhood in Buenos Aires is primarily known for four things: colorful houses, the Boca Juniors futbol club, danger, and poverty. At least, these were the impressions I held as I boarded the good old #64 bus Plaza de Mayo/La Boca route. Things started off a little ominously when the driver of the first #64 told us he didn’t go to La Boca, even though his windshield placard said the contrary. Unable to ask any important questions and lacking the desire to hold up the bus the four Australians and I stepped off the bus back onto the curb, proverbial tails between our real legs. Within minutes another bus careened down the street and pulled to an abrupt stop alongside the curb. This time we were given the OK by the driver and I proceeded to fumble with my change to pay for the ticket. This was the last of my troubles. Twenty minutes on the refreshingly uncrowded bus got us to the end of the line: Caminito, a street in La Boca that is the heart of the tourist section. You may be tempted, like I was, to hop off the bus before the end of the line because you think you have gone too far, but you’d be wrong.