The most famous street in Buenos Aires, Argentina is Caminito, la Boca. This is not just the most famous street in Argentina, but one of the most famous in the world. With its bright and dazzling colours drawing tourists from across the globe. Caminito often appears on the lists of places to travel.
Market stalls stretch the length of the street selling souvenirs
Located in the barrio of La Boca, not far from the football stadium of the famous Boca Juniors, the contrast of the area is something to behold. Walking through the magical streets of La Boca and suddenly arriving on the cobbled stones of Caminito, is a shock to the system. A bombardment of noise and colour that will rattle your senses.
However be warned, that if you do not arrive early enough in the day, or you head visit on a weekend you will be jostling with the many other tourists that have come to see this rainbow of colours. If you do happen to go when it is at its busiest, just keep in mind that the tourism is a great income to this otherwise worn down area. Also as we said above, this is Boca Juniors home. NEVER wear a River Plate shirt in this area, they are Bocas biggest rivals.
Walking through this cartoon like place you will see colourful houses, Tango dancers, art centers, shops, restaurants, food stalls and and many other wonderful things. Caminito is an open museum of art and culture which is filled with little snippets of the past. Grab some some lunch, drink some wine and admire the Tango dancers. Watch as they dance away on the streets cobbled stones.
This famous doorway is the iconic image of Caminito
The History of La Boca
The Spanish explorers first landed in the area that is La Boca, as early as 1550. During the early colonial era, the Spanish housed African slaves in this area. After Argentina gained independence many of the freed slaves stayed. With the arrival of the Industrial Revolution, La Boca began to grow. The area was transformed into a gritty shipyard with stinking meat curing plants and foul smelling tanneries.
Later in the 1800’s, the Barrio (neighbourhood) became a place where Italian immigrants, especially those from Genoa, would settle down to build their houses on the high sidewalks. They chose this place due to frequent floods that would plague the area.
A beautiful little alley way filled with colour
By 1954 the area of Caminito had became a landfill and the neighborhood’s eyesore. An artist named Benito Quinquela Martín decided to change this. Over the following three years, he painstakingly prepared the walls facing the abandoned street, rebuilding the decayed structures and applying colors. Slowly, with the help of the neighbourhood residents, Caminito was born and the streets came alive with theatre and Tango.
Diego Maradona, one of Argentina’s biggest football legends, stares at the crowd below
At the urging of Martín, in 1959 the city government officially declared the street El Caminito an open-air museum. It was named in honor of Martín’s friend, Juan de Dios Filiberto. a former La Boca resident who co-authored the Tango tune of the same name.
Tango dancers waiting to pose with the tourists
Sadly today La Boca is no longer the throbbing art hub that it once was. The artists and actors have left and been replaced with a mass of tourists, museums and souvenir stores. But none the less, the heart of Caminito still beats stronger than ever, drawing tourists to its enchanting streets.
A collection of photos from our day out to Caminito, La Boca
How to get to Caminito
There is no subway connection in this part of the city so you will have to take a bus. Do not worry though, this is Buenos Aires biggest tourist attraction. It is easy to reach, all you have to do is take one of these buses and ride to the end of the line. 20, 25, 29, 33, 46, 53, 64, 86, 129, 152, 159, 168, 195. If you would rather not take a bus then just jump into one of the thousands of taxis that roam the city. Or just do what we did, head to the Pink House in Plaza de Mayo, pull up Google maps and from there walk the four kilometres through the beautiful streets of San Telmo to La Boca.
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