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Coming to a new city can be really overwhelming for the first time and La Boca Buenos Aires should be no different. You need to figure out where to live, and how to get around, often before you have even seen the city with your own eyes.
I put together this Buenos Aires neighborhood guide to help you get a bit more acquainted with the area, and hopefully make your transition a bit easier. Also, check out these TIPS for moving to Buenos Aires.
SUMMARY OF LA BOCA BUENOS AIRES
La Boca, meaning ‘the mouth,’ is one of the most southern neighborhoods in Buenos Aires and commonly visited by tourists. It was previously known as a working class neighborhood, with the majority of its residents immigrating from Genoa, Italy. It is known for its bright colors on the streets and the walls of all the buildings. This is where you can find live tango shows, and the Boca Jr. Stadium.
VIBE IN LA BOCA BUENOS AIRES
There are more tourists in La Boca per square meter than anywhere else in the city. But there is a reason for that. It’s bright and colorful, with its mismatched paint jobs on the buildings and cobblestone streets. You can pay a fee to take a photo with people dressed in tango clothes, though you may not actually see them do tango. However, you can catch some live tango at a few of the touristy restaurants along El Caminito (the busiest street).
The main tourist center in La Boca Buenos Aires is generally pretty well watched by police, but outside of that main area, things start to feel a bit more sketchy. I had my iPhone literally snatched out of my hand while eating lunch at a restaurant just two blocks from the main tourist area. I strongly suggest not to pull out your phone unless taking a picture or looking for directions. If you do that, step inside a shop or a doorway. Always keep your phone hidden.
TRANSPORTATION IN LA BOCA
The subte does not reach La Boca, however, there are several buses that pass through the neighborhood. I suggest putting in “Vuelta de Rocha” into Google Maps to find the bus to get you there from where you’re staying.
SHOPPING IN LA BOCA
The majority of the shopping in this neighborhood is for tourist items, such as magnets, or painted pictures of tango dancers. All along the main tourist street (Magallanes) in La Boca, you’ll find several side alleys that lead into gallerias full of souvenirs. Mate cups, scarves, bags, etc. You’ll know the main street because it’s full of people and restaurants. If you’re looking for any Boca Juniors paraphernalia, this is the place to find it. It’s all over.
PARKS IN LA BOCA
La Boca doesn’t have too many green spaces unfortunately. The biggest green space you’ll see on Maps is La Bombonera, Boca Jr’s stadium. Other than that, you have Plaza Solis, which is a sad little park with dying grass. There should be no reason to spend time here. Don’t stray from the main tourist beat.
EAT & DRINK IN LA BOCA
La Boca has several restaurants around it’s main tourist streets. They will be obvious. You can see a few live tango shows at some of them while you eat lunch. There are quite a few street choripan venders around the area as well.
Coffee and Bar Roma is one of Buenos Aires’ ‘Bares Notables.’ It still has the original floor, wall decorations, tables, etc. It looks like it’s straight out of the 1940’s. It’s really beautiful, and a great place for coffee or lunch. While it’s not in the main tourist area, it is off a main street, so it doesn’t feel quite as sketchy as some of the other ‘off the beaten path’ locations in the area.
WHAT TO SEE & DO IN LA BOCA BUENOS AIRES
If you’re a fútbol fan, definitely take a stroll over to the Boca Jr’s stadium, La Bombonera. Even if you don’t make it inside for a game, it’s a sight to see with its imposing blue and yellow that takes over the neighborhood. There is a museum dedicated to La Boca inside of the Adidas store. The cost is 1100 pesos per adult. Discounts for local residents.
El Caminito and Magallanes are two small streets that goes right through the heart of the neighborhood. and are crowded with tourists, and local restaurants trying to convince you to stop in for lunch. There are several small alleyways that branch off from Magallanes with little shops and markets. You can also see live tango shows over lunch. The buildings are bright colors of reds, yellows, greens, and blues. When you see photos of Buenos Aires, this area is probably the most shown!
The MARCO Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de La Boca is a two story museum, with a cafe and a bookshop. Wednesdays and Thursdays are free. If you go on a day to pay, the cost for a non-resident is 500 pesos, which to be honest, is not worth it. I suggest going only on a free day.
Take a stroll along the water to see the brightly colored cobblestone streets and buildings, beginning right at the statue Escultura Benito Quinquela Martín.