My friend Ale picked me up on his ever-dependable motorcycle that he proudly named “Titan” at the port area and started riding towards an artsy street called “El Caminito” in La Boca. “Hold tight, we got a lot more to explore!”
A few minutes later, we reached La Boca. El Caminito in La Boca is one of the main attractions in Buenos Aires, an oasis of colorful buildings in the middle of the city. This is a tiny little area only a block square smack in the middle of the ghetto barrio. I came to see the cheerful colorful houses, live tango, and the art scene.
This lane boasts a thriving street with peddlers selling art, buskers playing music and stalls offering trinkets of every variety. Caminito is the work of the local La Boca artist Benito Quinquela Martín. In 1960, he painted the walls of what was then an abandoned street and built a makeshift stage for performances, and it quickly became a haven for artists. With its cobblestone roads, colorful corrugated-iron houses and artists’ studios, Caminito sure sounds great on paper.
Unfortunately, these days it’s an absolutely rampant tourist trap, full of touts, hawkers, hustlers, overpriced knick-knacks and bland food. Paid 4 Dollars for an empanada! This is the sort of place many people avoid like the plague.
There’s lots of open-air tango on display to entertain the patrons at the outdoor cafes, which is fun if you haven’t seen it before.
Today, La Boca remains a rough, working class and downbeat neighborhood, despite the hordes of tourists who descend upon its attractions every weekend and most weekdays too.