Day 384: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Located in La Boca, aka the ghetto end of town where Boca Jrs play, Caminito literally means ‘little walk way’ and has become the face of postcards in Buenos Aires and a major tourist destination.
It feels like a disney’fied version of Buenos Aires but is a pretty way to spend the afternoon.
The area is a pedestrian walkway famous for its brightly coloured buildings. Inspired by the neighborhood history, it was a personal project of artist Quinquela Martin. Originally an abandoned railway siding, he painted the buildings to make an open air museum. The restaurants are rather pricey on the strip but luckily there’s also a number of hot dog vendors if you don’t want to splurge.
I say its a ghetto with much sarcasm because its draped in tourism and wrapped in a bow but I would still recommend it to anyone visiting as it makes a nice set of photos.
There was a huge immigration boom in Buenos Aires from 1880-1930. The neighborhood of La Boca was largely inhabited by Italian immigrants who worked at the shipyard. In Genoa it was common to paint the outside of homes with the leftover paint from boats as it was readily available and affordable.
When the Genoese came to Argentina they continued the tradition.
The sidewalks are lined with handicrafts and souvenirs stores. If you want a painting or photograph there are plenty of options here but I’d be prepared to haggle as you’re in a prime area for tourist prices.
While many neighborhoods argue they are the original site of tango, La Boca makes one of the strongest claims. Today the art and souvenirs sold continue to reference the dance. If you are looking for that ultimate tango photo there are plenty of tango couples, dressed who will pose for money.
Locals and travel guides look down on the area as a touristy, tacky money-grabbing area. Complaints are that it’s not authentic or reflect the true history of the area.
This is likely true, but just like Niagara Falls, it’s tacky and ridiculous but you still have to go see it.
Special thanks to Jonathan Evans from Buenos Aires Local Tours who was kind enough to explain the open air museum aspect of this neighborhood