The Cutest Ghetto in Latin America

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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.

caminito restaurant

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, and some of them serve it with chimichurri sauce.

caminito Buenos Aires

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 neighbourhood 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.

caminito buenos aires

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.

caminito Buenos Aires

While many neighbourhoods 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.

Join the Conversation

  1. Gillian @OneGiantStep says:

    I agree. Just b/c an area is ‘tacky’ or ‘touristy’ doesn’t mean you won’t have a blast! Great photos!

  2. Hey, I love Niagara Falls! Cheesy can be fun!

  3. Oh wow the photos are amazing. I love bright colors. Very interesting place.

  4. Christy @ Ordinary Traveler says:

    This is one of the towns that I’m super excited to visit in Argentina because of the colorful buildings. I love that photo with the cat in the chair! Nice capture.

  5. Jeremy Branham says:

    Great photos! I am not one to do touristy areas like this but interesting about it being the home of the tango!

  6. Katherina says:

    I agree on this – La Boca very touristy. You’ll get to eat parrillada for 3x the price, surrounded by colorful favelas, listening and watching to tango music.
    If you walk a bit outside the Caminito, you’ll see the real favelas – the ones that are not painted in fancy colors.
    When I went there one afternoon, I met some of the people living there… they told me there are some times 30 people living in one of those tiny favelas! And that not all of them have a kitchen or a bathroom. I guess that’s the real La Boca out there…

  7. Roy | cruisesurfingz says:

    It does look cute. How is Buenos Aires cost-wise compared with other parts of South America you’ve been to?

  8. Lily (Explore for a Year) says:

    The bright colours of the exteriors/walls and window frames are beautiful. I love seeing neighbourhoods with vibrant colours, adds an energetic vibe to the area, which something I don’t see often back home in Toronto.

    – Lily

  9. Oneika the Traveller says:

    Loved this place when I went and have a pic of one of the tango couples! Have you gone to Calle Florida yet?

    And… What do you think of the Argentinian men? They were HANDS DOWN the most handsome (and varied- lots of blonde, dark, strapping, slim hotties) I have EVER seen while travelling.

  10. I just get more and more excited for Buenos Aires – it does look touristy, but for good reason! How great are the colours on those buildings? πŸ™‚

  11. Christine says:

    I have a weakness for colorful places like this. You’re not helping my wanderlust with all of these amazing pictures and stories! πŸ™‚

  12. I moved to Ecuador in January and I can’t wait to get down to Argentina. I read your blog as soon as I get it.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh I absolutely love Ecuador, spent 3 months there and was so sad when my visa expired. Where are you living? I spent most of my time in Cuenca.

  13. Great photos, as always!! They serve only to solidfy my already strong desire to go to Argentina!! Have you made a plan where you are headed off to next?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Buenos Aires is so massive I could be here a while. I’m still somewhat on track of my original plans to head some in June but only for the summer.

      1. yep, def missed that one when i was having technical difficulties with my subscription to your blog πŸ˜‰

  14. Justin Hamlin says:

    Love the fact that you are actually having fun in “touristy” places πŸ™‚

    Great pictures Ayngelina, keep them comin!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Well there’s lots of touristy stuff to do in Buenos Aires and someone has to do it!

  15. What a funny and quaint town! I had never heard of this barrio. Your posts make me want to head over to South America.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yes you should come and hang out with me!

  16. I LOVE the hand painted signs!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      They are rather cute, you see them throughout Buenos Aires.

  17. A Kiwi in Chile says:

    La Boca IS touristy but still has a fun vibe to make it worth visiting. Best part, you don’t need to pay an entrance fee.

    Advice: Don’t do it with a tour, take a leisurely stroll on your own terms (vs getting quickly herded along).

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      People actually do a tour through this? Wow so not needed…

  18. Pete - Hecktic Travels says:

    Albeit touristy, we quite enjoyed he afternoon in La Boca. You sure get some colorful photos in this barrio. I also really liked the street graffiti that you would find in some of the back streets, some magnificent art. Great photos as always Ayngelina,

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      We went on a weekend and I’d actually like to go back during the week, hoping there would be less tourists so I could get some clean shots. But you do need a few people around because once you are on the outskirts you are no longer safe walking around with a DSLR.

  19. Marina K. Villatoro says:

    I totally fell in love with this area when I traveled Buenas Aires! I think it has the most amount of character. It reminds of me of the East Village in NYC, but with color!

  20. Mark E Tisdale says:

    Beautiful set of photos! Just infused with life and color – not only do I feel like I’ve seen this place, I want to go! LOL Touristy can be pretty, too. πŸ˜‰

  21. Great pictures! The colors really show the “disney” feeling you are talking about. Looks touristy but I would probably have gone anyways too.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Authentic or not it’s a pretty walk and I’d recommend it to people.

  22. Awesome photos!!!

  23. Great pictures!

  24. David @ MalaysiaAsia says:

    Hey Aynge, love the pictures here! Did you meet any of the Boca Jr players in the ghetto?

  25. Looks like a place worth visiting. I agree, that just because its touristy doesn’t mean it cant be interesting. I would definitely go there if I ever make it to Argentina πŸ™‚

  26. “Touristy” places can still be a lot of fun. πŸ™‚

    Love the photos – the one with the cat on the chair is awesome!

  27. The Travel Chica says:

    Cute during the day. Not so cute after dark πŸ™‚

  28. Great photos! We walked around a similar “ghetto” in Mexico yesterday- and just like you said, it was wrapped in a bow and tourist were all around. I like these kinds of places were old meets new and you have an interesting view of how tourism plays apart of building (and maybe) changing the society.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Or even the history, things don’t seem as bad when they’re wrapped in bright pink paint.

  29. Definitely worth a trip during the day, once maybe twice. However- not the nicest place to walk through at night, right?

    I like how both of us knew that but did it anyway. “This is exactly what you write not to do!”

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yeah thankfully I didn’t have to write the post This one time I got robbed in La Boca…

  30. colehaber.com says:

    I totally agree. The Taj Majal is touristy. You can’t walk 5 inches without someone trying to sell you a magnet. But if you’re in India, you feel obligated to see it. As you said, if for no other reason than the glorious photos.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Can you imagine going to India and not seeing the Taj Majal just because it’s touristy.

  31. Debbie Beardsley says:

    This looks like a place I would completely enjoy! The colors of those buildings was great. Love the pictures.

  32. I liked La Boca and Calle Caminito. When I was there, there wasn’t anyone about, only me. Colourful place, but slightly spooky. Looks like it has developed into a livelier place.

  33. nice pictures!

  34. I love all of the colours! They get me each time πŸ˜‰

    PS, the cat picture is adorable.

    Interesting place!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      There are a lot of cats around here, fortunately they’re all very cute.

  35. Alisha - Small World Pursuits says:

    It seems like everyone is in BA right now!! Your pics are amazing. Can’t wait to get there at some point. BTW…loved Cali thanks for the recommendation of Tostaky!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I think staying there really makes Cali so much better, the neighborhood is fantastic and Vinz is amazing. Hoping you had a chance to dance at Tin Tin Deo?

  36. How awesome is that. I really wish i was there right now. Can almost smell the energy on the streets.. !

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      How about we switch places for a while so I can eat some decent sushi πŸ™‚

  37. Even though it’s touristy it looks really fun. The colorful buildings and architecture make me want to see it.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It is really fun, a nice afternoon walk. We didn’t eat there but I’ve heard from others that it’s nice.

  38. I’ve seen many pictures of La Boca but I had never heard of Caminito. I’m really interested in visiting those places… they are so colorful! I guess the tacky part that makes it stand out is what lures us to visit them.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’ve decided from now on not to be afraid of the tacky as it’s just as amusing as the authentic.

  39. Raymond @ Man On The Lam says:

    I kinda like the tacky, kitchsy side of travel so I’d be all over this place. Like wax at Niagara… πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Exactly! Just like the wax museum, which oddly enough I haven’t been to but now I kind of want to go.

      I did see the giant stamp in Cleveland and delighted in its tackiness.

  40. Brightly colored, tacky and cheesy?? Wonderful, it can’t get more glamorous.

  41. What a delicious slice of life you’ve discovered. I would love to check it out because it seems so lively and the caminito is a great place to people watch.

  42. As Jaime points out, fantastic photos!

  43. Gorgeous looking street. You’re right about it looking Disneyfied – It looks like Main Street USA in Disneyland. Haha.

    Your photography is amazing. And I love the history behind it all. πŸ™‚

  44. Jacqueline says:

    LOL sounds like Vegas to me “tacky and yet you gotta see it”

  45. I’ve never been to La Boca, but I’ve heard that it’s very similar to ValparaΓ­so, Chile, where they also painted their houses with left-over boat paint (and actually constructed their houses with left over boat parts in some cases). Great pictures!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I want to go to Valpariso too when I’m in Chile in the Fall, interestingly I think they have similar issues with crime in both areas.

  46. Jen Laceda says:

    I spent an entire afternoon in La Boca / El Caminito and my camera just couldn’t stop clicking!! LOL. Yes, tacky. But also charming!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I know it’s too cute not to go.

  47. Corinne @ Gourmantic says:

    Argentina is becoming more and more appealing to me, especially with posts such as this one. The photos alone make you want to go there and experience it. With a camera in hand of course!!

  48. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    Every time I go to BsAs I visit La Boca. I don’t care if it’s a tourist trap, I love it. The best dulce de leche liquor can be found there, as well as one of my most favorite artist’s. Great pics!

  49. Love it, look at the colors and the charm of this place. Love how you did some magic color to the photos too. It does added some feeling to it. Great place to write about. Thanks for the share

  50. Pingback: Buenos Aires Links - All Colores

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