Travel | La Boca – The Colourful Houses in Buenos Aires’ Open Air Museum

La Boca - Mannequins

The La Boca Neighborhood – or more particularly “El Caminito” street at first glance looks like a wonderful tourist neighborhood where you can find bright colourful houses, tango, museums and art. It is listed as a must see in Buenos Aires. It is an interesting area to visit, and I found that knowing its history can make your visit a lot more meaningful. We were fortunate to have had a quick history lesson on the area, from the management team at our hotel, prior to going. Here’s what we learned…

The La Boca barrio is situated in the old port area of Buenos Aires and is where many new immigrants from the Italian city of Genoa first established in the late 1800s. Because the settlers were so poor they constructed their houses of scrap metal and painted the metal in bright colours of whatever left over paint they could find. By the 1900s, the area was well populated and booming. Soon the Italians were joined by many other European immigrants and the cross cultural mix was said to give birth to tango.

But, when the new port opened, the industry in this port moved with it, and thus began the decline of La Boca.

In the 1950s, a famous painter who grew up in La Boca, decided to revive The Caminto. He decided to paint all the houses in bright colors, as a reminiscent tribute to the early setters.

In 1959 the city government officially declared the street El Caminto an open-air museum.

What you’ll find here today is a tourist area filled with souvenirs, restaurants and the still painted scrap metal houses.

The chilling and haunting tango dancers still perform in the streets – as if they were stuck in a loop in time.

La_Boca - Buenos AiresBuenos Aires - La_BocaLa Boca - coloured doorsBuenos Aires - La Boca Tango

I definitely think it’s worth a visit to La Boca if you’re ever in Buenos Aires.

Would love to know your thoughts below if you’ve already been.

Thanks for stopping by!



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