La Boca, meaning in Spanish, the mouth, is the area of Buenos Aires that Italians migrating to Buenos Aires in the 19th and 20th century settled into. The area was named La Boca because of the natural shape of the harbor formed by the River Rio Riachuelo bending and flowing into the Rio de la Plata creating what appears to be a mouth.
The area is difficult to get to using the Subte, so John and I bought a guide to the collective; the huge city bus system that criss-crosses the city. (Getting there was easy, getting back a little more difficult as we were standing on the wrong street for the return buses to our area. But here are almost no bus signs (let alone street signs), you just have to go stand where other people are standing; if they look like they are waiting for a bus!!)
The vendors have painted the area to recreate the early days of the area.
The first thing you see is the huge stadium for the Boca Juniors. And the people in the area have a fervent; most would say fanatical; identification with the team. Soccer memorabilia and T-shirts are everywhere.
Anyway, the first Italian and French immigrants built boarding houses haphazardly with metal sheeting called “conventillos”. These were decorated with whatever paint was left over on the docks, creating a mish-mash of colors on each building. The colors can be inviting, but the poorly insulated buildings can be unbearably hot in the summer and frigid in the winter. It was fine the day we were there, even though it is summer here, maybe mid-80â€™s.
On a Saturday (when we went) it is very busy and touristy. We saw a lot of interesting things, and spent a couple of hours in an on street cafe, enjoying the dancing and singing of a local tango troupe. Lots of little stores, artists, and street vendors we did a good bit of shopping there.
Colorful vendor area