Some say the name ‘La Boca’ is derived from ‘Boccadasse’, an old sailor’s neighbourhood of Genoa in Italy, from where many of the immigrants in the area came. Others say this working-class dockside area takes its name from its location at the mouth – la boca – of the river.
It’s a hard call. Either way, the area is famous for its multicoloured buildings – the inhabitants would scrounge paint from ships as they came into port – its passion for the tango, and its football. Having had lunch at El Obrero (see SNACK), walk down El Caminito, through the crowds of tango dancers and street salesman.
Take a few pictures of the boats that float in the pungent water, sit down and watch the tango, and don’t miss the Museo de Bellas Artes de la Boca Benito Quinquela Martin (see below). There are cafés everywhere, all similar in style and quality, who have tango demonstrations. Go with the flow.
Make sure you buy a Boca Juniors shirt and wear it to the game on the weekend. On your way back to your hotel, take a look at La Bombonera stadium and the Museo de la Pasion Boquense (Museum of Boca Passion – Brandsen 805; tel: 4362 1100 www.museoboquense.com; open: daily, 10am-7pm. Closed on match days. Guided tours hourly 11am to 5am.), and remember: the policemen at the end of the tourist streets do not let you pass into unknown territory for a good reason.