I have traveled to several “old towns” in many cities around the world. But few can compare to La Boca barrio in Buenos Aires (“BA”), Argentina. The neighborhood is at the mouth (“boca” in Spanish) of the Matanza-Riachuelo River.
La Boca is the original part of the city and projects its roughness through its thrown together, unplanned architecture and tough people who live there. It is a colorful, lively, noisy center for socialist political thinking. It smells like a sea-side town. Yet, overall, it is a very enjoyable location and essential place to visit.
Cobblestone streets are reminiscent of a by-gone time and the buildings are often fabricated from various discarded materials. Corrugated metal is often the construction material of choice as seen in the colorful photo.
Sensual tango dancing originates from La Boca. There are people in La Boca dancing for tourists in the pedestrain Caminito Street. But to really enjoy this sultry dance I recommend going to one of numerous BA restaurants with a dinner and authentic tango show.
My Argentine beef dinner with a fine Malbec was superb. Meals in BA are fantastic events in themselves and often begin around 9:00 in the evening. After dinner near 11:00 is when La Boca really cranks up the energy and tango music resonates through the streets!
Great pride is evident in the service at a tango show. Waiters in tuxedos serve champagne and tables are close to the stage. You feel like you are part of the program because of the intimate setting.
There were four dance couples on stage at various times and a small band with a piano, bass, accordions, and violins provided loud, energetic dance music. The dancing was fast and physical. Sweat flung through the air over the audience as the male performers turned, kicked, lifted and flung their female partners in this very sensual dancing.
In all, a day at the La Boca will be long remembered as a highlight of Buenos Aires. It is an essential place to visit in BA to experience an “old town” that is quite different with a unique dance known world-wide.