La Boca is probably the most famous district of the Argentine capital Buenos Aires. Its main attractions are the houses made of colorful sheet metal and the soccer stadium "La Bonbonera", home of the great star Diego Maradona.
La Boca is probably the best known of the 48 neighborhoods of the Argentine capital and is one of our top 10 sights of Buenos Aires. As the name suggests (Boca = estuary), La Boca is located in the east of Buenos Aires at the mouth of the Riachuelo River into the Río de al Plata.
La Boca established itself at the end of the 19th century as a gathering of Italian working class immigrants, most of whom came from the Italian port city of Genoa and were employed in industry. In 1882, the population even attempted to break away from Argentina and raise the Genoese flag, but this was quickly stopped by then Argentine President Julio Argentino Rona.
Sights of La Boca
La Boca is considered the birthplace of tango dancing and is best known for its unusual dwellings. For lack of alternatives, the population built their dwellings from the sheet metal of shipwrecks, some of which already had the most diverse colors and some of which were still painted with colorful marine varnish. Thus the facades of La Boca show themselves as a splendid mixture of all colors of the rainbow.
The tour of La Boca is best started at Lezama Park and along Almirante Brown Avenue. Passing by the Mural Escenográfico, a wall with images of famous people from different eras, the tour continues to Casa Amarilla ("Yellow House"), a replica of the imposing estate of Guillermo Brown, the first admiral of the Argentine naval power.
If you turn right from this street onto Brandsen Street, you will arrive directly at the Estadio Alberto J. Amando, better known as La Bombonera ("The Box of Chocolates").
In the stadium you can clearly see that the colorfulness of the rest of the city has not spared the local soccer stadium of Boca Juniors. The team played in the top league of Argentina during its existence. Thanks to the artistic murals of Pérez Celis, the legends of Boca Juniors look at the soccer turf during every match.
The 60,000-seat La Bombonera stadium shines in bright blue and yellow, to which the local soccer team also owes its club colors. Not only soccer fans feel goose bumps when they stand in front of the "home" of the great star Diego Maradona and perhaps also take a tour of the locker rooms and onto the pitch itself.
Why is the Boca Juniors stadium called a box of chocolates?
The stadium is actually called Estadio Alberto Jacinto Armando after a former president of Boca Juniors since 1986. However, it is only known by this name to die-hard soccer fans. Its nickname, "La Bombonera" ("the box of chocolates"), once came from the stadium's three tiers of stands and D-shape and has officially caught on to this day.
Never so close to hell....
La Bombonera was inaugurated on May 25, 1940, after two years of construction, with a friendly match against San Lorenzo, which Boca Juniors won 2-0.
Since 1996, the stadium has held nearly 60,000 spectators, whose cheers can be heard throughout La Boca on match nights. Due to a lack of space, the stadium's stands were unusually steep, which amplifies the background noise to an extreme degree. It is therefore easy for the fans to intimidate the opposing team as "La Doce" ("12th man"). This is perhaps also the reason for Brazilian striker Romário's statement that he has never been as close to hell as at La Bombonera.
The tremendous acoustics have also been used for numerous rock concerts. Among others, Lenny Kravitz, Elton John, the Backstreet Boys, the Bee Gees and James Blunt have already thrilled their fans at La Bombonera.
Museum of the Boca Juniors
In 2001, the two-story Museo de la Pasión Boquense was opened at La Bombonera, which presents the successes of Boca Juniors since its founding in 1905. An entire room is dedicated to the career of Diego Maradona, the club's best player, coach of the Argentine national team and one of the world's best footballers.
Art at the port of La Boca
Continuing from the soccer stadium towards the river, you reach the harbor road, where a small street, inconspicuous on the map, branches off directly from the "river bend". Only 100 meters long, the street is appropriately named El Caminito ("Little Street") and functions as an open-air museum. Local artists loudly present their works on the sides of the street, which really fits into La Boca's colorful atmosphere.
At the Clara Chevalier Museum, the artist herself guides you through the rows of her works and provides details about her life and childhood, including a replica of her childhood bedroom and an old bathroom.
Security in La Boca
Attention: The security in La Boca is often questionable - if you leave the traditional tourist paths, this can lead to serious problems. So be careful not to cross the wrong street and if in doubt, don't leave the tourist stream! If you still want to explore the side streets of La Boca, you should always be on your guard. This test of courage is rewarded with extremely friendly restaurant owners, who warmly welcome every tourist who strays into their area and offer excellent food at ridiculous prices.