Saturday, February 5, 2011

La Boca y San Telmo

Some home-made jewelry and ceramics in La Boca.

Former soccer star Diego Maradona's portrait is painted, drawn and plastered all over La Boca.

The start of Caminito street, which means little walkway.

A bum's home in San Telmo. Somehow a bird got in the picture.

In front of a church built by the Europeans in the 1700s. 

We enjoyed a Quilmes in this ancient bar in Plaza Dorrego. Quilmes is Argentina's national beer. 

Yesterday we took a 30 minute bus ride to the Southern most part of Buenos Aires, La Boca. La Boca means mouth in Spanish and it was named this because up until the late 19th century it was the main entry point for both goods and immigrants. Once the docks moved north the port became dormant and today you can find abandoned wearhouses and shabby looking boat parts. We got off the bus when we hit a main street and then took a taxi to a nieghborhood on the waterfront. The taxi driver told us on the way over to be careful because La Boca can be very dangerous if you venture onto the wrong street or go at night. A few steps away from the taxi, we walked through the street vendor kiofs who were selling colorful and unique crafts and trinklets, a nice change from the china imported goods that most street vendors sell here. We bought two hand painted mate cups from a pregnant lady and her husband. We continued onto a street full of cafes, tango dancers, colorful buildings, and touristy shops. There is only a few streets that are bustling with people and stores, the streets surrounding looked desolate and silent. It seems the few streets that were colorful and full of life, had been embellished for tourism's sake. You could see the paint on the buildings had been restored and the tired eyes of the tango dancers. Nonetheless, it was worth the trek and it was a paradise for a photographer.

We then took a bus to a neighboring city San Telmo, also a destination in every guide book you can buy. Today San Telmo is known for its cobblestone streets and crumbling mansions that were once European old quarters. My guidebook claims the city is becoming less faded and more glamorous thanks to the arrival of antique dealers and restauranteurs, and more recently hostel owners and a thriving gay scene. A daytime experience I am sure is very different compared to a nighttime one. Unfortunately since this part of the city is neighbors with La Boca, it is also unsafe.  We took a pit stop at a old bar in Plaza Dorrego, where they had candles and bottles from the 1800s. We took a stroll through Plaza Dorrego, one of the few Spanish-stlye plazas where you can enjoy a beer or coffee outside, and found more street vendors and people enjoying lunch under the trees. If you see tourists in Buenos Aires, you are sure to find street vendors! Here you could buy crafts and jewerery and meet the designers, which makes table shopping much more fun.  We continued down an adjacent street, and checked out a few of the aintique shops. With heavy legs, an empty stomach and 300 photos we headed back home.


  1. Hi, I like your blog, I just want to tell you and the readers that San Telmo used to be dangerous, but today is one of the safest neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires because of the nightlife it has.

    So people don't hesitate to enjoy San Telmo's bohemian night, so much better than Palermo I can sure you.

  2. Hi Taylor,

    You have so much useful information here! I'm really enjoying your photos, your thoughts, and experiences... I arrived in Buenose Aires a week ago and am still trying to find my way around here and your blog is def. helpful! Thanks!


  3. San Telmo is so full of history, this district was inhabited by aristocratic families. I rented apartments in Buenos Aires there and it was awesome. While I was there I went to the Museum of Modern Art and El Solar de French Gallery which is an old place where the French patriot Domingo French lived, nowadays there is a trade gallery there.
    I had the best time!