Opulence is not the point of what greets the senses in La Boca, Buenos Aires. But what the imagination – and a few dozen gallons of well-placed paint can do? That’s another story.
I landed in Buenos Aires without really doing much homework. The unprepared photographer in me took the shortcut (which, by the way normally works well), and I toggled over to Google images, typed in “Buenos Aires” and looked for the most picturesque part of the city.
I saw all the things an experienced traveler might expect to find – Palermo, Congreso, Belgrano, Plaza de Mayo, San Telmo – and many more. But one image jumped out before my eyes: La Boca. This magical little spot is a street lined with a vibrant rainbow of eclectic buildings, something like a Warhol painting with a folk art twist. This little town is one of the spots in Buenos Aires that the locals love to show off, and tourists love to visit. It’s eclectic, colorful, looks amazing in photos and seemed interesting . . . except it’s not.
Many tourists are lured by the beautiful images representing this neighborhood, due to its obvious photogenic attributes. But in person, it’s far from it. Even locals reluctantly agree. They know it’s a tourist trap, and not one situated in the safest part of town.
If you’re expecting a multi-colored version of Santorini, you’re certainly in for a disappointment. Instead you’re suddenly awash in a sea of overpriced cafes and restaurants and giant papier maché statues of famous figures and cardboard cutouts you can stick your head through and pose – naturally after you’ve spent a few dollars for the opportunity.
There are many great places to see in Buenos Aires, but rest assured this isn’t one of them. These images will take you as close as you’ll ever need to go.
Enjoy new highlights of travel photographer Edwin Santiago’s journeys each week.
Last modified: July 28, 2017