During the 1800s, a small stream flowing into the Riachuelo River ran along the same route where the Caminito is now. Later that century, this area of the stream became known as the Puntin, the Genoese diminutive term for bridge (a small bridge allowed people to cross the stream there). When the stream dried up, tracks for the Ferrocarril Buenos Aires y Puerto de la Ensenada were installed at the site. Disused tracks remain at the end of Caminito, along Garibaldi Street.
In 1954 the rail line was closed and the area where Caminito is now became a landfill and a neighbourhood's eyesore. Over the following three years, Argentine artist Benito Quinquela Martín who lived nearby, painstakingly prepared the walls facing the abandoned street, applying pastel colors and, by 1960 having a stage put up at the southern end; the wooden-plank stage was replaced with a nearby theatre house in 1972. The artist was a personal friend of Argentine tango composer Juan de Dios Filiberto, who created a well-known 1926 tune by the same name.
La Boca is a neighborhood, or barrio of the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires. It retains a strong European flavour, with many of its early settlers being from the Italian city of Genoa. In fact the name has a strong assonance with the Genoese neighborhood of Boccadasse (or Bocadaze in Genoese dialect), and some people believe that the Buenos Aires barrio was indeed named after it. The conventional explanation is that the neighborhood sits at the mouth ("boca" in Spanish) of the Riachuelo.
In 1882, after a lengthy general strike, La Boca seceded from Argentina, and the rebels raised the Genoese flag, which was immediately torn down personally by then President Julio Argentino Roca.
It is known among sports fans La Bombonera the home of Boca Juniors, one of the world's best known football clubs. La Boca is a popular destination for tourists visiting Argentina, with its colourful houses and pedestrian street, the Caminito, where tango artists perform and tango-related memorabilia is sold. Other attractions include the La Ribera theatre, many tango clubs and Italian taverns.