"Colorful Canals" Xochimilco Tip by Jetgirly

Xochimilco, Mexico City: 33 reviews and 48 photos

A long, long time ago, Mexico City (or Tenochtitlan, as it was called) was built on an island in the middle of a series of five interconnected lakes. Over time the water evaporated or was used, until almost nothing remained of the lakes. For those wanting to imagine the area during Aztec times, Xochimilco is home to most of the canals that remain today. There are lots of organized tours to the area, which can be nice because the colorful boats you'll ride out are intended (and priced) for fourteen passengers. Alternately you can go alone and partner with other tourists at the dock, or simply pay for the entire boat for yourself or your small group. The cost is about $15 USD per hour and most tours take several hours.

After hiring your boat, your oarsman will paddle you along the busy canals which are often called floating gardens or floating markets. You will pass other day-trippers out for a scenic tour, vendors selling souvenirs and food items from "floating shops" (well, canoes...) and even mariachi bands prepared to serenade your boat for a small price. Sunday is the busiest day to come, so your boat will be fighting for space but you'll see even more entertainment and have even more vendors available. Boat rides are also available to the ecological park, although there isn't necessarily much to see there and the ride isn't bright and colorful like the main market/garden routes. One can also ask their boatman to visit the Island of the Dolls (La Isla de las Munecas), where a solitary man strung thousands of decaying dolls in the trees to appease the angry spirit of a dead young girl, back in the 1950s. It is a two-hour journey to see the dolls.

The town of Xochimilco has a huge, busy market and lots of restaurants if you'd like to grab a meal on dry land!

To get to Xochimilco take the metro all the way south to the Tasquena station, then transfer to light rail and continue south to the Embarcardero station in Xochimilco (this was closed when I visited but I believe that it has reopened). From the station just follow the crowds about four blocks to the dock where boats depart.

Address: Xochimilco
Directions: Forty minutes by light rail from Tasquena metro station (south).

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Feb 26, 2012
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