Where: Xochimilco, near Mexico City, Mexico
History: Pre-aztec canal gardens called chinampas
Experience: Take an eco tour ride on the waterways with a gondolas
Where It’s At
If the pace of Mexico City is raising your stress levels why don’t you escape the city and head to Xochimilco, and take a boat cruise along the peaceful canals and flower nurseries.
About 500 years ago the valley of Mexico was a lake, which the pre-hispanic inhabitants of the area transformed into a series of canals, leaving the earth around the canals as fertile gardens called chinampas. It was the success of these gardens that lead to this area being one of the Aztecs economic and social bases.
Today there are about 60 miles of these canals which run alongside plant gardens and houses which are still navigable by the boats that you can rent by the hour. To explore this area, which is a favorite with tourists and locals alike, you have a number of options. You can board your boat at a number of locations and you can choose between an ecological tour ride or the standard tourist ride on the colorful trajineras (gondolas).
The trajineras are punted by a man with a pole, who will take you for a cruise of the canals and even steer you towards some floating mariachi boats or floating kitchens, and craft stalls.
Whilst you can get an insight into Xochimilco in an hour, it’s recommended to allow a good afternoon to fully explore and relax in this soothing water environment.
Read Phil Crossley’s article; ‘Xochimilco: Don’t float by the Gardens‘
Art Babe: Xochimilco
Check out this web-only 16 page story comic about a visit to Xochimilco, by Jessica Abel that was first ran in the LA Weekly.