Xochimilco – Mexico City
The gardens of Mexico City
Xochimilco is a south-eastern suburb of Mexico City. Mainly a commercial and tourist center, it is famous for its canals lined with poplars and flowers (Xochimilco is a Native American word meaning “plantation of flowers”). In pre-Hispanic times the Xochimilcas built soil-covered rafts (chinampas) in Lake Xochimilco on which they grew vegetables and flowers to be shipped to Mexico City on the canals. Eventually the rafts became islands rooted to the lake bottom. Boating on the canals is popular among tourists and city residents.
This was part of the Museum tour from Cuernavaca to end our day in Mexico City. I suggest you go with friends for a few hours if at all possible. Tour groups lack vitality … and Xochimilco is all about having fun. Take food and beverages with you. We bought “pollo asado con todo” just outside the entrance.
Something that most people miss are the quiet back canals to get away from the mayhem of the short main canal. Just tell your boatman to head off to the left by the bridge and there you’ll find a lift to carry the boat over the road. You pay for the boat by the hour and lift costs per direction. For us it was worth it to get an idea of the extent of the canals and see the florists and farms. You might even run into the Island of Dolls!
Xochimilco boats (trajineras)
Canal side Restaurant