A living testimony to the canals of Mexico before the conquest, Xochimilco also attests to the period of the Vice-royalty. ... More
Xochimilco Ecological Park
A living testimony to the canals of Mexico before the conquest, Xochimilco also attests to the period of the Vice-royalty. Meaning "Land of Flowers," it is a landscape of 176 kilometers (103 miles) of ancient canals called chinampas, built for irrigation and transportation by the Aztecs. Artificial islets were created by layering logs, earth, mud and roots tied with vine, and planting ahuejote, a native plant whose tough roots bind the walls of the chinampas. Today, Xochimilco has been regenerated and visitors can take a trip on wooden boats trimmed with beautiful fresh flowers. The 14 kilometers (8 miles) of navigable waterway are lined with vendors selling their wares and delicacies, and groups of mariachi or marimba serenading them from wooden boats.
Everytime I been to Mexico City, I visit Xochimilco and it's a very nice, authentic place to be at. Great friendly people. The atmosphere is good. The food in the mercado is great! If you ever have a chance to go, the visit to Xochimilco should be a must.
Now look this place ain't disneyland.
It is dirty,crowded and rawkus-HURRAH!!!
You can spend 10-30 $ on a boat for yourself or 10-20 pesos on Saturday or Sunday on a collectivo at Embarcaberos Caltongo, Nativas or Salitre. I've left from Salitre on a collectivo twice and San Cristobal 1 time on a 140 peso per hour boat with two friends.
If you live in a subdivision outside of Cleveland because it is "clean and nice" so you can avoid the gritty reality of urban life you will hate Xochimilco.
I love the rawness of this ancient american playground.
First of all, this is the sole remnant of the aztec canal system and still has floating plant nurseries, just like in pre-spainard times. In typical mexican fashion, there are many bazaarities; such as the floating vendors, mariachis and trios, and drink and food boats that pull up right alongside to offer their services. Bring change and an open mind and you will have a wonderful time. Be warned that this is a poor village, and the canals well they are canals - not the kind of water you want to jump into. Prices for the boats are listed and standardized. If you have a week stomach BYOL. There are many routes through the canals, but I think the most interesting is by the island of the dolls. It is a place to enjoy with friends - if you are going as a couple or alone try to share a boat with other fellow travelers you meet there. Don't go if you prefer more uppity atmospheres.
I had the advantage of going with students from a local spanish language school I was attending. We planned to go to Xochilmilco for one of the women students' birthday. I had to attend church that day and almost missed a Great adventure.
As of August 2008, the Xochimilco Train Station at was being renovated so the train stops one stop early at Francisco Goita Station. Since I had limited spanish skill, the taxi took me to Embarcadero (Belen) which was dirty, and located in an area that looked like an old neighborhood. It was a little spooky. My student friends were not there so I took a taxi back to the train station with a random drive-by of the station we were originally supposed to meet at.
Fortunately, the birthday girl was late and I luckily connected with our (90 minutes late) group at the closed Xochimilco Station when I gave up and was returning to DF. Then the true adventure began.
The basic atmosphere was of a VERY crowded waterway. The sounds of Mariachi were everywhere. Performing mariachis, drinks and food can be procured from your boat from various floating vendors.
My advice is to go with a group (it is alot more fun. Think party/fiesta) and with someone who is Mexican (if possible). Also, buy food, beer or sodas from the passing boats. It was all good so you will like it.
Also expect the river, like all of Mexico City, to be crowded and full of music. If you don't like crowds, neither Mexico City nor Xochimilco is the place for you. I have no problem with crowds and I loved it! I'm not the boating or romantic type but I give high ratings. However, those who want quiet and an isolated boat ride will only see a tourist trap.
This ride was $40 USD, it was not romantic, as I went with my bf, there are people trying to sell you things on other boats, bothering you, the water is dirty, and its noisy, and just not private at all.
Furthermore, there is a guy that gets on the boat with you that trys to sell you his jewelry. If you are going with a big group it may be fun, but I wouldn't recommend it to couples. The ride is 1hr long, way too long!!!
The boat ride is relaxing and enjoyable, but there are two places to get on the boats. One is on the southside of Xochimilco just off of Prol. Division del Norte, and the other is in the Ecological park of Xochimilco. The second of the two is the recommended option. The boat dock at "Embarcadero" is old and dirty and smelly. The ecological park is nice, safe, and clean.
Xochimilco is a very nice place to visit close to Mexico City. After being in the concrete jungle that is Mexico City for any length of time, Xochimilco offers the visitor some peace and tranquility from the big city pace. It's laid back and picturesque as well as colorful and interesting. You'll find great bargains with the vendors selling their goods and have a lot of fun in the process. I highly recommend this excursion when in and/or around Mexico City. Enjoy the floating gardens of Xochimilco!!!
The boats are a relaxing get-away from the city. Definitely check out the Museo Dolores Olmedo whch is not far from the Xochimilco. Also, take the long boat ride to see more of the interesting sights from the boats.
You can criticize anyplace or look for the good in it.I sure found lots to like here. look for the beauty and it abounds. Go during the week so you don't fight huge crowds.Having somebody in your group that speaks Spanish is a real plus. Be sensible the prices quoted are ripoff level ,expect them and enjoy haggling I find it a great sport, but let these people make some money as well. I especially liked having some little boat pull up along side ours and cook us dinner right there. This is advisable only if you have an iron stomach and don't sicken easily as the sanitation is a little...(What sanitation?) enjoy...
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