Jul 21 2015

The Floating Gardens of Xochimilco

On a recent visit to Mexico City, we hired a driver to take us to the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco. Xochimilco (pronounced, sochi-milko – in Aztec meaning ‘place of the flowers’) is a network of canals and man-made islands originally used by the Aztecs.

In pre-Hispanic Mexico , in the valley where Mexico City stands was a lake called Lago Texcoco, which now has long been drained. The Aztecs, on its edge, long before the Spanish came, dug a series of canals, whose mud they heaped on the earth around the canals or on anchored reeds atop the water. These plots of land, appeared like floating islands called chinampas – hence, their name ‘floating gardens’.”             Source: gonomad.com

Admittedly, it’s a tourist attraction but I had never been. And yes, it was a bit kitschy, but we had a great time. We rented one of the gondolas (called a trajinera), had lunch on the water prepared by a floating comidor, and listened to the Mariachis floating by on neighboring gondolas. Families and other groups of revelers were also enjoying the day, but you have to see it to believe it:

Our costs for the day’s tours totaled $139.66:

  • Private transportation by van: 1200 pesos ($81.36 USD)
  • Boat rental: 500 pesos+40 peso tip ($36.61)
  • Lunch on the boat: 320 pesos ($21.69)

A couple of tips to bring the costs down:

  • Go with a larger group as the price of 500 pesos is the same, whether it’s 2 people or 20
  • Bring a picnic lunch

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