A Visit to the Xochimilco Canals

Just a 15 minute drive from our apartment are the Xochimilco canals.  While Dave's parents and sisters were in town over spring break we finally took the opportunity to go visit this beautiful and relaxing historic site of Mexico City.  I have no idea why it took us so long.  Now that we have been I fully intend to return and take anyone who might like to visit with me.

The canals are the remnants of what was once a rather extensive lake and canal system that extended over most of the Valley of Mexico.  Today they are explored aboard trajineras, colorful gondola-like boats.  The boats may be rented out by the hour along with a "captain" and are various sizes, generally designed for between 6 and 12 people.

The island and land areas along the canals are lusciously green (at least if you go during a time of year where there has been rain) and colorful flowers decorate the waterway.  You can also purchase plants from the many floating garden stores along the way.

Floating garden store
We brought along a picnic lunch, but if you happened to get hungry along the way there are plenty of stands in the area where the boats begin and end their journey, and various boats out on the canals on which Mexican men and women will cook you fresh tacos and quesadillas.  They simply tie their boats onto to yours while they make your food.  There was also a small bar/cafe along the canal where you could purchase a meal, cerveza (beer),  oversized pina colada in a carved out pineapple (I might have to test one of these out when I'm not so pregnant), or michelada (a traditional Mexican drink preparation made with beer, lime juice, salt, and sometimes hotsauce, the glass is then rimmed in salt - and in this particular case a chamoy jelly).

Float up mariachi service
These are not the only float up services.  There are also boats carrying complete mariachi bands who will happily play you a tune for a nominal fee per song  They too tie their boats alongside yours while they serenade.

Eli enjoying the view with Grandpa
Overall, it was a wonderful way to spend a beautiful spring afternoon with family and friends.  The kids loved it as well.  They spent their time checking out the water, plants, and various animals along the way.  If you're ever in  Mexico City I highly recommend that you make the trip down south to Xochimilco for your own relaxing afternoon on the water.


  • Deltiologist | May 18, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    Hi Abby!

    I'm working on a catalogue for a small, independently owed flower company and I would love to use your photo of the boats on the Xochimilco canals.

    Would you be willing to let us use it? We would credit you on page and be eternally grateful.

    Thanks so much in advance!
    all my best,

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