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Floating Gardens of Xochimilco, Mexico

The floating gardens of Xochimilco are not that easy to get to, but they are well worth the journey from downtown Mexico City. From the end-of-the-line station, you walk down an unpromising slightly shabby suburban street and suddenly it opens up and you are at the landing, the embarcadero, the vibrantly coloured boats, the trajineras,  bobbing before you, jostling for position and trade. Barter your fare, if you dare. My rudimentary  Spanish was enough to team up and share the ride with a holidaying Mexican couple.

Xochimilco, Mexico

The gardens themselves are on artificial floating islands or chinampas surrounded by a network of canals. Hard to believe but in the time of the Aztecs, the city was afloat in the middle of a large lake. Sadly Xochimilco is all that is left, and is said to be further on the wane.

Like every other form of travel in El D F (the Federal District – or Mexico City) you can buy all sorts of stuff in transit, on the train or here, from boat to boat. You can even hire a floating mariachi band to serenade you.

Mariachi, floating gardens of Xochimilco

“Jewellery,” the boatsman asked, in Spanish, “for your wife?”

Not wishing to offend, I prevaricated.

“Su secretaria?” he tried undeterred, and we both laughed, but I didn’t buy.

Xochimilco Street, Mexico City

Getting there

The floating gardens of Xochimilco are reached by Metro (blue line), all the way to the end, then the light rail (Tren Ligero) to Xochimilco, and ten-ish minutes walk. Don’t give up. It’s worth the trek. 


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See also my travel page.