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Discover the Magic of Xochimilco: Mexico City’s Vibrant Canals and Gardens

Blog Mexico City
xochimilco boats

Fancy immersing yourself in traditional Mexican culture and having a great time whilst doing so? Climb aboard a trajinera, a traditional flat-bottomed gondola-style boat, in the borough of Xochimilco in Mexico City and experience the famous Mexico City Xochimilco Tour.

A boat party on a traditional Mexican trajinera is a party like no other you will have experienced before. This floating fiesta on one of Mexico City’s last remaining Aztec canals is an unmissable experience. The tradition of the trajinera has existed since the 1910s, but the canals have been used as a transportation method since the pre-Hispanic era. Xoxhimilco, dubbed as the “Venice of Mexico”, is an ancient network of canals and islands. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the south of Mexico City.

Xochimilco’s lifeblood flows through its canals, lined with festive and colorful trajineras. These brightly painted wooden boats are the vessels of choice for tourists and locals alike, each named affectionately after Mexican women. Imagine boarding “La Guadalupe” or “La Maria,” and instantly becoming part of a floating caravan that celebrates life with music, marimbas, and mariachis playing live on neighboring boats. It’s a communal celebration where every boat is a floating stage and every row a dance floor.

Planning on going to Mexico City? Fill out the form below and we will contact you to build an itinerary that suits your needs and budget. In addition, our on-the-ground Mexico City team will be on hand to assist you with all your needs.

Xochimilco Mexico City Boat Tour: A Culinary Voyage

mexico city xochimilco
Elote vendor at Xochimilco

No party in Mexico is complete without food and drink (more specifically – tacos and tequila!). Every weekend, the canals are alive with boats, music, food and drink sellers, and flowers.  It’s a fantastic amount of fun and an entertaining way to spend an afternoon with friends. Picture this: boats laden with elotes, quesadillas, and the irresistible aroma of freshly made tacos navigating between the trajineras. Join us for a spicy michelada as we sail down the canals. ¡Salud! These culinary delights mirror the city’s street food culture, just on water—vibrant, vivid, and utterly delicious.

Want to go to the Mexico City Xochimilco Boat Tour? Just let us know and our Concierge team can handle everything. From transportation to drinks and food in your own trajinera boat. We got it all!

Chinampas: Floating Gardens Steeped with Tradition

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Floating gardens. Xochimilco, Mexico City

As you float down these historic waters, every corner offers a snapshot of local life and customs. From the chinampas (floating gardens) showcasing sustainable ancient farming methods to spontaneous performances by folk dancers, every moment is a living postcard of Mexican heritage. The chinampas are man-made gardens full of vegetables, fruit, and flowers. Many of Mexico City’s finest restaurants rely on the chinampas for fresh and locally-grown produce. In fact, local fine dining restaurant, Pujol, which was recently awarded two Michelin stars, sources many of its ingredients from this area. Check out our guide to the best restaurants in Mexico City – a must-see for those visiting the city. The ancient gardens are now vital for urban sustainability and are protected by UNESCO. Your visit also contributes to the preservation of these traditions. 

Want to visit Pujol, or the other best restaurants in Mexico City? Let us plan your trip so you don’t miss out on any of the best things to see in Mexico City

A Water Tour of Mexico City in Xochimilco

mexico city xochimilco

You can get to see a surprising amount of Mexico City through the 114 miles of winding chinampas-filled channels. Learn about the fascinating and bone-chilling story of La Isla de las Muñecas, or The Island of Dolls. Legend has it that the thousands of dolls hung on the trees on this island are to protect it from evil spirits. This was after a girl was found drowned in the waters nearby. You can visit it and walk around the island, if you dare! There are plenty of other stops you can make in your trajinera; visiting local markets and restaurants along the way.

Planning Your Trip to Xochimilco in Mexico City

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As part of this tour, we not only organize your boat, but also a cooler of drinks, plenty of snacks, and some music to dance the afternoon away.  This is a great option for groups on vacation, and if you’re celebrating a special occasion, just let us know, so we can plan all the bells and whistles to make this an afternoon on the water not to be missed. Each boat fits up to 20 people, making them perfect for large gatherings.

When is the best time to visit Xochimilco?

xochimilco trajineras

Correctly timing your visit will undoubtedly improve your experience. If you are looking to party, meet other groups, and share tequila shots with strangers, weekends are definitely for you. Peak seasons such as Cinco de Mayo and Dia de los Muertos are bustling with activity, music, and people. However, if you want a more chilled experience, consider a weekday visit. Early mornings are magical too, with the mist rising over the calm waters. You can also take a “sunset tour” in the late afternoon, and watch the sunset over the city and reflect in canals.

Final calls to action here, explaining more about the city, or our concierge service to get people to get in touch or keep navigating through our site to the next logical stage of their vacation planning.

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