Located in the southeast region of the giant Mexico City, Xochimilco is a town that has been around since before the Cortez and the Spanish arrived. It was part of a lake that was connected to the former Lake Texcoco that Tenochtitlan was built on. Xochimilco is famous for its canals and artificial islands that they navigate with giant gondola-esque boats called trajineras. Doing this for hundreds of years it is now a world heritage site, only now it's more of a tourist trap than anything. Mexicans are actually the ones who make up most of the visitors here, just taking a short trip from the big city and hanging out with their friends on the trajineras as the "captain" pushes the boat along the canals with a long pole.
My friend, Miriam, invited me out on a Saturday with some of her friends and her friend's friends. Only her and I could speak English well so it sure felt like a real Mexico experience. I thought it would be a relaxing trip down the water lanes. It was really anything but relaxing. I'm sure it's not as crazy on the weekdays but it was loud with all the music playing from every other boat, the mariachis running up alongside you playing their instruments loudly trying to earn some of the change in your pocket, the floating food vendors trying to get you buy a snack, and of course all the laughter and banter from those enjoying the company around them with beer or pulque or mezcal. It was a fiesta on the canals. Don't go there to relax. Think of it as a party.
I recommend having some of the food around there as well. The corn and quesadilla I had were really delicious.
You can go on other boat rides all across the world but the fiesta on the Xochimilco canals is an experience only Mexico can pull off.
Would you do this in Mexico?
Music source: audiohero.com