Famous for its canals, Xochimilco is a reminder of the past, an extensive lake and canal system that once connected vast areas of the settlements of the Valley of Mexico. Today canals and chinampas, artificial islands, are one of the main tourist attractions in Mexico City. Visitors ride on somewhat gaudy flat-bottom boats called trajinarás floating aro
und 110 miles of canals.
The prices for rides are posted. J.J. and I hopped on one and paid 550 pesos ($30.56).The price is per boat per hour. Each boat can accommodate up to 15 persons.
Our boatmen tried to explain the similarities of trajinarás to góndolas in Venice, Italy. For J.J. and me, our ride reminded us more of long-tailed boats used for transportation in Thailand.
We heard that on weekends, they expect twice as many visitors. Summertime when the weather is hot and humid, we were told that mosquitos invade the canals. Most interesting aspect are vendors calling out to sell food, drinks, handicrafts and even blankets to visitors. Mariachi bands, xylophone players, singers also waiving and calling out for their services. If you pay them, they would tie up alongside or board your boat. Very entertaining.
The Mexican tourism board promotes the organic farms and flower produced on artificial islands alongside canals. However the polluted water, floating rubbish did not entice us to get out of our boat.
This wetland is home to approximately 40 percent of the migratory bird species. They winter here from the United States and Canada. We saw herons, ducks and what I thought was a water snake but the latter was vehemently denied by our boatman. There are turtles and fish in the canals, but no water snakes.
Xochimilco is a very photogenic destination. J.J. and I are happy that we had a chance to visit.
Aloha -- Cathi