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Mexico> Gulf Coast> Mexico City (Xochimilco)> Floating Gardens of Xochimilco

Mexico - Gulf Coast

Floating Gardens of Xochimilco

( Nature’s Beauty / Gardens )

A Karen Brown Recommendation
Mexico City (Xochimilco)
DF
Mexico

Before the Spaniards arrived, the Aztec city of Tenochtitlán was an island in the center of a lake, connected to the mainland by causeways. Around the periphery of the city was a maze of floating islands laced by drainage canals that were laid out in an orderly fashion. These weren’t really “floating” islands, but began as rafts piled with rich lake mud and then anchored to the bottom of the lake by fast-growing trees with a deep root system. This is where fresh produce and flowers were grown. Today most of these islands are gone, but a few still exist and continue to produce vegetables and flowers for the city, just as they have for hundreds of years. These floating gardens are located in the outlying suburb of Xochimilco, about an hour’s drive from the center. There are tours that go here, or you can hire a guide. The way is quite confusing, so we don’t recommend driving yourself. We delayed going to these gardens for many years, both because they were off the beaten path and we expected them to be overly touristy. How wrong we were! Yes, the islands are touristy, but they are also actual remnants of an ancient civilization that remain in use today. The tourists are basically Mexicans who have come for a family outing. You climb aboard a brilliantly decorated, flat wooden boat with a Venetian-style “gondolier” who steers the craft through the narrow canals. The waterways are jammed with boats with all sorts of passengers: children having birthday parties, school kids on outings; young lovers who snuggle in a boat by themselves, Mariachis serenading, women selling flowers, photographers who want to snap your picture, vendors selling postcards, entrepreneurs with cold drinks, and even boats with kitchens aboard where women in colorful costumes cook up a hot meal. What a jolly experience, especially on a sunny day—the local color just can’t be beat.

Phone: 55/5673-7890 or +52 5 676
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