Having heard different opinions about Xochimilco and imagining what it would be like, I was hesitant to go there. I have enough chaos, loud sounds and dirtiness a on a daily basis in Mexico city so, it was not something special or appealing to me. At the same time I had decided that when I had an opportunity to go there with a big group of friends, I would do it and even if I didn’t like the place I would enjoy the company.
Xochimilco is a canal system with floating artificial islands left from the pre-Hispanic era – a World Heritage Site. It gives you an idea about how the Valley of Mexico looked like during the time of the Aztecs, how people commuted from island to island, how they traded and even how they fought in the boats when the Spanish conquerors came.
One Sunday afternoon we went to Xocimilco with a big group of Mexican and foreign friends and Ì`m happy that I had the chance to visit this original place. Although visiting Xochimilco once in a life is perhaps enough, at least for me, some of my friends love the place and have been there many times. We rented a colourful trajinera “Lupita” which are traditionally named after beloved women (Lupita, Maria, Victoria etc.) The price was around 350 Mexican pesos per hour and we rented it for 2 hours at first and then ended up asking for 2 additional hours motivated by the desire to spend more time in good company and sharing drinks and not by circling around the canals. Sunday is a family day, so we saw many big Mexican families on boats around tables full of food and drinks. They say that Saturday is more of a party day with a younger crowd, though on Sunday there were still plenty of young people having fun.
- Authentic “mexican” experience concentrated in one place: mariachi jumping from boat to boat, an explosion of colours etc.
- Food and drink vendors ready to sell you huge micheladas, pulque, corn , flowers etc. whenever you want
- You can buy gorgeous flowers dirt cheap at green houses along the banks of the canal
- If you prefer a calm relaxing atmosphere Xocimilco is not for you – a bizarre mix of singing mariachi with ear piercing reggaetone music and drunk people shouting is what you should expect
- It is overcrowded which means that you will be constantly run into by other boats
- The water is not pleasant and they say that it smells very strong sometimes, however I didn’t notice that
My suggestion is to go with a bunch of friends and have low expectations then you are likely to enjoy your time in Xocimilco. And yes, the famous creepy island of the dolls (Isla de las muñecas) is there. The place is scary and it is hard to understand the reason why it even exists. If you are interested to learn more about this legend see the link below (http://www.isladelasmunecas.com)