The Venice of Mexico (Xochimilco)

If you’re ever in Mexico City, make the short journey down to Xochimilco where you’ll find the ancient floating gardens. Dubbed as the Venice of Mexico (but for a fraction of the price of the real thing) you can hire a private trajinera for a couple of hours for around £15 with a punter doing all the work for you. Make sure to barter for this kind of price as sometimes they can take advantage of unsuspecting tourists. Luckily, when I went, we befriended a local man who was traveling home from the city and advised us. He was even kind enough to drive us to The Embarcadero Caltongo.

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We had to use a replacement bus service due to reparations which were being made on the train line at the time. On an average day, the journey usually only takes about an hour and the trains are regular and easy to navigate. You simply catch the M2 to Tasqueña, and then take the LT 1 to Xochimilco. Taxis are cheap but if you’d prefer to walk, research the route before hand because there aren’t many sign posts. Xochimilco is actually a world heritage site so it’s worth a wander round while you’re there.

Within the Embarcadero, there are lots of quirky stalls selling handmade garments and various other types of merchandise. The boats themselves are very spacious, so it’s not uncommon for a large group of friends or family to rent one out for the afternoon, which is quite a popular way to spend a Sunday. Some visitors even have ‘floating parties’, complete with music and beer. It was a mild January day when we went, but there is shelter on the boat from the rain so it wasn’t too much of a problem.

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The boats are beautifully hand crafted and very colorful. Along the route there are flower markets, vendors in smaller boats selling scarves or other nicknacks, and fresh food made there on the spot in front of you. For a price, you can even rent a mariachi! It wasn’t as busy as I’d expected, and there didn’t seem to be many tourists. The entire ambience feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of Mexico City and is a relaxing break from what can seem like non stop sightseeing!

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