Perfumed with flowers and plied by trajineras, a sort of gondola cheerfully painted to reflect the canals' lush beauty, the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco were once the agricultural breadbasket of Mexico City. Today, these last lovely remnants of ancient Lake Texcoco are more a destination for young lovers and enchanted tourists in search of a romantic afternoon.

Though most of the Aztecs' massive system of canals have long since been drained, the suburb of Xochimilco ("Place of Flowers") offers a glimpse into the ancient beauty of of Tenochtitlán. The "floating gardens" that once fed the great nation are smaller, but still here; the trajineras may now come equipped with engines, but they are still festively decorated, and many carry troupes of mariachis and offer relaxed "restaurant" service.

The gardens make for a mellow day, cruising through the islands and homes. Though Xochimilco has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is still a working neighborhood, with people (perhaps) living as they did long before the Spanish arrived.

Practical Info

The Gardens of Xochimilco are located about 23 kilometers (14 miles) south of the Zócalo in Mexico City. Most tour operators arrange the trip, but it's easy to do on your own.

Go to the end of Metro Line 2 (the Blue Line, which runs directly under the Zócalo in the city center) and exit at the Tasqueña station. From there, Tren Ligero runs directly to Xochimilco; follow the signs to the embarcadero. The first trajineras (colorfully painted, flat- bottomed boats) you'll see may be a bit more expensive; peso-pinchers can continue down the waterfront to look for less ornate trajineras that might be willing to bargain. 

Tours & Tickets

See all

Mexico City Super Saver: Coyoacán and Frida Kahlo Museum plus Xochimilco and National University

4 star rating: Recommended 61 Reviews

Take advantage of this Super Saver combining two best-selling tours in Mexico City at a discounted price. In one day, uncover the colonial charms of ...  Read more

Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $54.99
$94.99 Save $40.00

Xochimilco and National University of Mexico

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 45 Reviews

Drift through the magnificent floating gardens of Xochimilco in a colorful ‘trajinera,’ a flat-bottomed boat characteristic of this unique agricultural region. ...  Read more

Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Duration: 6 hours (approx.)

From USD $47.99

Xochimilco Boat Ride and Cultural Tour

Enjoy a tour in Xochimilco and learn all about the urbanism and biodiversity of this place. You will take a boat ride, enjoy snacks and learn interesting facts ...  Read more

Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $68.00

See all

Viator uses cookies to improve your experience on our website. Learn more about how we use cookies and how to change your cookie settings | Close message