Experience Xochimilco, a marine ecological reserve and UNESCO World Heritage site, located just south of Mexico City. Step aboard a ‘trajinera,’ a colorful flat-bottomed boat, and drift through waterways dotted with floating gardens of flowers. Learn from an informative guide how this former agricultural canal network once fed the Aztec capital that lined the shores of Lake Xochimilco. Then, stroll through the National University of Mexico on a brief tour, where you’ll see an outdoor art gallery and a bullfighting ring. Hotel transport included.
Sightseeing tour of Xochimilco by boat
Ride a trajinera through stunning floating gardens and canals with a local guide
Learn about the cultural history of UNESCO World Heritage–listed Xochimilco
Visit the National University of Mexico and its outdoor art gallery
View the bull-fighting stadium and the university library
Pickup and drop-off from most downtown Mexico City, Reforma and Polanco hotels included
After hotel pickup by air-conditioned coach from downtown Mexico City, travel 17 miles (28 km) south of the city to an agrarian area called Xochimilco (pronounced ‘so-chee-MIL-co'). Upon arrival at the UNESCO site, board a flat-bottomed trajinera with your guide and drift through beautiful floating gardens amid a system of canals that once connected many settlements of the Valley of Mexico. Pass by artificial islands with floating reed mats loaded with soil, used as gardens called chinampas. Learn about how these mini-landmasses were developed during Aztec times to get around the scarcity of arable lands. Today, many of Mexico City’s floral blooms are cultivated and grown in Xochimilco. Your driver moves the trajinera along by pulling a pole through the water. Hear about the traditional boats, originally hollowed from logs and formerly used for transportation throughout Mexico. Relax under the shade of your boat’s roof as you gaze at other vibrantly painted vessels carrying passengers and goods. Hungry? Enjoy tacos with beer for lunch (own expense), picked up from one of the boat-vendors. After Xochimilco, you’ll be taken to the National University of Mexico, founded in 1550, for a short but entertaining tour. Check out the university library, massive outdoor gallery of murals and sculptures, and then the stadium and bullfighting ring where the classic sport takes place on Sundays. Your tour ends with transport back to your hotel.
Not as described. Picked up at 9:30am from the hotel, didn't arrive at Xochimilco until after 2pm. First stop, a tourist trap silver shop, second stop, waiting around for well over an hour in Coyoacan while people on a different tour went to the Frida Kahlo house. Next stop, Xochimilco. Did I mention the hours stuck in traffic in-between these stops? Well you can enjoy that too! Xochimilco is pretty neat and worth a visit. The tour through the University consisted of driving through the campus. Never got out of the vehicle. Didn't get back to the hotel til after 5pm. A lot of time invested in very little actual activity.
Summary: DO NOT DO THIS TOUR. Anyone is honestly better off just Ubering to Xochimilco or the Stadium at the University and just navigating it on your own. You'll make better use of your time and learn way more. They budget 90 of the tour to be unsolicited and uncomfortable shopping, our guide taught us only one thing and kept repeating it at each location, and it makes no sense to go 30 minutes North to one location to see it for 2 minutes, and then to go 45 minutes South to the boats/other location where they want to kick you out after half an hour. Full description below:
Horrible tour. We started at 8am and went to see some Aztec ruins about 5 minutes from the starting point, where we learned what we would later find out to be the only piece of historical information on the tour: Mexicans were born out of the Aztecs and Spaniards. We asked what the ruins were and the tour guide didn't know. She then went on to tell us about all the atrocities that had happened around these ruins, such as the student massacre a few decades ago. Super bright way to start our day.
We then got on the bus and tried to shake it off, thinking we'd go to the stadium or the gardens, you know, the two things on the itinerary for the day. Instead, we were taken 20 minutes away to this random store where they had clearly been expecting us. Our guide went on to say this is where the son of the guy who made the Heart of the Ocean in Titanic works. She literally said this is important for you to learn about our culture. Ok then. After a horribly uncomfortable 30 minutes at this store, we got back on the bus and waited for this woman to reappear. When she did, we asked if we could go to one of the actual points of our tour. She was actually upset we didn't want to go to the three other places she was trying to take us to buy her friends' things.
We decided to go to the University and that we'd be in the area for the floating gardens. Come to find out when we got on the bus and googled it, they were taking us 30 minutes North, and would then be taking us 45 min south to Xochimilco. We tried to keep sunny for our friend who we were celebrating on this trip, and could do ok until this point. We get to the university and all file out of the bus to go check out the stadium. We looked at the mural and our guide reiterated the factoid about Mexicans being an Aztec and Spanish mix. Cool, we thought, can we go check it out? We got a resounding No from our guide. At this point, we were upset. They literally took us a ridiculous distance to get out and look at a stadium for 2 freaking minutes. This shouldn't even be part of the tour when the guide knows nothing about it and doesn't have access to the actual venue. Unbelievable.
Angry and tired since we got up at 7am to get to the starting place by 8am, we finally headed down to Xochimilco. Since we passed on the shopping detours, we got there around 10:30am, and there was basically no one there. We got on the boat, went down the waterway, and after 30 minutes they tried to take us back. We told them we had just gotten food and asked if we could go back since it was 11:15 and the tour was supposed to go until 2pm. They charged us 5 USD a head and let us stay, but then tried to take us down this completely abandoned waterway when we could hear the main one getting full of people and the things we actually wanted to see. We had to beg them to take us back down that way, and they did until a halfway point and then took us back. Total time on the boat was maybe 1hr and 15min.
We got back on the bus and then sat in traffic for an hour and a half trying to get back to the start point. This company doesn't use toll roads, so you just get to sit and stare at nothing while trying to get home to salvage your trip. We realized that not only did we learn nothing, but the total amount of time doing the activities advertised was less than an hour and a half. Infuriating. Again, I highly recommend doing these activities on your own on separate days if you want to have a good experience.
Tour was great. Van picked us up from hotel was a little late, but they called to let us know. While we picked up other passengers the driver and guide gave us history of the city while driving around. We then boarded a smaller van that took us to Xochimilco. The driver/guide was excellent and even stopped at unplanned stops to show us more sights. Xochimilco was amazing, we were able to quickly park and quickly get on a boat this is beneficial as it is extremely crowded. We had another boat stop at our boat with food and drinks. Food was tasty authentic Mexican food. Overall this was worth the money. Everyone we dealt with was professional and courteous.
This tour was nothing like what was advertised. We stopped at a jewelry store first? Why?? Then we went to the Frida Kahlo museum which really messed up our plans because we had intended to go to the museum and market the next day -- it's also in the opposite direction of Xochimilco. We finally got to Xochimilco and were only on the boat for an hour and literally spent 5 minutes at the National University of Mexico. Frida/Xochimilco is another tour that I did NOT register for -- I don't know why were taken to all of these extra places at the expense of the original itinerary. We spent most of our time in the van. Had I know what we were in for, I would've booked with another group. We wanted to spend more time on the boat and actually do a tour of the University. Not worth it.
Horrible. Waited forever as others were late. Secondly, I booked a tour that didn't include Frida Kahlo as the tour was too long. Though, when we arrived, we were told they were going to "throw it in" though we'd have to pay for our tickets. You're not doing me a favor if you're just wasting my time