Xochimiclo – it’s Venice In Mexico – but a lot brighter!
When we arrived in Mexico City last week Katie mentioned that she had heard about a part of Mexico City with canals and boats – like Venice. I looked it up and loved what I saw – dayglo painted boats and islands with houses. Mariachi’s on boats and vendors selling Miceladas! It was listed to be about an hour away from the city by public transportation – I was IN! Enter a bout of Montzemua’s revenge which stole nearly 2 days of our time in Mexico City from us (me specifically) and add work tasks that required my time and I thought it was going to be missed. But last minute plans allowed for us to pull it together and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Here’s video of Katie on The front of the boat (More details and photo gallery below video):
Getting to the boats took 3 changes on the public transport – a ride on the pink metro line to link to the blue line all the way to the end (Taxquena). a switch to the light rail and riding that to the very last stop. Finally a 10 minute walk to the embarcadero and some haggling with our Spanish getting slowly better by he day – we were actually able to bring the price down – a bit – not as good as maybe we could do – but to $700 pesos for 1.5 hours ($55 US) for a private colorful boat and captain(? gondolier?).
The water is dirty but it doesn’t smell. I wouldn’t swim in it but it’s not like there is soap or real scum. Quite honestly I think it may just be non-human dirt.
Our boat captain was a great guy. I wish I could remember his name It turned out he was born and raised there and the citizens consider themselves more of a Puebla than actually part of Mexico City where they still officially are defined. What this translates to is that people know each other. It’s very familial. People wave and say hi to each other.
So the story is that this is the last remaining part of the lake that Mexico city was built on. The are called “The floating gardens”. There are more than 5000 residents who consider boats as their primary mode of transportation. Kids go to school in boats, people go shopping in boats -it’s a floating city!
It’s also a major attraction for both tourists and Mexicans. We happened to be there on a Thursday evening. We apparently missed the mayhem. There are 12 seperate Embarcaderos with several thousand boats. Katie and I thought “Wow – talk about an overbuild on a good idea – these boat captains must have a rough time fighting for biz”. Well, we were told that we were wrong – on the weekends and especially at night apparently nearly every boat is rented and the canals become a massive floating party with music, drinking, carousing and clearly log-jamming fun and it’s mainly Mexicans. The week is the mellow tourist time.
Well, I am actually pretty glad we were there for the mellow time. The weekends sounded fun but maybe a little much. Our 1.5 hour trip was great. Enjoy the photos!