Visiting Xochimilco in Mexico City: Dos and Don’ts Before You Go


Visiting Xochimilco in Mexico City: The Dos and Don’ts Before You Go

family watching the colorful boats in xochimilco

Have you guys heard of Xochimilco In Mexico City? It’s an incredible place to visit. It is a market on canals, and you get around on gondolas, obviously, it’s not the kind of gondolas that you would expect to see in Venice, but they are colorful, very Mexican style.  I got the chance to visit it and here you’ll read my full experience at Xochimilco, I’ll let you know useful information and many more.

What does Xochimilco mean?

The word Xochimilco itself literally means where the flowers grow. Many years ago, over a century, as a matter of fact, this entire place was where they used to cultivate and grow flowers. Today you could probably still find some flower areas, but overall, it is now this market. What’s amazing, first of all, as you start to pull up, it is definitely a tourist spot. But you’d be surprised at the amount of Mexicans that go there to enjoy this.

How to get there

It’s located in Southern Mexico City, is around 45 minutes by car or 1 hour and a half by public transportation outside the center of Mexico City itself, The area is now this amazing, thriving, bustling market that used to be a place where the flowers grew. 

a couple in xochimilco with boats on the back

Visiting Xochimilco in Mexico City

I guess it’s a cultural thing because there’s mariachi, there’s Mexican food everywhere. You go there, this is what you will experience. So first and foremost, I have been to the Venice canals, and I know that in the Venice canals, there is this actual issue that it smells bad. 

Here in Xochimilco, I was super impressed that it didn’t smell. It was super clean, and you could tell that there is a lot of love and organization going on in this particular area. The organization begins when you get to the embarcaderos.

xochimilco boats and gondolas


Embarcado is the actual mini Port. Interestingly enough, there are many ports, so you need to find out which is the best in embarcadero. The one that we went to was called Nueva Nativitas.

Nuevo Nativitas is pretty much, I would say, the most popular spot. However, as you are driving there, you are going to be stopped as you’re waiting at traffic lights by people on motorcycles saying, oh, that place is closed, and they’re all sold out. You got to go with me. They are scammers. Do not go with them.

Just get to that embarcadero that you are going to. Because the actual organization happens in these places because they are cooperatives, means that all the owners get together, and they have a perfect system where every single person gets their turn and the owners own the difference between one and ten boats. They all have these people working together, as part of this cooperative. So every person who works there actually gets the money.

The person that helps you find the boat, the one that arranges it, and the captain of the boat. I mean, it’s the captain pushing a wooden stick. But regardless, that is where the structure and organization really work from. So make sure that you follow that place. You’re not going to get scammed in there.

family and friends inside a boar in xochimilco

Get there early

Now I personally recommend getting there and going for breakfast, get there as early as possible because the later you get, the crazier it becomes. So we got there pretty early. We were there around 9:30, and we had breakfast in one of the Mexican restaurants there are hundreds of them, and they’re going to be pulling you in, and they all pretty much sell the exact same thing. So you’re just going to have to decide which one works for you.

We enjoyed a really beautiful, typical Mexican breakfast with coffee and everything before finding our boat.

street food on a boat in a xochimilco canal


Once we found the boat, the cost of the boat was 500 pesos per hour, which is approximately $25 per hour. We got 2 hours worth, Which I recommend. 2 hours. 1 hour is definitely not enough.

So you can also eat on the boat. Once you get on the canal, There are hundreds of vendors selling you all sorts of food and drinks and alcoholic drinks, you name it. There’s also the mariachi, which is apparently a very popular thing to do. You could rent the mariachi. I think it’s like $15 for one song. It might sound a bit expensive, but there are like ten people that are part of this, so they’re barely making any money at all.

Honestly, it’s not that expensive, and it’s just an experience. Overall, it is just a crazy great experience. And if you have half a day Because that’s all you really need to go and do this journey when you are in Mexico City, I really recommend it.

It is definitely one of the coolest things, even my husband, who does not like touristy things, had a blast. It goes to show that even though it is touristy, it still could be super fun, super colorful, and just a great way to spend a morning.

boats in a river or canal in xochimilco, mexico city

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Last Updated on May 30, 2023

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