This 170 square km ancient Aztec canal way is on UNESCO's World Heritage list and today is a popular place for Mexicans to throw a riverboat party with food, pulque and live music, all delivered by boat.
Mexico City is the second-largest city in the world with its population of 21.2 million. So it’s kind of a surprise to find this lush network of canals feeding off of its southern edge in the borough of Xochimilco.
Before the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, the town was a small center on the southern shore of Lake Xochimilco. The 170 square kilometers of canal ways is all that remains of the lake, which today has been swallowed up by the federal district. Tourists, many from Mexico City, come here with friends and family to board colorful boats called trajineras, which are pole-operated crafts that originated at Xochimilco.
The canals can be crowded, especially on Sundays, with trajineras jostling for position; vendors selling pulque, food, and snacks; and musicians traveling from boat to boat playing mariachi, banda or marimba tunes.
Xochimilco gets its nickname “floating gardens” because of the unique system of chinampas agriculture developed here in pre-Hispanic times which allowed farmers to grow crops on plots of land they had built in the lake. Its unique history has earned it a spot on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.