Our visit to Mexico last summer was like no other before. This time we were determined to visit as many places as we could and to introduce the boys to my place of birth. After having a fabulous time visiting my parents and sister in Monterrey, we drove down to Mexico City. Since we started planning this trip I knew I wanted to take them to one of my favorite places in Mexico City: Xochimilco.
Xochimilco is one of the boroughs in Mexico City. It is within the city and is located by a lake. After my family and I moved out of Mexico City whenever we came back we paid a visit to Xochimilco. I remember going there as a teenager with my friends and having a fantastic time riding on the boats, eating roasted corn and drinking soda out of a plastic bag.
This last visit we were lucky enough to be with my dad and we invited my aunt to join us. I remembered visiting this place with my Aunt years ago. She has been like a big sister to me and I was so happy to have her come with us. I was so excited to see what the boys would think of this place I cherished so much.
Getting to Xochimilco is not really difficult. Especially if you follow your phone’s GPS as soon as you are headed on the right direction you start seeing signs all over the place. Once you are getting closer to the tourist area, dozens of vendors approach you and lead you to their pier. After deciding which one to follow we headed to one of the many piers available.
As soon as we got to the pier we negotiated a rate and hopped on the “Trajinera”. Since it was a weekday and early in the day it was very slow so the prices were a bit higher than on the weekends since there was less business. We ended up paying about $180 USD for a 4 hour ride. The price doesn’t include the tip and whatever you decide to buy while on your ride.
Soon after we headed out the canal the boys were ecstatic to be riding a boat. Everything was going smoothly until Josh decided to throw one of his shoes overboard. I wish he had done this before he decided to step in the soapy water at the Papalote Children’s Museum, at least the cycle would have been complete.
A few minutes into our ride, my dad hired on of the floating bands to sing a few Mexican songs. We found some marimba players and enjoyed a few songs. The boys started dancing away and considered the table was the perfect stage for them to perform. I was so happy to be there with my family and was so grateful to God for allowing us to make this fabulous trip.
A few meters later my dad called in a Mariachi band and asked them to sing a few songs. Evan started break dancing and although I thought he was just going to fall in the water I let the boys be boys and watched four boys dance and have a fabulous time. As the Mariachi started singing “Mexico Lindo y Querido” my heart grew fonder and fonder of my beautiful birthplace and I was so blessed to see the boys enjoying a little bit of Mexican culture and embrace their multiculturalism.
After an hour or so our bellies started rumbling and craving some good old Mexican food. As an appetizer we enjoyed some corn. The boys actually wanted some, too. Evan had his plain, Josh demanded to have chili powder sprinkled over his share. Just looking at this pictures I crave all the yummy food we had while we visited Mexico a few months ago. I can’t wait to go back!
As we continued our tour we were offered many different goodies but only gave in once to have Micheladas. What I didn’t realize was that the Micheladas were huge!!! But I enjoyed it nonetheless! The boys stopped to get some popcorn and chips and we enjoyed our ride.
Since we only did the short tour we didn’t get to visit the famous “valley of the dolls’ which is an abandoned island that has old dolls all over the property. They have a small version of the valley in the main canal.
As we were heading back to the pier we stopped at a gorgeous botanic shop which had the most gorgeous flowers I have seen in a long time. I wished I lived in Mexico City and could get some flowers for my home.
The boys were having such a fun time that when we started heading back I wished we had hired the longer ride. As we started making our way to the pier the place started getting busier and several vendors attempted to hop into our trajinera to sell us souvenirs and jewelry.
We left Xochimilco satisfied and happy to have experienced such a fantastic place. I think we will definitely visit Xochimilco again next time we go to Mexico City.
- Bring cash, lots of it. You will have to pay cash for the ride, for all the food you consume, souvenirs you buy and beers you drink. There aren’t any ATMs by the piers so make sure you bring enough cash with you.
- If you come on a weekend a lot of my compatriots will be there so it will be very fun and lively. I think the prices are better on the weekend, too since there is much more demand.
- Bargain, bargain, bargain when setting the price for the trip. They will offer you different tours so just decide how long you want to be there for and how much you are willing to pay. When it is crowded you can pay per person but you will likely share the boat with other tourists. If you want complete freedom to stop wherever you will have to get the whole boat to yourselves. Remember you will also have to pay a tip to the “remero”, the gondolier.
- Food is abundant and yummilicious. Even picky eaters will find something to eat. It might be popcorn and chips or plain corn tortillas. If you get there around 3:00 or 4:00 PM you will be able to find lots of tacos and lunch style meals.
- I wouldn’t hesitate to bring little ones to enjoy the ride. Yes, you’re surrounded by water, but the boats go really slow so you will be fine. Just watch the kiddos. If they are anything like mine they will be very eager to swim.
- The music bands charge by the song or per set. Again, know how much you are willing to pay and bargain until you set a price.
- Enjoy. Yes, it’s very touristy, and kind of expensive, but totally worth it!