Prone to Wander

The Lost Photos of Xochimilco

Back at the beginning of the year, we took a little trip over to Xochimilco (pronounced “so-chee-mil-ko.”) It’s not very far from here, and it’s one of the only areas in Mexico City that has retained the original ancient canals that the indigenous people used to use. Mexico City used to be a lot more like Venice, believe it or not. (Which is related to my comments in the earthquake post below about how a large part of the city is built on an ancient lake bed.) Now, Xochimilco is a tourist attraction, and for a few bucks you can rent out an entire canalboat for a few hours. Some families bring a picnic and stay out all day. You can also buy food and drinks from other vendor boats on the canal! Josh, Jared and I chose to take only the hour-long tour. Think of Xochimilco as the San Antonio Riverwalk‘s older, less cheesy brother.

Each boat is very colorfully painted, and most of them have names. They can seat about 20 people:

The “driver” of each boat uses a long pole that they use to push off the bottom of the canal and guide the boat:

There are some smaller boats that carry entire mariachi bands. If you want to hire a band, you just signal to that boat, and they come and attach themselves to your boat and play you a few tunes:

Here is one lady in her own boat selling potted plants to passer-by boats:

This lady is selling food from her boat. If you want to buy some, you can signal to her, and she’ll come alongside your boat.

A pack of stray dogs along the canal:


  1. Pingback: Saving the “Water Monster” of Xochimilco « Josh and Amy

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