The 170-km canal system is what it used to be - an active waterway transportation system for the Valley of Mexico with its main centre in old Tenochtitlan that gave its way to present Mexico City.
The word "xochimilco" in original language of Nahuatl, spoken by the Aztecs, means "the place of the flower fields". It was a part of Lake Xochimilco and is now located south of the biggest city in the world.
In old days the canal system was covered with patches of soil that created islands where flowers grew. Until now some semi-floating flower and vegetable gardens have still survived providing products for the state capital. Now both the islands called chinampas
and the canal system are threatened by ecological degradation putting in question this one of its kind and huge tourist destination.
Colourfully painted trajineras
(boats), with their female names, create great attraction of the big city, both for locals and visitors from abroad. It's a lifestyle or local fashion to hire one of those boats for many occasions - wedding party, birthdays, reunions, graduations, you name it, everything is good to have fun on water.
The boat is equipped with a long table in the middle and a row of chairs on both sides. Many parties hire mariachi orchestras. The boatman, at the back of the boat, using his pole when sticking it to the canal's ground, makes this water vehicle move forward along with people.Smaller boats with local people cruise in between the boats to sell food, snacks and tequila.
Very often the partying company requires to use the toilet. So somewhere in the middle of the trip, there's a longer line-up of boats and impatient party goers who wait to get off the boats for necessary relief.
The boats are both bigger and smaller, depending on how big company of people is; their coast vary too. The prices of hiring the boat for gringos
are often quoted 2-3 times as much as the ones paid by local chilangos
so it's nice to have someone speaking immaculate Spanish to hire la trajinera
for the unforgettable ride on the prehistoric canals.