Floating Gardens of Xochimilco – Mexico City

Floating Gardens of Xochimilco boat trip on the canals in Mexico City

Boat trip on the canals, Mexico City, January 2017

There’s more to the floating gardens of Xochimilco than trajineras and the canals, even though they are undoubtedly the biggest draw of the place. This massive urban sprawl in the south of the capital has a wealth of history, and is home to a handful of Mexico City’s pueblos originarios (some of the city’s oldest areas). Visit this area to gain an insight into this historic city’s fascinating past, beyond the relatively recent wealthy enclaves of Roma and Condesa.

As we’ve seen recently with the destruction of Malta’s iconic Azure Window, not all our favourite tourist spots and natural wonders are destined to survive and Xochimilco is no exception. That’s why our final, and perhaps most important, reason you should visit the chinampas is because they might not be around forever. However, this is quite the catch-22 situation as many believe it’s the excess of unrestricted tourism in the area that is causing the erosion of these historic waterways, so, if you want to help, consider donating to a restoration fund before you visit.

Nowadays the path from organic farms on chinampas to Mexico City tables presents a challenge. The farms produce more than 70 products, including 5,000 to 10,000 lettuces and two tons of purslane each day, large quantities that necessitate selling through the wholesale market. As a result, these local, organic crops get lumped together with conventionally farmed and lesser quality products. They are looking for new ways to sell, because the traditional ones aren’t working.

More about the Floating Gardens next week

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