A Guide to Riding on a Trajinera Gondola


As you could possibly have heard prior to, Mexicans are in particular fantastic when it comes to fiestas. The celebration spirit runs via their souls–with just about something requiring a complete-blown celebration of dance, meals and drinks. Mexico bursts with a vibrant colorful atmosphere that is, basically place, contagious.

Now visualize this: there is a quintessential network of beautiful canals that reflects a rainbow-like assortment of colors. Attractive trajineras (gondolas) donned with exclusive names glide gracefully along the Xochimilco canals, with musicians, vendors, and a gleeful vibe all about.

Honestly, going to Xochimilco is 1 of these items you have to do if you ever pay a visit to Mexico City. The Floating Gardens are insanely well known amongst vacationers and locals, and for fantastic explanation! I can inform you from individual encounter that this will be a as soon as-in-a-lifetime sort of encounter that is not possible to recreate anyplace else.

About Xochimilco Mexico

Xochimilco lies 17 miles south of Mexico City, and it is mainly recognized for it is significant physique of floating gardens that run via a vast lake and produce the well known Xochimilco canals! The gardens do not actually “float” per se, but they are only held with each other with a couple of roots of tree that are man-produced via all-natural sources.

The Xochimilco canals (Xochimilco straight translating to spot exactly where flowers develop) is a location extra than something else—a Sunday escape, a floating fiesta of trajineras, a picnic and the Venice of the New Globe. The chinampas there (which are the floating gardens), are recognized as an UNESCO Globe Heritage web page and are essentially nonetheless applied for cultivation up to this day.

Mexico's Xochimilco Canals: A Guide to Riding on a Trajinera Gondola

What is a Trajinera?

“Trajinar” which is a Spanish verb, straight translates to carrying goods from 1 spot to a further. And that is initially what the “trajinera” boats had been for. Porfirio Diaz, the former president of Mexico, applied the “trajineras” to give guests a tour of the quintessential Xochimilco and it grew to turn into 1 of the major pastimes for Mexicans.

Most trajineras seat as lots of as 20 people today on wooden bench tables, but you can even obtain larger ones, normally known as lanchas colectivas that match more than 60 people today. And while you can fairly a lot take a “trajinera” ride anytime, the most effective time to do so is throughout Sundays. This is the most effective way to encounter it as a neighborhood.

The Expertise of Riding Trajineras in Xochimilco

Arriving at the Xochimilco canals is like seeing an explosion of Skittle colors — a rainbow piñata of boats. Rows and rows of trajineras (gondolas), stacked back to back and side by side, waiting for hundred of passengers which would no doubt be arriving shortly. Every single doned a exclusive name Viva Lupita, Margarita, Carmelita—Ms. Julietta was the name of my ride.

You know what a fully standard scene is like on the Xochimilco canals? Let me inform you what it was like for me. If you feel the encounter only entails getting on a trajinera and gliding via quintessential greenery, then you are incorrect. The entire encounter is a multi-sensory 1 exactly where a lot of distinct stuff occurs at the identical time. A classic family members sing with each other, a passing group of rowdy young people today, snacks all about, floating singing mariachis, floating taco stands, colorful ponchos and sombreros everywhere and a lot extra (like photographers taking images of you!).

Brightly colored gondolas, dozens of people today, large groups, fantastic meals and music—what extra could you ask for? As you float down the canals back and forth, you will also get to pass boats that sell meals, drinks and even souvenirs. I’m speaking corn on the cob, sombreros and lots of beer! Honestly, if you ask me – it is really the picturesque way to devote your day.

Alternatively of just going on your usual boat ride, you essentially get a multi-sensory encounter that every person can appreciate. As we had been on the boat, a lively mariachi band essentially pulled up to our side and “serenaded” us with some fantastic old Mexican folk music. Other vessels passed us along the way, some carrying households who had been celebrating a members cumpleaños (birthday) and some packing college students enjoying a day away from studying. There was dancing, singing and laughing aboard them all.

Lots of canoes filled with vendors and souvenirs glided by, promoting every thing from blankets to flowers to libations. Of course, when you have been on a boat for a when, it is challenging to pass up a scrumptious Micheladas (a beer Bloody Mary) and elotes (grilled corn slathered in a creamy chili and lime sauce with cheese, it is a classic Mexican street meals or in this case ‘water food’).

Even though you can invest in meals on the water or bring your personal, our lunch was catered by a neighborhood restaurant and brought on board prior to departure. Mariachis played in the background as we ate soft tortillas frilled with refried beans, peppers and cheese.  A plate of incredibly addictive chicharrones (fried pork rinds) was passed about and cervezas had been plentiful.

Mexico’s Xochimilco Canals: A Guide to Riding on a Trajinera Gondola

Lunch on Mexico's Xochimilco Canals: A Guide to Riding on a Trajinera Gondola

Soon after you are carried out on the water, return to the dock exactly where souvenir shops in the mercado region wait. I skipped the purchasing and headed straight for the the Danza de los Voladores (dance of the flyers) show that was taking place in a courtyard nearby. This Mesoamerican dance ceremony, consists of flyers climbing to the best of a 30-meter pole. Secured by ropes they then launch themselves to the ground, mesmerizingly spinning about the pole all the way to the bottom. I got dizzy just watching.

Dance of the Flyers at Xochimilco, Mexico

A trajinera trip along the Xochimilco Canals is, in my opinion, 1 of the most effective techniques to essentially encounter the neighborhood life initially-hand. You will get to see the eternal fiesta enjoyed by Mexicans all the time, and you will get to have a distinct sort of sight-seeing other than standard guided tours.

Necessary Strategies for Going to the Xochimilco Canals

Xochimilco Canal Tours – You can take a tour with GetYourGuide that will take you via a tranquil boat trip along the water and a pay a visit to to Frida Kahlo’s residence (Casa Azul). You will also get to discover the quaint streets of Coyocan right after a hectic day on the water.

There’s also a further tour by Viator that will take you via the streets of Coyocan, the National Autonomas University of Mexico to see murals of Diego Rivera and extra, go to the Frida Kahlo Museum, and then float on a trajinera down the Xochimilco canal! An professional guide will inform you all about the exciting history surrounding you.

If you select to obtain your personal way to the Xochimilco Canals and not book a tour, you can negotiate with the boat owners upon arrival or arrange your trip through your hotel. If you do not make prior arrangements, arrive early as they have a tendency to get incredibly busy. A boat ride should cost around $500 Mexican pesos ($26 USD) per hour for the whole boat, not per particular person.

What to Bring – You will not will need to bring a lot – just make certain you have money. If you are not wanting to devote funds on meals and drinks, then I suggest packing up on some snacks for the ride!

Other items to do Nearby – To preserve with the as soon as-in-a-lifetime theme, my best recommendation is a pay a visit to to La Isla de las Muñecas. The Island of the Dolls is a thing straight out of a horror novel—an whole island devoted to old dolls. There are hundreds of old dolls (deteriorating also) that are creepily hung more than the trees. It is no surprise that people today essentially feel that this spot is haunted.

Other Items to Know

  • It can be really crowded, in particular on the weekends, so if you are searching for a extra tranquil encounter attempt going to early in the morning on a weekday.
  • It is most effective to book the trajinera for at least two hours. This way you will be in a position to venture additional away and discover extra.
  • Make certain you bring money with you, they do not take credit cards.
  • A trip is most effective enjoyed with a significant and lively group!
  • Pack a cooler complete of beer and snacks if you can.
  • Bring speakers! If can then liven up your gondola with your personal music. Verify out these transportable travel speakers.
  • Semana Santa, Holy Week, is undoubtedly the busiest week of the year.

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Valuable Sources

My trip to ride the trajineras in Xochimilco was hosted by Go Consume Give &amp Mexico City Tourism, but all opinions are my personal.


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