The Floating Gardens of Xochimilco are among the best known attractions in the borough. The gardens, along with the whole borough, are inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The gardens are located in the southern neighborhood of Xochimilco.
What to See
The gardens are composed of 50 miles (80 km) of canals. These are made up of two parts. The first sector is the town Historic Center, which is tourist oriented. There you will see colorful boats (trajineras) carrying tourists and locals on a tour of the canals.
Aside from the scenery, there is also live music. Scattered throughout this part of the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco are boat vendors, sellers, souvenir stands, restaurants and historical buildings. At the other side is the ecology oriented Parque Natural Xochimilco.
The earliest settlers in the area were hunters and gatherers. Over time, the people learned how to farm and cultivate the land. The oldest settlement are linked with the Tlatilco, Copilco and Cuicuilco settlements. The Xochimilca people first came to the area in the year 900. Their settlement was in Cuahilama close to Santa Cruz Acalpixca.
They were known for their devotion to several gods, including deities of the earth and the hearth. Under the leadership of Acatonallo, the chinampas (artificial islands) were created. It was from the chinampas that their crops emerged. As the years passed, the city would become very powerful and take over the surrounding area.
The admission fee to enter the site is 2 USD. The boat rides will cost 14 to 16 USD per hour.
If you are staying in Mexico for a week or two, your expenses will be at least 2000 USD. It will cost more if you stay in luxury hotels.
The borough is also known for the Dolores Olmedo Museum. The museum is full of artworks and lovely gardens. There is a section which holds the xoloitzcuintle dogs. The pre-Hispanic pieces in the museum number 600. Over 140 of these are by Diego Rivera. There are also several types of furniture in the museum.
This used to be the residence of Dolores Olmedo, a socialite. It also used to be the main residence of the La Noria Hacienda in the 17th century.
The Floating Gardens of Xochimilco are open to the public every day from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm. You can visit the borough on your own or with a tour operator.