Above: Trajineras line up in the floating gardens of Xochimilco in Mexico City

The Canals of Xochimilco

One of the most pleasant memories of our trip was an afternoon spent exploring the canals in the outlying borough of Xochimilco on a traditional 30-foot-long trajinera, a type of colorful gondola. Using a long, wooden pole, our boatman propelled our craft along the calm waterways past verdant chinampas (floating gardens). This network of artificially made islands bordered by well-stocked nurseries was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. Our rainbow-colored trajinera was equipped with a bright red-and-white wood banquet table and 12 slightly rickety turquoise-painted rush-seat chairs.

A <em>trajinera</em>, a type of colorful gondola, in Xochimilco in Mexico City, Mexico - Photo by Hideaway Report editor

Our guide had arranged for a traditional lunch of barbacoa accompanied by handmade tortillas to be served to us during the ride. The homemade food was specially ordered from a reliable merchant and delivered hot directly to our gondola. Drinks and artisanal handicrafts could be purchased from vendors on passing barges, and floating mariachi bands offered to play for a small sum. Though about 45 minutes from the city center, this is an eminently worthwhile excursion that can be combined with a visit to the Museo Frida Kahlo, a 25-minute drive away.

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