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Xochimilco, Mexico: Everything to Know About Visiting

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One of our best memories in Mexico was our trip to Xochimilico. Meet the Venice of Mexico, and enjoy all that this great place has to offer! Here we will share everything that you need to know when visiting Xochimilco, Mexico.


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What is Xochimilco?

Xochimilco, Mexico is a magical place where there are beautifully colored boats called Trajineras. The Trajineras take you down the river for a slow boat ride down the river where you can enjoy the views, food & drinks, music, and much more!

trajineras Xochimilco Mexico

Xochimilco a place where you can ride these colorful boats called "trajineras".


Where is Xochimilco, Mexico?

Xochimilco is located inside of Mexico City, but is about 25 minutes south from the center. That being said, the traffic in Mexico City is unpredictable and can take as long as an hour to get there, despite its close proximity to the city center.

where is xochimilco

Xochimilco is located right outside the center of Mexico City.


How to Get to Xochimilco, Mexico

The first step to exploring Xochimilco is to make yourself to Mexico City! Mexico City is extremely easy and affordable to get to, as there are tons of cheap and direct flights from the US.


We usually use Skyscanner, as you can search for the cheapest dates to fly! Simply plug in your city below and select any month to check it out.

How to Get to Xochimilco from Mexico City

When were visiting Xochimilco Mexico we rented a car, but going by public transportation is definitely easier, as it takes the frustration away from all of the craziness of driving here.


One thing we did love about renting a car in Mexico though, was that we could do some amazing day trip from Mexico City.


Renting a car is easy, and this is one of the sites that we usually use for our rentals:


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Going to Xochimilco With Public Transportation

When visiting Xochimilco Mexico, public transportation  is definitely a great way to go. If you are going from the center you can either take the bus or the metro.


Getting to Xochimilco By Bus

Head over to the station "Cayoacan" and there is a bus that will take you straight to Xochimilco in just under a half hour (traffic permitting). 


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Getting to Xochimilco By Metro

This is easiest way to ensure that you are avoiding traffic. It is also super simple and safe. Hop on the metro towards Tasquena (a ticket will cost just 5 pesos). You can then transfer on the train that is on T1 to go straight to Xochimilco (it goes every ten minutes). This will take about 35 minutes, and cost under $1 USD.


Parking at Xochimilco

If you are driving, the good thing is that parking is extremely easy! There is a giant parking lot that is in the open area, so although it is not enclosed, it is quite safe since it is in the public eye.


Parking was completely free of charge, and you may have someone offer to watch your car (which really shouldn't be necessary).

pier Xochimilco Mexico

Once you park you will find all of the colorful trainers lined up at the dock.



Xochimilco, Mexico: How Much Does a Boat at Xochimilco Cost?

The rate that is given is actually a government mandated charge, so is pretty straight across the board. The rate is normally 500 pesos per hour, and it is difficult to find a rate any different than this. That being said, we got pretty lucky and we found a company that gave us a rate of 350 for the hour! 


Prices are per boat and not per person. The boats are all the same size, and can fit up to 10 or 15 people! So if you have a larger group, this can be an extremely cheap and fun activity.


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Do You Need Tickets for Xochimilco, Mexico?

You do not need to get tickets for Xochimilco, as there are plenty of boats on site.


However, if you would like to book in advance, you can sign up for a tour:

Is Xochimilco Cash Only?

When we went in 2020, you could only pay with cash. However, if you sign up for a tour online, you can pay with your credit card.


Xochimilco, Mexico: How Late is Xochimilco Open?

Most companies offer their services from 9-5, but you can definitely find some that will go later. We found a company that took us from 5:00-6:00, and they were happy to stay out later. Once it gets dark out you will find less and less boats.


There are also some boats that will take you out as early as sunrise (see the tours above) if you book a tour in advance.

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Xochimilco, Mexico: What to Expect

Sailing in the Trajineras is really such a special experience. These colorful boats will take you slowly down the river, with hundreds of other trajineras around you. The captain will make as many stops as you'd like, whether it's for a bathroom break, or to check out one of the many attractions that are on the way.


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Look out for the flower displays, museums, and the creepy building full of dolls! The further down the river you go, of course the more you will see. Depending on how long you go, expect to turn around half way, as the trajineras will go down and back the same route to bring you back to the start.

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How Much Time Do You Need at Xochimilco?

The beauty of visiting Xochimilco, Mexico is that the ride can be however short or long you want it to be! They rent out the boats in hour increments, starting with one hour. We were just two of us with a limited time, so we went for one hour during sunset and thought it was a nice little trip.


If you are with a big group we definitely suggest going for an extra hour or two! This is definitely an activity that you can make a half day out of, eating, drinking, and enjoying the views with a group of family or friends.

xochimilco Mexico

Boat rides can be as long as you want them to be, continuing further down the river.

Food/Drinks

The awesome thing about the boat is that it actually features a long table so that you can comfortably eat and drink with your family and friends. The boats allow you to bring your own food and drinks, giving you the flexibility to have whatever you want! Some people just bring a few beers, while others will bring an entire picnic to enjoy.


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Don't want the hassle of having to bring your own? The good thing is that there are plenty of small boats scattered all throughout the river that will offer food, drinks, and snacks! We saw everything from bags of chips and cold drinks, to cocktails and hot food.

xochimilco boat with food

There are boats that sail around selling food and drinks.

Make sure you bring cash, as the transactions are fast and card free!

Music

The boats themselves don't have music, but you can bring your own speaker if you'd like to liven up your ride. They also have speakers for rental, or you can even have live music! That's right, as you sail down the river you will find plenty of musicians dressed in typical clothing that will hop right on your boat for a small fee to serenate you.


The cool thing is that even if you don't want to have them onboard your boat, there are so many around that chances are you'll have plenty of them to listen to on the nearby boats!

xochimilco serenatas

You can have a group of musicians come right onto your boat to serenade you.


Other Things to Know About Xochimilco, Mexico

Now that you know what to expect, here are just a few other things to keep in mind:


Photography at Xochimilco

Some places throughout Mexico have restrictions on what you can bring. The great thing is that when we visited there weren't any! We were able to easily set up out tripod (the boat is not rocky so it's totally safe), and we even used our drone!


Payments

Pretty much everything that you will pay for once you arrive to Xochimilco is cash only. Make sure that you bring plenty of cash for the boat ride itself, museum, snacks, and souvenirs. (They even sell souvenirs on the small boats that pass by!)


What Should I Wear to Xochimilco?

You can honestly wear anything that keeps you comfortable when visiting Xochimilco. You won't be getting wet or doing anything that calls for physical energy, and there is also sufficient shade from the sun.


Things to Bring to Xochimilco

Honestly, the experience is pretty complete, so you won't need to worry about bringing anything special to Xochimilco except some cash! 

doll museum xochimilco Mexico

Make sure you bring cash in case you want food, drinks, music, or souvenirs along the way!

Here are a few xtra things that we brought though:

  • Drone (You can get epic shots at the beaches! We use the Mavic Mini Pro 3 because it's super light and high quality)
  • Water Bottle (we use Cafago Water Bottles because they hold the temperature well)
  • Power bank (we use Anker power banks, as they are super long lasting and sturdy)

There are plenty of ATMs in town so if you don't have cash you can stop by before taking your boat ride.


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Tipping at Xochimilco, Mexico

The boat ride is a flat fee, but the captains of the Trajineras accept tips, and it is quite common to tip them for their services. We suggest leaving 10%.


Is Xochimilco Worth Visiting?

While some argue that Xochimilco is a tourist trap, we completely disagree! Visiting Xochimilco, Mexico was a truly unique experience, and was a lot of fun. Definitely make sure to add it to your list of things to do in Mexico City!


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Travel Planning Tools

Here are some useful tools that you can use for planning your upcoming trip!

Skyscanner is our go-to for flights, as it lets you search for "anywhere", the cheapest places in each country, and the cheapest dates each month for your destination.

Booking.com is what we use to book our hotels, as you can collect points and get discounts the more you travel.

Economy Bookingsthe cheapest car rentals around the world

Local Rent a Car: for the best local car agencies

Bus Bud: the most complete site for bus tickets around the world

Flix Bus US: the cheapest bus tickets in the US

Train Line: our go-to for trains in a ton of different countries

Omnio: our secondary choice for train or bus tickets

Airalo is a company that offers E-SIM cards for almost every country in the world, to keep you connected during your travels.

Get Your Guide is a site that gathers tours from local tour operators for unique experiences around the world.

Radical Storage is a company that connects you to the closest luggage storage spots so that you can explore on your layovers, or for hotels that won't hold your belongings.


Have we convinced you to visit yet? If you have any other questions about visiting Xochimilco, Mexico leave them in the comments below!


Want to see other cool things to do in and around Mexico? Check out some of our other articles of our favorite spots in this beautiful country!


Looking to pan your next trip but want some guidance? Not only will we help you explore more, but you'll save money along the way! Want to learn more about Scratch Your Mapa Travel Planning? Check out our travel planning services for more info!


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