A Glimpse of a Mexican Treasure; Xoximilco

A glympse of Xochimilco in Cancun Xoximilco

One of the highlights of a trip to Mexico City is a visit to Xochimilco, an area of canals and floating gardens on the outskirts of the city.  You board a trajinera or traditional, brightly painted barge for an unforgettable trip along the tree-lined canals, past water-borne flower and food vendors and even mariachi bands. The journey is a celebration of Mexico’s colorful heritage, brought to life through cuisine, music, art and flowers, and it has now come to Cancún.  Visitors will soon have the opportunity to discover this most Mexican of experiences for themselves at Xoximilco. Opening on December 20, this park is the latest offering from the Xcaret Group and it takes its inspiration from the famous waterways of Xochimilco, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

Xoximilco Park is located in an area of abandoned sascaberas or limestone quarries five minutes to the south of Cancun International Airport and en route to Puerto Morelos. The site has been reforested with 100,000 native trees and plants and transformed into a park featuring gardens, forest clearings and a chain of canals through which visitors will sail in colorful, flower-festooned trajineras, which are similar to gondolas but modeled on ancient pre-Hispanic canoes called acallis. In Mexico City, the trajineras of Xochimilco are usually named after women, but the new park’s fleet of 40 vessels will be decorated with distinctive designs alluding to each of the nation’s 32 states, Mexico City and the original Xochimilco boats.

 During their three-hour evening journey through Xoximilco Park, visitors will enjoy a Mexican fiesta with delicious traditional cuisine, mariachi serenades, marimba and other live music. Mexican cuisine and Mariachi music are on the World Heritage list.

Xoximilco Park also gives visitors a glimpse of traditional Xochimilco culture and celebrations. The inhabitants of the wetlands to the south of Mexico City cultivate chinampas or man-made islands using the nutrient-rich silt to grow corn, vegetables, fruit and flowers in floating gardens.  Their farming techniques date back to the days of the Aztecs when their capital Tenochtitlán (now Mexico City) was on an island in the middle of a huge lake. The word “Xochimilco” means “field of flowers” in the Nahuatl language and nowadays area farmers grow lilies, roses, geraniums, dahlias and poinsettias for the Christmas season.

If you would like to visit Xoximilco Park, Cancún’s latest evening attraction, contact Thomas More Travel. The first trajineras set sail at 6 p.m. and the park closes at 11 p.m., Monday to Saturday.

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