The Cuemanco Boat Launch gives you a lot of Xochimilco, in the middle of an enormous and ecologically growing park area. Just 23 km south of the historic center of Mexico City, the Cuemanco area includes the trajinera launch, plus the park and plant market. The largest park in Mexico City after Chapultepec, Cuemanco contributes a great deal to the health, well-being, and clean air of the entire Valley of Mexico.
A good deal of the park’s territory is dedicated to chinampas. Artificial islands created on the shallow waters of the lakes predating the pre-Hispanic period; the chimampas line the canals. Restoration efforts have expanded the lake by some 54 hectares and created others. The Cuemanco boat launch is home-base for the trajineras, flat-bottomed boats used in the past to move goods through the canals and as far north as the Centro Histórico. This one opened for business in 1993.
Touring the chinampas and the canals is as easy as negotiating with one of the trajinera operators or a central dispatcher. Prices are for parties of one to 20 persons, so while you can negotiate for multiple hours, the prices is always fixed no matter the size of your party. Rather, prices depend on hours purchased. These are the most common routes:
Atizapán canal (1 hour);
Tlilac lagoon (1.5 hours);
Old Cuemanco canal (2 hours);
Ajolotario (3 hours);
España Club (3 hours);
Island of the Dolls (4 hours), and;
Apatlaco canal (5 hours).
Extras usually include quesadillas or similar foods cooked on passing boats, but can also include serenading mariachis, up to entire bands. Journeys average between one and three hours, but for special events it’s not uncommon to negotiate for a boat ride of four or even eight hours.
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