Folklore and tradition are alive and well on the Xochimilco canals (the name translates as "fields of flowers"), despite the town's popularity with tourists (mainly Mexicans). The Aztecs quickly took control of this rural village, which grew crops in floating gardens on Lake Texcoco. Despite the lake drying up, plants continue to be cultivated here and 189km of canals survive, fifteen of which can be explored on a trajinera boat ride. Xochimilco was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
On weekends (busy days), the lancha colectiva (collective boat) rides along the gran canal for about 15 pesos between Salitre and Nuevo Nativitas (noon-6pm - 30mn). Nuevo Nativitas boasts the largest concentration of boats, a tourist information desk (9am-7pm) and a crafts market (weekends). On weekdays, hire a trajinera which service times are strictly controlled (350 pesos, check on the information board or www.xochimilco.df.gob.mx). To reach Nuevo Nativitas by land, take the pesero "Galeana" before the flower market; to return, follow the bank to Zacapa pier and take the pesero "Xochimilco" (10min)