The Food & Canals Of Xochimilco
Pop-Up Tour: Oct. 3 - Dec. 20, 2019
1-Hour Canal Ride
Try Locally Grown Ingredients
Small Town Feel
The borough of Xochimilco, located about an hour’s drive southeast of downtown Mexico City, is most known for its farms and canals — they’ve carried produce to the city center since ancient times. On this tour, designed by our guide Mario Aranda, we’ll not only ride on the canals, but you’ll get an inside look at the local food culture from the perspective of Mario, who was born and raised there.
This is an Eat Mexico pop-up tour. These tours, designed by our guides, are offered a few months of the year only.
Visit Xochimilco’s famous downtown market, which carries produce grown on local farms
Taste some of the best street food and market stalls
Float along Xochimilco’s ancient canals
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Children (8-13): $35
Young children (0-7): free
Availability & departure time
Daily at 10AM
Note: only available from October 3 to December 20, 2019.
The corner of Guadalupe I. Ramírez (a pedestrian street) and Pedro Ramírez del Castillo in downtown Xochimilco, next to the Bilbioteca Central Delegacional Quetzalcóatl.
3.5 to 4 hours
Minimum 2 people, maximum 8 people
Traveling with a group larger than 8? We’ve got you covered! Book a private tour by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- All the food you can eat (enough for a big breakfast and lunch)
- Mexican fruit tasting
- Pulque tasting (ancestral Mexican beverage that contains alcohol)
- Filtered water throughout the tour
- Generous tips for vendors
- Transport to/from the meeting and end points of the tour. (Note: private transport is available as an add-on at checkout.)
- Tip for your guide
- Additional personal beverages, outside what’s included on the tour itinerary
What to bring
- Comfortable walking shoes
- An appetite
- Water to stay hydrated
- Tip for your guide if desired (we also offer the option of pre-paying the tip at checkout)
- An umbrella during the rainy season months (June through October)
- Tote bag for purchases, if desired
Guests should be able to walk for about two hours, with some stops to rest.
Staff on tour
You’ll be accompanied by one of our local, bilingual culinary guides. Each has a degree in gastronomy and/or has worked in local kitchens. They’ll enrich your experience by sharing their knowledge of Mexico City’s food scene, their own personal traditions, and the vendors’ stories. Read more about our guides here.
Xochimilco is famous for its canals — a network that used to stretch to the city center in ancient times. But it’s a fabulous place to eat, too, filled with produce that’s more vibrant and delicious than what you’d see elsewhere in Mexico City. On this tour, designed by our guide and Xochimilco native Mario Aranda, we’ll take you to the best spots to eat, and open your eyes to this region’s unique food culture and identity.
You’ll tour the bustling market, where women sell handmade tortillas and tlacoyos in long rows, and where farmers sell produce grown nearby. You’ll see soups sold out of clay pots and and see locally made cheeses and desserts.
You’ll learn the history of Xochimilco and why it was so important in the founding of Mexico City. You’ll visit an herbolaría, where indigenous medicine and modern healing have combined to treat illnesses not only of the body, but the spirit. Finally, we’ll end at a pulquería, one of the last truly traditional ones in the city, where you’ll try a taste of the ancestral Mexican beverage made with fermented maguey sap.
If you’re looking for a different kind of experience in Mexico City, one takes you out of the urban heart and into an area with a more small-town feel, this is the tour for you!
Some of the foods you’ll try on this tour include:
Made with starchy, fat cacahuazintle corn, this steamed corn-on-the-cob is dusted in grated cheese and chile powder, a spritz of lime, and a slathering of mayonnaise. If you think you already know corn on the cob, this will change your mind completely!
Flan with Local Milk
It’s customary in Xochimilco for women to set up in long rows, selling local cheeses, clotted cream, and desserts made with milk from nearby Milpa Alta. You’ll try a creamy flan from Mario’s favorite vendor.
Quesadillas With Locally Grown Ingredients
Many of Xochimilco’s canals are actually lined with farms, called chinampas. At one market stand, you’ll try quesadillas made with vegetables grown on these chinampas, made by a local couple who have been churning out food for more than 35 years.
An ancestral Mexican beverage, pulque is an example of living Mexican history and heritage. It’s made from fermented maguey sap and contains alcohol. At the pulquería you’ll visit in Xochimilco, you’ll see and try unusual flavors such as amaranth, chia, marigold (late October only), and more.
Plus several more items!
- This tour doesn’t include transport. You’ll need to get to the meeting point on your own. See our FAQ below for detailed instructions on how to get to Xochimilco.
- The tour is conducted rain or shine.
- We like to blend in with the locals. Dress in comfortable clothing, and leave any flashy or expensive clothes and jewelry at home. Note: Mexico City can be chilly in the mornings and warmer in the afternoon, so it’s best to dress in layers.
- This tour includes a lot of food. We recommend eating a light breakfast beforehand to compensate for the travel time from your hotel to the meeting point of the tour.
- Vegetarians can be accommodated on this tour, but meat and vegetables will be cooked on the same surface.
- Vegans can be accommodated on this tour—4 of the 7 food stops are vegan-compatible.
- Feel free to bring your own water bottle. We’ll stop to refill it with purified water.
- Mexico City sits at nearly 7,300 feet high. This means you’ll feel more tired than normal if you’re not used to the altitude. Don’t do this tour if you haven’t gotten any sleep the night before, or if you’re arriving to the airport on the same morning.
- If you’d like to make any purchases (see our FAQ on souvenirs), bring cash and a small tote bag. Credit cards are not accepted here.
How do I get to Xochimilco?
It takes about 50 minutes to an hour to get to Xochimilco from Central Mexico City (Centro Histórico/Reforma/Roma/Condesa/Polanco). A rideshare service such as Uber will cost around $100 pesos ($5.50 USD) each way. You can also take public transportation, and take the subway to the Tasqueña stop and then transfer to the local Tren Ligero (the light rail costs $3 pesos each way or about 17 to 20 US cents). If you have any questions on how to get there, please email us at email@example.com and we’ll tell you all you need to know. Please note your travel time may be significantly longer if taking public transport.
How long is the tour?
3 1/2 to 4 hours.
Does the tour end where it starts?
The ending point of the tour is very close to the start point. The tour ends at Xochimilco’s Central Plaza, about a block from the start point. If you need help getting back to your hotel at the end of the tour, your guide will help you find the nearest subway station or an Uber
Will I eat a lot of food?
Yes! You can eat as much as you want in each of the stops. Our guide will let you know how many stops remain so you can pace yourself. No one knows your appetite better than you!
Do I need to take cash with me?
If you plan to tip your guide, you should bring enough cash to cover that—about 10 to 15 percent is standard. (We also offer the option of paying your guide’s tip ahead of time at checkout.) You may also choose to bring a bit extra for any market goods. All the food you can eat, plus at least two drinks and purified water, are covered by us.
Is there an ATM on the route?
No, please bring cash if you plan on buying anything outside of what’s included on the tour.
Is this market good for souvenir shopping?
Not really. It is a good place to buy food or Mexican ingredients. The market does not carry items such as colorful ceramics, Mexican textiles or folk art. But you can buy excellent tortillas, local cheeses, and other food items you may want to snack on at your hotel or lodging.
Will my guide speak English?
Of course! Our guides are culinary experts and speak perfect English.
Can I do the tour if I am traveling alone?
We usually require a two-person minimum on our tours. If you’re a solo traveler, you’re welcome to book the date of your choosing—if it has other guests, you’re good to go. If three days prior to the tour date, the tour does not have any other guests, we will reach out to you about choosing a different date or refund your ticket.
Is the neighborhood safe?
Our guide Mario Aranda designed this tour and grew up in this neighborhood. He has never had an issue with violence. That said, Mexico City is an enormous place and pickpocketing can happen. If you wear plain clothing, leave your jewelry at home, and keep your wallet and cellphone tucked away, there should be no problem.