Xochimilco is located southeast of Mexico City, and since ancient times it has been home to 14 native peoples responsible for preserving features of their traditional indigenous culture. These women and men honor the Nahuatl name of this municipality, which in Spanish translates as “land of flowers”. Here nature emerges among the chinampas. Despite being in one of the largest cities in the world, an endemic salamander that has the ability to regenerate its body parts, called ajolote, lives in Xochimilco.
In Xochimilco, culture is alive, so alive that all kinds of pre-Hispanic rites are celebrated here, such as the Day of the Dead or the annual celebration of the Most Beautiful Flower of the Ejido.
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Regarding the chinampas, we can say that they are a kind of rafts where flowers and vegetables are grown on the surface of the lake. To visit them, you have to take a trip of approximately 184 km on a trajinera that navigates through the lake’s canals. These aquatic plots are so unique that in 1987 UNESCO declared them a World Cultural Heritage Site.
Here in every nook and cranny, there is a different flower, and although sometimes they are not so visible, an animal is hidden among the greenery. Among the most notable species are tilapia, freshwater mojarra, and of course, the ajolotes. On the other hand, there are more than 100 types of birds, some of them migratory. But let’s go by parts-
Bees in Xochimilco
In Xochimilco there is a chinampa with an apiary. This experience, made by Rutopía, can be lived thanks to a special trajinera tour, made to know the world of this fascinating insect. During the trip through the waters of Xochimilco, the importance of bees for the pollination of flowers is explained.
On the other hand, for those who want to go deeper, experts give a workshop that allows visitors to see a beehive up close and taste four types of honey.
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Salamanders in Xochimilco
Ajolotes (or axolotls) are a species of salamanders endemic to Mexico City. That is, it is a species that lives exclusively in the Valley of Mexico. Its name means “aquatic monster” in Nahuatl. This small animal is in critical danger of extinction due to the pollution of the canals of Xochimilco.
Fortunately, Mexico has several programs to conserve this animal and its habitat. Part of the conservation measures is to encourage ecotourism. To contribute to these significant initiatives, Rutopía offers a small tour within the National Protected Area Ejidos de Xochimilco in the Apantle demonstration chinampa. This is a refuge for the salamander that seeks to avoid water contamination and promotes the conservation of trees.
The canals of Xochimilco still retain an air typical of Mexico’s magical towns. Animal conservation is only part of what this tourist destination has to offer.