Xochimilco and Coyoacan: Colorful Spots in Mexico City
Mexico City is full of hiding places and small streets that when you look at them, they seem to be apart from the city. But if you don’t take the time to take a closer look, or skip by it to the next street, suddenly you might find yourself in front of a four-lane highway, it’s very curious and interesting. Even me, who was born there, and has had the opportunity to visit some of the places of interest and other not so well known little corners, every time I go back I encounter new things to admire and visit. Mexico City never ceases to amaze and there is always something interesting to do.
This last trip we went for a little drive to Xochimilco, the highway became narrow streets with less urban and smaller rural structures created during the colonial period, very charming. Finding parking was not easy, but we were quickly spotted by a local on a bike that literally guided us on his bike to a parking area near a little market just steps from the famous and brightly painted trajineras, a type of shallow river boat.
While touring the lake, I started imagining how this canal must have looked years before the conquest, full of small canoes decorated with flowers and transporting all kinds of vegetables and products for trade, less populated and polluted, I’m sure it was beautiful.
Xochimilco comes from the Nahuatl word xochi (tl) – Flower, Mil (li) – milpa (field) and co – location. It can be loosely translated as “flower field” or as our guide told us, “the place of flowers”.
Interesting places to visit:
- Take a ride on the colorful trajineras
- Visit one of the nurseries to see some of the regional flora
- Do you like animals? There is a small museum about the axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum). This amphibian was used as medicine, food and ceremonial object during the Aztec empire. It is considered an incarnation of the god Xolotl, brother of Quetzalcoatl.
Another stop for us on this trip, somewhere I’ve been before, Coyoacán is one of my favorite places to visit in Mexico City. Especially during the weekend when the streets are filled with families walking, couples eating ice cream and kids playing with colorful balloons and blowing bubbles.
If you go to Coyoacan someday, I recommend visiting: La Casa Azul – Frida Kahlo Museum, the National Museum of Watercolor (Museo Nacional de la Acuarela) and the Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares. Sitting down for a coffee in the Jardín Hidalgo, also known as Parque de los Coyotes is really nice, and if you like handcrafts, you need to wander into the Mercado de Artesanías de Coyoacán. Don’t forget to take some pictures on the Plaza e Iglesia de la Concepción, it was the first church built in New Spain.
* Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares
* La Palma Mixteca 1994. María T. Romero y Jesús Valdés – Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares
*Handcrafts market – Mercado de Artesanías de Coyoacán
* National Museum of Watercolor (Museo Nacional de la Acuarela)
This week we are finally back in California, time flew by! But that short week was enough for us to take a break from computers and cellphones. What about you, did you go on a trip this summer? Have you ever visited Mexico City?