After living in Mexico City for some time now, there is one thing that I always miss: being on some body of water.
While I'm not normally a beach person, living in the concrete jungle that is Mexico City does make you occasionally miss being near at least some nice lake, river, beach, etc.
However, you do have some lakes in select parks of the city that work OK.
Among other places you could visit!
One other one that is quite popular with foreign and Mexican tourists is the Xochimilco canals.
However, most of the foreign tourists completely overlook the other prehispanic lakes or canals in the area: Lago de Los Reyes Aztecas and Lagunas de Xico.
All three areas are located relatively close to each other with two of them being in Tlahuac right next to Xochimilco.
And so what is it like visiting any of these three spots?
Well, over the last few days, I took the time to visit each one of them and I included my experience below so you can learn more.
Let's get to it.
Visiting Lago de Los Reyes Aztecas
On a early afternoon last Sunday on July 24, 2022, I took an Uber from my apartment in Tlahuac over to nearby Lago de los Reyes Aztecas.
Once I got there, there was one point of entrance that I noticed unlike with Xochimilco where you got various points of entrance where you can get on the lake.
Here is the entrance to the place.
Right away, I noticed a little food area that you can see here.
Passing by that, immediately some skinny dude in his 30s approached me and asked if I wanted to get on the lake.
I said yes and asked for the prices.
He turned around and pointed at a sign that said 400 pesos per hour.
So, as of 2022, that's what you should pay.
I agreed and we got on the boat.
You got various options to choose from as you can see here.
The guide -- whose name was Ricardo -- explained to me that they put female names on the boat because it's supposed to give good luck.
Anyway, I went with the Cuban flag one that had the words "Tlahuac" because we are in Tlahuac.
Though perhaps I should have chosen the one with the American flag, right?
Anyway, I got on the boat alone as I didn't bring anyone with me (the price was still the same at just 400 pesos for the hour).
Immediately, he begins explaining everything around me.
What these plants are over there or over there.
How, as you can see in these photos below here, you got places where you can hold events if you want or get some drinks.
Either for someone's birthday perhaps, maybe go to a restaurant, etc.
Or how, as you can see in this photo here, there's this volcano way in the distance that is no longer active and has a history of fucking people up with typical volcano shenanigans.
Lava and all that good stuff.
During the whole ride anyway, we made a bunch of small talk too and the dude overall seemed very friendly.
I happened to be one of the few foreigners that has came to the lake in his recent memory.
Though he has had other Americans and a French woman once, he explained how he really doesn't take on too many foreigners in general.
Most of the people who show up here are Mexicans.
Meanwhile, whenever we passed one of the few other boats taking passengers along, he'd yell out to the other guides that "HE'S FROM AMERICA!! AMERICA YEAH!!"
Literally just about everyone -- including the fishermen from nearby housing -- got a "I GOT AN AMERICAN!!!" shoutout.
And I'd just lift my hand up, awkward smile and go "right, yup, I'm the American in question."
To be honest, he probably did that also because I was the only person on my boat and maybe a few of them were wondering why there is only one person who took a boat that day.
Everyone else had other people on their boat.
And, among the few other boats we did pass, half of them were "boyfriend, girlfriend" type situations of a couple just wanting alone time and the other half were a group of people together blasting music and having a fun time.
In fact, as you can see here, one of the boats got a little bit crazy and knocked some chairs into the water.
Among the "boyfriend, girlfriend" boats, I was curious if the guide had any interesting stories.
Particularly, I was wondering if he ever had an awkward moment where a dude proposes to his girl, she saws no and then Ricardo has to be stuck for an hour of listening to some guy cry and scream "NO MAMES PUTA!!! TE AMO!!! POR FAVOR, QUIERO CASARME CONTIGO!!!! PUTA PINCHE ZORRA!!!"
Meanwhile, he'd have to intervene and go "calmate wey, no mames wey, hay otras chicas en el mundo wey, no mames wey."
But he had no such stories (though people do use the lake to propose obviously).
He did say though that it's not uncommon for young couples to ask the guide to take them to some secluded spot in the area to fuck where he'd get off the boat, walk away while they did their business and return.
In one case, a couple even asked if he wanted to join in on their threesome but he declined the generous offer.
I told him "you should've said yes and charge extra."
At any rate, I guess it does sound like a good idea, doesn't it?
Especially being a white foreigner such as myself on the "AZTEC KING LAKE."
Get some brown, indigenous Mexican woman and fuck her, as THE WHITE MAN, on the Aztec Lake?
Symbolic of Mexican history, isn't it?
The White Man -- ONCE AGAIN -- breeding the indigenous women on THEIR land.
Going from the days of Christoper Columbus fucking Malinche's wet holes on Lake Texcoco, I must continue the tradition by doing the same on another Aztec lake.
If I ever get an indigenous girlfriend someday, I'm definitely taking her to this lake.
Even if she was some white Mexican from Polanco that is so white she looks like a descendant of the Spaniards, she's still Mexican, you know?
Just have her learn a few words from Nahuatl to moan out while fucking her brains out.
*scribbles that down on my bucket list of shit to do before I leave Mexico to travel again*
Anyway, Ricardo and I had a few good laughs about some of the stories he had of awkward couples wanting to use the boat for degenerate purposes.
At some point, it started to rain a bit as you can see here and we had to park the boat near some chinampa.
For those who don't know, chinampas are basically these little ejido lands that the nearby locals use to grow their food.
There's a more technical definition of them that you can find on Wikipedia but that's basically how he described it to me.
During the rain when he parked the boat, I got off the boat to step food on one of the chinampas to take pictures of it.
Here they are.
While doing so, it did occur to me that I'm on someone's private property and I should get off before someone runs up to me demanding to give them money for taking pictures.
That can happen in touristy areas as I wrote about here.
While back on the boat, there actually was a little girl that couldn't have been older than 7 if I wanted to buy something to eat.
They basically had a few snacks.
I asked her -- perhaps a bit dumb on my part -- if "they have any beer."
Unfortunately, they were not selling beer.
In hindsight, I should've bought beer from the little food market area before getting on the boat.
Anyway, she left us alone after she said that they didn't have beer (despite the fact I did see an empty Tecate can on their chinampa but whose counting?).
Well, during our wait anyhow on the boat for the rain to stop, I sat down with Ricardo and kept having a casual chat with the dude.
Then we carried on and I ended up actually getting like 10 minutes more on my two hours that I paid for.
I initially only agreed to 1 hour but the dude asked if I wanted more time at some point during the ride.
At first, I wasn't sure if I wanted more than an hour because, while the ride was nice, it wasn't overly exciting.
But then he discounted the price after I declined initially and it ended up being 600 pesos for 2 hours.
At that point, it was only 10 bucks more for another hour and I figured "fuck it, sure."
Anyway, the extra hour really didn't show me anything new.
No new plants, no new volcanoes or mountains to look at, nothing new at all.
It really is just a "do you want another hour on the boat as we keep going forward?"
He did say the boat ride could even last as much as 6 hours and we'd see some more interesting stuff but I didn't want to do a full 6 hours.
One thing that I was curious about -- and I have Ricardo's number as he gave it to me so I might ask him someday -- is about the nearby village looking areas.
From what I saw on Google Maps and from the area he explained to me that he lives in that is nearby, you do have relatively more rural areas close to these chinampas.
Like the poorer housing you see going down the canal with people fishing or whatever.
I am a bit curious to see some of those areas and maybe Ricardo could take me to some of them?
Just to see an even more rural area of Mexico City because, after years in the concrete jungle, it is kinda interesting to again see something more rural for once in a long time.
Anyway, we soon found ourselves heading back.
Overall, we didn't pass too many boats during the two hours. Some here and there but plenty of space around us.
The boats were not blocking the views of any of the nature and there wasn't much housing development on either side.
It actually was a tiny bit surprising to me that this area didn't have more than just a single restaurant and a few other buildings near the front.
It would not surprise me if someday they try building more bars and nightclubs on the sides of the canal for foreigners and Mexican tourists who want to do drugs, drink and have fun near the place.
Especially if Tlahuac ever somehow gets international attention as a place in Mexico City to move to (which isn't happening anytime soon).
Probably better that way, no?
While I'm all for having a cool nightclub that has some private rooms where you can fuck a hot Colombian slut and get wasted in front of this lake, I also enjoyed the fact that this area was pretty quiet.
Not touristy at all with nobody trying to fuck me over on prices.
And a general place where you can kinda get away from the large concrete jungle of Mexico City and just finally get on a nice lake again.
With that experience too, I also felt the itch in me to travel again beyond Mexico City.
My time here -- for whatever reason -- just gave me that same sensation of what it was like during my first two years of traveling Latin America.
And I liked it.
Perhaps a realization that it is getting time for me to travel again and have some adventures elsewhere.
At any rate, the experience at Lago de Los Reyes Aztecas was cool.
If you go here, don't forget to bring enough beer, maybe a speaker for your boat, etc.
Perhaps a nice indigenous woman to fuck?
Enjoy the remaining photos I have of this lake below and let's move onto the next lake: Lagunas de Xico.
Visiting Lagunas de Xico
The guide I had for Lago de Los Reyes Aztecas told me that these two lakes (Aztecas and Xico) were once connected and you could get on a trajinera and travel from one to the next.
Not so much these days.
But they share a similar prehispanic history.
Anyway, Lagunas de Xico is actually very close to Lago de Los Reyes Aztecas in Tlahuac also.
But it has absolutely NO tourism infrastructure whatsoever.
No boats (trajineras) you can get on.
Nobody selling beer.
Not even a chair to sit down on.
Basically, you have a very narrow road called Calz. Tlahuac Chalco that cuts right through the Lagunas de Xico with the lagoon on each side of the road.
I ended up taking a taxi to get there.
Not every taxi will as some are not allowed to go over there given that, from what I understood, you'll technically be crossing the line from Mexico City to State of Mexico.
Which is true -- this road will take you to the State of Mexico very quickly as the lagoon shares both sides of the border.
And the road itself is a little bit tricky for seeing the area.
There's only two spots you can park your vehicle on and one of them is the entrance to some federally restricted land.
In either scenario, the taxi driver will have a slightly difficult time getting back onto the road after having parked because, with all the trees, it'll be a little bit difficult for him to see perfectly both sides of the road and any oncoming traffic before getting back on.
And, given how narrow the road is, plenty of accidents do happen here time to time and you do have to be careful when crossing the road to the other side to take more pictures given the amount of traffic and how they don't have any room to get around you.
Anyway, my taxi driver I did get from Tlahuac to this road was pretty cool.
He had spent 8 years in the US as an illegal immigrant, married a local woman and had a kid with her but got deported and can't return for 5 years until his legal situation is fixed.
Cool dude to talk with anyhow and went out of his way to help me find a good spot for some photos.
Here are some pics of the trip over there with the last two photos being of the lagoon.
We first stopped at one of the two spots I mentioned along the road where you can kinda park your vehicle.
Here are some of the photos of the lagoon after we parked.
Then, as you can see in the 6th and 7th photos above, there's also some park nearby called Bosque de Tequesquite that, from what I read online, is technically on ejido land.
So access seems to be restricted.
But the taxi dude did tell me that, in Mexico, "a bribe fixes anything."
Anyway, we carried on after about 10 minutes being here.
We ended up driving along until we got to the State of Mexico side as you can see here.
On the State of Mexico side, you can see a little place offering pulques!
Literally the only tourism infrastructure for this lake.
Though I doubt they sell to many people wanting a pulque to enjoy the lake with.
In fact, I did wonder to myself: "who is the lady selling to?"
From what I soon saw, there are a bunch of very poor looking buildings that you'll soon find if you go down this dirt road that is the very first one going to the left.
But I doubt many of those folks are doing the 20 minute walk or whatever it'd be for her pulques.
Anyway, it did give me an idea -- bring a few plastic chairs, buy her pulques and then set up shop at one of those dirt spots you can park your car at to see the lake.
Basically, that is LITERALLY the ONLY way you could enjoy this lake from what I noticed briefly.
Bring a few friends in one vehicle (you won't have space to park two), some plastic chairs, buy her pulques first and then turn around onto the road to park and just sit down to relax.
Perhaps do it a few hours before sunset and don't forget the speaker to blast reggaeton.
Unless, of course, you can somehow get a boat onto the lake but you'd probably need to find another spot where you can safely get it onto the lake (where there'd be enough space to park and handle it all) and also I'm not sure if they would prohibit you from doing so given there is seemingly some federal presence on the second spot where you could park the vehicle.
And so that is a question -- any other spots you could enjoy the lake from?
Well, we didn't do a full circle around the entire lake obviously.
If you could somehow get access to that Bosque de Tequesquite area, that'd be ideal from what I can imagine.
Otherwise, when we did get to the State of Mexico side, we did go down that very first dirt road that I mentioned before but the lake is so much farther out in the distance from what we saw that you basically can't enjoy it from over there.
We ended up finally getting to some mini gate spot and some local wouldn't let us keep going so we had to turn around.
And that's all.
Finally, there's a few more things to say about this lake that I learned:
For one, there's a lot of birds that migrate to the lake. Supposedly they come from Canada according to the taxi dude.
Second, as you can see here, parts of the lake is drying up closer to the State of Mexico side.
Eh, I wouldn't make this lake a priority if you only had a week in Mexico City.
Even if you had a month and were staying in Roma Norte or somewhere far away, I wouldn't go out of my way to visit this lake.
The only way I would recommend it is you just happen to be spending a day in Tlahuac and got 30 minutes to kill (10 minutes to get there, 10 minutes to take pictures, 10 minutes to drive back).
Though, if you happen to want a isolated lake that has no tourism and absolutely not a single soul bothering you, it isn't the worst idea to visit.
The only other downside to the lake is that the spot we parked at had a bunch of old tires dumped at the front and so that part of the lake looked a bit dirty but the rest of the lake looked perfectly fine.
So, as I said, this lake could be enjoyed for a quick 10 minutes.
If you do what I said where you can bring some friends, a few plastic chairs, a speaker, some beer and maybe a boat (especially if you were seeing it from Tequiesquite side), then you got something to work with here.
And, like I said, you won't really have a single soul bothering you.
Imagine that for a second -- in a city as huge as Mexico City with its millions of people -- and you can somehow enjoy a lake without really anyone else trying to harass you for money and the lake is basically all to yourself?
What Lagunas de Xico really represents though -- even worse than Lago de Los Reyes Aztecas -- is a beautiful area with prehispanic history that really has a lot of tourism potential but it's completely ignored.
Nobody -- outside of a few locals who might live nearby -- give a fuck about this lake.
It wouldn't surprise me if someday they gentrify the living fuck out of some of the housing located close to the lake on either the Mexico City or State of Mexico side and beef up the investment into the area.
Or if they just continue ignoring it.
So it is what it is.
Here's some last minute pics I took as we headed back towards the Mexico City side.
Now let's move on to Xochimilco now!
Before getting to Xochimilco, I had heard quite often from others about how it's so common for people to scam you here.
Out of curiosity, I asked Ricardo of Aztecas about it since I knew I was going to show up to Xochimilco on Monday (the day after I went to Lago de Los Reyes Aztecas).
He said that it's likely they might try to hit me with prices of 700 to 1000 pesos per hour.
And that some might try to put on a big show if I decline the excessive price.
As he put it, they might try to put on a real "naco show" where they act all outraged, offended, tough, aggressive, etc.
Well, you know, aggressive for some 5'7 Mexican dude from Estado who fucks his cousin (also wife) and who has a big ol' stomach and no muscle.
Anyway, Ricardo gave me some usual tips you'd think about: tell them you've been here before and know the prices, ask for a physical list of the prices, etc.
He also said that there are "trajineras comunales" that you can take. He quoted prices of them being like 30 pesos or whatever but others have told me they might go for like 100 pesos.
From what I understand, they are better suited for those who are going alone and want to perhaps tag along in some other boat full of people and that they do the trajineras comunales on the weekends usually around Saturday or Sunday (from what I read online).
From what I read online too, it seems like their boat trips on the "comunales" are a little bit shorter. Definitely not going the full 6 hours or something.
Anyway, I kept his advice in mind and went to Xochimilco after the day I checked out both Lago de Los Reyes Aztecas and Lagunas de Xico on Sunday.
On Monday, I ordered an Uber to the "Embarcadero Nativitas" as I read online that it's recommended I go to that one instead of some of the other points where you can arrive to check out Xochimilco.
And, as a side point, I read online and watched a few videos suggesting that Nativitas is better because supposedly they scam you less and have their prices written down better than in some of the other points of entrance.
To the point that, as I saw in on video online, one couple (among others I've seen) even say that their taxi drivers try telling them that the Nativitas is closed and try taking them to another point of entrance where they'd supposedly get a commission for taking them somewhere else.
That's what I've heard anyway.
Not saying you can't get fucked over in Nativitas either but, based on the experiences I've read and listened to, it SEEMS there is less fuckery there with the prices.
Anyway, because of those stories, I'd also recommend you take an Uber instead of a taxi because I have more confidence your Uber driver will be less likely to fuck with you on where to go instead of a taxi driver.
Though the first one I got did cancel on me after asking me which point I was headed to and I told him.
Guess he doesn't like Nativitas either.
Anyway, when I got there, there wasn't much too much bullshit.
Before I even got out of the Uber, there was a dude near the entrance that I saw eyeballing my vehicle and checking his phone as well.
The dude in question was the guy in the blue shirt in the picture below here.
Just standing around obviously waiting for me to get out.
When I did, he approaches me and asks if I want to check out the place.
I sure do!
And my "fuck you, you ain't scamming me" mentality is on.
Ready to kick in my years of arguing with scamming Colombians, Dominicans and Venezuelans (some of the worst scammers of Latin America) for this moment.
Perhaps some yelling of....
"NO JODA!!!! CONOZCO BIEN XOCHIMILCO!! VIVO AQUI CON MI ESPOSA DE PUEBLA Y SIEMPRE, SIEMPRE PAGAMOS 500 PESOS CADA PINCHE DIA, PENDEJO!!! NO JODA!!! NO SEA MARICA!!!"
But there was no arguing!
No scam prices.
The dude gave me a a little brochure in Spanish that had all the prices even with "PROFECO" on the front.
Apparently 30 pesos for a "viaje sencillo" and 60 pesos for a "viaje redondo" on those "lanchas colectivas" or "comunales" as I mentioned before.
Only on the weekend and festival days though!
And the "tarifa oficial" was 500 pesos per hour where it even says "for the service, not per person."
Actually, I ended up only paying 1,300 pesos for 3 hours.
At first, I was thinking of just two hours or 1,000 pesos so that I'd have an equal amount of time on both lakes (Aztecas and Xochimilco) but I asked, out of curiosity, how much it would be to visit the "Island of Dolls" that you can see in this video here.
Supposedly some famous part.
And he told me "3 hours needed" so 1,500 pesos.
At first, I wasn't sure if I wanted to spend 75 bucks to see some doll island.
Honestly, I didn't really give a fuck about it but it does sometimes get mentioned as a place to visit and so "why not?"
But, after some obvious hesitancy on my end to spend 25 bucks to see some random dolls, the dude cuts in with a "1,300 pesos" for it.
Given it was a Monday, maybe that helped the discounted price.
And, while it's only a 10 bucks difference, I'll be the first to admit any "deal" makes me feel more motivated to take it.
Sure, why not?
So I spent the extra 15 bucks for that extra hour.
I figured that, even if the doll island is kinda lame, having another hour on the lake would be cool in of itself.
So we head on over.
I took some pictures before getting on and got the "Xochimilco" boat.
Probably the best boat to choose from, right?
Anyway, before the boat ride begins with just me on the boat as I didn't bring anyone along, some cute Latina walked onto the boat and ....
No. She didn't offer any blowjob services for 15 bucks on the water
Would've been nice though!
Actually, she asked if I wanted any beer, snacks, etc.
Given I already ate, I wasn't interested in any food.
But a beer sounds good!
Honestly, given it's just 35 pesos, it isn't that bad of a deal.
With how touristy this place is, you'd honestly expect higher prices on the beer.
Especially when you actually get on the lake. Like who the fuck else are you going to buy from?
But, from what I learned, apparently a lot of Mexicans who enjoy this lake just bring their own beer and sometimes their own mariachis to play for them.
Honestly, that was kinda surprising to hear from my tour guide for this place.
A man named Eduardo.
Given how even normal restaurants won't let you bring your own drinks in for obvious reasons, you'd think a place as touristy as this would prohibit any bringing of your own beers, food, speakers, mariachis, etc.
Though, if you are a foreigner at the wrong port where maybe there's more scammers, I could honestly see someone trying to fuck with you for bringing your own stuff and claiming that "it costs extra" to do so or some bullshit.
Anyway, one thing I noticed though was the lady was a little bit pushy on the beer.
Even the promoter dude who brought me over tagged along with her in pressuring me to buy more shit before embarking.
I had to tell them no several times like "bro, it's cool. Just one beer."
With the woman insisting "OK, I'll bring you some ice, a bucket of beer" when I told her firmly several times already "no, no ice. Just one beer is fine. One beer."
Here is the lone beer anyway that came without any friends (like me).
Then, with beer in hand, they wanted cash before the journey began.
Which is OK but is one difference between Xochimilco and Lago de Los Reyes Aztecas: the former expects payment of the whole trip before you begin and the other takes payment after the trip is over.
Anyway, as we got going, the journey began a little bit slower than in Lago de Los Reyes Aztecas given there were SO many boats already in the water that we had to navigate past.
Compared to the Aztecas lake, Xochimilco simply gets way more people and, keep in mind, this was on a Monday in the final hours before the place closed for the day.
Quite often boats would hit each other. Almost had my beer knocked over.
Here's some pictures of the beginning of the ride that come from mostly after we got past a lot of the initial surrounding boats.
Another thing I noticed was that the boats in Xochimilco seemed to be in slightly rougher condition as you can see here.
The guide had to step in a few times to stop rowing so that he could quickly place this thing back in proper position whenever it went off the ledge.
Another thing too was that the water itself seemed just slightly dirtier compared to Aztecas lake given there were just a few plastic or beer bottles here and there.
In the Aztecas Lake, I didn't notice any junk like that thrown over.
Also, in the first hour of my time on the lake, it was pretty uneventful.
The guide seemed nice overall but not as engaging in explaining the history of the place or anything about the plants or whatever.
But Eduardo did seem like a chill and very friendly dude. Very quiet but easy to talk with.
He'd sometimes sit down with me as I was enjoying my beer and just have casual chat.
Ended up buying him a beer and, funny enough, the beer seller gave us "worker prices" as they put it as it was literally only 15 pesos for the beer.
But obviously not all of the beer was that cheap (though it wasn't expensive).
And that was one thing I liked about Xochimilco compared to the Aztecas Lake: more access to beer.
As you can see here, you had these little boats floating around offering food, beer, micheleadas, pulque, etc.
Ended up buying myself some micheleadas.
They seem to sell for around 100 to 120 pesos each.
I ended up buying the first one for 100 and the second was 120.
When it comes to the pulque, it seems to be about a 100 pesos per liter.
Though, near the end of the trip, I already had one beer, two micheleadas and I didn't want a liter of pulque as the trip was almost done.
So I asked the dude for maybe 500 mL or just a cup. He told me "the price is still the same, 500 mL or 1 liter. Cost 100."
So I skipped out on that.
Doesn't make any sense. How could it still be the same?
But really I didn't want an entire liter.
At any rate, you also had lots of music playing from mariachis as you can see in the first two photos below and also random people playing the guitar near the side of the river as you can see in the last two photos.
I was actually curious if the people standing on the side were paid for by any business or the Mexico City government.
After all, it didn't seem like anyone was tipping them nor were they asking me for money.
Which, when it comes to people demanding money, there was one funny moment where I took a picture of this dog here.
There were a few dogs obviously as there's a bunch of housing and chinampas around with locals living or working on.
And, as I was taking a picture of the dog, some random mother told her kid to run over to the dog and get him moving along while pointing at me.
I didn't hear everything she said though to him but then, as I about turned my attention to something else, I noticed the kid shouted at me one time demanding "payment for photo."
But how the fuck is the kid going to force me out of money?
I'm on a boat, you little shit.
Well, they could always get on their boat and paddle furiously towards me demanding that sweet, juicy 20 pesos for the photo.
But that likely wasn't happening.
Either way, it's a thing you see in a select few parts of Latin America where, as I wrote here, you got Latin parents teaching their kids to try to squeeze an extra dollar or two out of foreigners for taking photos of whatever.
Still, the kid didn't shout anything more and we carried on.
Here's some more photos of the journey onward from then.
And, during this moment, my guide also brought my attention to some spots where they have some plants available (it's been a week but, if I remember right, I think he said that you can buy them).
And, for those who like dogs, here's another one (this time without some kid demanding money).
Now, as I said before, I was thinking of just doing two hours at this place but opted for three.
In hindsight, that was a good call to go for 3 hours.
Definitely needed at least 2.
The experience in the first hour is kinda lame given all the boats hitting each other and that there isn't much tranquility.
Lots of tourists everywhere, lots of music playing, noise, etc.
Whereas, when you visit Aztecas Lake, you immediately are on a lake without much noise and not too many tourists.
You can just enjoy the lake and not have too many people around you (and I visited on a Sunday by the way during the weekend).
In contrast, even on a Monday where you'd think it'd be slow, Xochimilco still had plenty of people on the lake that, in of itself, gives it a different vibe.
It's not a bad vibe necessarily.
It's just different.
It feels more lively given the mariachis, the random people playing music on the side, all the extra people, etc.
But you don't get that "being alone on the lake with all its tranquility."
Even after two hours in before we almost began heading back, it didn't truly ever feel like we got away from most people.
Still more active than Lago de Los Reyes Aztecas on what should be a busy day for them versus a slow day for Xochimilco.
I imagine that, for Xochimilco, you have to go for the full 6 hours or more (if possible) to truly start to maybe get more of the tranquility that you get in Lago de Los Reyes Aztecas.
....Maybe 4 or 5 hours.
In fact, Eduardo noticed how much more I liked the lake by the 2nd hour with less people (though probably the micheleada was helping) that he gave me his card and recommended I do his full 6 hour tour for 2,000 pesos.
Not a bad idea actually.
Though, if I was to do a full 6 hours, I'd probably bring a friend along with me.
Maybe a chick I'm dating?
Something like that.
While I like being on the water again, I'd want to have someone I know to hang with if I'm doing a full 6 hours.
I'd probably also want to start from another embarking area so I'm not spending the first 2 hours covering the same area.
Anyway, here's some more photos of the area.
Another thing I noticed too about Xochimilco was that the area I was in had a lot less birds on the water compared to Lago de Los Reyes Aztecas.
There's a few that I did see anyhow.
And, as you have seen in the photos above, the area I saw had a lot more buildings on both sides than trees, plants, etc.
When I read online about Xochimilco, I heard people saying it's like "Mexico's Venice."
I could kinda see that actually as there's more buildings than nature from what I saw.
And a lot more boats blocking the views of some of the trees and plants.
Out of curiosity too, I even asked Eduardo -- for comparisons sake -- if people fuck on this water too.
And he said with a grin "well, at night time people can. When there's less people and we can find you a secluded spot."
So even when it comes to fucking, both areas seem different!
For Lago de Los Reyes Aztecas, you have the option of being able to fuck anytime you wish but, for Xochimilco, you can only smash indigenous pussy "Cristobal Colon" style at night.
.....Doesn't the Aztecas Lake sound more fun?
Anyway, in the last few dozen photos you saw, we basically arrived to some other embarking point and then turned around.
Here's some photos of the way back from that point towards another different embarking point.
After this point, we were basically headed back to the original embarking point and also visit the Dolls Island I was told about along the way.
....Remember the Dolls Island we discussed?
Was part of the reason why I paid an extra 15 bucks for the third hour!
For those who didn't watch the video I linked to above, my understanding of the story is that basically there was a girl in the 1950s or so that drowned to death and she yelled "I WANT MY DOLL!"
Then some man living nearby felt bad about not saving her and found a bunch of dolls he placed around the island to discourage spirits from visiting.
And then he secluded himself from most people, some say he became possessed by a spirit himself and then one day his body was found dead in the exact same spot where the girl drowned.
Honestly, it sounds like a weird story, no?
It supposedly did actually happen from what I could tell but just think about this for a second: You are a random girl who drowns to death in a poor area of the city and now your tragedy has become a tourism attraction for thousands of people.
Anyway, I'm sure it makes for a good visit on the Day of the Dead.
Anyway, the tour guide finally took me to the Dolls Island.
Or what he told me it was anyway.
Here are pictures of it.
After about looking at for an easy minute and having the dude explain me the story of the dolls, I got bored and we went along.
After the tour by the way, I actually looked up the place and I'm mostly confident he didn't take me to the actual Dolls Island.
Seems to be located near some other entrance to the water and much farther away.
So maybe this is just some recreation of it?
If so, I guess I got lied to since they did tell me it'd be "la Isla de las Muñecas."
Regardless of if that is the case or not (and it seems likely in hindsight), it doesn't matter too much.
After all, it's just 15 bucks they got me for but I still did get the third hour on the lake.
They should make it clearer though to people visiting that it's not the actual Doll Island.
Because, if we're being honest, the whole point is to visit the exact spot where the girl died and maybe check out the museum or something along with it (as apparently there is one).
Anyway, be it the real Dolls Island or not, getting a third hour made it worth it anyhow.
By this point anyhow, we were set on going back but I had to take a massive piss real quick so we stopped at some point where you can use a bathroom.
Only for 7 pesos.
And, as you can see here, there are other spots where, if you wish, you can buy snacks or whatever else if you didn't buy them ahead of them.
Also, for those who don't know if you should tip or not (especially the Europeans), I was asked for a tip and the boat even had the words "gracias por su propina" written on it in black letters.
While I wasn't sure what to tip the dude, I asked him and he said "50 pesos esta bien." So that's what he got.
In contrast though, the guide at Lago de Los Reyes Aztecas didn't expect a tip. So probably it's just Xochimilco gets more American tourists more accustomed to tipping probably.
While I did like my experience on Lago de Los Reyes Aztecas more, I liked Xochimilco overall also.
Here's some last minute photos of the place as we headed back towards our original embarking point.
Final Thoughts: Comparing the Lakes
So which lakes should you visit?
As I said before, Lagunas de Xico is only worth a quick 10 minute visit if you only happen to be in the area of Tlahuac.
If you want more with your experience with Lagunas de Xico, I already gave you a rough idea in the "Lagunas de Xico" section on how you could MAYBE enjoy it slightly more for a little longer.
In contrast to any of the other lakes -- especially Xochimilco -- it's the exact opposite in that it literally has no tourism infrastructure and no tourists (locals or foreigners) whatsoever.
Next, we have Xochimilco and Lagos de los Reyes Aztecas.
I'll list out briefly the pros of each to give you an idea of which of the two you might prefer if you only had to pick one:
The Pros of Xochimilco:
- A lot more beer and food options available on the lake itself. In contrast to Lago de Los Reyes Aztecas where you'd need to buy or bring all of what you are going to consume before getting on.
- More bathrooms available (especially important if doing a 6 hour ride).
- If you feel the need to cross off a bucket list item that every other tourist says that you HAVE to do while in Mexico City, this is definitely one of those things they say you HAVE to do.
- If you prefer more poor housing instead of more trees and plants surrounding you on both sides, Xochimilco has you covered.
- If you want random guitar players on the side of the water playing for free, Xochimilco has a few laying around.
- If it's Day of the Dead and you want something ideal for that holiday, a visit to the Doll House is a solid idea probably.
- If you prefer more housing surrounding you on both sides than plants and trees, then Xochimilco has more of that. More suitable for that "Venice" vibe, I suppose.
- For those who are really poor or just don't want to spend much, this place can be cheaper though if you stick to the "lanchas colectivas" that charge 30 or 60 pesos on the weekends. The Lago de Los Reyes Aztecas doesn't get enough visitors to do that.
- This place has a few random people playing the guitar on the side of the water with seemingly no expectation of payment.
- This place had more of the boat vendors offering to take my empty beer bottle at no cost to me. The other lake obviously didn't have anyone trying to take my trash during the ride because there was no vendors floating around on their boats.
- Beyond just the Doll House, you have other things you can enjoy in the area like you can see in the photo below here and also Xochimilco does seem bigger in general with more of a canal to go down.
Pros of Lagos de Los Reyes Aztecas
- This place is a little bit closer to Lagunas de Xico so that a trip over there after you are done is a little bit easier and quicker.
- While I didn't buy any beer or food at Lagos de Los Reyes Aztecas, some of the prices I did see at a few spots looked to be a tiny bit cheaper in the little food spot you see before embarking.
- In my experience, the boat (trajinera) itself was not as poorly put together on this lake than the one in Xochimilco.
- A lot more birds to see on this lake than the other one.
- Prices for the boat rides (when disgarding the colectiva ones) is a little bit cheaper than Xochimilco but not by much. The official prices (not counting any discounts) are 100 pesos or 5 dollars cheaper here.
- You're unlikely to have any taxi driver be financially incentivized to lie to you and take you to another point of entrance that might not be as ideal because there is only one point of entrance for this place.
- Compared to Xochimilco, the people working here are less likely to rip you off by wanting to charge 1000 to 2000 pesos for a ride and are less likely to band together to assault or intimidate you if you don't pay their rip off prices.
- Compared to Xochimilco, the employees here seem to understand the word "no" if you don't want any extra beer while the ones at Xochimilco will try their best to ignore what you want and pretend to hear you wanted a bucket of beer instead of just one (or none).
- This lake has a lot less people visiting it and so you can enjoy it with more peace, quiet, relatively less music (there likely will be at least one boat playing music somewhere though that you'll pass) and your boat is unlikely hitting other people's boats or vice versa.
- Going along the last point, you don't have to wait an hour to finally get some tranquility in the ride. The tranquility starts right away on the first second.
- In my experience, the guide at the Lago de Los Reyes Aztecas seemed more interested in telling me about the area than the one in Xochimilco (though both were cool dudes but it wouldn't surprise me if guides at Xochimilco are, on average just more accustomed to too many tourists and have less fucks to give).
- Being a foreigner from another country, you MIGHT get extra positive attention than at Xochimilco where foreigners are a dime a dozen (at least in my experience with the dude yelling to everyone "HE'S AN AMERICAN, HE'S AN AMERICAN!!").
- For those who want to fuck on a Prehispanic lake important to the Aztecs, this lake is obviously superior. For one, it actually has the word AZTECAS in the name. How are you going to feel like Cristobal Colon fucking indigenous "Malinche" pussy if the lake you are on isn't named after the Aztecas? Also, like I said, it seems like you are free to choose more hours during the day to fuck here than in Xochimilco (and probably with less risk of getting caught given there's less people). Now, let me ask you THIS: do you want to fuck indigenous pussy on an Aztec Lake or do you want to FUCK indigenous pussy on an Aztec Lake? Simple question bro....
- Slightly less garbage in the water here than in Xochimilco.
- This place has more people fishing if watching poor village people fish gives you that "authentic" vibe or not.
- For those who want to feel like they are visiting a more "authentic" place (whatever that means) that isn't as much of a tourist trap with mostly locals visiting, Lago de Los Reyes Aztecas is the better option.
- If you are a snobby European who doesn't like tipping, then I guess this lake is for you since there isn't an expectation of it.
- No random children will try to ruin your picture by shooing away their dog and/or demanding a picture because you took a picture of their dog (in fact, I walked onto some random person's chinampa, took pics and nobody demanded payment either).
- More plants and trees on both sides and their view not as often blocked by other boats.
- For those who hate paying for a service before getting it, I guess this lake is better. It doesn't matter to me personally but I know some folks are like that.
Finally, what about English?
Well, if your Spanish is non-existent, then I'd imagine that increases your chances of being ripped off in either place.
Still, if you want a guide who speaks English, I thought both places were fine.
If I had to guess, maybe Xochimilco has more English speaking guides but I don't know since I only visited each place once.
My guide at Xochimilco, Eduardo, didn't even try speaking English with me as I speak Spanish so I have no idea if he spoke English.
My guide at Aztecas Lake, Ricardo, did speak English very well when he approached me but we spoke exclusively in Spanish when he realized I speak Spanish.
Still, given how popular Xochimilco is, I'd be surprised if they didn't have guides available who knew English.
So I didn't count it as a plus for which place has better English.
Anyway, that's all I got to say.
Final Verdict: Which Lake Did I Like More?
What is my Final Verdict?
Which place is better?
Well, it basically breaks down to the following in my opinion:
If you want a place that feels more lively, has more for you to see (at a price) and plants for you to buy, choose Xochimilco.
If you want a place that is more calm, quiet, less likely to get scammed and where you can go down a lake at a cheaper price with a lot fewer people around you and more nature than buildings, I think Lago de Los Reyes Aztecas is a better choice.
Between the two, I very likely will never go back to Xochimilco again unless it was to visit the Doll Islands on Dia de Muertos.
That's because, for what I want out of a lake trip (tranquility and more privacy with less people), Lago de Los Reyes Aztecas offers a MUCH better experience at a lower price.
So, between the two, Lagos de Los Reyes Aztecas was my favorite and one that I actually could see visiting again for the fun of it.
Maybe get some friends, booze and and a speaker blasting reggaeton.
Though a private visit just by myself is fine too as the lake does offer more tranquility as I said.
Perhaps to visit some of those more rural settlements around the area?
.....And, of course, to have an indigenous Latina moan out "AY CRISTOBAL COLON!!!" on the Aztec Lake at any hour I want.
Any of the above works for me!
And, when returning back to our easily forgotten Lagunas de Xico, it still remains obviously a place lacking so much potential in regards to infrastructure to enjoy it but definitely offers even more tranquility than even Lago de Los Reyes Aztecas.
But that's all I got to say!
It was fun visiting all three areas and, at least for the Aztecas one, I very well might go back.
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Thanks for reading.