Fun adventure in Xoximilco Cancun – authentic Mexican fiesta
When I was staying at my apartment at Sabbia Condos in Playa del Carmen in Mexico, I walked for 2 minutes to the 5th Avenue where I was picked up by Isahi together with 3 tourists from Santiago de Chile. On the way to Xoximilco, situated close to Cancun airport, we picked up 2 couples at their hotels and then watched a presentation to get more information about what was waiting for us for the rest of the night.
Isahi, a very simpatico guy from Guadalajara, gave us all the necessary information about Xoximilco already in the van so once we reached our destination less than 6 km from Cancun, we knew what to do. We were divided into different picturesque boats called trajineras. Each trajinera is for 20 guests +2 staff.
Isahi was the guide of our Spanish speaking group and Joshua of the English one. I belonged to the English one even though I speak perfect Spanish as this way it was easier for me to write the article in English instead of having to translate it all.
Xoximilco only opened on the 23rd December 2013.
Xoximilco Cancun is inspired by Xochimilco (notice the difference in spelling), a place close to Mexico City in el D.F. where the Aztecs would grow flowers, fruits and vegetables on the chinampas – floating gardens on little islands and move around in between them on the trajineras boats.
I visited Xochimilco in Mexico City twice so now I could compare it to Xoximilco Cancun.
The whole experience was a bit different for a few reasons:
- I went to Xochimilco in Mexico City both times in the early afternoon so we were not attacked by the mosquitoes
- Xochimilco trajineras carry female names as many of them were also used to propose vs. Xoximilco boats are named after the 32 Mexican states
- Xoximilco experience is more set up for tourists, with excellent cuisine and exact stops to listen to different types of music
- both are very unique
What is Xoximilco Cancun about?
- We could drink agua de Jamaica (traditional Jamaican water made of hibiscus) and tamarindo water before boarding the trajinera. We were also asked to try a very traditional snack here in the Yucatan peninsula – esquite – sweetcorn with lemon, cheese, salt and spices.
- Isahi recommended us to use the restroom before boarding as the next one would be after 1.5 h unless you wanted to get off the boat, use the bathroom and then get to the next pick up place. But this way you would miss around 20 – 25 minutes of the meals on the boat. In the middle of the tour there is a 10 minute stop for bathrooms.
- Xoximilco is a virgin place which means there’s many mosquitoes around. However, there’s also a lot of mosquito repellent just outside the bathrooms which is very useful as not everyone thought of it before. In my opinion, it’s the only downside of Xoximilco but we are in the nature, after all.
- The first trajinera leaves at 7.30 pm. They are all designated by names of Mexican states and you are asked to remember yours to know when to board once you hear someone shouting its name. We also got stickers with the names of our trajineras to put on our shirts.
- Do not feed the animals, do not lean out of the trajinera. It’s not suitable for swimming, it’s 2.5 m deep.
- The tour is 2.6 km long and takes around 3 hours.
- Now around 500 people on 28 trajineras can enjoy this traditional Mexican fiesta in Xoximilco Cancun but the goal is to get around 800 people, or let’s say 1.600 people on 40 trajineras with 2 rounds.
- We had 19 guests on our trajinera, so the seat next to me was reserved for my camera for the very few minutes when I was not taking photos nor videos. Yay, more space!
- We tasted more than 20 traditional Mexican dishes that came in 4 courses – a regular or a vegetarian option is available. Please find the whole menu in Spanish at the end of the article. Don’t tell anyone but the last 4th course was my favorite one – 9 different desserts!!! Oaxaca chocolate, coconut lime chocolate cake, corn flan, amarant cookie … I mean OMG.
- Just 2 spicy salsas designated by a blue spoon. The rest of the meals are not spicy to make it easier for international tourists who are not so used to eat spicy.
- We had a Mexican fiesta with not only Mexican dishes but also with free bar with Corona beer, Tequila, sangria and non-alcoholic soft drinks and water. For this reason we also had to sign a document that we agreed with being taken photos of with the alcoholic drinks.
- We could experience and listen to 6 different music groups (Mariachi, jarocho, norteño, Yucatan trova, marimba and bolero trio.) We started with slow music to get us in the mood, then faster dancing songs and we finished again with slow mariachi. From far you could differentiate which boat were Latino people and which English speaking ones or tourists from other countries. The first were dancing and signing loud, the boats with second group pf people were mostly seated and maybe moving with their head or hands and humming randomly.
- the meals and the bands are on the so called chalupas boats
- there was even a short unexpected performance (but I’m not gonna tell you more so you can enjoy it to maximum as I did)
- We finished just after 11 pm, got time to buy some souvenirs and photos, use the restroom one more time and after a sad hug to our guides we sat in the van and were taken back to our hotels.
- We had a number of our van written on our wristbands so we remembered on which one we were going to return to our hotels.
The Xoximilco Cancun menu
Dips – 1st course:
– flor de calabaza
– zilkil pack
– chapulines y charales
– salsa verde y roja
– totopos y chicharrones
Cold dishes – 2nd course:
– bolita de queso oaxaca
– dedo de queso de cabra empanizado con chaya
– ensalada de huazontle
– ceviche de pescado estilo vallarta
– salpicon de res
Hot dishes – 3rd course:
– pollo en mole
– cerdo en salsa verde
– camaron en salsa de tamarindo
– tamal de pollo
– tortita de cochinita
– arroz rojo
Desserts – 4th course:
– dulce de nuez
– flan de elote
– jamoncillo de pepita de calabaza
– chocolate de metate
– dulce de miel y ajonjoli
Vegetarian option (the one I had) – only the 3rd main hot dish is different so far:
– pastel azteca de verduras
– esparragos al vapor
– mole de alubias
– rajas con elote
– platano macho relleno de cuitlacoche
– hongos al ajillo
– arroz rojo
Cold dish for kids:
– pico de gallo
Hot dish for kids:
– burritos de pollo acompañados de frijoles refritos gratinados
Personally, my favorite dishes were all with mushrooms, sweetcorn, vegetables, bananas and avocado. And then of course, the sweet ones, too.
Xoximilco Cancun is very difficult to describe with words. It’s an experience you just have to live by yourself. No wonder it made it to the Tripadvisor Number 1 attraction in Cancun!
I had chills all over my body a few times during those 3 hours. The authentic Mexican music with everyone smiling and delicious meals got me.
Our experience was even doubled as we did it with full moon above our heads. So much powerful energy!
And did I mention some hot guides? The Viva Mexico guide who was on the trajinera behind us … mmm 😀
My Mexican fiesta Xoximilco Cancun experience was organized by Experiencias Xcaret as part of Adventure and Spa project I am doing since 2013. If you book more than 7 – 21 days ahead, you get a good discount.
***Disclaimer: some photos were taken by the professional photographers of Xoximilco Cancun and are their property.