Axolotls and Chinampas in Xochimilco: Nature & Conservation Experience




Discover mysteries of the ancient Aztec city of Mexico-Tenochtitlan with an early morning nature experience in back channels of Xochimilco. Enjoy bird watching and learn all about the intriguing Axolotl salamander, a rare amphibian with unique regeneration abilities that is on the verge of extinction, and support the conservation efforts for this incredible creature.

Visit the last remnants of actual floating gardens or “chinampas” and the canals and waterways that once made up most of the entire Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. Enjoy a traditional lunch, made with locally produced ingredients at the chinampa, hosted by local cooks from the community. During this experience you’ll learn the importance of these floating gardens, recognized as an Agricultural Heritage System, while supporting the preservation efforts. This fascinating experience is led by an expert naturalist guide, scientists and the founder of REDES (Restaruacion Ecologia Y Deasarrollo), a non-profit association that actively works on conservation programs and projects to protect the area’s ecosystem and save the endangered Axolotl.

Learn all about this incredible area, that is actually part of Mexico City, and discover a hidden oasis that brings life to the incredible flora and fauna in this amazing metropolis. At the same time you will be supporting the local community, chinampas preservation and Axolotl conservation, as Journey Mexico channels back a portion of the tour profit as a donation to the nonprofit association. Journey Mexico donates 10% of the profit for this experience to the local organization to support the conservation efforts



Bird watching Bird watching experience, with an expert naturalist guide, in the back channels of Xochimilco

Axolotls Support efforts to save the Axolotl from extinction and learn all about this intriguing endemic species.

Chinampas Visit the Chinampas and learn the history of these garden islands and about the preservation efforts to protect them.

Traditional Lunch Enjoy a traditional lunch experience with produce grown on the chinampas.

Estimated Time Table

6:30 am – Hotel pick up
7:00 am – Departure from “Puente de Urrutia” pier in Xochimilco
7:00‐9:00 am – Bird watch from on board the trajinera (boat) as you navigate the waterways and learn about the importance of Xochimilco and its rich history
9:00 – 12:00 pm – Explore and learn about the Chinampa & Axolotl conservation efforts. Enjoy a delicious traditional lunch made with local ingredients.
12:00 ‐12:30 pm – Navigate back to the pier
12:30 ‐13:30 pm – Transfer Back to Hotel

Axolotls Conservation & Chinampas Preservation Project

Journey Mexico is working with REDES (Restauración Ecológica y Desarrollo A.C), a local non-profit association dedicated to improving and restoring the relationship between society and nature by promoting and executing programs and projects of conservation and ecological restoration. In collaboration with REDES, Journey Mexico is has developed a travel experience that will not only support conservation efforts but also educate consumers and trade network about the Chinampas (Mesoamerican floating Gardens for agriculture purpose) fascinating Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) aquatic salamander that is considered a critically endangered species that is endemic to Mexico.

About the Axolotl

The Axolotl (pronounced ACK-suh-LAH-tuhl) salamander has the rare trait of retaining its larval features throughout its adult life. Found exclusively in the channel complex of Xochimilco, within the limits of Mexico City, Axolotls differ from most other salamanders in that they live permanently under water.

This salamander once made its home in the interconnected lakes that filled the basin of Tenochtitlan, where Mexico City now stands. Yet, due to centuries of development and pollution, scientists warn that they could entirely disappear by 2020. The Mexican government has taken action, establishing the Ejidos de Xochimilco Protected Natural Area to try to safeguard what is left of the Axolotl’s diminished habitat. This experience is a great way to support the effort of helping the Axolotl survive!

About the Chinampas

To further hold off urban sprawl and expand the animal’s habitat, scientists are also working with local people to revitalize the ancient tradition of farming in the wetland on plots of land that are essentially floating islands. The organic technique used to construct these island creates a prime habitat for the salamanders, while also helping to filter water for the city. These man-made islands, called chinampas, are built from aquatic vegetation and logs interwoven with mud from the lake bottom. The farmers today still use ancient cultivation techniques pioneered hundreds of years ago in the pre-Colonial era.

In addition, there is strong support from the top chef’s in Mexico City to save the floating farm tradition with the Chinampa Preservation Program. These chef’s, from some of Mexico best restaurants, buy and use produce grown at the chinampas, incorporating these fresh, locally-grown ingredients into their dishes as a way to support the area.