The Xochimilco boat launches, embarcaderos, began really operating as leisure tour operators in the 1930s. The approximately 184 kilometers of waterways are mostly visited by these leisure visitors but you'll see that the people of Xochimilco use them too.
Tight regulations are in place to protect consumers and the operators. Prices are always mx$500 pesos per hour, with tight maximums on the number of people able to board. This is generally 18 people, but some smaller boats are also available. Prices do not vary but some operators will offer discounts for advance booking. You can read more on Canal regulations and renting your own tour, here.
The Embarcaderos are divided into those offering "traditional" and newer "ecological" tours. Traditional tours begin and remain more or less in the central areas of Xochimilco. But importantly, some of the same traditional boat launches now offer much longer tours. These may hut the ecological reserve areas which are further away. We've indicated the launches that specialize in ecological and nature tours below. -