The Embarcadero Zacapa is another of the Nativitas boat launches along the Nativitas embankment. The nearest to the main throughway, it can seem the most old-school. Still, Zacapa shares most of the same amenities as the nearby Embarcaderos, Nuevo Nativitas and Las Flores. That includes the crafts market and plant and flower vendors. This launch has been operating since 1958.
The big difference here is the view of the dramatic, and mostly abandoned Manantiales restaurant building (in the background of the photo above). Felix Candela‘s masterpiece, it opened in the same year as the boat launch. Some would say its particularly surreal, late-1950s design has lent something of a surreal air over much of Xochimilco. It’s certainly true in this area.
So, like all of the boat launches, different gondoliers work out of their own home bases. Because it’s a pretty well-regulated market, there’s not a lot of haggling to be done. Rates are fixed by the hour. Unlike most of Mexico City, English is pretty widely spoken here. Guides who don’t speak English will almost certainly quickly find someone to speak with you!
• One hour tours will get you (at some extra cost) music, food and greenhouse visits
• Two to four hours, can you take beyond the traditional canals to the serpent reserve with the ajolotario and greenhouses along the way (extra cost)
• Six hours: It’s a long way to the ecological reserve and the famous Apatlaco Canal, and you get to the original Island of the Dolls.