Do you know how a Trajinera is built?
Learn about the parts of this picturesque Mexican boat
Many, many years ago, central Mexico was full of lakes and canals. These were furrowed by the inhabitants of ancient pre-Hispanic civilizations in small rafts that ended up acquiring an important role. In case the title did not give it away, we are talking about the famous Mexican “trajinera”.
The origin of the “trajinera”
Since pre-Hispanic times, the inhabitants of the Valley of Mexico required finding a way to move between the canals. The first boats included simple rafts and canoes that evolved. Eventually, the “trajinera” became the preferred means of transport for the farmers who worked the chinampas (floating earth rafts used for sowing various seeds).
Social development caused the needs of people to diversify, adding leisure and fun to the list. The “trajinera” rides in a “touristic” way, on the occasion of mere entertainment, became popular during the Porfiriato era. This activity ended up abounding between the “catrines” (men always dressed elegantly).
Nowadays it’s an attractive activity to all kinds of people. This is due not only to the beautiful raft in which you navigate in, but for all that it entails. Who doesn’t like a stroll where food and drinks abound while being surrounded by traditional Mexican music and the company of people wanting to celebrate?
Where does the name “trajinera” come from?
The word “trajinera” was originally used to refer only to vessels destined for trade due to the etymology of the word in Spanish. That is why they are also often called “jumbillos” or “tulillos” (the latter in the case of smaller vessels). However, today, the use of the word “trajinera” has been extended and it’s not incorrect to use it to refer to touristic rafts.
But … how do you build a real “trajinera”?
These small boats have a very particular anatomy because they had to adhere to the needs of the areas where they navigated. Specifically, the area of Xochimilco and Tláhuac. In past times, its inhabitants developed a navigation system for transportation and commerce purposes throughout everything that was the basin of Mexico. It was for this reason that the planning of how to build a “trajinera” began. Get to know its parts!
If the “trajineras” are originally from Mexico City, how do I get to ride one in Riviera Maya?
Very easy, at Xoximilco, of course! This amazing park of Grupo Xcaret comes alive at nightfall. It allows you to board a typical Mexican “trajinera“ to take a tour between the canals. In addition to being entertained by your enthusiastic guide, you will be surrounded by mariachis, lots of delicious food and people wanting to have fun.
The park will never compare to the wonderful experience of going to the canals of the place where everything began. However, it has special elements that make it a place where you want to be. What differentiates the “trajineras” of Xoximilco with those found in the center of the country is; its frontal part.
Originally, the “trajineras” were decorated with natural flowers. However,for reasons of practicality, it has been decided to decorate them with less perishable materials. Something that makes them special in Xoximilco, taking advantage of the fact that the tour takes place at night, is its colorful lighting.
Also, one of its most characteristic elements is the name. In the center of the country, it was common to baptize them with names of women such as Lupita or Juanita. However, those found in Xoximilco seek to make a remembrance of the cultural wealth of Mexico. That is why they name its “trajineras” with the different states of Mexico.
Don’t miss out on the fabulous opportunity to meet one of the many picturesque elements of Mexican culture. Just don’t be surprised to see how a seemingly simple boat becomes synonymous with party and fun. Dare to live the experience by getting on one of the colorful “trajineras” of Xoximilco to celebrate a floating Mexican party!
Avid reader and creative writer who enjoys sharing what she is passionate about.