For a real Mexico City treat, tourists can take a gondola ride along the ancient canals of Xochimilco, the last vestiges of a once vast network of waterways dating back to Aztec times.
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Here you can also cruise out to the creepy Isla de las Muñecas (Island of the Dolls), where hundreds of decomposed dolls hang from the clotheslines and trees to ward off the spirit of a drowned girl. Depart from the Cuemanco dock, where you can purchase cervezas and tacos before boarding the boat.
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About 25 km (15.5 miles) west of Cuemanco lies Cumbres del Ajusco, a national park with a hiking trail that ascends to Mexico City’s highest peak. If you like the quiet of Ajusco’s fragrant pine forest, consider an overnight stay in a log cabin at the family-friendly Parque Ejidal San Nicolás Totolapan.
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For rock climbing and more nature exploring, visit the third and fourth sections of nearby Los Dinamos, a protected canyon area that’s home to Mexico City’s last free-flowing river.