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Encouraged by her friends, she gave in and they headed to the island.Tino moored the boat and the girls jumped off to check out the dolls.The effect of these lifeless figures swaying in the breeze is understandably macabre, and unsettling stories are plentiful.“One day I took three girls to the island,” said Tino, explaining that two of the girls wanted to go, but the other, who claimed to be psychic, was reluctant.In five decades as a ‘trajinero’, steering boats through these canals built by his distant ancestors, he had seen many otherworldly things, he said.For believers in all things occult, it wouldn’t be surprising that a waterway as old as Xochimilco – man-made in Mesoamerican times – could be home to spirits.The Mexica (more commonly known as Aztec) grew almost a third of the food needed to feed the city of Tenochtitlan – upon which modern-day Mexico City now stands – on these ingeniously designed banks of fertile soil called chinampas.Nowadays, flowers are grown here and at this time of year, the banks set back from the water are full of the cempasúchil (marigold) flowers associated with Day of the Dead.
Getting there British Airways flies to Mexico City from £577.Out of respect, he strung the doll up to a tree, but despite his act of reverence, he felt haunted by the spirit of the girl, and began to hang more and more dolls to please her.There are hundreds of dolls there today, many of which have severed limbs or are decapitated or mutilated in some way.Ghost stories abound on these waters, now known as the ‘Floating Gardens of Mexico City’ and around Day of the Dead, the tales are told to visitors who are brave enough to traverse the canals by candlelight.Tales of La Llorona – a woman who can be heard searching and crying out for her children in the night – and other stories of eerie sightings that have no clear explanation, are shared as the boat is guided through the pitch-black canals.
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Staying there Casa Jacinta Guest House in the Coyoacán district has doubles from £75, room only.