Xochimilco, a maze of canals and artificial islands created centuries ago by the area’s indigenous peoples, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that draws around one million tourists a year.
An idyllic splash of green improbably tucked into the sprawl of this capital of nine million people, it is a perfect place for a relaxing getaway with family and friends.
Floating mariachi bands serenade visitors, and vendors in small boats drift past selling food, drinks, flowers and handcrafts.
But then, like a large rock thrown into a peaceful pond, “the incident” happened: an intoxicated 20-year-old fell off a gondola and drowned.
Xochimilco is still struggling with the ripple effects.
Fending off safety fears, local authorities sharply restricted alcohol sales this month, began requiring life jackets and banned sound systems from party boats.
But so far, the new rules exist mainly on paper. And locals say the restrictions are not helping bring the tourists back anyway.