How a birthday death hit Mexico's idyllic floating gardens' businesses
Visitor numbers have plunged by 80 percent since a young man drowned on September 1, authorities say.
UNESCO World Heritage Site
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.
Struggling with the ripple effects
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.
But so far, the new rules exist mainly on paper. And locals say the restrictions are not helping bring the tourists back anyway.
Birthday party gone wrong
Drinking and dancing, they started climbing from boat to boat, when a 20-year-old identified as Jose Manuel fell in the water.
After a moment of horrified shock, they tried to help him. But Jose Manuel never resurfaced. His body was found the next day.
Effect of the filmed incident
But it was the first such incident to be filmed. "It was the video and the social networks that did us in," says Jose Zaldivar, director-general for tourism in Xochimilco's local government.
Zaldivar's office presented gondoliers at the Nuevo Nativitas docks with 116 life jackets on Saturday, then pasted the new regulations inside their boats.
In addition to requiring life jackets, the measures limit alcohol consumption to one liter of hard liquor per boat or three beers per person. They also forbid climbing from boat to boat.
For some visitors, life jackets and booze limits undermine the carefree liberty that Xochimilco is all about.
Locals are split over whether the solution is more regulation or less.
Consensus on one thing
Other vendors -- especially those who sell alcohol from floating bars or the artificial islands known as "chinampas" -- complain the new regulations are hurting their livelihood, and say individuals should take responsibility for their own behavior.
There is consensus on one thing, though: tourism has yet to bounce back.