15 Fun Facts About Mexico

Written By: The Planet D

Mexico is one of the top countries to visit because of its vibrant culture, delicious food, and historic structures. While most people simpley go to Mexico to bake on an all-inclusive resort, it is a country full of history and culture, beautiful landscapes and endless beaches. So let’s enjoy some fun facts about Mexico to understand the country a bit better. Read on to learn Mexican facts you never knew!

Interesting Mexico Facts

interesting facts about mexico

Mexico is situated in the southern part of North America, sharing its borders with the United States to the north and Guatemala and Belize to the south. To the west, Mexico is bordered by the Pacific Ocean, which offers a stunning coastline along the western edge of the country.

To the east, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea provide Mexico with an extensive coastline along the eastern side. With its diverse geographical features, Mexico enjoys a unique position as a bridge between North America and Central America, offering a rich blend of cultures and natural landscapes.

1. Its Name Is Not What You Think

facts about mexico name

One of the first fun facts about Mexico is that its name is not really Mexico. Mexico’s official name is the United Mexican States aka Estados Unidos Mexicanos. This country is divided into states just like the U.S.

Mexico has 31 states and a Federal District. Every Mexican state has its own police, regulations, and laws.

The Federal District, Distrito Federal, was once the capital of Mexico. Most people believe that the capital city was always Mexico City, but this wasn’t the case until 2016.

It gets tricky to remember because Mexico City’s metropolitan area is within the Federal District. Only those living in the Federal District are considered capital dwellers.

2. Mexico Is More Than a Beach Destination

facts about mexico culture
ruins of Tonina in Chiapas Mexico

Travelers tend to make their way out to Mexico for a vacation on the beach. Yet, the country is much more than a beach destination.

Mexico has a rich history as they have 34 UNESCO world heritage sites within their borders. Some of the most popular historic centers include Mexico City, Puebla, and Guanajuato.

It is also home to more than a handful of ancient ruins, the most famous being Chichen Itza, and the agave fields of Tequila.

The country is in the middle of the circum-Pacific Belt, more commonly known as the “Ring of Fire,” a place known for its earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

3. Home to the World’s Smallest Volcano

facts about mexico Cuexcomate volcano

Outside of Puebla, you’ll find the smallest volcano in the world, Cuexcomate Volcano. The volcano is only 13 meters 43 feet tall and its diameter at the base is about 23 meters (75 feet). looks like a tiny hill. Cuexcomate is often referred to as a “volcano” due to its distinctive appearance, but it is actually a dormant geyser or a volcanic vent.

Cuexcomate is part of local folklore and legends in Puebla. According to one legend, it was formed when the devil himself tried to destroy the city with a large stone but was thwarted by the intervention of the Virgin Mary, who turned the stone into a tiny volcano.

Cuexcomate has a conical shape that resembles a miniature volcano, complete with a crater at the top. It is covered in grass and vegetation, giving it a very picturesque appearance.

4. There’s a Volcano Rabit in Mexico

This is one of the coolest Mexico facts because it means Mexico is home to a rare rabbit that lives near volcanoes called the volcano rabbit.

5. World’s Largest Pyramid is in Mexico

facts about mexico cholula world's largest pyramid

Along with being home to the smallest volcano, Mexico has the largest ancient pyramids. The Great Pyramid of Cholula is the largest monument ever created in the world. The world’s largest pyramid, known as the Great Pyramid of Cholula (Pirámide Tepanapa), is located in Cholula, a city in the Mexican state of Puebla. It is often mistaken for a natural hill due to its overgrown appearance and is sometimes referred to as the “Great Pyramid of Cholula” or “Tlachihualtepetl,” which means “artificial mountain” in the indigenous Nahuatl language.

The Great Pyramid of Cholula is the largest pyramid by volume in the world, surpassing even the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. It covers an enormous area of around 45 acres and rises to a height of approximately 55 meters (180 feet). he pyramid’s construction began in the 3rd century BCE by the ancient civilization known as the Olmec-Xicalanca, although it was expanded and modified by subsequent cultures, including the Maya and the Aztecs. It took centuries to complete the pyramid’s construction.

6. It Has Animals Big and Small

mexico facts chihuahua

The jaguar is the largest wildcat in North America and can be found near the Mayan ruins or roaming the Mexican jungles.

Mexico is also home to the smallest dog breed known to man, the Chihuahua. This dog breed originated in Mexico in the state of Chihuahua, hence the name of the breed.

7. U.S. Citizens Make Up the Largest Immigration Group in Mexico

facts about mexico immigration

In Mexico, the largest foreign-born population is actually United States citizens. In fact, more Americans are immigrating to Mexico than vice versa.

A lot of Americans find the food surprising when they move or visit Mexico. Mexican food in the United States is considered Tex-Mex while authentic Mexican food is different.

In Mexico, people don’t eat Chipotle-style burritos or burritos filled with rice. Burritos aren’t that popular in Mexico unless you are in the northern region.

Another difference between the Mexican food found in the United States vs. the food found in Mexico is that the authentic version isn’t very spicy. Instead, it tastes sour because of the use of limes.

8. Mexico Home to the First Printing Press

In North America, the first printing press was established and used in Mexico City. This dates all the way back to 1539 at the House of the First Printing Press, or Casa de la Primera Imprenta de América.

The first printing press was actually used in Mexico way before making its way to the United States.

9. We Can Thank Mexico For Chocolate

facts about mexico chocolate

Chocolate Originated in Mexico with its origins in Mesoamerica. The ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica, including the Aztecs and the Maya, were among the first to cultivate and use cacao (the source of chocolate) for culinary and ceremonial purposes.

Cacao beans were highly prized by these civilizations and were used as a form of currency and trade. They were also used to make a bitter, frothy beverage that was often flavored with spices and chili peppers.

So, while chocolate in its original form as a cacao-based beverage was developed in Mesoamerica, it was the Europeans who adapted and sweetened it, leading to the creation of the chocolate bars, truffles, and other confections we enjoy today.

10. We Can also Thank them for Avocados and the tasty Tomato

facts about mexico avacado

Avocados: Avocados, scientifically known as Persea americana, are native to south-central Mexico. They have a long history of cultivation in the region, dating back thousands of years. The Aztecs and other indigenous peoples of Mexico were among the first to cultivate avocados. The word “avocado” itself is derived from the Aztec Nahuatl word “?huacatl.” Avocados have since become a popular fruit worldwide, known for their creamy texture and numerous health benefits.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes, scientifically known as Solanum lycopersicum also have their originas in Mexico. The indigenous peoples of Mexico, including the Aztecs, cultivated and consumed tomatoes long before they were introduced to other parts of the world. Tomatoes were brought to Europe by Spanish explorers in the early 16th century, and they eventually became a staple in many cuisines worldwide. The tomato plant is part of the nightshade family and produces a wide variety of tomato types, from small cherry tomatoes to large beefsteak varieties.

Both avocados and tomatoes have had a significant impact on global cuisine and are widely enjoyed in a variety of dishes, including guacamole and salsa made with tomatoes and avocados, respectively.

11. Mexico City Is Sinking

mexico facts mexico city is sinking

Mexico City is literally sinking each year. In North America, Mexico City is the oldest city and has the highest elevation. It’s also built over the ruins of Tenochtitlán, a city on a lake. Read more: 10 Best Things to do in Mexico City for an Epic Trip

Tenochtitlàn was an Aztec city in which the Aztecs made systems of canals and dikes to prevent floods. When the Spanish came along, they drained the lakebed instead of containing the flood control work.

The Mexican population in Mexico City grows each year requiring more water to get pumped out. As a result, the city is sinking about 6 to 8 inches every year.

12. Not Everyone in Mexico Speaks Spanish

Officially, Spanish is the national language of Mexico and Mexico is the world’s largest Spanish speaking country. Yet, Mexico’s native people don’t always speak it. There are 68 other recognized languages spoken around the country and Mexico does not have a defined official language.

13. Cinco de Mayo Is Not Celebrated in Mexico

mexican hat

In 1821 on September 27th, Mexico declared independence. However, over a decade before in 1810 on September 16th, the independence war began. Because of this, Mexico celebrates its independence day on September 16th.

Cinco de Mayo is common in the United States as a day for people to party and have fun. Mexican immigrants in the United States might celebrate this day.

Most are unaware that Cinco de Mayo is a day to commemorate the Battle of Puebla that happened in 1862. The people of Puebla do celebrate this day.

14. At Christmas, Mexican Children do Not Receive Gifts

facts about mexico christmas

In Mexico, the Christmas tradition of not giving presents to children on Christmas Day, known as “Nochebuena,” is quite different from the customs in many other countries. Instead, Mexican children eagerly anticipate gifts on a different day, which is known as “Día de Reyes” or “Three Kings’ Day” on January 6th. This tradition is deeply rooted in Mexican culture and has religious and historical significance.

Christmas Eve (Nochebuena) is celebrated with family gatherings, feasts, and the placing of the Baby Jesus figurine in nativity scenes. The exchange of gifts is traditionally reserved for Día de Reyes, also known as the Feast of the Epiphany. This day commemorates the visit of the Three Wise Men, (often referred to as the “Tres Reyes Magos” or simply “Los Reyes,”) to the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. Wise Men bring gifts to children in a similar fashion on the night of January 5th, leaving presents by their beds or shoes.

15. Growing Corn Is a Tradition

facts about mexico corn

For centuries, Mexican farmers have continued the tradition of growing corn. This important crop has been threatened by trade agreements and genetically modified variations, but Mexico preserves natural seeds. They are multiple words that can describe corn because there are 59 varieties of it in Mexico.

16. It Has More Catholics Than Italy

facts about mexico catholics

Another one of the interesting facts about Mexico is that it has a large Catholic population. Brazil is the only country that has a bigger population of Catholics than Mexico.

17. A Mexican Inventor Contributed to Developing the Color TV

Guillermo González Camarena was born on February 17, 1917, in Guadalajara, Mexico. In 1934, at the age of 17, he filed his first patent related to television.

González Camarena’s most significant achievement came in 1940 when he developed an early color television system, which he called the “Trichromatic Sequential Field System.” This system used rotating color wheels in the transmitter and receiver to reproduce color images. He patented this invention in Mexico and the United States.

In 1940, Guillermo González Camarena successfully transmitted the first color television signal in Mexico, marking a historic milestone in the development of color television technology. His contributions to color television were recognized internationally.

18. It’s Not a Third World Country

facts about mexico modern nation

The Cold War is to thank for the term “third world.” It was created as one of three geopolitical alignment divisions. Countries aligned with the United States were considered “first world” at the time. Allies of the Soviet Union were “second world” countries. The countries not aligned with either were called “third world.”

Even when the Cold War ended, the term remained. “Third world” became another name for poverty while the other two divisions are unheard of.

The gap between the poor and rich in Mexico is large, but they are not considered a poor country because of their GDP per capita. Mexico offers enough attractions like other developed countries.

19. Mexico Differs From Latin America in Many Ways

facts about mexico culture

From the culture to the language, Mexico is vastly different from Latin America. For one, Mexico is in North America, not Latin America. When it comes to the language, Mexican Spanish is kind of like slang. It’s a unique variation of Spanish.

If you’ve ever studied Spanish in school, you may already be aware of this fact. Spanish teachers reiterate how different the Spanish language can be across the world.

Latin America and Mexico are similar when it comes to toilet paper. Yes, you read that correctly, toilet paper. In Mexico and Latin America, they prefer that you throw toilet paper in the trash instead of flushing it down the toilet. Places that are closer to the ocean in Mexico tend to be stricter about this.

In fact, a friend of ours from India noticed that India and Mexico, are More Similar Than You’d Think

20. Mexico Has the Oldest University in North America

When you think of old universities in North America, your first thought may be Harvard. However, the oldest university in North America is actually the National University of Mexico located in the capital city of Mexico City. It was founded in 1551, 85 years before Harvard was.

21. Mexico Has Some Odd Foods

facts about mexico odd foods

Many foodies travel to Mexico for authentic Mexican cuisine. The most adventurous of foodies may stroll through a market and buy grasshoppers, scorpions, and spiders to enjoy during their next meal. This may be a horrifying sight for the average joe, but some of these crawly critters have great flavor. Why else would you find the people of Mexico selling them for consumption?

If you can get over the oddness of eating bugs, you’ll find some tasty treats that are high in protein and, of course, are organic. There are tons of edible insects in Mexico to choose from.

It wasn’t meat that got the Aztecs through the day, it was fat-free bugs they found roaming the grounds. If you are feeling risky, sample a delicious critter during your travels in Mexico.

22. It has Foods we know and Love As Well

facts about mexico avacado

From enchiladas to Tacos, Mexican food is some of the most recognizable and best on the planet. Mexicos national dish is Mole pronounced “moh-lay”) which is a rich and flavorful sauce that is a staple in Mexican cuisine. It is used to enhance the flavors of meats like chicken or turkey and is made from various ingredients, including dried chiles (such as ancho, pasilla, and mulato), chocolate (usually unsweetened), spices (like cinnamon, cumin, and cloves), garlic, onions, tomatoes, and sometimes fruits (like plantains or raisins) and nuts (such as almonds or peanuts).

23. Mexico is the World’s Largest Beer Exporter

facts about mexico beer exporting

This Mexico fact caught me by surprise. I had no idea that Mexico is the world’s largest exporter of beer. I have always enjoyed Corona and yet, it exports so much more. In fact, Mexico exported $4.2 billion USD worth of beer in 2019. That’s double what the next closest exporter sold at 2.1 billion.

facts about mexico tourism

Mexico is a popular tourist destination. In fact, it is regularly listed in the top 10 most visited tourist destinations in the world. Currently, the World Tourism Organization has it listed as the sixth-most visited country in the world for tourism activities. With its long sandy beaches, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ancient Ruins and vibrant cities it’s no wonder it is such a sought after destination.

25. Facts About the Mexican Flag

The Mexican flag is oen of three National Symbols of Mexico. It consists of three vertical stripes of equal width. The colors of the flag, from left to right, are green, white, and red. “Verde,” “Blanco,” and “Rojo.” The Mexican flag was first adopted on February 24, 1821

In the center of the white stripe, there is Mexico’s national emblem, known as the “Mexican Coat of Arms” or “Escudo Nacional.” It features an eagle perched on a cactus with a snake in its beak. This emblem represents the legend of the founding of Tenochtitlan, the ancient Aztec capital, which later became Mexico City.

Each color on the Mexican flag holds specific symbolism. Green represents hope and independence, white symbolizes purity and religion, and red stands for the bloodshed by those who fought for Mexico’s independence.

Record-Breaking Flag: In 2010, Mexico set a Guinness World Record for the largest flag ever flown. The enormous flag, measuring 2,011 meters long, was displayed in celebration of the country’s bicentennial.

26. Mexico is one of the Cradles of Civilization

facts about mexico civilization

Civilization in Mexico is thought to date back to 8000 – 12000 BC. We have all heard of the Mayans and Aztecs, but fewer people know of the Toltec Civilizatoin. The Toltecs were a pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilization that is often regarded as one of the great civilizations of ancient Mexico, and their influence extended over a wide area, particularly in what is now central Mexico.

The Toltecs are known for their highly organized and urbanized society. They had a hierarchical social structure with a ruler at the top, followed by nobility, priests, and commoners. The Toltec state was ruled by a king, and their society had a warrior class.

The exact reasons for the decline of the Toltec civilization are still a subject of debate among scholars. Some theories suggest internal conflict, environmental factors, or external invasions. Around the 12th century, Tula was abandoned, marking the decline of the Toltec state. However, the Toltecs had a significant cultural and artistic impact on subsequent Mesoamerican civilizations, including the Aztecs.

27. The Spanish Ruled Mexico for 300 Years

facts about mexico spanish rule

The Spanish rule of Mexico as New Spain lasted for nearly 300 years, from the early 16th century to the early 19th century. The Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés arrived in Mexico in 1519, and by 1521, he had defeated the Aztec Empire, led by Emperor Moctezuma II. This marked the beginning of Spanish colonial rule in Mexico.

In 1535, New Spain was officially established as a viceroyalty of the Spanish Empire. The capital of the viceroyalty was Mexico City (formerly Tenochtitlan). New Spain included present-day Mexico, Central America, and parts of what is now the southwestern United States.

On September 27, 1821, the Mexican War of Independence culminated in the signing of the Plan of Iguala, which led to Mexico’s independence from Spain. The first Mexican emperor, Agustín de Iturbide, briefly ruled, but Mexico later became a republic.

Fast Facts About Mexico

fast facts about mexico
  • Currency – $1USD Mexican Peso = .20
  • The highest Peak in Mexico is Pico de Orizaba in South Central Mexico and stats at 5,636 meter (18491 ft) above sea level
  • Mexico’s National Dish is Mole (pronounced Molay)
  • Official National Bird – Golden Eagle. You’ll find the Golden Eagle on its National Symbols, the Flag and Coat of Arms.

Fun Facts About Mexico That Will Make You Want to Take a Trip!

Mexico may be at the top of the list to travel because of the beautiful beaches and amazing views. Yet, this country has much more to offer than what people typically seek out.

If you’re looking for rich history, ancient structures, and amazing food, Mexico is the place to be. Don’t settle for a day on the beach when you could be experiencing much more!

Consider these fun facts about Mexico when planning a future trip. Check out our other travel planning resources to make your trip a success!

Travel Planning Resources

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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2 thoughts on “15 Fun Facts About Mexico”

  1. Amazing experience. We are planning to travel after this pandemic and Mexico is one on our list.
    Thanks for sharing.