Mexico is a large, diverse, and vibrant country located in the southernmost part of North America, bordering the United States in the North and Central America (Guatemala and Belize) in the South.
While Mexico still has a long way to go, it is progressing well. Mexico has the second-largest economy in Latin America, behind only Colombia.
Several European powers have conquered Mexico over the centuries, including Spain, the U.S., and France. It was the Spanish who colonized Mexico and claimed its territory first.
In the 16th century, Mexico’s territory was divided into Spanish and Mexican territories, which continued to divide the country into rival nations until the nineteenth century.
Mexico has an enormous landmass and a very impressive economy. Its economy is based primarily on agriculture and mining.
In addition to its rich culture, world-class food, incredible heritage, and history, Mexico is a place of wonder and fascination for people around the world. It is well known that Mexico has beautiful beaches and warm weather, but most people are unaware of its interesting and fun Mexican facts!
Here is a list of interesting facts about Mexico you should know:
1. A Land Of Extremes
Mexico’s landscape is as diverse as it is beautiful, with no fewer than nine different ecosystems. Mexico’s topography is incredibly diverse, ranging from rugged mountains, rumbling volcanoes, sprawling canyons, and deserts to lush jungles, tropical forests, rushing rivers, and deep cenotes.
Many parts of Mexico are covered in mountains. There are small mountain ranges on the Central Plateau between the Sierra Madre Oriental in the east and the Sierra Madre Occidental in the west.
With high mountains and deep canyons in the center, sweeping deserts in the north, and dense rainforests in the south and east, Mexico is surely a place of extreme landscapes.
It is one of the world’s most dynamic tectonic zones. It is part of the circum-Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a region characterized by active volcanic activities and frequent seismic activity.
Citlaltépetl (also known as Orizaba), the country’s highest point at 18,406 feet (5,610 meters), and the active volcano Popocatépetl, which rises to 17,930 feet (5,465 meters) to the southeast of Mexico City, are among its towering volcanic peaks.
There is an extreme wealth and poverty divide in Mexican society, with an elite cadre of landowners and investors on one hand and masses of rural and urban poor on the other.
2. It’s Not Mexico But the United States Of Mexico
It’s one of the interesting facts about Mexico that you probably didn’t know. The actual name of the country is Estados Unidos Mexicanos or the United Mexican States or the United States of Mexico. The Aztecs coined the term “Mexico” in their original Nahuatl language.
Mexico has a rich Indian heritage, three centuries of Spanish rule, and a shared border with the United States of America. The country’s name, at least officially, is not Mexico.
The country became the “United Mexican States” after gaining independence from Spain in 1821. However, only Mexican officials who deal with diplomatic protocol and official documents use the official name. The rest of Mexico and the world refer to a country like Mexico.
3. Mexico Has 35 World Heritage Sites In Total
Another interesting fact about Mexico is that it has 35 of the 139 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Latin America and the Caribbean! All of these 35 World Heritage Sites are considered to be of exceptional value to humanity due to their diversity of natural and cultural heritage.
Mexico is the ideal destination for history and nature enthusiasts, with its colorful sand dunes and craters, breathtaking biodiversity, and thrillingly intact archaeological sites.
Some of the Yucatán Peninsula’s most treasured pre-Columbian archaeological complexes are among Mexico’s numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites. With their outstanding array of magnificent pyramids and monuments, these are arguably the more rewarding discoveries.
These 35 world heritage sites range from the mysterious Teotihuacan pyramids to the ancient city of Chichen Itza in Yucatan and the strategic medieval town of Paquime in the far west.
These world heritage sites are divided into three categories: cultural (27), natural (6), and mixed (2), and are an impressive addition to any Mexico bucket list.
4. The World’s Largest Pyramid, Cholula Pyramid Is In Mexico
This is a rather interesting fact about Mexico that is not only surprising but also unexpected too. Mexico and not Egypt has the world’s largest pyramid, the great pyramid of Cholula or the Great Pyramid of Tepanapa in the Mexican Federal State of Puebla Mexico.
The Pyramid is an Aztec temple, the world’s largest man-made pyramid, buried in the ground, with a Spanish church atop.
Cholula was the Mayans’ main place of worship for Quetzalcoatl, one of their most important gods.
The massive pyramid is often overlooked because it is hidden beneath layers of dirt. People usually regard it as a hill rather than a place of worship. The pyramid is made up of seven pyramids. It’s a massive structure with many layers to explore.
The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt is the most famous, but it is not the largest. That honor is held by this Great Pyramid of Cholula.
It is four times the size of Giza and twice the volume, measuring 450 by 450 meters at its base (in comparison to the Great Pyramid of Egypt, which measures 230 by 230 meters, or the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacán, which measures 220 by 230 meters).
5. Parts of The Mexico City Are Sinking Up to 20 Inches Per Year
The problem stems from Mexico City’s poor foundation. Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital, was built on an island in Lake Texcoco, which is nestled in a basin surrounded by mountains.
Tenochtitlan was an Aztec city where the Aztecs built canals and dikes to prevent floods. When the Spanish arrived, they drained the lakebed rather than containing the flood control work.
The continuous compacting of the ancient lake bed upon which the city was built. Mexico City’s ground is sinking at a rate of nearly 50 centimeters (20 inches) per year, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.
The compaction is unrepairable and it is causing the appearance of large fractures in the city’s buildings, historical sites, sewers, and gas and water lines. The fracturing also exposes the ground to contaminated surface waters, potentially making access to clean water in the city.
6. Mexico City Was Not The Country’s Capital Until 2016
What is Mexico’s capital? We’ll leave you with a hint. The actual capital of Mexico was not Mexico City but Distrito Federal (DF) – the Federal District until 2016. The name of the DF was changed officially to CDMX (Ciudad de Mexico or Mexico City).
It is the Americas’ oldest capital and has been continuously inhabited for nearly 700 years. Of course, it hasn’t always been known by the same name.
Despite the fact that the official name of the country’s capital was changed in 2016, many people still refer to Mexico City as the Federal District (DF).
With a history dating back to antiquity, this city has seen everything from colonization to modernization, and the architecture, demographics, and culture bear the marks of each period.
One of the reasons for this situation is that society has grown accustomed to referring to the capital of Mexico in this manner for a long time.
The reason for changing the name of the country’s center was to give the territory a new identity that would highlight its social, industrial, and cultural aspects.
The Mexico City metropolitan area includes parts of DF and the state of Mexico. However, only residents of DF can claim to live in the capital and not the residents of Mexico City living outside the DF.
7. The Meteorite That Wiped Out The Dinosaurs Hit Mexico
It is another very interesting fact about Mexico that the massive asteroid, estimated to be the size of Mount Everest, smashed into the Earth at the Chicxulub crater in Mexico. The six-mile-wide asteroid collided with the waters off what is now Mexico, causing a mass extinction that wiped out more than 75 per cent of Earth’s species.
The asteroid was thought to be between 10 and 15 kilometers wide, but the velocity of its collision created a much larger crater, 150 kilometers in diameter – the planet’s second-largest crater.
The asteroid struck at high speed and effectively vaporized. It created a massive crater, causing total devastation in the surrounding area. A massive blast wave and heat wave erupted, launching massive amounts of material into the atmosphere.
The impact that ended the dinosaur era 66 million years ago was the worst single day in the history of life on Earth. The impact site, known as the Chicxulub crater, is located on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.
8. Mexico Has The World’s Longest and Largest Underwater Cave System
The world’s largest underwater cave system is located in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The submerged wonderland, the Sac Actun cave system, is located near the beachside town of Tulum.
Sac Actun Cave is a 348-kilometre-long underwater fantasy world and is a network of 200 small caves connected underwater making up the world’s longest cave system.
The cave system contains an important large fresh water reserve that supports great biodiversity as well as ancient civilization artefacts found in the cave walls.
The cave system is thought to contain Mayan Civilization secrets, and the Mayans may have entered the underworld through this gate. These caves are sacred places in Mayan tradition that serve as an entrance to the underworld where the dead continue to live.
As exciting as the caves appear, archaeologists have been elated by a few geological discoveries underwater.
The new cave contains the remains of extinct animals as well as artefacts that shed light on North America’s earliest settlers and the Maya civilization.
Human bones, pottery, and embedded artefacts on cave walls have been discovered in various caves.
9. Mexico Has A Coastline Of Nearly 10,000 Kilometers
With thousands of miles (9,330 kilometers) of coastline, Mexico has everything an ocean lover could want in terms of relaxing and exploring. Mexico has nearly endless miles of warm, subtropical coastline with gently waving palm trees, white-sand beaches, rocky cliffs, and calm blue-green waters, making it no surprise that the country is a popular tourist destination.
Mexico’s three Pacific coastlines—the Baja California peninsula’s two coasts and the mainland’s western coast—are heavily indented in the north, with numerous bays and inlets.
With the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of California, the Gulf of Mexico, and finally the Caribbean’s temperate, crystal clear waters, many visitors come to enjoy the sand and surf.
From gentle breezes over warm brilliant sand lapped by gentle waves to roaring and pounding surf thrashing against the black volcanic rock, and from misty and mystical jungles to high, sheer cliffs, all provide opportunities for new experiences and discovering the various aspects of this magnificent country.
10. Mexico City Is The World’s Second Most Museum-Rich City
Mexico City is one of the cities with the most museums in the world, ranking second only to London. There are approximately 170 officially recognized museums, which is more than Paris and New York.
Among the most notable are the Anthropology Museum, the National History Museum, and the Templo Mayor Museum, to name a few.
Mexico is clearly a nation with a lot to offer in terms of culture, from the Metropolitan Cathedral to the Bellas Artes Museum and the ruins of the Aztec buildings.
It is another interesting fact about Mexico that with such a rich history and a large population of so many museums, Mexico City was once the capital of the Aztec empire, which was founded in 1325 and was known in Nahuatl as the Great Tenochtitlan.
11. The Majority Of Immigrants In Mexico Are Americans
US citizens make up the majority of Mexican immigrants. The most immigrant flows to Mexico are from Central America, with 66,868 people living in Mexico according to the 2010 census.
American immigrants living the Mexican dream may share the same hopes and dreams as Mexican immigrants in the United States: to get ahead or to start a new life.
Most visitors from the United States are students, retirees, religious workers (missionaries, pastors, and so on), Mexican-Americans, and spouses of Mexican citizens.
Many members of the American Mexican community have dual citizenship, including entrepreneurs, businessmen, sports professionals, entertainers, artists, religious ministers, academics, and students.
12. The Mexican Independence Day Is Not Cinco De Mayo
Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not celebrated as Mexican independence day. However, it has a military past. The independence war had started more than ten years earlier, on September 16, 1810. Mexico celebrates its independence day on September 16 as a result. Cinco de Mayo, however, has developed into a celebration of Mexican culture and legacy in the United States.
Today, not every one of Mexico celebrates Cinco de Mayo. The holiday is mostly observed in Puebla, the location where the battle commemorates.
Most people are unaware that Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla in 1862.
The people of Puebla observe this day. The holiday provides an opportunity to celebrate Mexican identity, raise ethnic awareness, and foster community solidarity. Cinco de Mayo is widely celebrated in the United States as a day for people to party and have a good time.
13. Mexican Food Is Recognized As A World Cultural Heritage
Mexican cuisine was added to the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2010. This means that the UN is committed to safeguarding and preserving Mexico’s culinary traditions for future generations.
Ingredients such as corn, peppers, and beans were passed down from pre-Hispanic times, and some have been used for many years. Having survived cultural colonization and the passage of time, these elements deserve preservation.
Mexican food is colorful, extravagant, joyful, and creative, much like Mexicans. Traditional Mexican cuisine is more than just genuine dishes and spices; it is a vibrant, lovingly protected cultural heritage.
When we say “Mexican cuisine,” we’re relating to a massive collection of culinary traditions that really are rich in variety and diversity.
Cooking and celebrating traditional Mexican foods is a great way to respect ancestors and learn about their heritage.
14. Cuexcomate, The World’s Smallest Volcano Is In Mexico
The Cuexcomate volcano in central Mexico is referred to as “the smallest volcano in the world” and is located very near to Puebla’s city center.
But Cuexcomate has mistakenly been nicknamed “the smallest volcano in the world” due to the widespread belief that it was a volcano based solely on the shape of the structure.
Cuexcomate is a dormant geyser. Cuexcomate is derived from the Nahuatl word Cuexcomac, which means bowl or storage place. There are spiral metal stairs that lead down to the crater’s interior. Cuexcomate is considered “inactive,” and it is highly unlikely that it will become active again.
The geyser was created before Popocatépetl, an active volcano and Mexico’s second-highest peak, erupted in 1064. The eruption activated geothermal spring circulation, which deposited the geyser and surrounding springs.
15. The World’s Largest Exporter Of Beer Is Mexico
Mexico exported more beer than any other country in the world in 2021, sending beer worth over USD 5 billion. Mexico dominates the beer export market in terms of both value and volume (volume to such a larger extent it lifts value).
More than 75 per cent of Mexico’s exports are destined for the United States. The United States returns one-tenth of the beer.
It is also the most important supplier to Australia, Chile, Guatemala, Argentina, South Africa, and New Zealand, as well as the third-largest supplier to Canada and the fourth largest supplier to China and Japan.
Grupo Modelo and Cervecera Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma are Mexico’s two largest breweries. Corona, Modelo, and Pacifico is the leading export brand, reaching 180 countries worldwide.
16. Children In Mexico Do Not Receive Gifts At Christmas
This is a very interesting fact about Mexico that traditionally, children in Mexico do not receive gifts from Santa Claus on Christmas day. In Mexico, January 6th is Three Kings Day, also known as the Da de Reyes.
Rather than celebrating Jesus’ birth on 25th December, Mexicans commemorate the arrival of the Three Wise Men with gifts for Jesus. When Jesus receives gifts, everyone receives gifts, including children!
17. Mexico Has 59 Different Types of Corn
Mexico has 59 indigenous corn varieties and it is one of the interesting facts about Mexico that almost 90 per cent of these corn is white and not yellow.
The ancient Mexicans domesticated a wild-growing plant called teocintle, which is a grass similar to rice with grains growing in clusters on a stalk.
Teocintle and corn vary primarily in that corn has a cob and teocintle has not.
Mexicans have grown this important crop for centuries, and despite threats from international trade agreements and genetically modified imports, farmers continue to grow corn, collect seeds, and preserve varieties for future generations.
More than 600 dishes in Mexico contain corn, and if a dish does not contain corn, it is most likely served with tortillas. These foods have a great history and tradition. Tortillas are believed to be 2,000 years old, while tamales are believed to be 4,000 years old. There is a well-known proverb in Mexico that says “no nation without corn.”
18. The Chihuahua Is The Smallest Breed Of Dog And Is Named After The Mexican State Of Chihuahua
Chihuahua, the world’s smallest dog breed, was named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua, where it was first observed in the mid-nineteenth century. The Chihuahua is thought to have descended from the Techichi, a small, mute dog kept by the Toltecs of Mexico as early as the 9th century ad.
Despite being Mexico’s national dog, no one is certain of the Chihuahua’s exact origins. Images resembling chihuahuas can be seen on objects from antiquity throughout the world.
One plausible explanation for the origins of Chihuahuas is the Chinese Crested. The Chinese Crested can be traced back to port cities all over the world thanks to sailors who brought these small dogs with them on trade journeys.
The Chihuahua has become so popular that it is widely regarded as “the” Mexican dog breed and is still one of the most popular dogs.
Mexico, a colorful, exciting, vibrant, and smile-inducing land, remains one of Latin America’s most fascinating tourist destinations. Mexico has undoubtedly earned an admirable reputation for its cuisine and friendly residents, but there is still plenty to learn about this alluring country.