Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, tourist arrivals to Mexico reached nearly 1.5 million. When airports started allowing travel and people were eager to leave home, many found themselves taking a trip to Mexico, but why?
Mexico is one of the top countries to visit for its vibrant culture, delicious food, and historic structures. Many are looking forward to returning to Mexico (when we can all safely do so), but in the meantime, let’s enjoy some fun facts about Mexico to understand the country a little better.
Read on for facts about Mexico that you didn’t know.
1. Its name is not what you think
One of the first fun facts about Mexico is that its name is not really Mexico. Mexico’s real name is the United States of Mexico, also known as the United Mexican States. This country is divided into states like these United States.
Mexico has 31 states and a Federal District. Each state has its own police, regulations, and laws.
It is hard to remember because the Mexico City metropolitan area is within the Federal District. Only those who live in the Federal District are considered capitalinos.
2. It is more than a beach destination
Travelers often go to Mexico for a summer beach vacation. However, the country is much more than a beach destination.
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 lies in the center of the Circum-Pacific Belt, better known as the “Ring of Fire”, a place known for its earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
This is one of the most interesting facts about Mexico, as it means it is home to a rare rabbit that lives near volcanoes, called the volcano rabbit.
Just outside of Puebla, you’ll find the world’s smallest volcano, Cuexcomate. The volcano is only 43 feet high and looks like a small hill.
In addition to 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.
3. U.S. citizens make up the largest immigrant group in Mexico.
Many Americans are surprised by the food when they move to or visit Mexico. Mexican food in the United States is considered Tex-Mex while authentic Mexican food is different.
Another difference between U.S. Mexican food and Mexican food is that the authentic version is not very spicy. Instead, it has a sour taste due to the use of limes.
4. It is the home of the first printing press
In North America, the first printing press was established and used in Mexico City. This dates back to 1539 at the Casa de la Primera Imprenta de America.
The first printing press was used in Mexico long before it came to the United States.
5. It has large and small animals
The jaguar is the largest wild cat in North America and can be found near Mayan ruins or roaming the Mexican jungles.
6. Mexico City sinks
Tenochtitlàn was an Aztec city where the Aztecs made canal systems and dikes to prevent flooding. When the Spanish arrived, they drained the lake bed instead of containing the flood control works.
The Mexican population in Mexico City grows every year and requires more water to be pumped in. As a result, the city sinks 15 to 20 centimeters each year.
7. It is not a third world country
The term “third world” comes from the Cold War. It was created as one of the three divisions of geopolitical alignment.
Countries aligned with the United States were then considered “first world”. Allies of the Soviet Union were “second world” countries. 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 were unknown.
8. It differs from Latin America in some respects
As for the language, Mexican Spanish is a kind of 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 around the world.
Latin America and Mexico are similar when it comes to toilet paper. Yes, you read that right, 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 realized that India and Mexico are more similar than you might think.
9. Not everyone in Mexico speaks Spanish
Officially, Spanish is the national language of Mexico, and Mexico is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world. However, Mexicans do not always speak it. There are 68 other recognized languages spoken in the country and Mexico has no defined official language.
10. Cinco de Mayo is not celebrated
In 1821, on September 27, Mexico declared its independence. However, more than a decade earlier, in 1810, on September 16, the war of independence began. For this reason, Mexico celebrates its Independence Day on September 16.
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 could celebrate this day.
Most do not know that Cinco de Mayo is a day to commemorate the Battle of Puebla that occurred in 1862. Pueblanos do celebrate this day.
11. The cultivation of corn is a tradition
For centuries, Mexican farmers have maintained the tradition of growing corn. This important crop has been threatened by trade agreements and genetically modified variations, but Mexico preserves natural seeds.
Multiple words can describe corn because there are 59 varieties of corn in Mexico.
12. It has a large Catholic population
13. It has the oldest university in North America
When you think of old universities in North America, the first thing you think of is Harvard. However, the oldest university in North America is actually the National University of Mexico, located in the nation’s capital. . It was founded in 1551, 85 years before Harvard.
14. Has interesting foods
Many foodies travel to Mexico in search of authentic Mexican cuisine. The more adventurous can stroll through a market and buy grasshoppers, scorpions and spiders to enjoy with their next meal.
This may be a horrifying sight to the average person, but some of these crawling critters taste great. Why else would the people of Mexico sell them for consumption?
If you can get over the weirdness of eating bugs, you’ll find some protein-rich and, of course, organic delights. There are tons of edible insects to choose from in Mexico.
The Aztecs weren’t served meat, but rather the fat-free bugs they found roaming the land. If you’re feeling adventurous, try a delicious bug during your travels in Mexico.
15. Mexico is the largest exporter of beer in the world.
This fact about Mexico caught me by surprise. I had no idea that Mexico is the largest exporter of beer in the world. I’ve always enjoyed Corona and yet it exports so much more. In fact, Mexico exported $4.2 billion worth of beer in 2019. That’s double what the next closest exporter sold at 2.1 billion.
Fun facts about Mexico that will make you want to take a trip!
Mexico may be at the top of the list for travel because of the beautiful beaches and amazing sights. However, this country has a lot more to offer than what people usually look for.
If you’re looking for rich history, ancient structures, and amazing food, Mexico is the place to be. Don’t settle for a day at the beach when you could experience so much more.
Keep these fun facts about Mexico in mind when planning a future trip. Check out our other travel planning resources to make your trip a success.
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