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25 fun facts about Mexico

beach town in Mexico

Sizzling street food, fiestas aplenty, and some of the world’s most unique natural beauty: Mexico is widely (and rightfully) regarded as a dream destination for many. Despite all these well known benefits to a trip here, there are still plenty of fun facts about Mexico that even the most well prepared traveller might not know about the Latin American nation. 

If you’re visiting the Central American country and want to brush up on your trivia before you go, then check out our favourite 25 fun facts about Mexico!

1. Mexico City is sinking

The huge capital sprawls out for miles heaves with life, but many people don’t know that it was actually built on a drained lake. This means that the city is constantly sinking, with some estimating that this drop is as much as 12 cm per year! Maybe not quite a fun fact about Mexico if you’re living in the city, but an interesting one for sure.

Mexico

Image source:Contiki

2. Mexico is home to 35 UNESCO world heritage sites

Many countries are full of gorgeous attractions, but Mexico is packed to the brim with UNESCO world heritage sites, including ancient pyramids, preserved colonial towns, and otherworldly natural parks. 

3. Mexico is home to the oldest university in North and Central America

One of the most interesting facts about Mexico is that the Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico (later the University of Mexico, and currently the National Autonomous University of Mexico or UNAM) is the oldest university in all of North and Central America. Founded in 1551, it precedes Harvard by over eight decades.

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4. The Golden Eagle is Mexico’s national bird

The glorious golden eagle soars all over the continental U.S and even up to Canada, but south of the border the majestic bird has a special significance: it’s Mexico’s national animal, and even has a place on the country’s coat of arms. However, you won’t spot it in much of the country, as populations only tend to get as far south as Guadalajara.

5. Colour TV was invented in Mexico

Yes, it’s true: in 1963 the engineer Guillermo González Camarena saw his invention (technically called the trichromatic sequential field system) change television forever, as Channel 5 aired the kid’s show Paraíso Infantil (Children’s Paradise)in colour. So, next time you’re admiring the detail on your 4K screen, you can thank Mexico.

6. There are still bullet holes in buildings from the Mexican revolution

In the historic city of Puebla there’s a stunning house that appears like many of the other buildings around it. However, if you look up you’ll see there’s bullet holes all over the home, a vivid and present reminder of the violence of the 1910 Mexican Revolution. The home belonged to the Serdán family, many of whom were involved in revolutionary activity. It’s now an informative museum.

7. No, Cinco de Mayo isn’t Mexican Independence Day

A lot of people outside of Mexico have only seen the country through the lens of how it’s portrayed in American media, which is heavily influenced by Mexican immigrants to the States. And, seeing as Cinco de Mayo is often depicted as the most important celebration of Mexican culture in things like TV shows and movies, it’s natural people would think it was also the country’s independence day. 

However, that couldn’t be further from the truth: the real date of Mexican independence is September 16th, whereas May 5th is actually the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, where Mexican forces drove off a supposedly superior French army. And, believe us: the locals definitely put on more of a party for independence than they do for Cinco, except for in the state of Puebla where the battle actually happened.

Mexico

Image source:Contiki

8. The world’s richest man was once Mexican

Although he’s currently eighth on the list of richest people in the world, Carlos Slim was once on top of the money pile. He began his career as a stockbroker but soon had his fingers in basically every pie he could: communications, infrastructure, and even the deliciously sugary Jarritos soft drinks. He’s also a noted philanthropist, and famously founded the Museo Soumaya in Mexico City. 

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9. It has the most Spanish speakers in the world…

With 113 million native speakers of the language, Mexico has the most Spanish speakers out of any country in the world. So make sure you remember to practise rolling those r’s before you visit!

10. …and Mexico City is the largest spanish-speaking city in the world

The capital metropolitan area is home to over 21 million residents, which makes it around fifty percent larger than the next biggest Spanish speaking city, Buenos Aires (14 million).

Mexico

Image source:Contiki

11. They drink more coca-cola than anyone else

If you’re a dentist looking for work then this is definitely one of the most fun facts about Mexico. Their consumption of the world famous drink is off the charts, with some regions of the country chugging down 2.2 litres per day of the sugary treat. 

12. Mexico brought chocolate to the west

When you’re talking fun facts about Mexico, you have to mention the food. And while we love the dishes you get in the country, one of its most famous exports is now beloved all over the globe: chocolate. The addictive treat is associated with the Oaxaca region, where they serve creamy hot chocolate almost everywhere. Chocolate is also a vital component of many of the famous moles, often seen as the country’s national dish.

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13. One of their favourite foods will remind you of a night out

One of the most fun facts about Mexico is that if someone dropped you into a Mexico City taco joint, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in a kebab shop at 3am. This is because one of the country’s most beloved dishes is tacos al pastor, which utilises the same hunk of spinning meat as the drunkard’s favourite meal. 

The technique for cooking meat was brought over by Middle Eastern immigrants who were fleeing the strife caused by the downfall of the Ottoman Empire (double fun fact: this wave of immigration is what led to Shakira’s family settling in Colombia).

14. Mexico is home to America’s first printing press 

In Mexico City’s historic centre lies Casa de la Primera Imprenta de America, home of the very first printing press on this side of the Atlantic. You can have a look at the machine, which is in a building that’s operated by Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM).

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15. It’s also home to the world’s largest pyramid 

Egypt might be the country most associated with pyramids, but one of the most interesting facts about Mexico is that it’s home to the largest one in the world – in terms of volume, at least. The Great Pyramid at Cholula, just outside of Puebla, is larger than even Giza, although isn’t as ancient. 

16. Mexico is home to the world’s most volcanoes, and its smallest!

Considering how mountainous much of the nation is, it makes sense that Mexico is also home to more volcanoes than anywhere else. But what turns this from being slightly terrifying to one of the best fun facts about Mexico is that you can also find the smallest volcano in the world here. Cuexcomate near Puebla is only 43 feet tall, but it’s also inactive, so don’t be too scared about going to visit.

17. The famous Day of the Dead symbol was created as a satire 

There really is nothing like experiencing la Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, in Mexico. The epicentre of the bright, colourful festivities is Oaxaca, where you’ll find countless folks with their face painted to resemble a skull. 

This is La Catrina, and although it seems like she’s been the symbol of the holiday forever, she was actually a character in a Mexican satirical comic that poked fun of the country’s burgeoning middle classes, who despite being mostly of European heritage were trying to play up their indigenous roots in the aftermath of independence. 

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18. The Azteca is the largest football stadium in Latin America

If you’re looking for a great crowd and plenty of entertainment, then a trip to the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City is a must. This huge structure is the largest of its kind in all of Latin America, and getting a chance to watch a match on this hallowed turf is an experience well worth having. 

19. You can check out vivid pink lakes

Las Coloradas is located in the Yucatan Peninsula, and the region is home to some truly special scenery. The waters here are cotton candy pink, and often there’s a soft blue sky to match the aesthetic, providing a wonderful place to sit back and relax. 

20. The Mexican flag is the inspiration for a dish they eat on Independence Day

You can’t collect a bunch of fun facts about Mexico without delving into their food culture, and this little nugget of information about Chiles en Nogada has a pretty interesting back story. The dish, which consists of a stuffed green pepper covered in a creamy walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds, is said to have been invented by nuns after Mexico became independent.

21. Mexican cuisine is on the UNESCO list of Immaterial World Cultural Heritage 

Anybody who visits Mexico knows just how mouthwatering the selection of food is, but did you know it’s actually so tasty that UNESCO has given it heritage status? Who needs a Michelin star, anyway?

22. Mexico is home to some of the best surf in the West

You know a place has great waves when Aussies flock there, and Mexico’s western coast is full of surfers from down under (and all over the world, really). The Oaxacan coast is specifically noted for its surf, so if you’re a lover of the sport and looking for a new place to give it a go, there are few better spots in this hemisphere.

mexico-beach-couple

Image source:Contiki

23. There are 68 recognised languages, and 63 are indigenous

Mexicans are a diverse bunch, but one of the most interesting fun facts about Mexico is that there are actually 68 recognised languages within its borders. 63 of these are indigenous, and the country has seen a massive push in recent years to protect this varied and beautiful heritage.

24. The comet that killed the dinosaurs landed in Mexico

This definitely isn’t a fun fact about Mexico for our long gone Jurassic pals, but in terms of global history it’s definitely an interesting one. The comet that caused the mass extinction event that rid the world of dinosaurs impacted the Yucatan Peninsula, causing what we now call the Chicxulub Crater. The centre of the spot is in the ocean, but you can see some of the crater in Chicxulub Pueblo, for which it’s named.

25. It’s actually called The United States of Mexico

Much like how America is often referred to as simply that, Mexico is also technically called the United States of Mexico. However, unlike the USA, it doesn’t tend to get its full name on many maps, especially in the English speaking world. 

Have these fun facts about Mexico inspired you to visit? Contiki has a range of unique trips to the Central American country for you to enjoy, so check them out!

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