facts about mexico

33 Fun and Interesting Facts About Mexico You Never Knew

Here’s a Fun fact about Mexico — It’s actually not called Mexico!

Mexico’s official name is Estados Unidos Mexicanos, or the United Mexican States. Besides this, there are so many fun facts about Mexico, as well as interesting facts about Mexico, that you’re about to discover. 

So, what is Mexico known for?

Though most know it simply as one big tropical Spring Break party town, you’re about to discover a plethora of interesting tidbits about Mexico. In reality, there definitely are many amazing Mexico beaches — but it’s not all beaches, tacos and tequila.

As a large country, Mexico is packed with rich culture, world class food, and incredible heritage and history. Mexico has 32 states, including Mexico City, which is both the capital city and a state. Much like in the U.S., each state has its own unique identity, customs and culture. 

Keep reading to discover the 33 most interesting facts about Mexico — including facts about Mexico City, general fun facts about Mexico, and all the fun facts about Mexico that make it so unique!

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interesting facts about Mexico 

1. Mexico has the World’s Largest Pyramid

great pyramid of cholula mexico | fun facts about mexico
Some of the Great Pyramid of Cholula, located under the Iglesia Nuestra Señora de los Remedios church.

If you asked most people where the largest pyramid on Earth is located, 99% would likely say  Egypt. However, the largest pyramid (by volume; not height) is the Great Pyramid of Cholula in Cholula, Mexico.

Incredibly, this massive pyramid is mostly buried underground! When the Spanish conquistadors invaded Mexico, they put Catholic churches right on top of preexisting temples, and the Great Pyramid is located underneath the Nuestra Señora de los Remedios Cholula church.

The Great Pyramid of Cholula is said to have been constructed in honor of one of the central Aztec gods, Quetzalcoatl (pronounced ketz-al-coe-uh). It is massive, at 4.5 million cubic meters, and visitors can tour many of its underground passageways when visiting Cholula.

Mexico has more than 30 pyramids

Besides the Great Pyramid of Cholula, Mexico has many others! Built in 900 BC, the Great Pyramid of La Venta in the state of Tabasco, is the oldest. Located at the Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, you’ll find the famous Kukulkan Pyramid.

women at teotihuacan pyramids in mexico city | fun facts about mexico
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Teotihuacan Pyramids are located about an hour from Mexico City.
Fun facts about Mexico

2. U.S. Citizens Make Up the Largest Mexico Expat Group 

For all the negative press about Mexico in the mainstream U.S. news, the largest foreign-born population in Mexico are U.S. citizens. According to a 2019 Business Insider magazine report, more Americans are immigrating to Mexico than the other way around!

In a twist to the decades-long trend of Mexican immigrants journeying to the United States, data indicates that in recent years, more people have done the opposite, moving from the US to its southern neighbor in droves.

Source: Business Insider

3. Mexico Has NO Official Language

Two girls in traditional Oaxacan clothing in oaxaca mexico
Though nearly all Mexicans speak Spanish, the government also recognizes 67 additional languages.

More so than not having one single official language, Mexico actually has 68 official languages! This places Mexico as one of the most linguistically-diverse countries in the world.

Though Mexico is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world, and most Mexicans do speak Spanish, there are 68 other recognized languages. The Maya language and Aztec Nahuatl (pronounced nah-wah-tull) language are among the most prominent.

Amazing facts about Mexico

4. Mexico is the Top Latin America Travel Destination

According to World Tourism Organization reports, Mexico sees the highest number of international visitors of any Latin American country. This travel trend only seems to increase year after year, and now Mexico ranks as the third most-visited country in the world.

In 2019, 45 million visitors came to Mexico — the highest amount of any year on record. Despite near-halted travel in 2020 due to Covid, Mexico still saw about 25 million international visitors in 2020.

5. The Meteor that Killed the Dinosaurs Hit Mexico

beach houses in tulum mexico, yucatan peninsula
Tulum, Mexico, just a few hours from the Chicxulub meteor site, is one of the best Yucatan Peninsula travel destinations in Mexico.

The huge asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs some 65 million years ago, hit Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. More specifically, the direct hit was in the town now known as Chicxulub (pronounced chee-chee-lube), a Yucatan beach town on the Gulf of Mexico.

Employees from Mexico’s state oil company, PEMEX, discovered the large crater in 1981 while they were drilling an oil well. This massive crater is 1,950-square-feet (180m²) wide, though located underground, so visitors can’t tour it.

Fun facts about Mexico Culture

6. Mexico has Some of the Friendliest and Happiest People

According to the Happy Planet Index, Mexicans are the second happiest people in the world, after Costa Ricans. Their findings show “wellbeing in Mexico is higher than in neighboring USA,” thanks to things like universal health care and an emphasis on family and community.

Similar findings from Blue Zones place Mexicans among the happiest people on Earth. A 2020 Condé Nast Traveler magazine reader’s poll of Friendliest Cities in the World saw two Mexico cities crack the Top 10 — Merida, Mexico took third, and San Miguel de Allende, fourth.

7. A Mexican Invented Color TV

The inventor of color television, Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena, was born in Mexico’s second largest city, Guadalajara. In 1940, when he was just 23, Camarena requested a patent for the first color image transmission system. It was eventually used in the Voyager 1 spacecraft.

💊 Random Facts About Mexico: Birth control pills were invented by a Mexican! Luis Ernesto Miramontes Cardenas, a 25-year-old chemist from Nayarit state, combined progestin norethisterone in one of the first three oral birth control pills ever made.

colorful homes on the callejon de los sapos street, or frog alley, in puebla, mexico
The Callejon de los Sapos (Frog Alley), the most colorful street in Puebla, Mexico.
Fun facts about Puebla Mexico

8. Mexicans DON’T Really Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

tall orange colored colonial church in dolores hidalgo, mexico, a pueblo magico (magic town)
Dolores Hidalgo is one of the 132 pueblos mágicos in Mexico — meaning “magic towns.”

Outside of Puebla, Mexico, most Mexicans don’t celebrate 5 de Mayo. For those who make the trip to Cinco de Mayo in Puebla, it’s a festive time with parades, music in the streets, battle reenactments, special foods like chile en nogada, and more.

The holiday, which commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory over France in the 1862 Battle of Puebla, is much more popular in the U.S. than in Mexico. It also is often incorrectly labeled as Mexican Independence Day.

Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence Day

One of the biggest holidays in Mexico, the annual Mexican Independence Day celebration takes place at midnight on September 16. It usually starts earlier in the day with partying and cultural celebrations, but officially begins with El Grito de Dolores, and is often followed by fireworks.

The Grito de Dolores (Cry of Dolores) was the rallying call given to Mexican troops before going into battle against the Spanish. Proclaimed by Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in the city of Dolores Hidalgo, this cry is said to have triggered the Mexican War of Independence.

Fun facts about Mexico

9. Mexico has One of the Seven Wonders of the World

chichen itza, a mayan pyramid and wonder of the world - day trips from Merida
The Temple of Kukulkan at Chichen Itza Ruins, located in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Chichen Itza is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and among the best ruins in Mexico. Both having about two million visitors each year, Chichen Itza and Teotihuacan Ruins near Mexico City are the country’s most visited sites.

The Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins are located about 3.5 hours west of Cancun, in Yucatan State. This state is one of three that make up the Yucatan Peninsula, where you’ll find hundreds of Mayan Ruins in Mexico, including Uxmal, Coba, Tulum Ruins and more.

Yucatan was Named in Confusion

The name, Yucatan Peninsula, is said to have resulted from a miscommunication when a Spaniard asked a local Mayan the name of the area. He replied: ma’anaatik ka t’ann, which sounds like yucatan, and means “I don’t understand you” in Maya.

Chichen Itza is considered the most archaeologically-important because of the number of buildings there, and architectural styles used. When at Chichen Itza, you’ll see about 15 structures, including the central pyramid, El Castillo AKA the Temple of Kukulkan.

Fun facts about Mexico

10. Mexico has 35 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Mexico has the seventh most UNESCO World Heritage sites of any country. These natural and manmade landmarks include the ruins of Chichen Itza, Palenque, Teotihuacan and Uxmal, the historic mines of Guanajuato, canals of Xochimilco, and Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve near Tulum.

Mexico has 132 Magic Towns

Mexico pueblos magicos, or magic towns, are similar to UNESCO World Heritage Sites — but exclusive to Mexico. There are 132 pueblos (smaller towns as opposed to large cities) recognized for their special qualities including stunning natural beauty and unique history. 

large tan church with colorful dome in the ornate baroque style site high atop the town of taxco, one of the most unique places to visit in mexico
Taxco is one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico, and also a pueblo magico (magical town).
Fun facts about Mexico Culture

11. Mexico is the Birthplace of North American Printing

Long before Kindles and audiobooks, Mexico City was the place to get your literature in North America. In fact, the first printing press in the New World was actually used in Mexico long before making its way to the U.S.

🇲🇽 Bonus Fun Facts About Mexico City: Mexico City is the highest city in Mexico at 7,350-feet (2240m). It is the eighth highest capital city on Earth — the highest is La Paz, Bolivia, at 11,950-feet high (3640m).

In 1539, the Casa de la Primera Imprenta de América, or House of the First Printing Press, was opened to publish books. Located in Centro Historico (Historic Downtown), visitors to Mexico City can still tour this house/printing press today.

12. Cholula, Mexico is the Oldest City in North America

the colorful colonial town of Cholula, one of the most unique places to visit in mexico
Cholula is one of the most colorful and most beautiful cities in Mexico.

Cholula is the oldest city on the Americas Continent, according to World Atlas. Sources date its founding to about 2000 BC. They place Mexico City’s founding at more than 1,000 years later, in 1325. However, some sources mistakenly call Mexico City the oldest city in North America.

Cholula, located in Puebla state, and Mexico City are only about 78 miles (126km) miles from one another. As such, the general area has been inhabited for thousands of years. In fact, the Tlapacoya archeological site near Mexico City shows evidence of humans 22,000 years ago.

Fun facts about Mexico

13. Mexico has the Largest University in the World

UNAM college campus Main Library building in mexico city
The UNAM Central Library, which is said to have one of the largest mural paintings in the world.

The National University of Mexico was founded by Charles V of Spain in 1551, making it the oldest university in North America. It was founded a full 85 years before Harvard University.

The National University was run by the Catholic church until it came under State control in 1910. In the 1920s, it became autonomous from the church, and its name changed to the National Autonomous University of Mexico — better known as UNAM.

Today, UNAM is considered one of the best universities in the world. In Mexico, public universities are free for citizens to attend, but UNAM is among the most competitive to get into. With more than 300,000 students, it is also the largest university in the world.

The UNAM Central University City Campus in Mexico City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with buildings made by some of Mexico’s top architects and artists. The Central Library, designed by architect and painter Juan O’Gorman, has one of the largest murals in the world.

Fun facts about Christmas in Mexico 

14. Mexican Kids Don’t Get Presents on Christmas

Well, some kids do — but many don’t! This is actually one of the most interesting facts about Mexico culture, and something definitely unique to this country. Children in Mexico get their holiday season gifts on January 6; not December 25.

Rather than giving gifts on Christmas Day, essentially the birthday of Jesus, Mexicans instead exchange presents on Día de los Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day). According to Biblical texts, this is the day the Three Wise Men arrived to give gifts to Jesus.

Mexico’s Christmas season lasts for almost a month

Beginning in December, you’ll find Posadas or nightly holiday celebrations throughout the country. These can be everywhere from in people’s private homes to rented halls, and as citywide public celebrations.

The Posadas symbolize the Biblical story in which Joseph and Mary made a month-long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, in search of a place to give birth to their baby. The Mexican Christmas season ends after Three Kings Day in January.

colorful street in San Miguel De Allende Mexico
San Miguel de Allende is one of the best places to spend Christmas in Mexico.
Fun facts about Mexico

15. Mexico Has Been Inhabited for About 22,000 Years

For years, archeologists could only date Mexico’s inhabitants back to the Olmec civilization, about 3,700 years ago. Among the first Mesoamericans to create complex societies, the Olmec’s unique cultural practices influenced later civilizations, like the Maya and Aztecs.

However, in recent years the Tlapacoya archeological site near Mexico City shows evidence of humans an astounding 22,000 years ago! At this site, they have uncovered the bones of black bear, two species of deer and a curved obsidian blade that date back thousands of years.

16. The World’s Smallest Dog Comes from Mexico

The Chihuahua is the smallest known dog breed. It was first bred in the Northern Mexican state of Chihuahua — for which the dog is named. Chihuahuas are said to be descendants of the techichi, an ancient and bark-less companion from the Toltec civilization.

The national dog of Mexico is the Xoloitzcuintli

xoloitzcuintli Mexican hairless dog in the snow | fun facts about mexico
A small-sized xoloitzcuintli Mexican hairless dog. Besides being hairless, they are also back-less and don’t bark!

Speaking of bark-less dogs, Mexico’s national dog is the xoloitzcuintli (pronounced show-low-squink-lay). These dogs are also hairless, and come in small, medium and large sizes. They are sacred to the Aztecs, and said to deliver souls to the underworld.

Fun facts about Mexico

17. Day of the Dead is a National Holiday

Though about 85% of Mexicans identify as Catholic — the world’s second-largest Catholic population, after Brazil — one of its biggest national holidays comes directly from the ancient religions. 

The origins of Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, date back to the Aztec celebration of the goddess Mictecacihuatl, their Queen of the Underworld. Much like the current Day of the Dead holiday, the Aztec festival was a celebratory affair.

After Mexican colonization by the Spanish, who brought with them Catholicism, the festival was moved from early-summer to fall. The new holidays dates, Oct. 31, Nov. 1 and Nov. 2, coincided with Allhallowtide, a Catholic multi-day holiday commemorating the deceased.

In Mexico today, Day of the Dead is a national holiday. It is among the most important holidays in Mexico, and celebrated across the country. Some celebrations are larger than others, like the Mexico City Day of the Dead parade and the elaborate Oaxaca Day of the Dead festival.

day of the dead parade in oaxaca mexico
Day of the Dead, celebrated Oct. 31, Nov. 1 and Nov. 2, is one of the most festive times in Mexico.

💀 Day of the Dead is NOT Mexican Halloween

Aside from costumes and face painting, Day of the Dead in Mexico is not the same as Halloween in the U.S. The holiday is all about reuniting and partying with our departed loved ones, who’s spirits return Earth-side for just a few hours each year.

18. Mexico has the Most Taxi Cabs in the World

In Mexico City alone, with it’s massive population of nearly nine million, there are more than 140,000 taxi cabs on the roads. This is said to be the world’s largest fleet of cabs, but nowadays, there’s also Mexico ride sharing apps like Uber, DiDi and BlaBlaCar.

cars and taxi cabs driving in mexico city down busy reforma avenue towards the angel of independence statue
On the right side of the photo, you’ll see two of the 140,000 pink and white taxis in Mexico City.

Interesting Facts About Mexico Nature

19. Mexico is the 4th Most Biodiverse Country

Located between the Arctic Circle and Equator, Mexico has a large variety of plant and animal life. In fact, Mexico has about 12% of the world’s biodiversity, and it’s the fourth most biodiverse country in the world; behind Brazil, China and Ecuador. 

In the waters off the Baja California Peninsula on Mexico’s West Coast, you’ll find the UNESCO World Heritage Site, El Vizcaino, popular for Mexico whale watching. There’s also the world’s second largest reef, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, just off the coast of Cozumel Island.

Mexico has seven different climatic zones, giving it a wide variety of ecosystems ranging from cloud forests, large lakes and lagoons, waterfalls and coral reefs. In the north, you’ll find deserts, and the second largest canyon in North America, the Copper Canyon.

🐆 There are Jaguars in Mexico

North America’s largest wildcat, the jaguar, can be found in the Yucatan Peninsula. A sacred animal of the Maya, be the lookout for this rarely-spotted feline while headed into the jungles for an innocent swim in one of the best Tulum cenotes.

The rainforests and wetlands in the south are also teeming with other exotic animals and tropical plant species. Think coatimundis, quetzalcoatl birds, pumas, iguanas and more. There are also more than 700 reptile species, the most of anywhere around the world.

a sail boat in the middle of the blue waters of bacalar lagoon mexico
Laguna Bacalar, called the Lake of Seven Colors, because it’s said you can see seven distinct shades of blue.
Fun facts about Mexico

20. Mexico has Almost 7,000 Miles of Coastline 

If you ask most people What is Mexico known for? — they will likely say tacos and beaches. While there’s more to the country than both of those, Mexico is one of the few countries on Earth that has more coastline than it has land borders.

Depending on where you are in Mexico, you can swim in the Pacific Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Sea of Cortez (AKA Gulf of California), Bay of Campeche, and more. There are also several large lakes, like Lake Chapala and Bacalar Lagoon, known as the Maldives of Mexico.

21. Mexico has one of the only Blowholes on Earth, La Bufadora

la bufadora blowhole, or mexico geyser, in ensenada, mexico, baja california
La Bufadora, the famous blowhole or geyser in Mexico, goes off about every 15-20 seconds all day and night.

Just outside of Ensenada, Mexico lies La Bufadora, which means “the blowhole.” This natural wonder in the Punta Banda Peninsula of Baja California state, is a must-visit and among the most fun places in Mexico.

La Bufadora, located on a rocky cliff, has a hole that shoots water into the air up to 100-feet above the ocean. It is one of only a handful of blowholes in the world that reach this height; others include Halona Blowhole in Hawaii, Kiama Blowhole in Australia and Hummanaya Blowhole in Sri Lanka.

Fun facts about Mexico

22. Mexico has the World’s Smallest Volcano

Popocatepetl Volcano, located about 1.5 hours from Mexico City, is 17,800-feet-tall (5,425m).

Mexico is home to the smallest volcano on Earth, Cuexcomate Volcano, located outside Puebla City, Mexico. It stands at an adorable 43-feet-tall (13m)!  When compared to the tallest volcano on Earth, Mauna Loa in Hawaii, at 13,678-feet-tall (4,169m), Cuexcomate is barely a hill.

Mexico has 42 volcanoes

There are 42 active volcanoes in Mexico, as well as thousands of inactive volcanoes. The country is located on the Ring of Fire — the most seismically-active region on Earth. This is where you’ll find 75% of Earth’s volcanoes, and where 90% of all earthquakes happen.

The highest peak in Mexico is actually an inactive stratovolcano, the Pico de Orizaba (or, Volcan Citlaltepetl), also located in Puebla state. It stands at about 18,500-feet (5,650m) above sea level, and as the third largest volcano in North America, is very popular for climbers.

🐰 Weird Facts About Mexico: Mexico is home to a very rare rabbit called the volcano rabbit, which lives around the volcanoes in the country.

23. Millions of Butterflies Migrate to and from Mexico Each Year

Piedra Herrada Monarch Butterfly Biosphere, with millions of butterflies on a branch during the mexico butterfly migration
The annual Mexico monarch butterfly migration is the longest insect migration on Earth, at about 4,500 miles round-trip 🦋

Every November, millions (possibly billions) of monarch butterflies make their annual 3,000-mile migration from Canada to Mexico, where they stay from about November to March. Located not far from Mexico City, the Mexico Monarch Sanctuary is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If you visit Central Mexico during their migration season, this is one of the most fun things to do in Mexico. The best place to see the butterflies is the Piedra Herrada Monarch Butterfly Biosphere, located two hours from Mexico City in the lakefront town of Valle de Bravo.

Fun facts about Mexico

24. Mexico has the Most Cenotes on Earth

woman swimming in cenote calavera (natural sinkhole/jungle pool) in tulum, mexico
Cenote Calavera is one of the best cenotes in Tulum and all of Mexico! (Photo: Mathilde Langevin via Unsplash)

Mexico is known for its beautiful cenotes (pronounced sen-no-tays) — which are basically natural freshwater pools. There are about 6,000 cenotes in Mexico, with most in the Yucatan Peninsula, and all connected as part of the largest underwater cave system on Earth.

The actual definition you might see for cenotes is a “sinkhole.” This describes the process of how the cenotes came to be — as all cenotes were once enclosed in the native limestone rock, but over time some of the rock eroded, to expose the cenote water beneath. 

Nowadays, thanks to YouTube and social media, the photogenic cenotes have become popular for swimming and photography. However, cenotes are very sacred for the Mayan people, who used them as a freshwater source, places of worship and more.

Fun Facts About Mexico City

25. Mexico City has the Second Most Museums of Any City

European style Palacio Bellas Artes building in mexico city, with large golden dome on top and manicured shrubs in front
Palacio Bellas Artes is a theater and museum, and one of the most iconic buildings in Mexico City.

While this is actually hotly debated, know that Mexico City does have a lot of museums.

For many years, it was widely considered that London had the most museums, followed by Mexico City. In recent years, Moscow and Paris now claim they have the most — but this is hard to really know as it depends on how to properly define what constitutes a “museum.”

According to TripAdvisor, there are about 145 museums in Mexico City. Among the most fun things to do in Mexico City, head to the National Anthropology Museum, Frida Kahlo Museum, Palacio Bellas Artes, Templo Mayor, and the off the beaten path Mexico City Museum of Antique Toys.

🇲🇽 Mexico Travel Tip: Nearly all museums in Mexico are closed Mondays. On Sundays, Mexican nationals get in free to all Mexico museums, so expect big crowds that day.

26. Mexico City was Built on a Lake – And it’s sinking!

One of the most bizarre and interesting facts about Mexico City is that it’s sinking. In fact, Mexico City has sunk so much that it was once the seventh highest capital city on Earth, but has since been overtaken by Sana’a, Yemen, which is about 30-feet higher.

Tenochtitlan, now known as Mexico City, was once the grand Aztec capital of the world. You can tour the ruins of their Templo Mayor (Main Temple) in Centro Historico, one of three Mexico City UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

🌵 How the aztecs DISCOVERED Mexico City

When searching for a place to establish their capital city, Aztec priests prophesied they would see an eagle on a cactus eating a snake — and know that’s where they must set up their city.

The Aztecs ultimately found the eagle, perched on a cactus in Lake Texcoco. Since they couldn’t ignore the prophecy, they built their city on top of the lake. As a result of unstable ground, Mexico City is sinking by about 4.75-inches (12cm) each year.

🦅 Mexico’s National Symbol is this Golden Eagle

This image of the eagle remained an enduring symbol, and is pictured in the center of Mexico’s flag. In the Mexican Coat of Arms, located in the white stripe on the Mexican flag, you’ll see an eagle on a nopal (cactus), with a snake in its mouth.

Colorful paper lanterns and umbrellas in Mexico City's Chinatown (Barrio Chino)
Barrio Chino is Mexico City’s Chinatown, located in Centro Historico. (Photo: Pyro Jenka via Unsplash)
Fun facts of Mexico City

27. Mexico Only has One Gun Store, Located in Mexico City

Though it’s sinister reputation may lead you to think otherwise, Mexico has some of the world’s strictest firearm laws and regulations. In fact, Mexico has only one gun store in the entire country. It is located in Mexico City, and operated by the Mexican military.

To purchase a gun in Mexico, citizens have to subject themselves to background checks, fingerprinting, submitting references, being photographed, and other steps. After satisfying all these requirements, they may buy just one gun and one box of bullets.

28. There are Women-Only Cars in the Mexico City Subway

Like any large city, Mexico City has higher crime rates than small cities, and higher incidents of pickpocketing and petty theft. To compare cities, Mexico City is about as safe as New York City — and much like NYC, you must exercise caution on the subway, especially during rush hour.

In an effort to make the Mexico City Metro safer for women, the front subway carriages are for women and children only. Also, most public buses are large with two or three cars for each one, and similarly, the front part of Mexico City buses are women only.

Torre Latinoamericana skyscraper building in downtown mexico city (Latin American Tower, Centro Historio CDMX)
Downtown Mexico City is the most vibrant neighborhood in town, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Fun Facts About Mexico Food

29. Chocolate Originated in Mexico

The ancient Mexican civilizations, including the Olmec, Aztec, Toltec, and Maya, have been cultivating cacao trees more than 3,000 years ago. In fact, the English word chocolate is derived from the Nahuatl (Aztec language) word, xocolatl.

It has long been consumed in drink form, but the cacao beans were also used as a form of currency, often valued at more than gold. In different parts of Mexico, you can still enjoy ancient drinking chocolates, like tejate, which is lovingly called “the drink of the gods,” atole and tascalate.

30. Mexico is the World’s Largest Beer Exporter

In 2019, Mexico exported $4.2 billion worth of beer. The Netherlands, which produces Heineken, is the world’s second biggest beer exporter with sales of $2.1 billion — only about half as much as Mexico.

🤔 Wondering, What’s the best selling beer in Mexico? According to Wiki, it’s Corona, which is one of the five most-consumed beers in the world, and available in more than 150 countries.

While Corona is the most known and most consumed of all Mexican beers, there are plenty more to try! Next time you’re in the market, check out some of these other best Mexican beers: Dos Equis, Modelo, Sol, Pacifico, Indio, Tecate, Victoria, Bohemia and Carta Blanca.

sol beer on the beach in the tropical island of isla mujeres, mexico | fun facts about mexico
Enjoying a Sol beer on the beach in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, a tropical island in the Caribbean Sea.
Fun facts about Mexico

31. Mexico is the World’s Top Coca-Cola Consumer

In Mexico, there’s an astounding 163 liters consumed annually by each person! This translates to half a liter every day, and of course, high rates of diabetes, obesity and more.

🥤 Fun Facts of Mexico: Coca-Cola is so popular that it’s even part of the unique religious ceremony at Iglesia San Juan church in San Juan Chamula, Chiapas.

In fact, Mexico is considered the second most overweight country on Earth, behind the U.S. Many point the finger right at soda over-consumption, and the government is starting to take measures. In the state of Oaxaca, children can no longer legally purchase soda on their own.

32. Mexican Food is UNESCO Approved

man carving meat off a spit to make street tacos in mexico city
You can eat street food all over — but there are strategic ways on how to pick the right street tacos in Mexico.

In 2010, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — better known as UNESCO —  declared Mexican food an “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mankind.” In short, this is a fancy way of saying traditional Mexican food is important, amazing, and a gift to mankind!

Mexican cuisine is elaborate and symbol-laden, with everyday tortillas and tamales, both made of corn, forming an integral part of Day of the Dead offerings.

Source: UNESCO

This prestigious culinary designation, which has only been bestowed to Mexico and France, highlights Mexican ingredients as well as cooking preparations. While corn is a staple food in Mexico, it was the nixtamalization process that allowed for the creation of tortillas.

🌮 Fun Facts of Mexico: Tacos are eaten all over the country, but burritos are only common in Northern Mexico cities like Monterrey and Ciudad Juarez, considered the birthplace of the burrito.

Fun facts about Mexico

33. Mexico has 59 Varieties of Corn

several varieties of corn in varying colors | fun facts about mexico
Just some of the 59 varieties of Mexican corn 🌽

For centuries, Mexican farmers have been growing corn. In fact, there’s no country in the world as socially, economically and culturally linked to corn as Mexico. It has been one of the top staple foods, and cooking ingredients in traditional Mexican cuisine, for thousands of years. 

There are 59 varieties of indigenous corn, in colors ranging from red and blue, to green and white, which all come from the same wild species, called teosinte. With so many varieties, there are multiple words for corn, though maiz is the most commonly-used.

🍅 Tomatoes Come from Mexico too!

Tomatoes are actually a berry, and most associated with Italian cuisine — however, they first grew in Mexico. Spanish explorer Hernan Cortez is said to have brought the first tomato plant to Europe from Mexico in 1519.

Besides tomatoes, Mexico also gave us many of our most beloved foods including: cacao (chocolate), avocados, zucchini, vanilla, various beans and numerous types of chili peppers. Some claim coffee also comes from Mexico, but other sources say it’s from Ethiopia.

10 Short Fun Facts About Mexico

Here are 10 short, fun facts for Mexico. For those teaching their children about Mexico, these make perfect and easily-digestible tidbits. If you’re visiting with younger ones, these make the perfect fun facts about Mexico for kids to get them excited for the trip!

  • Mexico is BIG: Mexico is the 13th largest country in the world.
  • 7th Most Visited Country: Mexico received 45 million international tourists in 2019.
  • 10th Most Populous Country: Mexico has a population of more than 129 million. 
  • Mexican Flag: The country’s flag is red, white and green.
  • You can’t shave and drive in Mexico: A 2008 law made this illegal, as well as putting on make-up while driving.
  • Mexico has the only castle in North America: Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City is the only true castle in on the continent, because it’s the only place where royalty once lived — Emperor Maximilian I and Empress Carlota.
Chapultepec Castle
Castillo Chapultepec in Mexico City
  • National Dish of Mexico: Mexico actually has two national dishes, one is mole (produced moe-lay), and the other is chile en nogada.
  • Mexico’s Neighboring Countries: Mexico shares a border with Guatemala, Belize, and of course, the U.S. — which share a 1,950-mile border (3,145km).
  • Mexican children don’t get presents on Christmas: Instead, they receive their gifts on Three Kings Day, January 26. 🎁 Find out why!
  • No Official Language: Mexico has the highest population of Spanish-speakers of any country, but it has 69 official languages recognized by the government.
  • Many Mexicans Eat Bugs: Insects are a big part of the Mexicans diet, especially chapulines (grasshoppers), gusanos (maguey worms), and chicatanas (winged ants).
chapulines, or edible grasshoppers in a large bucket, in oaxaca, mexico
Chapulines (pronounced cha-pu-leen-es) are popular throughout Mexico, and eaten like popcorn 🍿

Final Thoughts: Fun Facts About Mexico

This just scratched the surface of all the amazing and interesting facts about Mexico — but you now have a better idea of how amazing this often underrated country is. For more Mexico fun facts and information, and to discover Mexico further, check out the movies and books below.

Books about Mexico

  • Frida: The Biography Of Frida Kahlo: In this definitive biography on Mexico’s most famous female artist, Frida Kahlo, author Hayden Herrera examines the life and death of this Mexican icon in Frida: The Biography.
  • Living in Mexico: A Taschen art book, Living in Mexico is a beautiful photographic journey to homes in the country — from Luis Barragan’s contemporary designs to traditional thatched-roof Mayan dwellings.
  • Like Water for Chocolate: Eventually made into a movie, Mexican author Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate tells the tale of Tita, who’s lover eventually marries her sister, though she hopes to win him back using her cooking skills. Each chapter begins with a Mexican recipe.

Movies about Mexico

Mexico Travel Planning Guide

🚑 Should I buy Mexico travel insurance? 100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $5-10USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from World Nomads, the biggest name in travel insurance. (Read more)

💧Can you drink the water in Mexico? No — You’ll want to buy a Water-To-Go Bottle, which filters your drinking water so you don’t get sick from drinking water in Mexico, and helps keep you hydrated while traveling Mexico. (Read more)

🚙💨 Is it safe to rent a car in Mexico? Yes — Renting a car in Mexico is one of the best ways to see the country! I always rent with Discover Cars, which checks both international companies and local Mexican companies, so you get the best rates. (Read more)

📲 Will my phone work in Mexico? Maybe — It depends on your company, so check with your provider. If you don’t have free Mexico service, buy a Telcel SIM Card. As Mexico’s largest carrier, Telcel has the best coverage of any Mexico SIM Cards. (Read more)

🏩 What’s the best way to book my Mexico accommodation? For Mexico hotels and hostels, Booking is the best site. If you’re considering a Mexico Airbnb, don’t forget to also check VRBO, which is often cheaper than Airbnb!

🧳 What do I pack for Mexico? Head to the Ultimate Mexico Packing List + FREE Checklist Download to get all the info you need on packing for Mexico.

✈️ What’s the best site to buy Mexico flights? For finding cheap Mexico flights, I recommend Skyscanner.

🎫 Do I need a visa for Mexico? Likely Not — U.S., Canadian and most European Passport holders don’t need a visa for Mexico; but check here to see if you do need a Mexico travel visa. The majority of travelers will receive a 180-Day FMM Tourist Visa upon arrival.