We all know Mexico is home to Mayan pyramids and spectacular beaches – but what else do you know about this massive country? Since moving to Mexico, I have learned so many interesting facts about this incredible, mega-diverse nation that I have to share them here with you. Here are 30 Mexico fun facts about everything from the Mexican flag to the size of its economy.
Mexico Fun Facts
1. The name ‘Mexico’ comes from Mexica
Mexica was one of powerful tribes of Central Mexico that first established city called Tenochtitlan on marshy island on Lake Texcoco, during 1325 AD. The Mexica formed an alliance with other peoples around Lake Texcoco and this alliance later became the Aztec empire. This is where the name “Mexico” came from.
2. Mexico is home to more Spanish speakers than any other country in the world
About 60% of Mexicans speak Spanish as their first language. That means there are over 67 million people in Mexico who speak Spanish, making up half of the world’s Spanish-speaking population. The remaining Mexican population speak the Nahuatl, Maya and other native Mexican languages which have been spoken since pre-colonization times.
3. Mexico was partly responsible for the creation of the USA.
Mexico fought for its independence during 1810-1821 against Spain, partially inspiring US President Thomas Jefferson to create an independent republic in North America after seeing Mexican’s successful war of independence.
4. The Mexican independence day is celebrated in fervor each year.
Mexicans celebrate their independence on September 16th every year since 1810 when Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla gave his famous “Grito de Dolores” or “Cry of Dolores” speech on the steps of the town’s church and declared Mexico’s independence from Spain. It’s one of the most important Mexican holidays celebrated in fervor across the country.
5. Mexico is home to 35 UNESCO world heritage sites.
One of the most interesting facts about Mexico is that there are 35 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Mexico. The country ranks first in the Americas and seventh worldwide by number of Heritage sites. Some of the most renown UNESO cites in Mexico are:
- Historic Centre of Mexico City and Xochimilco
- Historic Centre of Puebla
- Historic Town of Guanajuato
- Pre-Hispanic City and National Park of Palenque
- Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza
- Pre-Hispanic City of Teotihuacan
6. Mexico celebrates a lot of festivals.
Every single week, there is a festival somewhere in Mexico celebrating a saint or important figure from Mexican history or culture. In addition to these local celebrations, major Mexican holidays such as Christmas and Easter are celebrated with nationwide fiestas that draw huge crowds from across the country.
The biggest festival of them all is Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, that occurs every year on November 1st and 2nd. The iconic festival is a lively celebration to honor the deceased, with elaborate altars, food offerings, flowers and more. The roots of the Day of the Dead go back some 3,000 years. Read our guide to celebrating Day of the Dead in Mexico City.
7. Mexico City is home to the Tenochitlan ancient city.
Although Mexico City has been host to immigrants for centuries – including indigenous Mexicans and descendants of European invaders – there’s only one true city that has remained inhabited continuously since 1524: San Juan Tenochitlan. It was largely destroyed by the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés after a siege, and modern-day Mexico City now lies over its remains.
At the heart of the city was a sacred area called Templo Mayor. Within the enclosure were more than seventy buildings, and these were surrounded by a wall decorated with images of serpents. Today, the ruins of Templo Mayor can still be seen in the heart of Mexico City’s historical center.
8. Mexico City is home to more than 22 million people.
With more than 22 million people, CDMX is estimated to be the 10th-largest city in the world by 2030. Mexico city is also recognized as a mega-city (alongside New York City) due to its huge population. It is now one of the most important cultural, financial, and educational centers in the world. Check out my Mexico City itinerary.
9. The Mexican flag’s colors come from Mexico’s national coat of arms.
The green color symbolizes hope, the white symbolizes purity and the red stands for the blood Mexicans have shed to achieve independence. The Mexican flag has three equally sized vertical bands: green on the top, white and red on the bottom with an eagle and a snake on it.
10. Mexico has more pyramids than Egypt.
Another interesting fact about Mexico is that it’s home to over 60 pyramids, almost twice as many as those found in Egypt! They were built by the Aztecs and the Mayas. The Aztecs were an ancient Mesoamerican civilization, while the Mayas were a civilization spread across modern-day Mexico and Central America. Check out our guides to Mayan ruins all over Mexico.
11. Mexico is home to the world’s largest pyramid.
Mexico not only has a large number of pyramids, it also has the biggest pyramid on Earth. The Teotihuacan Pyramids are massive structures located just an hour outside Mexico City that were built by the ancient Mexican civilization of the same name over 2,000 years ago. Today, you can easily visit the Teotihuacan Pyramids on a daytrip from Mexico City. Read our guide to visiting Teotihuacan.
12. Mexico has the highest number of endangered species in the world.
Some of Mexico’s most colorful and treasured species are being driven to the brink of extinction. Over 60% of Mexico’s 113 threatened species are classified as endangered. Some of these endangered species include the vaquita porpoise, leatherback sea turtle, Mexican gray wolf, scarlet macaw, and jaguar.
13. Mexico is home to over 200 volcanoes, more than any other country in the world.
Mexico has around 200 volcanoes, but only about 48 are considered active. The state of Chiapas is home to the highest concentration of volcanoes in all of Mexico, with 5 large and 30 small peaks within its borders. The most active volcanoes of the country are Popocatepetl, Colima and El Chichon, which had a major eruption in 1982.
14. There is a large disparity of wealth distribution in Mexico.
Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helú’s net worth is estimated at US$ 69.6 billion (10th richest in the world). In comparison, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s annual salary is US$152,000; Mexican police officers average an annual salary of US$14,000 and teachers’ monthly salaries begin at $1,237 pesos (US$ 90).
15. Mexicans drink more Coca-Cola per capita than any other nation in the world!
Mexicans consume the most Coca-Cola per capita in the world, with the state of Chiapas topping the charts with average daily consumption of 2.2 liters of Coca-Cola. Among the reasons why Coca-Cola is so popular in Chiapas are the limited access to clean drinking water and aggressive marketing campaigns in indigenous languages. Unsurprisingly, diabetes is a major problem in San Cristobal de las Casas, claiming more than 3,000 lives per year.
16. Mexicans also eat more chocolate than any other country.
Every year Mexicans eat an average of 70 pounds of chocolate, more than any other country. In Mexico’s colonial period, the Aztecs made a bitter drink from cocoa beans called ‘chocolatl’ which was served warm to the emperor Montezuma every night.
Chiapas is known to produce the best chocolate in Mexico; here are some of the best cafes in San Cristobal de las Casas to try them.
17. Mexicans introduced chocolate to Europe.
Mexican chocolate was introduced to Europe by Hernan Cortez upon his return from Mexico . It quickly became a popular treat for royalty all over Europe due to its unique spicy flavor that made it quite different from European chocolates at that time. By 1700, chocolate had become a popular drink throughout Mexico and Europe.
18. Tequila is named after a town in Jalisco state where it originates .
You didn’t think I would write a list of Mexico fun facts and forget to mention tequila, would you? Tequila comes from a region in northwest Mexico called Jalisco – specifically, the area near the city of Tequila – and must be made with at least 51% blue agave if it is to be certified as “100% mexican”.
19. Mezcal is not tequila!
Many people confuse mezcal as a type of tequila – but it is actually the other way round. Tequila is a type of mezcal made using blue agave or maguey plants, while mezcals can be made with over 30 different types of native-grown agaves.
20. Mexico has a rich variety of fresh fruit.
A Mexico fun fact that probably doesn’t surprise you! There are over 60 kinds of bananas grown in Mexico, and Mexico produces almost half the pineapples found across the world! Regardless of where you go in Mexico, you’ll find the freshest fruit and licuado (smoothies).
21. Chihuahuas are named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua.
In the 1880s, Mexican merchants began selling the small dog to border tourists, many of whom brought them back to the U.S. to keep as pets. Back then, the dog didn’t have an official name. So the people named it after the region in which it was seen.
22. But Mexico’s national dog is Xoloitzcuintli.
The Xoloitzcuintli, or Mexican Hairless Dog, is a native dog from Mexico and it’s quite unique in appearance. Its real name is a combination of Xolotl, the Aztec god of lightning and death (naturally), and itzcuintli, the Aztec word for dog. To be fair, it does look quite frightening and deserves the moniker as well as inclusion on this list of Mexico fun facts.
23. Mexico has won more Olympic gold medals for boxing than any other country!
Mexico won its first Olympic gold medal in boxing way back in 1968, and has held onto that number one spot ever since. It has also produced many other sports champions, including track athlete Paola Longoria, who holds three world records for racquetball.
24. The most famous Mexican artist is Frida Kahlo.
The Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is well known throughout the world for her outstanding art work and strong personality. Her paintings often had strong autobiographical elements and mixed realism with fantasy.
In Mexico, she is considered a national heroine and one of the country’s most outstanding cultural figures. Today tourists flock to her old home in Coyoacan, Mexico City, which has been converted into the Frida Kahlo Museum.
25. Mexico is home to the world’s longest-living person!
The woman recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest living person, Leandra Becerra Lumbreras, died at the age of 127. She was a purported Mexican revolutionary and supercentenarian who claimed to have been born August 31, 1887 which would have made her the longest living person in history.
26. Mexico City has the world’s second largest subway system.
One of my favorite Mexico fun facts, Mexico City has an impressive subway system, which ranks as the second largest in the world after that of Tokyo. The entire system is 142 kilometers long, serving 182 stations.
27. Mexico City is sinking.
This isn’t one of those happy Mexico fun facts, but it’s true. Mexico City was built over an ancient dry lake bed which means that there just isn’t enough drainage into the subsoil for all the people living there. Plus, the soft soil beneath the megalopolis’ streets can compress under pressure. At this rate, it’s expected that Mexico City will be at sea level by 2050!
28. Mexico has the most number of bullrings in the world.
Spain’s history as a colonial power has resulted in the country having approximately 225 bullrings. The season for bullfighting runs from November through April, as previously stated. It seats 41,262 people and is the world’s largest bullring (November to April is bullfighting season). This is one of those Mexican traditions that we don’t condone as it involves animal cruelty.
29. Mexico has several colored lakes.
Another interesting fact about Mexico is that it is home to colorful lakes and seas. The beautiful pink lakes of Las Coloradas are located deep in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The brilliant pink hue of these saline lagoons is due to red algae, plankton, and brine shrimps that thrive in the salty environment. You can book a daytrip to the pink lake from Cancun or visit this as part of your Yucatan road trip.
30. Mexico is home to the world’s second-largest coral reef system.
The second largest coral reef in the world, the Mesoamerican Reef, encompasses around 600 miles of meandering coastline from Cancun down to Guatemala and Belize. The reef forms a significant shallow-water habitat for marine animals, creating some of the best dive sites in the world. Scuba divers alert, you’ll love diving the waters off Cozumel Island, Playa del Carmen, and Cancun!
Phew! That’s it from me. I hope you enjoyed learning about these fun Mexico facts. Feel free to leave a comment below if I’ve missed any interesting fact on Mexico!
Further Reading on Mexico
I hope you’ve like this list of Mexico fun facts! If you are planning to travel around Mexico, check out other articles I’ve written on Mexico:
- 30 Mexican Holidays and Traditions
- 10 Day Yucatan Road Trip Itinerary
- 10-Day Guanajuato Itinerary
- 5 Days in Mexico City Itinerary
- 20 Fun Things to Do in Valladolid, Mexico
- 15 Cool Things to Do in Cozumel, Mexico
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