I’ve heard great things about Mexico.
Everything from the food, history, and culture to the scenery and friendly people sounds amazing.
But, in all honesty, I know very little about it…
So I thought I’d do some research and find some fun facts about Mexico to learn a little more about the country.
Want to see what I came up with? Here are 40 amazing Mexico facts.
[Last updated: July 2023]
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1. Mexico Gave Us Chocolate & Vanilla
That’s right! Two of the world’s most beloved flavours (and the centre of hot debate amongst ice cream lovers) both originate in the country of Mexico.
We can thank the ancient Aztecs and Mayans for cultivating cacao beans some 3,000 years ago.
They valued chocolate so highly they used the beans as currency and even offered hot chocolate as a drink to their gods!
Meanwhile, the vanilla orchid remained a closely guarded secret by the native Totonac tribe.
Only after explorer Hernan Cortes brought vanilla pods back to Spain in the 1500s did the rest of the world discover its sweet, seductive flavour.
As for which one is the best, we’ll save that debate for another day!
2. Mexico Killed the Dinosaurs
Well, the country didn’t literally kill the dinosaurs, but it was the scene of the cosmic event that wiped them out some 65 million years ago.
If you visit the northern end of the Yucatan Peninsula along the Gulf of Mexico, you’ll be standing inside the deadliest location on earth.
Scientists tried for years to understand why satellites showed a perfectly formed ‘ring’ almost 200km wide in this region.
Only recently did researchers gather evidence that Chicxulub Puerto is the most likely site of the meteor strike that wiped out the dinosaurs (along with 75% of other life on earth).
But don’t worry.
These days, when you visit the Yucatan Peninsula, you’ll find only beautiful mountains, rainforests, and beaches to explore — no meteors or dinosaurs in sight!
3. The World’s Largest Pyramid Is in Mexico
Step aside, Egypt.
The pyramids of Giza might be the most famous triangles in the world, but they’re not the biggest.
In fact, they’re not even close!
For a glimpse of the world’s largest pyramid, take a day trip from Mexico City to the Archaeological Zone of Cholula.
At first, it might seem confusing because all you’ll see is a triangular mound with an old church on top.
Beneath your feet, though, is the largest monument ever constructed by human hands.
The Great Pyramid of Cholula contains almost twice the volume of the Great Pyramid of Giza, and its base is four times larger!
Even more shocking, the complex is actually a series of six mega-pyramids built on top of one another.
Researchers believe construction began around 300BC, but no one’s sure exactly why it was built or what it was used for.
4. Mexico City Is Sinking (Fast)
Venice steals the international headlines for sinking cities, dipping about 2mm deeper into the Adriatic Sea every year.
However, Mexico City’s sinking much faster — some areas at a rate of 50cm per year!
Mexico City lies hundreds of miles inland, so what’s the reason for these interesting facts about Mexico?
To understand, we need to dig below the surface of this bustling city of 21 million people.
When you do, you’ll find that the city lies on the ruins of the ancient Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan.
The really cool part is that the Aztec city was built on a series of sacred lakes called ‘cenotes.’
While most of these lakes are now dry, the land underneath remains soft and unstable. Mexico City won’t disappear anytime soon, but it is sinking at an increasingly faster rate.
In fact, some experts predict that the city could drop some 65 feet (almost 20m) in the next 150 years!
5. Mexico Is Linguistically Complex
Spanish is the official language of Mexico, but it’s not the only one.
The Mexican government officially recognises 68 additional national or native languages!
These other languages come from eleven different language families, with more than 350 variations and dialects.
They’re hardly obscure, either. The indigenous language of Nahuatl is spoken by over 1.3 million people, while 759,000 Mexican speak Yucatec Maya as their mother tongue.
You’ll be able to get by with basic Spanish pretty much everywhere, and English is widely spoken in touristy areas.
Still, it doesn’t hurt to brush up on ways to say ‘friend’ in other languages, because you’re sure to make some while you travel around Mexico!
6. Cinco de Mayo Is Not Mexican Independence Day
If you’ve ever enjoyed tacos and margaritas on the fifth of May, you likely believed you were celebrating the Independence Day of Mexico.
It’s a great story (and a great excuse to drink margaritas), but it’s not exactly accurate.
Rather than commemorating national independence, Cinco de Mayo celebrates one specific victory during the Franco-Mexican War.
The Battle of Puebla took place on May 5, 1862, where Mexico scored a resounding victory over their French enemies.
Since we’re on the subject of interesting facts on Mexico, here’s one more:
Cinco de Mayo is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico.
It’s more widely celebrated in the United States, particularly in Texas, California, and other areas with large Mexican-American populations.
7. Mexico Is (Really) Big
In fact, it’s the 14th largest country in the world by area, encompassing almost 2 million square km.
Here are some more fun Mexico facts for you:
The country used to be so much bigger!
If you looked at a map of Mexico in the 1820s, you’d see that Mexico included the modern-day countries of Guatemala, Belize, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador.
It also included a huge chunk of the United States, including areas that are now California, Texas, Arizona, and Nevada.
Just how big was Mexico 200 years ago? If that version of Mexico existed today, it would be the fifth-largest country on earth.
In fact, it would be larger than the entire continent of Europe!
8. Mexico Has More Coastline Than Land Borders
Are you dreaming of an affordable island getaway?
If so, Mexico could be your calling card. It’s one of few nations on earth that boast more kilometres of coastline than land borders.
Between the Atlantic and the Pacific coasts, there’s a whopping 9,330 kilometres of shoreline! Its combined land borders with the United States, Belize, and Guatemala don’t even total half that figure.
And, as you might expect with all that ocean, there are plenty of incredible islands to explore too — 1,365 islands to be exact.
9. Mexico Contains Incredible Biodiversity
In fact, there’s so much biodiversity in Mexico that it’s labelled as one of the world’s 17 ‘mega-diverse’ countries. Check out these fun facts about Mexico:
- Home to more than 200,000 total species
- Home to 12% of the world’s total biodiversity
- Ranks 1st in the world for reptiles (707 known species)
- Ranks 2nd in the world for mammals (438 known species)
- Ranks 4th in the world for flora (26,000 known species)
When you consider the staggering number of different climates and biomes in Mexico, it’s easy to understand these numbers.
Mexico is home to windswept deserts, lush jungles, snowy mountains, and grassy prairies.
If you want the chance to see countless different types of trees, flowers, land animals, and marine life, Mexico belongs on your travel bucket list!
10. Mexico Boasts the World’s Longest Underwater Cave System
Calling all spelunkers and scuba divers!
Remember earlier when I mentioned that Mexico City is sinking? Those same cenotes (underground sinkholes) have created hundreds of kilometres of underground caves to explore.
The longest, Sac Atun, was only discovered in 2018. Located in the Yucatan Peninsula, it joins two previously explored underwater caves for a combined length of 215 miles (346km).
Meanwhile, in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, you’ll find the world’s deepest cenote. Known as Zacaton, it’s an incredible 282m deep!
It’s no wonder that the Mayans revered these cenotes as sacred places connecting the living to the underworld of the dead.
Many ancient artefacts have been found deep inside the cenotes and etched on the walls of the caves.
Can’t Get Enough Interesting Facts on Mexico?
You’re in luck! Because there’s so much more to learn, here are some bite-sized BONUS facts about Mexico.
11. Color television was invented by Mexican-born Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena in 1940.
12. Mexico is the most visited tourist destination in all of Latin America.
13. Mexicans adores Coca-Cola, with each resident drinking an average of 163 litres annually.
14. Mexico City is home to over 170 museums, ranking second in the world only behind London with 200 museums.
15. Over 60,000 registered taxi cabs operate in Mexico, making it #1 in the world for the largest national taxi fleet.
16. Mexico’s official name is Estados Unidos Mexicanos, or the Mexican United States.
17. The highest point in Mexico is Pico de Orizaba, with a staggering altitude of 5,636m above sea level.
18. The lowest point in Mexico is Baja’s Laguna Salada, which sits 10m below sea level.
19. No one knows exactly where the name “Mexico” originated — it could be named after the moon, an Aztec god, or a type of edible weed.
20. In 1951, Mexican scientist Luis Miramontes invented a new molecule called norethindrone, which is still the main active ingredient in today’s birth control pills.
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21. Mexico is extremely religious, with 83% of the population identifying as Roman Catholic.
22. You’ll find 42 active volcanoes and thousands of dormant volcanoes scattered throughout Mexico’s landmass.
23. You’ll also find the world’s smallest volcano, Cuexcomate, which stands a mere 13 meters tall.
24. Mexico is the world’s largest exporter of beer, making up 26.9% of total exports.
25. The Mexico-US land border is the busiest in the world, with more than 350 million people making the crossing each year.
26. Mexico City is the most populous metropolis in the western hemisphere, with nearly 22 million inhabitants.
27. As the eighth wealthiest city in the world, Mexico City is also an important global financial centre.
28. On Valentine’s Day in 2009, nearly 40,000 Mexicans came together to set a new Guinness World Record for the number of people kissing at the same time.
29. Corn was first developed and cultivated from a type of Mexican wild grass more than 5,000 years ago.
30. Tequila is only produced in one place in the world — the Mexican state of Jalisco.
31. Comprised of 32 states, Mexico’s real name is actually the “United Mexican States.” In Spanish, it’s called “Estados Unidos Mexicanos.”
32. Following a long war for independence, Mexico only became a country around 200 years ago, in 1821.
33. Speaking of independence, Mexico was a Spanish colony for over three centuries. The once-mighty Spanish Empire ruled over it from the 1500s.
34. Mexicans work harder than any other OECD country in terms of hours at work. According to Zippia, they work a total of 2127.8 hours every year. That’s significantly more than people in America, who average 1791.
35. In 2019, Mexico was the 7th most visited country in the world, attracting an impressive 45 million tourists.
36. The ancient Mayans, who inhabited large swathes of modern-day Mexico, used hornets and wasps as defensive weapons. They’d fill gourds with the angry insects, then throw them at the attacking forces.
37. Mexico is officially home to 35 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which is more than any other country in the Americas.
38. The current Mexican flag, which dates back to 1821 (when the country earned its independence), has a green, white, and red section. These are said to represent hope, unity, and the blood of those who died fighting for Mexican independence, respectively.
39. Averaging 163 litres per person per year, Mexico consumes more soft drinks than any other country.
40. Chihuahuas are named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua, where the dog breed is said to have originated.
Feeling Inspired by These Fun Facts About Mexico?
So, which of these fun facts about Mexico surprised you the most?
Whichever fun Mexico facts you enjoyed the most, be sure to share them with your family and friends. Better yet, use this article as inspiration to plan a holiday to this amazing country.
Looking for more articles like this one?
Check out this list of 52 interesting facts about travelling.