Mexico has a special place in my heart, so much so that I find myself returning to this fascinating and diverse country time and time again.
As a tribute to one of my favorite countries, I’ve compiled a list of 31 fun and surprising facts about Mexico.
Get ready for an intriguing tour of Mexico’s most surprising features.
Table of Contents
Fun Facts About Mexico
From spooky islands filled with even spookier dolls to magical freshwater cenotes; here are 31 fun facts about Mexico.
1. Mexico City is Sinking
Mexico City, the nation’s bustling capital, is sinking at an alarming rate of 3.2 feet per year.
It turns out that building a metropolis on a lakebed wasn’t the most brilliant idea, but the ancient Aztecs probably didn’t see that one coming.
READ MORE: Our Complete Guide to Mexico City
2. Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl Are Named After A Fiery Love Story
Mexico’s second and third-highest peaks, Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl, are actually named after a tragic love story.
Popocatepetl, the warrior, watches over his beloved Iztaccihuatl, the sleeping woman, as she eternally rests in the form of a snow-capped mountain.
3. The World’s Smallest Dog Breed is Mexican
The world’s smallest dog breed, the Chihuahua, hails from Mexico.
Named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua, these tiny but feisty pups can often be seen in the arms of proud owners worldwide. We like to call them Mexico’s Mighty Miniature.
4. Vanilla is Mexico’s Flavorful Gift to the World
Vanilla, the delicious flavor that graces many of our desserts, is native to Mexico.
The ancient Totonac people were the first to cultivate this aromatic bean, which later traveled the world, thanks to Spanish explorers.
5. The Three Amigos of Mexican Cuisine Are Corn, Beans, and Chili Peppers
The holy trinity of Mexican cuisine consists of corn, beans, and chili peppers.
These staple ingredients make up the foundation of many traditional dishes, including tacos, enchiladas, and tamales.
READ MORE: How Much is a Taco In Mexico?
6. Mexicans Drink An Average of 163 Liters of Soda Per Person, Per Year
Mexicans love their soda, and the country boasts an impressive selection of colorful, fruity flavors.
Alongside familiar brands like Coca-Cola, you’ll find a variety of locally produced sodas, such as Jarritos and Sidral Mundet.
In fact, it’s fairly common to see people walking along the street drinking from a 2L bottle of Coca-Cola – keep an eye out next time you’re in Mexico!
Indeed, a study by Yale University estimated that Mexicans drink an average of 163 liters of sodas per person, each and every year.
READ MORE: Why Not Consider a Trip to Acapulco?
7. The Ancient Game of Ullamaliztli
The pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican ballgame, ullamaliztli, was played with a solid rubber ball, weighing up to 9 pounds.
Players scored points by getting the ball through a stone hoop without using their hands. At least, that’s what we think. The exact rules of the game have unfortunately been lost to time.
8. There’s a Spooky Island of Dolls in the Xochimilco Canals
La Isla de las Muñecas, or the Island of the Dolls, is a hauntingly bizarre tourist attraction located in the Xochimilco canals.
Hundreds of mutilated dolls hang from trees, placed there by the island’s former caretaker in an attempt to ward off evil spirits.
9. Millions of Monarch Butterflies Migrate 3000 miles from Canada to Mexico Every Year
Each year, millions of monarch butterflies embark on a 3,000-mile journey from Canada to Mexico.
They make their winter home in the oyamel fir forests of Michoacán and the State of Mexico, creating a breathtaking spectacle for visitors.
10. Yucatan’s Freshwater Cenotes Are sacred to The Maya
Mexico is home to over 6,000 cenotes, which are natural sinkholes filled with crystal-clear water.
These geological wonders were sacred to the ancient Maya, who believed they were portals to the underworld.
Today, they serve as popular swimming and snorkeling spots for locals and tourists alike, especially around the hippy-chic tourist town of Tulum.
READ MORE: Our Digital Nomad Guide to Tulum
11. You Can Explore The World’s Longest Underwater Cave System
The Sac Actun cave system, located in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is the longest underwater cave system in the world.
Stretching for an incredible 216 miles, this underwater labyrinth is a popular destination for experienced divers looking for a unique adventure.
12. Mexico Has 63 Indigenous Languages
Spanish may be the official language of Mexico, but the country is also home to over 60 indigenous languages.
Nahuatl, spoken by around 1.5 million people, is the most widely spoken indigenous language, followed by Yucatec Maya and Mixtec.
There are 63 indigenous languages recorded, including Nahuatl, Yucatec Maya, and Mixtec, alongside Spanish, English, and other immigrant languages.
13. Poinsettias Are A Festive Mexican Export
The vibrant red poinsettia, a symbol of Christmas worldwide, is native to Mexico.
Known locally as “Nochebuena,” the plant was first brought to the United States by Joel Poinsett, the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, in the 19th century.
14. The Pyramid of the Sun Is the Third Largest Pyramid in the World
The Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan is the third-largest pyramid in the world.
This magnificent structure, built around 100 CE, stands at an impressive height of 246 feet and was once the center of the ancient city.
15. Mexico Is The Birthplace of Chocolate
Chocolate, the world’s favorite sweet treat, originated in Mexico.
The ancient Maya and Aztecs were the first to harvest and consume the cacao bean, which was often used in religious rituals and as a form of currency.
They believed that chocolate was a divine elixir and reserved it for special occasions and sacred rituals.
16. Mariachi Is The Soundtrack of Mexico
Mariachi, the lively and soulful music that has become synonymous with Mexican culture, originated in the western state of Jalisco.
These energetic musicians, adorned in traditional charro outfits, can often be found serenading diners in restaurants and strolling the streets of Mexican towns.
17. The Mexican Hairless Dog Is An Ancient Breed Beloved By The Aztecs
The Xoloitzcuintli, also known as the Mexican Hairless Dog, is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world.
Revered by the Aztecs and considered to have healing properties, these hairless canines remain a rare and unique sight today.
18. Mexico’s Day of the Dead Celebration is Held From October 31st to November 2nd
El Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is a colorful and lively celebration held in Mexico every year from October 31 to November 2.
Families honor their deceased loved ones by creating elaborate altars, decorating graves, and sharing festive foods.
19. The Voladores Is A Heart-Stopping Fertility and Harvest Ritual
The Danza de los Voladores, or the Dance of the Flyers, is a traditional ritual performed by the Totonac people of Mexico.
The daring participants climb a tall pole and then launch themselves into the air while tied to ropes. As they gracefully spin around the pole, they gradually descend to the ground, symbolizing the connection between the earth and the sky.
This mesmerizing ceremony, which has roots dating back over 1,500 years, is performed to honor the gods and ask for fertility and a good harvest.
20. The Great Pyramid of Cholula Is The Largest Pyramid in the World (by volume)
While Egypt’s pyramids may steal the spotlight, Mexico’s Great Pyramid of Cholula is the largest pyramid in the world, in terms of volume.
This colossal monument, dedicated to the god Quetzalcoatl, remains mostly hidden beneath a grassy hill and a Spanish church.
21. Lucha Libre is a National Obsession
Mexican professional wrestling, known as Lucha Libre, is a theatrical and high-flying spectacle enjoyed by fans of all ages.
Masked luchadores, or wrestlers, battle for honor and pride in the ring, embodying a colorful and beloved part of Mexican pop culture.
22. Las Posadas is Mexico’s Unique Christmas Tradition
Las Posadas, a nine-day Christmas celebration, commemorates the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.
During this time, neighborhoods come alive with candlelit processions, reenactments, and plenty of food and festivities.
23. Alebrijes are A Fantastical World of Color
Alebrijes, fantastical and brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures, were first created by artist Pedro Linares in the 1930s.
These whimsical creatures, often combining features from various animals, are now a treasured part of Mexico’s artistic heritage.
24. The Sun Aligns With Chichen Itza During The Equinox
Each year on the spring and autumn equinoxes, the ancient Maya city of Chichen Itza attracts thousands of visitors.
The setting sun casts a serpent-like shadow along the steps of the iconic El Castillo pyramid, creating a mesmerizing display.
25. An Exploding Hammer Festival Takes Place In San Juan de la Vega
The Exploding Hammer Festival, known as El Carnaval de San Juan de la Vega, is a unique and thrilling event held annually in the town of San Juan de la Vega, Mexico.
Participants attach homemade explosives to sledgehammers and strike them against metal plates, creating loud explosions and a shower of sparks to commemorate a 17th-century battle and honor the town’s patron saint, San Juan Bautista.
26. Tex-mex Isn’t a Mexican Thing
Some of the most popular ‘Mexican’ food dishes didn’t originate in Mexico at all. Even fajitas were originally created in Texas.
While traditional Mexican cuisine relies on ingredients like corn, beans, and chilies, Tex-Mex incorporates more cheese, ground beef, and cumin.
Dishes like chili con carne, hard-shell tacos, and fajitas are commonly found in Tex-Mex but not in authentic Mexican cuisine.
Additionally, Tex-Mex is typically heavier and uses more processed ingredients compared to the fresher, more diverse regional dishes found in Mexico.
27. The World’s Largest Flag Is In Monterrey
Mexico proudly boasts the world’s largest flag, measuring a whopping 164 feet by 93 feet.
This gargantuan symbol of national pride can be found flying high in Monterrey, Nuevo León.
28. Mexico’s National Soccer Team Has a Unique Nickname
The Mexican national soccer team is known as “El Tri,” short for “El Tricolor.”
This nickname refers to the three colors of the Mexican flag: green, white, and red.
El Tri has a passionate fan base and a rich soccer history, having qualified for 16 FIFA World Cup tournaments.
29. Mexico Basically Invented Corn
Well, not exactly “invented,” but Mexico is where corn was first domesticated around 9,000 years ago.
Today, Mexico produces over 60 different varieties of corn, used in countless dishes and a staple in Mexican cuisine.
30. Mexico’s Name Is Much Longer Than You Think
While we all call it Mexico, the country’s official name is actually “Estados Unidos Mexicanos” or “The United Mexican States.”
This name was adopted in 1824 after gaining independence from Spain, inspired by the United States of America’s federal structure.
31. Mexico Is Home to the World’s Smallest Volcano
Meet Cuexcomate, the world’s smallest volcano, standing at just 43 feet tall!
This petite geological wonder is located in Puebla, a city east of Mexico City. It’s inactive, so you can safely visit and admire its unique charm.
Learn More About Mexico
There you have it, 31 fascinating facts that showcase Mexico’s rich history, vibrant culture, and unique quirks.
This amazing country continues to captivate and surprise, making each visit an unforgettable experience.
So, the next time you find yourself wandering the colorful streets of Mexico or indulging in its delectable cuisine, remember that there is so much more to this wonderful country than first meets the eye.
READ MORE: Best Places to Live in Mexico
Mexico Frequently Asked Questions
The capital of Mexico is Mexico City.
The currency used in Mexico is the Mexican Peso (MXN).
The official language of Mexico is Spanish, but there are also many indigenous languages spoken.
As of 2021, Mexico’s population is approximately 126 million people.
Tacos are considered a national dish, but there are many regional dishes throughout the country.
Mexico has four time zones: Pacific, Mountain, Central, and Eastern Standard Time.