Mexico has to be one of my favourite countries, and how can you not love the country that has given the world enchiladas, tequila, and more sun-drenched beaches than you can count? There’s plenty we know and love about this fun and friendly nation – but there’s probably a few things you hadn’t realised too. Here are 10 weird and quite interesting facts about Mexico.
FACTS ABOUT MEXICO #1: THE MEXICAN FLAG
The tricolour stripes of the Mexican flag are intended to represent the embodiment of the values of the Mexican nation. The green stripe signifies hope, the white the purity and the red the blood of the nation’s heroes. The coat of arms in the centre of the flag depicts an eagle and a snake from an old Aztec legend. In the legend, the Aztecs were told to build a city where they found an eagle on a nopal (a prickly pear cactus) eating a snake. This is now the site of Mexico City.
Photo: Jesurun Luna
FACTS ABOUT MEXICO #2: THE HABANERO CHILLI PEPPER
This native Mexican pepper is one of the hottest in the world. It’s grown in the Yucatán Peninsula, and can pack a punch of 350,000 scovilles. In contrast, a pimento delivers a puny 350 scovilles.
FACTS ABOUT MEXICO #3: VOLCANOES
Speaking of hot, Mexico is situated in one of the most volcanically active regions on the planet, named the ‘Ring of Fire’. The area contains 75% of the world’s active volcanoes, and also…
FACTS ABOUT MEXICO #4: THE VOLCANO RABBIT
This adorable and extremely rare creature resides in the mountains of Mexico. Weighing in at only 400 grams, it is second only to the pygmy rabbit in its diminutive size. Sadly, its future is in doubt due to habitat encroachment by humans.
FACTS ABOUT MEXICO #5: THE CHIHUAHUA
Mexico also boasts the world’s smallest dog breed, the Chihuahua. Its origins are lost in the mists of time, but its short hair and small body are perfectly adapted for Mexico’s hot and dry climate.
FACTS ABOUT MEXICO #6: BULL FIGHTING
Spanish conquerors introduced bullfighting to Mexico, and it has grown to become the nation’s favourite sport. The bull fighting season is from November to April and Mexico City houses the world’s largest bull ring, the Plaza Mexico.
FACTS ABOUT MEXICO #7: MEXICAN DIVERSITY
Mexico is a huge nation of over 100 million people, who come from a wide range of backgrounds. The cultural diversity across the nation is incredible, with over 10% of the population made up from indigenous people. The nation itself is a federation built from 31 free and sovereign states. The nation boasts 26 UNESCO world heritage sites, ensuring that in Latin America, Mexico is the place to go for some serious culture.
FACTS ABOUT MEXICO #8: MEXICO CITY IS SINKING
The arrival of the Spanish conquerors in 1512 heralded the destruction of the ancient city of Tenochtitlan and the construction of what has now become the country’s capital. Unfortunately, it is built upon a lake, and this has resulted in Mexico City sinking by 10 inches every year. During the 20th century, Mexico City sank by more than nine metres. This plays havoc with the city’s subterranean infrastructure, and the future of its 9 million inhabitants hangs in the air.
FACTS ABOUT MEXICO #9: NO PRESENTS ON CHRISTMAS DAY
Mexican children have to wait until January 6 for their Christmas presents; this date marks the visit of the three wise men to the baby Jesus in the biblical tale.
FACTS ABOUT MEXICO #10: MEXICO GAVE THE WORLD HOT CHOCOLATE
This delightful beverage was the sacred drink of the Aztecs. Nowadays, Mexican-style hot chocolate often incorporates another national export – ground chilli pepper.
Photo: Fleur-Ange Lamothe
Mexico’s size ensures a never-ending cornucopia of delights for those who are interested. Whether you’re into food, architecture, music or culture, its rich history has created a unique nation, the appeal of which lies in the diversity and spirit of its people. Viva la México!
Find out which are the best ruins in Mexico, things to do in Mexico City, and whether Isla Mujeres or Holbox is the best place to swim with whale sharks. If you get a taste for the underwater environment help save the cenotes (one of the best dive sites in Central America) by going cenote diving in Mexico and sharing the tale of their destruction.
Inland, join one of the Oaxaca tours, explore San Cristobal (one of the best colonial cities in Latin America) and marvel at the incredible waterfalls on the road from San Cristobal to Palenque. And, if you’re heading onwards to Belize, chill out at the beautiful and serene Laguna Bacalar.
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