Surprising Facts About Mexico That Will Shock You

Mexico is a unique country with rich history, unparalleled nature, and incredible cultural heritage. It’s no wonder why millions of people visit every year!

While many travellers typically envision beaches and cenotes when they think of Mexico, this country is famous for many more interesting things — including ancient civilizations, pyramids, colourful traditions, and more.

We’re sure you’ll want to book a trip to Mexico (don’t forget about your Mexico visa!) after reading these interesting and fun facts.

A UNESCO Treasure

Mexico is a real cultural and historical treasure, so it’s no wonder why it consistently tops the list of the most popular travel destinations year after year. The local lands were home to five of the most ancient civilizations — the Aztec, Olmec, Teotihuacan, Toltec, and Mayans — who contributed to the country’s heritage.

Such a diverse history and culture has left behind many amazing places that have attracted the likes of UNESCO, and at the moment, there are 35 World Heritage Sites in Mexico!

The most popular and interesting sites include the ancient city of Chichen Itza (also known as one of the seven wonders of the world!), the Rock Paintings of the Sierra de San Francisco, the colorful Old Town of Campeche, and El Tajin.

Uniqueness of the Yucatan Peninsula

While the Yucatan Peninsula is typically known for its idyllic beaches and all-inclusive resorts, many travelers don’t realize that it is also one of the most unique places on Earth!

More than 65 million years ago, when a meteorite fell and caused the extinction of dinosaurs, a 180-kilometer wide crater was formed at the site. While the crater is buried underneath the peninsula and not accessible, there are still many elements that remain as a result of the impact, including the world-famous cenotes (sinkholes) and other natural formations.

Besides its unique nature, the Yucatan is also where many of Mexico’s attractions can be found! On this relatively small peninsula, travelers will find traces of ancient cities and pyramids built by the Mayan Indians, picturesque natural parks with local animals, and magnificent beaches that are sure to delight visitors.

One final fact about the Yucatan is its name: when the first Europeans landed and asked the locals what they call their land, they answered Yucatan, which actually means ‘I don’t understand you’ in the local language.

Mexico’s Real Name

Many people will be surprised by the fact that the real name of the country is not simply Mexico, but The United Mexican States (Estados Unidos Mexicanos).

The country consists of 31 states and the capital, each with its own unique culture, traditions, food, architecture, and people. The most populous states include Mexico, Ciudad de México, Jalisco, Veracruz, and Puebla.

Natural Diversity

Mexico is a country with an incredibly diverse nature. The country has five types of distinct climates and 9 out of 11 types of ecosystems. Fans of nature can admire the diversity of flora and fauna, as Mexico ranks fourth in the world in terms of biological diversity.

Likewise, it’s possible to climb mountain peaks and descend into gorges and canyons; swim in the ocean, underground caves, and cenotes; and walk through cities with thousands of years of history.

There are more than 100,000 species that live in Mexico, which is more than 10% of the entire Earth!
Besides fauna, Mexico also has the largest number of varieties of cacti and is considered to be the “capital” of this plant.

Day of the Dead

Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) holiday, which is a unique tradition that originated in this region.

The history of this holiday began many centuries ago among the Aztecs, Tοltekοs, and other natives, as death was not considered the end, but part of the life cycle — and on this day, the dead return to visit their families.

The holiday is held in early November and consists of decorations with colorful skulls and skeletons; making offerings to the dead, and singing and dancing in honor of departed loved ones. The holiday was eventually noticed by UNESCO and, in 2008, this holiday was added to the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The Largest Pyramid in the World?

Egypt typically pops into mind when it comes to pyramids, but that’s not all — Mexico is also home to hundreds of these structures.

In fact, did you know that the Pyramid of Cholula is considered the largest pyramid in the world? It holds the record for the biggest pyramid in terms of volume, as the base is an incredible 450 by 450 meters, along with a height of 66 meters. It is believed that Cholula was the mythical capital of the feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl, and the pyramid was his temple.

Birthplace of the Chihuahua

Nowadays the Chihuahua is a popular dog breed in many homes across the world, but this pint-sized companion also traces its history back hundreds of years.

Indeed, these dogs were first bred in the state of Chihuahua during the middle of the 19th century, but their history goes back many centuries. Chihuahuas are associated with ancient Indian tribes, and such a dog was considered a talisman for very wealthy people. In fact, scientists found references to this breed as far back as the 9th century!

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