Mexico, Estados Unidos Mexicanos!
1. Mexico’s Real Name is Not Mexico
Mexico’s real name is the United States of Mexico (Estados Unidos Mexicanos). The country is divided into 31 states, plus the Federal District.
2. The Capital of Mexico Wasn’t Mexico City Until 2016
The majority of people have always thought that the capital of Mexico is Mexico City. The actual capital was Distrito Federal (DF) – the Federal District, In 2016, the city officially changed its name for CDMX (Ciudad de Mexico).
3. Mexican Burritos Are Only Eaten in the North
Everyone seems to love Mexican food, so much so that it was recently classified as an irreplaceable part of the cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO. Although, outside of Mexico what people refer to as “Mexican food” is more often than not actually Tex-Mex.
For example, in Mexico, nobody actually eats burritos Chipotle-style or filled with rice (I know that in northern Mexico burritos are popular, however, I meant burritos from US fast-food chains).
Not only that, most authentic Mexican food is not very spicy or hot – it’s actually sour due to a number of limes (in Spanish simply called lemons).
4. Mexican Spanish Isn’t Like Any Other Spanish
As mentioned in my previous article on Mexican slang, Mexican Spanish is unique. For example, in Mexico torta doesn’t mean cake, it means sandwich. Also, sope is not soup, but a so-called ‘Mexican pizza’ (of course it’s not an actual pizza, but it is similar to the concept of a pizza – dough, sauce, and toppings).
5. US citizens Are The Largest Immigration Group in Mexico
It’s no secret that Mexican citizens make up the largest proportion of the United States’ foreign-born population. But the US citizens, on the other hand, constitute the largest immigrant group in Mexico. According to the 2010 Census, over 750,000 US citizens live in Mexico.
Yes, it means there are more Americans immigrating to Mexico than Mexicans immigrating to the US. Kind of ironic…
6. Mexico has 34 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Mexico’s got 34 UNESCO sites within its borders. The list includes the historic centers of towns like Guanajuato, Mexico City and Puebla, as well as with dozens of ancient ruins, the agave fields of Tequila, and much more.
7. Mexicans Don’t Celebrate 5 de Mayo. Independence Day is on the 16th of September
Mexico declared independence on September 27th, 1821, but the beginning of the independence war was Sept 16th, 1810 – the day that’s celebrated as independence day.
Cinco de Mayo is not the Mexican Independence Day, it only commemorates the Battle of Puebla in 1862 when Mexico won against the French army. It’s pretty much only celebrated in Puebla and by Mexican immigrants in the United States.
8. Mexico Has the Oldest University in North America
People usually think that since Mexico is a part of Latin America it’s located in either South or Central America. But Mexico is actually a part of North America, along with the USA, Canada, and the Caribbean islands.
Therefore, Mexico has the oldest university in North America. The National University of Mexico (UNAM) was founded in 1551 by Charles V of Spain, 85 years before Harvard.
Good to know
Visa in not needed for US citizens.
Not just beaches!
With steaming jungles, snowcapped volcanoes, cactus-strewn deserts and 10,000km of coast strung with sandy beaches and wildlife-rich lagoons, Mexico is an endless adventure for the senses and a place where life is lived largely in the open air. Harness the pounding waves of the Pacific on a surfboard, strap on a snorkel to explore the beauty beneath the surface of the Caribbean Sea and ride the whitewater of Mexico’s rivers. Or stay on dry land and hike Oaxaca’s mountain cloud forests, scale the peaks of dormant volcanoes or marvel at millions of migrating Monarch butterflies.
Mexico’s pre-Hispanic civilizations built some of the world’s great archaeological monuments, including Teotihuacán’s towering pyramids and the exquisite Maya temples of Palenque. The Spanish colonial era left beautiful towns full of tree-shaded plazas and richly sculpted stone churches and mansions, while modern Mexico has seen a surge of great art from the likes of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Top-class museums and galleries document the country’s fascinating history and its endless creative verve. Popular culture is just as vibrant, from the underground dance clubs and street art of Mexico City to the wonderful handicrafts of the indigenous population.
Mexico’s gastronomic repertoire is as diverse as the country’s people and topography. Dining out is an endless adventure, whether you’re sampling regional dishes, such as Yucatán’s cochinita pibil (slow-cooked pork) or a vast array of moles (complex sauces, their recipes jealously guarded) in Oaxaca and Puebla, or trying the complex, artsy concoctions of world-class chefs in Mexico City. Some of Mexico’s best eating is had at simple seafront palapa (thatched-roof shack) restaurants, serving achingly fresh fish and seafood, and the humble taquerías, ubiquitous all over Mexico, where tortillas are stuffed with a variety of fillings and slathered with homemade salsas.
At the heart of your Mexican experience will be the Mexican people. A super-diverse crew, from Mexico City hipsters to the shy indigenous villagers of Chiapas, they’re renowned for their love of color and frequent fiestas, but they’re also philosophical folk, to whom timetables are less important than simpatía (empathy). You’ll rarely find Mexicans less than courteous. They’re more often positively charming and know how to please guests. They might despair of ever being well governed, but they’re fiercely proud of Mexico, their one-of-a-kind homeland with all its variety, tight-knit family networks, beautiful-ugly cities, deep-rooted traditions, and agave-based liquors.