A land of rich cultural traditions, ancient ruins, sprawling beaches, and delicious cuisine, a trip to Mexico comes with endless opportunities for family adventure travel. Whether you’re after the sand and surf of one of the country’s many coastal resorts, exploring the massive pyramids of Mesoamerican ruins such as Teotihuacan, or snorkeling with whale sharks off the coast of Baja, reasons to travel to Mexico abound.
Ready for some interesting facts about Mexico? Let’s see how many of these you already know.
1. UNESCO World Heritage Sites
When it comes to UNESCO World Heritage sites, Mexico proves gifted with them. As of 2018, they have 35 including 27 cultural sites, six natural sites, and two mixed sites. These include the historic centers of Puebla, Oaxaca, Mexico City, and Guanajuato as well as the vast blue agave fields of Tequila, Jalisco, and Baja California’s Whale Sanctuary. Of course, the list wouldn’t be complete without archaeological sites such as Teotihuacan, Palenque, and Monte Albán, too.
2. One of the Seven Wonders
Mexico also boasts one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the ancient Mayan city of Chichén Itzá. A part of the larger Maya-Toltec civilization, Chichén Itzá flourished until about 1200 A.D. but was abandoned before the 16th-century arrival of the Spanish. First excavated in the early 19th century, the site evidences sophisticated Maya innovations in science and astronomy. In fact, the Temple of Kulkulkán features 365 steps, one designated for each day of the Haab solar calendar, and is crowned by a sculpture of the feathered serpent deity known as Kulkulkán or Quetzalcoatl.
3. A Land of Many Languages
While everyone associates Mexico with Spanish, that’s definitely not the whole story. In fact, 68 indigenous languages are officially recognized by Mexican law, although Spanish remains the primary language of business and government in Mexico. Besides these 68, hundreds of indigenous dialects remain spoken across the land although many prove endangered, now only spoken in remote pockets of the country by the older generation.
4. The Land of Corn
One of the world’s most important crops, corn traces its origins back to Mexico. In fact, Mexico boasts more than 59 distinct varieties. Cultivated for centuries by Mexican farmers, they continue to follow traditional farming practices preserving these heirloom varieties for future generations. But these varieties of Mexican corn face threats from genetically modified imports introduced to the country through international trade agreements.
5. Dizzying Heights
A popular destination for climbers and hikers, the Pico de Orizaba lies on the border between the Mexican states of Puebla and Veracruz. Now dormant, though not extinct, the Pico de Orizaba is a volcano towering 18,941 feet (5,636 meters) above sea level. It ranks as the third highest peak in North America after Mount McKinley in the United States and Mount Logan in Canada.
6. The Pyramid Hidden Within a Mountain
Yes, Egypt is renowned the world over for its ancient pyramids. But when it comes to the largest pyramid in the world? Look no further than the Great Pyramid of Cholula. Known in the Nahuatl language as Tlachihualtepetl this translates as “the made-by-hand mountain.” Today, the pyramid towers 180 feet (55 meters) above the surrounding plains but remains partially hidden within a mountain. In its final form, it measured 1,480 feet by 1,480 feet (450 by 450 meters) and, like Chichén Itzá, was dedicated to Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent god.
7. A World-Renowned Work Ethic
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Mexico is the hardest working country in the world. The average citizen works more than 43 hours per week, which adds up to 2,255 hours per year. Some Mexicans take this even further working up to 48 to 50 hours per week.
8. The Largest Spanish-Speaking Nation
More than 400 million people are native Spanish speakers around the world. Although Spanish originated in Spain, this European nation has been surpassed by Mexico who now boasts the largest Spanish-speaking population in the world. In fact, Mexico contains more than 121 million native speakers. The United States trails in second place with more than 41 million speakers.
Interesting Facts About Mexico
Did any of these interesting facts about Mexico surprise you? Are you ready for your own Mexico family adventure? Check out our Family Wildlife Adventure in Baja, Mexico, a culturally rich, kid-friendly way to visit some of the most extraordinary destinations in kid-friendly Baja.
At Our Whole Village, we create transformational trips for curious families who want to create lasting memories while making a difference. We’re here to help you and your family experience the world, its peoples, and its cultures. Contact us today to learn more about the unforgettable experiences that we handcraft for curious families just like yours.