Mexico is much more than a spring break destination and offers incredible food, vibrant people, rich culture and a wide variety of World Heritage Sites. As well as picture-perfect beaches, that will take your breath away.
In order to discover a few fun facts about Mexico, which will change the way that you see Mexico, simply continue reading. As examples, you may be shocked to hear that Mexico City is sinking just like Venice. Or that the ancient Mayans invented one of the most bloodthirsty ball sports in the world.
What are the 12 Most Interesting Facts about Mexico?
- Mexico Boasts The World’s Largest Pyramid
- The Largest Island In The Caribbean Is Located In Mexico
- The Oldest University In North America Is Located In Mexico
- Mexico City Offers Women-Only Train Carriages
- Mexico City Is Slowly Sinking Just Like Venice
- Mexico Is One Of The Largest Silver Producers In The World
- Mexico Is Home To The Largest Bullfighting Ring In The World
- It’s The Birth Place Of One Of The World’s Most Famous Female Painters
- Mexico Boasts 34 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- The Ancient Mayans Were Fond of a Bloody Ball-Sport
- There Are Over 4,800 Wild Jaguars In Mexico
- Mexico Offers Some Of The Best Street Food In The World
General Facts about Mexico
- Population: 128,932,753
- Capital: Mexico City
- Official Language: Spanish
- Currency: Mexican Peso
- Islands: Close to 100 islands
- Highest Mountain: Pico de Orizaba. 5,636 meters above sea level
- Country Area: 1.973.000 km2
- Religion: Roman Catholicism
- Official Website: https://www.visitmexico.com/
- Country Number: +52
- Time Zone: GMT-6
- Country Code: MEX
1. Mexico Boasts the World’s Largest Pyramid
If you assumed that the largest pyramid in the world was located in Egypt, think again! Mexico is home to the largest pyramid in the world, the Great Pyramid of Cholula. Which is also known as Tlachihualtepetl, which roughly translates to “made by hand mountain”. Coincidentally, the pyramid now looks like a natural mountain from a distance, as it’s now covered in grass.
How large is the Great Pyramid of Cholula? It’s 180 feet tall and features a base that measures 1,480 square feet. In comparison, the largest Egyptian pyramid, the Great Pyramid of Giza has a base of only 756 square feet.
2. The Largest Island in the Caribbean is Located in Mexico
Cozumel, which is one of the most picturesque spots in Mexico also happens to be the largest island in the Caribbean. It’s large enough to offer plenty of attractions and activities but small enough to explore on an inexpensive scooter. I highly recommend renting a scooter for the day and exploring Cozumel’s stunning coastline, in order to find your own private beach to relax on.
Also make sure to book a scuba diving trip as Cozumel offers a 22 km reef, which is full of diverse marine life. Other examples of activities that you’ll be able to tick off your bucket list include zip-lining, windsurfing, kite surfing, and snorkeling.
3. The Oldest University in North America is Located in Mexico
No, the oldest university in North America isn’t located in the USA. The title of the oldest university in North America belongs to The National Autonomous University of Mexico, which was built in 1551.
While visiting a university on your Mexican vacation, may not be on your list of priorities, it offers a beautiful campus, full of historic buildings and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s well worth taking photos of the Central Library as it’s top 10 floors have been covered in a mural by the Mexican artist Juan O’Gorman. The mural is comprised of thousands of colored tiles and showcases a variety of mythical Mexican gods and goddesses.
It’s also one of the biggest universities in the world.
4. Mexico City Offers Women-Only Train Carriages
I was surprised to learn that Mexico City offers a few train carriages which only women can use. The Mexican government claims that female-only carriages, provide women with a safe, stress-free environment. However, women are still free to use the city’s standard subway carriages.
So if you’re a female traveler you’ll be able to choose whether you want to ride in a standard carriage or in a carriage which is designated for female passengers.
5. Mexico City is Slowly Sinking just like Venice
Venice is not the only city that is slowly sinking. Mexico City is also slowly sinking and sinks around 1-3 feet per year. Shockingly Mexico City’s historic city center is now at a lower elevation than Lake Texcoco.
Furthermore, Mexico City used to be the 7th highest capital city in the world but dropped to 8th place as a result of the gradual sinking.
Why is Mexico City sinking? Mexico City’s council pumps its water directly from the lake which supports it. As some of the pipes break underneath Mexico City, some of the buildings in Mexico City have started to tilt, just like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, in Italy.
6. Mexico is one of the Largest Silver Producers in the World
If you’re the type of traveler who enjoys purchasing handcrafted items from the destinations which you visit, it’s well worth purchasing a silver product. Such as a silver spoon, a piece of silver jewelry or a small silver ornament, as Mexico is one of the largest silver producers in the world.
In fact, Mexico is home to the largest silver company in the world, Fresnillo. As well as the world’s largest silver mine. Which is located in Penasquito, in the state of Zacatecas.
While I prefer taking photos instead of purchasing souvenirs, I found an authentic silver bracelet for my mom, in a Mexican craft market.
7. Mexico is Home to the Largest Bullfighting Ring in the World
While most people think of Spain, when they think of bullfighting, the world’s largest bullfighting ring is located in Mexico City. The Plaza de Toros, can seat over 41,000 spectators and was built on the site of the Torso de la Condesa. A historic bullfighting ring was built in 1907. In comparison, the Plaza de Toros was built in 1944.
If you’re a fan of boxing, a few high profile fights have also been held in the Plaza de Toros. Such as an epic fight between Julio Cesar Chavez and Frankie Randall.
8. It’s the Birth Place of one of the World’s Most Famous Female Painters
Frida Kahlo, one of the most respected female artists of all time, was born in Mexico City. If you have an interest in art, it’s well worth viewing some of her self portraits and surrealist paintings. Kahlo was fiercely proud of her Mexican identity and her paintings were often inspired by her Mexican heritage and issues such as race and identity.
If you’re interested in learning about Kahlo’s life, it’s well worth visiting the Frida Kahlo Museum, which is Kahlo’s former home and which is better known as the Blue House. As the Blue House is where Frida was born and where she later died.
9. Mexico Boasts 34 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Another reason why you should add Mexico to your bucket list is that it boasts 34 official UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The most famous of which is Chichen Itza.
Chicen Itza has also been named one of the 7 modern wonders of the world and was a large city that was built by the ancient Mayans. Incredibly, some of the ancient city’s structures have stood the test of time. One of which is El Castillo. A Mesoamerican step pyramid, which was built out of limestone. I also enjoyed exploring the Temple of the Warriors, the Group of a Thousand Columns and The Platform of Venus.
As Chichen Itza is so large archeologists are still finding underground caves and temples. In 2019, archeologists discovered the Lost Cave of the Jaguar God. Which was located beneath Chichen Itza’s ruins.
10. The Ancient Mayans were Fond of a Bloody Ball-Sport
If you visit Chichen Itza, you’ll also be able to tour the Grand Ball-court, where teams of fierce warriors, would play an ancient ball sport, called Ulama. A sport that archeologists estimate is around 3,000 years old. It is thought that Ulama was seen as a battle between the moon and the sun and goodness and evil.
Ulama is by far the bloodiest ball sport in history. As on rare occasions, the winners of important games would have their heads cut off as a ritual sacrifice to the Mayan’s gods.
In recent years small Ulama tournaments have been organized to help individuals connect with their Mesoamerican roots. However, fortunately, the winners of modern Ulama tournaments are no longer sacrificed to Mayan gods.
11. There are over 4,800 Wild Jaguars in Mexico
Jaguars are the largest wild cats in Mexico and weigh as much as an average-sized man or woman. Typically jaguars weigh between 60kg and 90kg. Although Mexican jaguars usually weigh between 60-70 kg.
If you’re worried about running into a jaguar, don’t. As the vast majority of Mexico’s jaguars live in Mexico’s dense jungles, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll come across a wild jaguar on your Mexican adventure.
However, in recent years ecologists have been pleasantly surprised as in the past 8 years, Mexico’s jaguar population has increased by 20%.
12. Mexico Offers some of the Best Street Food in the World
Don’t be afraid to try Mexican street food as it’s fresh, healthy and flavorful. Some of my favorite Mexican street foods include ceviche, tacos, and tlacoyos. The latter of which is a pastry, that is made out of blue corn and boasts spicy beans and is topped off with cheese and hot sauce.
If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll also fall in love with Mexico’s cinnamon covered churros, which is just delicious.
If you’re adventurous when it comes to food, you’ll even be able to eat scorpions, spiders, and grasshoppers. All of which are commonly sold in Mexico’s street markets.
While Mexico does boast some of the world’s most scenic beach resorts in the world, hopefully, you enjoyed some interesting facts about Mexico. Now you know, that there is far more to Mexico than its world-class beaches and resorts. Instead, Mexico is a vibrant, proud nation, which has too much to offer, if you’re willing to get off the beaten tourist track!