Mexico is famous for being full of culture, history, and stunning beauty. It is known for archaeological ruins and architecture that date back to the centuries-old Aztecs and Mayans. Mexico has beautiful beaches with golden sands, crystal-clear waters and lush jungles along the coastline.
It is also renowned for its diverse and flavorful cuisine – from tacos and enchiladas to mole and tamales.
It doesn’t matter which part of the country you go to, Mexico’s rich culture and traditions await you.
As one of our favorite countries in the world, we have written this article on 21 things Mexico is known for, so you can explore this phenomenal country with a deeper understanding of what to expect!
What is Mexico Known For?
1. Delicious Mexican Food
Mexican food is famous for being one of the tastiest cuisines in the entire world. You cannot visit Mexico without trying some of the fantastic food.
The most famous food in Mexico is of course, tacos. There are many different types of tacos all around the country. Al Pastor, barbacoa, and carnitas tacos are some of the most popular types of tacos. These tacos are generally topped with salsa, guacamole, and lime.
Another food Mexico is famous for is Chilaquiles, or breakfast nachos. This dish is made of fried tortillas soaked in green or red salsa. Eggs, refried beans and pulled pork are sometimes added to the dish.
2. Nice Warm Weather All Year Round
Mexico is known for having year-round warm weather across most of the country. This is what makes Mexico one of the best vacation beach destinations in the winter (or any time of year).
Mexico’s climate varies from arid to tropical. Thanks to its geographical location, the Tropic of Cancer divides the country into two. That means parts of the country have constantly warm weather all year round but the other parts have slightly cooler winters.
Nonetheless, Mexico in general is very warm, especially when compared to other parts of North America.
3. Indigenous Culture and Traditions
Mexican culture is deeply rooted in the country’s indigenous roots that began thousands of years ago. Before Spain came along to colonize what is today known as Mexico, the country was inhabited by many powerful native groups.
Perhaps the most well-known of these groups is the ancient Mayan people, a powerful civilization that occupied Mexico and parts of Central America for over 3,000 years.
The Mayan people were known for having the most advanced writing system of any other Mesoamerican group. Some of Mexico’s most famous ancient ruins like Chichen Itza are remnants of history left behind by the Maya.
The Olmec were another major Mesoamerican group that occupied modern-day Mexico and Latin America. These groups have made a lasting impact in modern-day Mexico in everything from language and beliefs to traditions and culture.
4. Day of the Dead
Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is the most famous Mexican holiday. Each year between October 31 & November 2nd, people around the country gather to celebrate their family members that have passed away.
Mexicans believe that death is a part of life. And on the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos), the barrier between the realm of death and life open, allowing their passed-away loved ones to visit.
Day of the Dead is traditionally celebrated by creating a family shrine to honor one’s ancestors. A typical Mexican family shrine will include candles, artwork, flowers, and offerings like food and water.
The most important part of the shrine is the family photographs, which allow the deceased family members to reunite with the living briefly.
In larger cities, like Oaxaca, this holiday is also celebrated with colorful parades and decorations everywhere.
This holiday is a true representation of the intangible cultural heritage that Mexico is known for.
5. Mexico City, The Biggest City in the Americas
With a population of 22 million people, the Mexico City metropolitan area is the largest city in the Americas. This city is also known for being an important financial and cultural center in the world.
One of the most famous landmarks in Mexico City is the Plaza de la Constitución or El Zocalo. This plaza showcases Mexico’s long history. This plaza has been around for thousands of years. It was first a gathering place for Aztec ceremonies, then a gathering place for Spanish ceremonies, and today the cultural center of Mexico.
No visit to Mexico City would be complete without exploring the Frida Kahlo Museum, relaxing in Chapultepec Park (Mexico’s version of Central Park), and eating a tasty churro.
Mexico is known for producing the best tequila in the world and it is one ofthe most popular drinks in Mexico. Tequila is made from the fermented and distilled juice of the agave plant. It is believed that the Mexican town of Tequila is the birthplace of tequila, but some suggests that its a drink that the Aztecs invented.
Today, people around the world celebrate the culture of Mexico every time they take a shot of tequila!
7. Frida Kahlo
Perhaps one of the most famous people from Mexico is the painter, Frida Kahlo. Not only is Frida Kahlo a national icon in Mexico, but she is known worldwide for her celebration of Mexican, indigenous, and feminist ideals.
Frida Kahlo is known for her self-portraits which are raw depictions of the emotions felt in her life. Kahlo suffered much physical pain and sickness in her life so many of her paintings, like the Broken Column, depict this.
The artist also had an extremely tumultuous relationship with her husband, Diego Riviera, and her paintings were an outlet during that time. Memory, the Heart, is one painting that depicts her pain over her husband’s affairs.
Today, Frida Kahlo’s house, nicknamed the “Blue House”, is a museum dedicated to her life. It is here that she grew up, suffered many years of confinement due to her injuries, and lived with her husband.
8. Pueblos Magicos
“Pueblos Magicos” are towns recognized by the Mexican government for having some kind of ‘magical’ quality. These magical qualities can stem from natural beauty, historical importance, or famous legends.
These magic towns tend to be more off the beaten path, meaning there are fewer crowds, but this in no way means these cities are not worth a visit. Towns must pass strict criteria to apply for this coveted status.
The most famous of these towns is Tequila, in the state of Jalisco. Tequila has a European-style charm with cobblestone streets and colorful orange, yellow, pink, and blue buildings.
9. Mariachi Bands
One of Mexico’s national cultural treasures is Mariachi music. Mariachi is a genre of regional music that arose from the Jalisco state of Mexico in the late 1700s or early 1800s.
Typical Mariachi bands consist of violins, trumpets, Guitarrón, and more. Mariachi music is very joyful music that is played when people gather together in celebration with loved ones.
Plazas and restaurants are the most typical places where you’ll find Mariachi bands playing. However, weddings, parades, and birthday parties are becoming more popular for Mariachi performances.
Mezcal is an incredibly unique and complex spirit with centuries of tradition behind its production. It is made from the heart of the agave plant, which is slow cooked in an earthen oven and then mashed by a tahona wheel.
The mashing process releases the juice of the agave, which is then fermented with wild yeasts before being double distilled in copper stills. During this process, master mezcaleros use their deep knowledge to ensure that the final product is balanced and full-bodied.
Since the making of Mezcal is such an important tradition, recipes and production methods are often passed down from generation to generation.
Because of its production process, the taste of Mezcal is very unique. It has a smoky taste that you either love or hate. But for novice drinkers, Mezcal can be overwhelming at first.
The Yucatan Peninsula town of Cancun is without a doubt the most popular vacation destination in Mexico. This destination is known for warm weather, white sand beaches, and incredible nightlife.
Most people travel to Cancun to relax at one of the many luxurious, all-inclusive resorts. Visitors to these resorts spend their days drinking Pina Coladas, snorkeling in vibrant coral reefs, playing on the beach and getting pampered in the spa.
Some of the best beaches in Mexico like Playa Delphines and Playa Gaviota Azul are located here.
The nearby Riviera Maya is another very popular vacation destination for all-inclusive resorts. For those wanting a beach vacation that is not completely resort-focused, the town of Puerto Escondido is just the place to go.
12. Chichen Itza
The most famous landmark in Mexico is Chichen Itza, the ancient ruins of one of the Mayan people’s most important cities. Today, this North American landmark has been deemed one of the 7 Wonders of the World as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Approximately 2.5 million people visit Chichen Itza annually.
The most magnificent ruin in the compound is the main pyramid, otherwise known as El Castillo. This massive structure was dedicated to the feathered serpent God Kukulcan, a deity similar to Quetzalcoatl in the Aztec culture.
During the spring and autumn equinox, the afternoon light hits the temple just in the right spot to create a shadow of Kukulkan (feathered serpent God) crawling down the side of the temple.
When visiting, don’t miss all the other impressive structures, the Sacred Cenote (where sacrifices were made) and the courts for the Mayan ball game.
13. Baja California
Baja California is the Northernmost and Westernmost state in Mexico. It is a peninsula attached to the US state of California, with over 2,000 miles of white sand coast and islands on both sides.
Baja California Mexico is known for producing some of the best wine in the country. Spanish settlers first planted grape vines when they arrived in the country, and they continue to be grown today.
For foreigners, Baja California is best known for being home to the popular pacific coast town of Cabo San Lucas, filled with luxury resorts and spas. Cabo San Lucas has many activities like scuba diving, horseback riding, and more.
Cenotes are one of the most unique things that Mexico is known for. These natural wonders are natural sinkholes made when limestone bedrock collapses leaving the natural groundwater below exposed. Cenotes are most commonly found in central Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula.
The Yucatan Peninsula is home to at least 6,000 cenotes, many of which are popular tourist destinations for swimmers and divers. Some cenotes have been converted into water parks while others remain secluded swimming spots deep in the jungle.
There are many popular cenotes in Mexico, but some of the best ones are Cenote Dos Ojos, Gran Cenote, and Cenote Suytun.
Read More: Most Beautiful Cenotes In Riviera Maya
Chocolate is a widely popular treat enjoyed by many people all around the world. But there would be no chocolate to enjoy if it weren’t for Mexico, the Birthplace of Chocolate.
The Mayan and Aztec people were the first to begin developing the idea of chocolate. These ancient civilizations believed that cacao was a gift from the gods and these beans were treated as more valuable than gold. Cacao beans were enjoyed primarily in the form of a bitter drink used during rituals.
When the Spanish arrived in America, they were introduced to cacao beans by these ancient civilizations. The Spaniards brought the cacao beans back to Europe and the United States. It was there that the concept of chocolate was invented.
Chocolate was first enjoyed by rich Europeans before becoming widely accessible across the world.
Tulum is another popular vacation destination on the coast of Mexico. It is becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Riviera Maya, thanks to its historical Mayan Ruins, stunning beaches, gorgeous luxury villas, and an amazing community.
The most famous feature of Tulum is the famous Tulum Ruins. Situated adjacent to the Caribbean Sea on the white-sand beach, it is one of the most spectacular sites in Mexico. Three of the major structures that still stand today are El Castillo, Temple of the Frescoes, and Temple of the Descending God.
Tulum is also famous for its abundance of beautiful nature. This town has many cenotes for swimming, lagoons for kayaking, and ancient Mayan jungles to tempt your imagination.
Read More: Best Tulum Cenotes You Cannot Miss
17. Beautiful Colonial Towns
Between 1521-1821, Mexico was occupied by the Spanish, who left behind, for good and bad, a lasting legacy. One way this legacy can be seen is in the Spanish-style colonial towns scattered around the country.
Some of the colonial towns you mustn’t miss are San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, Oaxaca de Juarez in Oaxaca, and San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato. In these colonial towns, you’ll find buildings in every color of the rainbow and charming cobblestone streets.
📚 Read More: How Many Days In Oaxaca Is Enough?
18. Lucha Libre
Lucha Libre is the term used throughout Mexico and Latin America for professional wrestling. Mexican-style wrestling is slightly different than traditional wrestling. Fighters, called luchadores, wear colorful masks as they participate in over-the-top fights where they throw their opponent around (Lucha libre translates to free throw).
Though it might look like a serious fight, lucha libre is mostly meant to entertain. The fights are scripted and it is almost like a comedy skit! Nonetheless, it is always a great time with lots of cheering and alcohol!
The Mexican equivalent of soap operas, telenovelas, has long been an impactful part of Mexican culture. Telenovelas dramatically portray controversial topics like illegitimate children as well as current political topics and the reconfiguration of Mexican identity over time.
Some of the most famous telenovelas in Mexico are Corazon Salvaje and Yo Soy Betty, la fea.
20. Narco Culture
Underneath the vibrancy of Mexican cuisine, music, and art is a darker side of Mexico’s culture. Narco culture refers to the subculture that has grown in Mexico due to the strong presence of drug cartels.
Mexico has long struggled with violence and corruption caused by these drug cartels. The most famous of these cartels is the Sinaloa Cartel started by the notorious ‘El Chapo’.
The influences of narco culture can be seen in government, international affairs, telenovelas and even music.
21. Maize (Corn)
Maize, known in English as corn, is a native plant to Mexico, first cultivated by the indigenous people of Mexico over 10,000 years ago. Today, yellow corn is the most common variety sold but maize can be found in red, blue, green, and black.
Maize is an important staple in Mexican cuisine. Some of the country’s most popular dishes such as tortillas, tamales, and elote all contain corn.
Mexico Most Famous FAQs
What Are Some Fun Facts About Mexico?
Here are 3 fun facts about Mexico:
1. Mexico is home to the biggest pyramid in the world. The Great Pyramid of Cholula near Puebla Mexico is the largest pyramid in the world by volume.
2. Mexicans don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Though popular in the United States, Cinco de Mayo is typically only celebrated in Puebla, where the Battle of Puebla occurred in 1862.
3. Mexico City is sinking every year because it was built over the ruins of the great Aztec city Tenochtitlán. The city was originally built on lake bed, which is why the city is slowly sinking every year!
What Is Unique To Mexico?
Believe it or not, chocolate originated in Mexico, where the Mayans and Aztecs first cultivated the cacao plant. Caco was seen as sacred in their cultures!
What Animal Is Mexico Known For?
There are many animals Mexico is known for, such as the eagle, which is seen holding a snake in its beak on the Mexico flag. Mexico is also known for Xoloitzcuintle, a hairless dog that is believed to be sacred.
If you weren’t sure what is Mexico known for, we hope this article has helped you learn some new things about this astonishing country.
So, what are you waiting for? Go, and explore the wonderful beaches, history, food, and drink of Mexico!
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