Are you planning a trip to Mexico this winter? Mexico is a country famous for its beautiful beaches and cold margaritas but in fact, it is much more than that. It is a country of huge diversity in cultures, food, scenery and experiences! Before your next Mexican adventure here are a couple of fun facts to broaden and enrich your travels.
Mexico has the world’s second largest living coral reef
The Riviera Maya is Mexico’s top destination for snorkeling. The second largest coral reef system in the world is found just off the coast of Cancun. The Great Maya Reef, sometimes called the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, extends for more than 965 km (600 miles). The clear waters of the Caribbean allow for unlimited visibility, all the better to view the more than 500 species of marine life, which call this reef home. For those staying at Riviera Maya resorts, ask your concierge for a tour recommendation to enjoy a day of snorkeling or even diving.
Mexico introduced chocolate, chilies, and corn to the world
Traditional food in Mexico is a recognized UNESCO World Heritage. Cacao was made into chocolate by the Meso-American people into a delicious beverage using natural sweeteners. Started from a wild grass called teosinte, corn is a human invention, the plant did not exist naturally in the wild. Scientists believe that those living in central Mexico developed corn around 7000 years ago.
Chilies originated in Mesoamerica, from Central Mexico to Central America. Archaeologists trace their domestication back to 5000 BC. Reports from conquistadors talk of chilies in Aztec and Mayan traditions, not only to flavor food but also used to fumigate houses and to help cure illness. Corn tortillas, hot chocolate, and spicy salsa are staples in most Mexican homes and restaurants – be sure to try them on your next visit.
Small but fierce: the Chihuahua
Perhaps the cutest souvenir you could pick up on your next trip to Mexico, the Chihuahua, the smallest dog breed in the world, is named after a Mexican state.
While there are many theories about the origin of the Chihuahua, all theories agree that the origination of the dog breed is from Chihuahua, Mexico. Most believe that the Chihuahuas are descended from the techichi, which was a companion dog favored by the Toltec civilization. Taking a puppy home depends on your countries importing laws and your airline. Be sure to research these fully before adopting a Mexican dog.
Cinco de Mayo isn’t Mexico’s Independence Day
A little taste of Mexico celebrated around the US on May 5th, but actually, Cinco de Mayo is not a celebration of Mexican independence. Cinco de Mayo commemorates a victory in battle against French occupying forces in the Battle of Puebla.
While it is an important celebration in Puebla, most of Mexico ignores the holiday. However, don’t let that stop you from having a good time this cinco de Mayo!
World’s Richest Man is Mexican
Not all Mexicans are peasants tilling the fields, Mexican-born Carlos Slim Helu has spent much of this past decade as the world’s richest man, worth $70 billion.
A genius broker, Slim was already wildly successful in his mid-twenties. Most of his income is tied up in América Móvil, a telecommunications company he founded in 2000. When you use your cell phone in Mexico, you’re probably using Slim’s company.