While Spanish is the most spoken language, the Law of Linguistic Rights declares 68 indigenous languages the joint official languages of the country. This law was created in 2002 to protect the native languages and encourage bilingual and intercultural education. All official documents are made in 69 different versions (including Spanish) and indigenous speakers can have access to legal advice in their native tongue.
Here are some common phrases you’ll hear in Mexico!
- ¿Mande? What? or I beg your pardon?
- Qué padre How cool/awesome
- ¿Qué onda? What’s up?
- Dar un paseo Let’s go to the beach
- Vente pa’ca Come here
- Desde luego Of course
- ¡Qué bochorno! It’s hot!
- ¡No manches! No way! or you’re kidding me!
- ¡Aguas! Watch out! or heads up!
Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve
Every autumn, millions of monarch butterflies migrate from Canada to the mountains of the central highlands of Mexico. There are so many butterflies, the collective weight bends the branches of the trees. The sound of their wings flapping produces a sound like that of light rain and they color the forest orange. Every spring the butterflies have a migration that takes 8 months to get to Eastern Canada and back. Four successive generations are born and die during this migration period. It remains a mystery how the butterflies find their way back every year.
The Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989. It is the most important archeological vestige of the Maya-Toltec civilization in Yucatan. Several of the buildings have survived, including The Temple of the Warriors, El Castillo (aka The Castle), and El Caracol (the circular observatory). The Temple of Kukulkán, also referred to as El Castillo, is dedicated to a Mayan feathered serpent god. Twice a year during the spring and autumn, a shadow is cast and creates the appearance of a snake gradually slithering down the stairway of the pyramid.
Cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula
Cenotes are natural sinkholes that are a result from the collapse of a cave ceiling. There are thousands in Mexico, with around 6,000 of them in the Yucatan Peninsula. Cenotes were a water source and therefore vitally important for the Maya civilization. The Maya believed the cenotes were a gateway to the underworld, aka Xibalba, and Chaac, the god of rain, was believed to live at the bottom of these sacred wells. Archeologists have recovered gold, pottery, jade, and human remains from the rituals and ceremonies performed to ask for rain and good crops. And you can take tours and swim in them too!
El Arco is a unique rock formation found in Cabo San Lucas. It is commonly known as Land’s End because it is where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean. The arch was there before the sea! The shifting of the tectonic plates and geographical processes began to split the world’s second longest peninsula from the rest of Mexico around 30 million years ago, whereas the Sea of Cortez is only around 5 million years old. There is a wide variety of sea life surrounding El Arco, including sea lions basking in the sun on the rocks. There are glass-bottom boat tours where you can see the wildlife in the water without having to be in the water.
- Mexico City is home to more museums than any other city in the world, having more than 150 of them!
- Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is celebrated every year on the first and second day of November. It is a Mexican holiday that reunites the living and the dead.
- Lucha Libre is a cultural phenomenon in Mexico that began in 1863. The unmasking of a wrestler is a big deal and happens to most wrestlers at least once during their career. El Santo was a wrestler who was so popular that he became a real-life superhero to his fans. He only took off his mask a week after he retired and died of a heart attack one week later. He was buried wearing his mask, per his wishes.
- Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo are two of the most legendary Mexican artists and were married for 25 years, with a brief divorce in 1940 and they were remarried that same year. Frida’s parents referred to them as “the elephant and the dove”.
- The Catedral Metropolitana is the largest and oldest cathedral in Latin America. It was built on the remains of an Aztec temple, has an extensive art collection of five centuries worth of Mexican art and architecture, and catacombs beneath the main structure. It is one of the many must see attractions!
- There is a legendary beach that appears when the tide shifts and people can walk under El Arco. The last time this was seen was in 1989 and 2008.
- The pyramid of Cholula, located in Mexico, is the largest pyramid in the world. It is 66 meters tall, has a 400-meter base and a total volume of 4.5 million cubic meters. This is even larger than The Great Pyramid of Giza!
- Mexico has 60,000 registered taxis, which makes it the country which has the largest number of taxicabs in the world. Also, they are cheaper than almost any other country in the world.
- Coca-Cola consumption is very high in Mexico. Annually, the average consumption of this soda is 163 liters per individual.
- Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena invented color television at the age of 23 and his product (color image transmission system) was used in the Voyager 1 spacecraft. He was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco in Mexico.
- Chickenpox (Varicella)
- Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (TDAP)
- Flu (influenza)
- Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)
- Hepatitis A & B
Areas with Malaria: Present in Chiapas and southern part of Chihuahua. Rare cases in Campeche, Durango, Jalisco, Nayarit, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Sonora, and Tabasco. No malaria along the US–Mexico border.
Recommended chemoprophylaxis: States of Chiapas and southern part of Chihuahua: Atovaquone-proguanil, chloroquine, doxycycline, mefloquine, primaquine,4 or tafenoquine.4 States of Campeche, Durango, Jalisco, Nayarit, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Sonora, and Tabasco: None (practice mosquito avoidance).