What Should I Know About Mexico?

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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2019
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Mexico is described as being in “Middle America” — the transitional area between North and South America that includes Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies. It forms the southern border of the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. It is bordered on the west and south by the North Pacific Ocean, to the east by the Gulf of Mexico, and to the southeast by the Central American countries of Guatemala and Belize. The capital of Mexico is Mexico City, known locally as "Distrito Federal" (Federal District), "D.F.," or simply "México."

Mexico has an area of 761,605.8 square miles (1,972,550 sq km). It is the 14th largest country in the world and the fifth largest in the Americas, following Canada, the United States, Brazil, and Argentina. The lowest point in the country is Laguna Salada which is at an altitude of 32.7 feet (10 m), and its highest point is Volcan Pico de Orizaba at 18,700.79 feet (5,700 m).

The indigenous peoples of Mexico included the Aztecs, the Maya, and the Zapotec. Europeans arrived in 1517, and Spain ruled Mexico for about 300 years, before Mexico declared independence — on 16 September, 1810, and actually had its independence recognized by Spain — 27 September 1821. To its inhabitants, the country is known as Estados Unidos Mexicanos. It is a federal republic.


As one might expect from its history, many of the people of Mexico are of mixed heritage. Sixty percent are a mixture of Amerindian and Spanish referred to as mestizo; 30% are either full Amerindian or predominantly so; 9% are termed “white” by the census. The majority of people—76.5%—are Roman Catholic, with 6.3% Protestant, and 92.7% speak only Spanish, with 5.7% speaking both Spanish and at least one indigenous language, such as Mayan, and 0.8% speaking an indigenous language only. Ninety-one percent of the population is literate.

The United States is Mexico’s top trading partner, both for imports and for exports. Its chief exports include fruits and vegetables, coffee, cotton, oil and oil products, manufactured goods, and silver. It relies on imports for machinery, electrical equipment, parts for assembling cars and aircraft and for car repair, and steel mill products. The service industries are the largest sector of the economy.

The Mexican diet is a blend of Spanish and Amerindian cuisines and food stuffs. Corn is the main staple, and is often served as tortillas. Chicken, pork, and beef are all used, and foods are often seasoned with chilies and herbs such as oregano, cilantro, cumin, and cinnamon. Beans, or frijoles, are often served, as are sweet potatoes, and avocados.


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Post 3

I have only been to Mexico one time and that was when I was visiting my sister in Phoenix. We drove to a place right across the border, parked our car, and walked in to Mexico. We made sure we had proper documentation so we could get back in the United States.

This was the first time my son had been out of the country, and he was excited about it. We spent the afternoon going through the shops and bartering with some of the shop owners.

This was quite an interesting experience for us, and we left with some good souvenirs. I know this was just a small taste of what Mexico is really like.

I think it would be interesting to visit some of the countryside and see other parts of this country. My biggest concern is how safe it might be.

Would you be safe staying at most Mexico City hotels?

Post 2

My husband has had several men who have family in Mexico work for him for many years. Since they work outside, many of them like to take take off in the winter to visit family in Mexico.

They can make a lot more money living and working in the United States, but their families live much cheaper in Mexico. Many of them send part of every one of their paychecks to help family back in Mexico.

Even if they can find cheap flights to Mexico City, they will usually car pool down together and drive straight through to get there in a day or two.

The weather, diet and culture is different in Mexico than it is in our part of the country, but they still continue on with many of their traditions living here. I think the warmer weather is something most of them really miss once it starts getting cold though.

Post 1

I really don't know a whole lot about the country of Mexico other than I love the weather there in the winter.

I have stayed at a couple all inclusive hotels in Cancun, Mexico and have always had a great time. You often hear about how rough it can be down there, but as long as you stay on the resort I have not had any problems.

I travel from the airport to the resort, and spend the rest of my vacation enjoying all of the activities at the resort.

If I have a trip to Mexico planned sometime during the long winter months, it gives me something to look forward to. I can see why it has become such a big tourist destination.

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