8 Common Myths about Mexico

6-7 common myths about Mexico

The following is a mixture of my opinions from living in Mexico, local opinions shared with me and some facts. So your experience may differ but I’ve tried to be unbiased. Comment if you think I’m wrong

All of Mexico is really warm

This would have been my biggest myth about Mexico. Before moving to Mexico I wrongly assumed I would never have a problem with being cold again being used to the Irish climate.

How wrong I was.

Mexico is a huge country, even bigger than the standard world map would suggest and has numerous eco systems, some within an hour of each other. Most of Mexico is very warm during the summer and has a serious rain season (they have seasons of rain, not every/other day like in Ireland)

Currently, we’re living near Toluca and it reaches about -2 celsius at night and then oddly, 24 degrees in the day during the winter and sometimes colder. This mightn’t sound too bad to some, however, keep in mind the houses have no heating or insulation, thin walls and are built to keep the heat out, not the cold!

at night and then oddly, 24 degrees in the day during the winter and sometimes colder. This mightn’t sound too bad to some, however, keep in mind the houses have no heating or insulation, thin walls and are built to keep the heat out, not the cold!

All Mexicans want to live in the USA

Another huge misconception about Mexico is that all of their citizens want to get green cards to the United States. Not true, especially not so much in the last decade or so for numerous reasons.

I’ve found Mexicans are incredibly proud of their heritage, work extremely hard and want a fairer and less corrupt government and are well aware of their potential. Mexicos natural resources alone could drive it well beyond many of the countries ahead of it economically but many shady deals (so I’ve been told) by Government officials have kept it from making the most of it.

Plus many large companies are opening new headquarters in Mexico for numerous reasons, from the work ethic to lower wages for similarly educated workers.

Mexico is poor

This one is a mixed truth and misconception.

As a COUNTRY, measuring purchasing power, Mexico is 12th on the GDP ( Just 2 spots behind the United Kingdom ). It’s also ahead of some surprising countries such as Saudi Arabia (17th), Canada (18th) and Australia (20th) So there is plenty of money and natural resources, it’s just not being spread around very well.

Mexico is growing and has a wealth of resources but corruption and the drug war has definitely had an impact on slowing their overall growth.

The main problem with Mexico is the sad reality of the growing gap between the wealthy and the poor. The issue especially comes that there is no real safety net for those suffering the most. Those in Mexico City are mostly in good neighbourhoods but there are some ‘avoid’ areas where crime runs rampent. This however is fairly common in any city.

Mexico too suffers from a problem I’ve noticed in many countries from centralization where the majority of wealth and resources goes to the capital and surrounding cities and towns suffer. Think England ( why most voted Brexit), the areas in the rual areas of the United States left behind ( Why Trump was voted in ). Like many other citizens in other countries, those outside the capital can sometimes feel left behind or let down by the government.

The new left wing Government recently voted in, promises to change this with increases to minimum wage and in general help to the working class.

The cost of living is ultra cheap

The cost of living is in general much cheaper than America & Europe but the locals are noticing sharp increases for some vital costs like the cost of petrol.

I have found that many things however are cheaper back home in Ireland or north of the border. Cars and electronics are generally cheaper in the United States and Ireland and sometimes clothes too.

Mexico is in South / Central America

North America myths about Mexico

One of the most common myths about Mexico is that it’s in central or South America.

It’s in North America. Another bonus fact is that Mexico is more like the United States than you’d think being divided into separate states, each with its own unique history and culture and some minor differences like wedding / driving requirements.

Interesting fact – Mexico used to own Texas & California before being forced to sell them to the United States after losing the short lived Mexican-American war.

Also interesting is some Irish in the United States army, seeing the devout catholicism of the Mexicans and having experienced a lot of open racism, defected to the Mexican side during the war and were excecuted after the fall of Chapultepec by being hanged. They didn’t teach us that one in history class.

Mexico isn’t safe

If you read any form of American news you’ll generally hear negative after negative news about Mexico. Some localised areas in the North and some parts of the West, are quite dangerous due to the ongoing drug war ( you kind of play a part in that America ). However keep in mind, that Mexico is a huge place.

Most crime follows the drug trade. Avoid especially the areas in the ‘Golden Triangle’

Large sections of Mexico and Mexico City are no less safe than any other country or capital city. Of course you’re going to hear horror stories but you don’t hear about the millions of people going on about their lives on a daily basis with no issues now are you?

The majority of Mexican cities are safe, statistics are often inflated by the drug war between police and the cartels. If you’re not sure about an area do some research and talk to some locals for their advice, Mexicans in my experience are always happy to give honest travel advice and tips.

Mexican Food is Spicy

Chili en nogada
A traditional seasonal Mexican dish. Chilli en nogada – the chilli the dish is based around is a very mild level of spice.

Mexican food is incredibly diverse and whilst they may enjoy spicier food than most countries – we’re looking at you France! It has to be said Mexicans aren’t all eating habaneros and jalapeƱos with every dish. Dishes and delicacies varies especially from state to state with some southern states like Yucatan generally having less spicy dishes.

Fresh fruit and homemade food is the norm and expect plenty of salt & citrus fruits served alongside bar food and restaurant food alike.

Food is typically served without spices with the salsa, a variety of green, red and orange sauces varying in spiciness served in the middle of the table where the tomato sauce would normally be. Typically but not always green sauce is the least spicy, red is the medium range and orange is usually spicier. Though this can change from restaurant to restaurant so dip carefully first.

Tex Mex is Mexican Food

Chili con carne? Tex Mex food! Tex Mex food is a mixture of Mexican food with ingredients from United States & Europe to satisfy the ‘gringos’. This food is tasty and I definitely won’t diss it but it’s just not the same. Tex Mex food is the food you’ll find in ‘Mexican’ restaurants across the world* they might have some traditional styled foods also like quesadillas but the tortillas are usually wheat not corn or a mixture.

Enchiladas, nachos, pambazos, tamales? Mexican! As are Tacos but certain people in the United States seem convinced they originated in the United States. Traditional Mexican food is so good, it’s been added to the representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. It’s seriously good food, just don’t drink the water.

Corn is the main food of Mexico and almost everything is based around it much like bread is for certain parts of Europe. Except the difference is corn is in almost literally everything like corn syrup, tortillas, soup, speciality drinks you name it.

*You can find authentic Mexican food and restaurants if you know what you’re looking for, they’re just not as common as the Tex Mex fast food variations, much like Chinese takeaways are usually nothing like actual Chinese food and Irish bars are nothing like actual Irish bars.

In Summary

Mexico is a growing country with its own pains and sufferings but it’s not the wild west a lot of media paints it out to be. It’s a country rich with a lot of culture and fantastic food but you should be careful about visiting certain areas, same as any new country (except maybe somewhere like Iceland or Denmark).

About cwavedave 50 Articles
Always learning & travelling. I help small to medium-sized businesses grow online with web design & connect with their customers with SEO Strategy at my business Creative Wavelength. I also play Cornerback for the Donegal Derry Vipers American Football team.

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