8 myths about Mexico busted | Top Universities

Where should you study?

Join one of our upcoming events to find out. Meet universities and business schools from around the world.

8 myths about Mexico busted

By Stephanie L

Updated May 6, 2021 Updated May 6, 2021

Sponsored by Universidad de las Americas Puebla

Mexico is much more than the misconceptions and stereotypes you see, read, and hear about in popular culture and on the internet. 

It’s a nation built on tradition, contemporary arts and cuisine which embraces the hustle and bustle of modern-day commerce and business.

If you want to know what Mexico’s really about, then read on as we bust eight myths and misconceptions about the most visited nation in Latin America.

Mexico has a poor reputation for academia and education

Mexico actually boasts a growing number of internationally recognised universities and business schools – 59 of which are included in the QS Latin America University Rankings 2020.

Universidad de las Americas Puebla is one of those universities, and was recently awarded 5 stars in the QS Stars ranking – the only Mexican institution to be awarded this accolade. It also ranks within the top 50 universities in the QS Latin America University Rankings 2020.

Situated in the oldest Latin American city of Cholula, with some of its campus based on a former hacienda dating back to the 18th century and within a 20-minute drive of the UNESCO world heritage city of Puebla, Universidad de las Americas Puebla brings together old and new.

And with almost 80 undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes in arts and humanities, science, social sciences, business and economics, and engineering attracting students from all over the world making for a truly unique study experience in the heart of Mexico.

Everyone wears a charro hat or sombrero

Everyone wears a charro hat or sombrero

If you’re expecting to see everyone wearing charro hats or sombreros as soon as you step off the plane, then you’re in for a surprise.

In fact, there are very few places in Mexico where these hats are part of everyday attire. The charro hat, for instance, is part of the charro suit, which is considered a work of art, and is only worn for certain events and occasions by mariachi musicians.

Oh, and they’re also very different from the ones you see sold in souvenir shops.

Mexico is a desert, and if you want a beach, it’s all about Cancun

Mexico is a desert, and if you want a beach, it’s all about Cancun

There’s more to Mexico than the cliché of ‘Wild West’ deserts and the palm-fringed beaches of Cancun.

Although Cancun is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, did you know there are almost 500 beaches across all of Mexico?! Yes, 500.

And there’s more than just beaches in Mexico too; don’t forget the snow-capped volcanoes, steaming tropical forests, fresh water lagoons, and rugged mountain landscapes which make Mexico one of the most important biodiverse areas in the world with its variety of ecosystems, all flourishing with their own flora and fauna.

Spanish is the official language

Would it surprise you if we said Mexico is one of the only countries in the world which doesn’t have an official language? Although Spanish is one of the most commonly spoken languages throughout Mexico, it is also home to a variety of indigenous languages.

English is also widely spoken in Mexico, but knowing some Spanish basics is helpful (although being fluent isn’t necessary).

All you can eat is spicy food

All you can eat is spicy food

Perhaps one of the most popular misconceptions around Mexican cuisine is the idea everything has chilies in it. Yes, spice plays a big role in kitchens across Mexico, but there’s more to the nation’s legendary foods than a bit of heat.

While much of the country’s traditional dishes are corn-based, there’s still plenty of variety as practically every city, town and village has its own unique dish or recipe. From tacos to tamales, quesadillas to fajitas, burritos to enchiladas, you won’t be short of new foods to try.

One of Mexico’s oldest cities, Puebla, is considered home to the best mole poblano – a fresh sauce made from herbs, chocolate, aromatic spices and, of course, chilies. And if you follow your nose around Puebla, you’ll also find yourself at the ‘Street of Sweets’ (Calle de los Dulces), where locals and visitors alike can wander for hours browsing the displays of candies and sweet treats in the shops.

Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexican independence

Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexican independence

Wrong! Mexican independence was gained on September 16, 1810, while Cinco de Mayo (May 5), actually celebrates the victory of the Mexican army over French troops in the city of Puebla in 1862.

Day of the Dead is the Mexican version of Halloween

Day of the Dead is the Mexican version of Halloween

Time to bust this misconception once and for all. Day of the Dead, or Día de Muertos, is a three-day holiday celebrated throughout Mexico, which begins on October 31 – All Hallows Eve.

You won’t find any depictions of death, witches, ghosts, or anything like that during Día de Muertos. Instead, you’ll find bright colours, sugar skulls, incense, traditional decorations and foods as families gather together to remember loved ones, and reflect on the meaning and existence of life.

Mexico is a third-world country riddled with crime

Mexico is a third-world country riddled with crime

How many Hollywood films have you been watching?

After Brazil, Mexico boasts the second biggest economy in Latin America. And when it comes to crime, it’s not as rampant as you might assume.

With around 120 million inhabitants, Mexico is a truly diverse nation that’s full of warm welcomes and kind-hearted locals, magical towns, sleepy indigenous villages, bustling modern cities, museums, theaters, art centres and so much more.

It’s also been recognised as the third most hospitable country in the world.

This article was originally published in October 2020 . It was last updated in May 2021

Want more content like this Register for free site membership to get regular updates and your own personal content feed.

Written by

As the Head of Sponsored Content for TopUniversities.com and TopMBA.com (until September 2021), Stephanie created and published a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. She attended the University of Portsmouth where she earned a BA in English Language and an MA in Communication and Applied Linguistics.

saved this article

+ 1 others saved this article

Related Articles Last year

Most Shared Last year

Most Read Last year