Mexico – General Information
1,972,550 sq km.
54 per sq km.
Mexico City (Ciudad de México).
20.0 million (2005)
Mexico is bordered to the north by the US, to the northwest by the Gulf of California, to the west by the Pacific, to the south by Guatemala and Belize, and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. In the south, Mexico occupies half of the Central American land bridge. The landscape diversity of Mexico ranges from wetlands to deserts and jungle-covered plains to alpine vegetation.
Much of the country is made up of a 1000-2500m high plateau bounded by the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean through the mountain ranges of the Sierra Madre Occidental and the Sierra Madre Oriental. The northern part of the plateau, which accounts for 40% of Mexico’s total area, is barren and sparsely populated. In the south of the highlands runs a volcanic mountain range that extends from the Sierra Volcánica in the west through the valley of Mexico to Veracruz on the east coast. Mighty mountains rise here, some of which, like the 5700 m high Pico de Orizaba and the Popocatépetl, are still active volcanoes. Here live 50% of the population.
Further south on the slopes and plains of the sparsely populated isthmus Tehuantepec is farmed. The east and the Yucatán peninsula are shallow, with 75% of annual rainfall falling in this area. On the northwest coast, opposite the Baja California Peninsula, on the southwest coast of Bahía de Campeche and on the Yucatán Peninsula, there are many lagoons and wetlands.
Presidential Federal Republic since 1917. Constitution of 1917, last constitutional amendment 1994. bicameral parliament (Congreso de la Unión). The 128 deputies of the Senate (Camara de Senadores) are elected for six years, the 500 members of the House of Representatives (Camara Federal de Diputados) for three years. Head of State and Government: Vicente Fox Quesada, since 2000. The executive power lies with the President, who appoints the Cabinet. His term of office coincides with that of the Senate. Each state has its own governor and an elected House of Representatives. Independence proclamation 1810 (former Spanish colony).
Official language is Spanish, as colloquial language it is interspersed with Aztec loanwords. Besides, there are over 80 Indo-languages; the most important are Náhuatl, Maya and Mixteco. About 8% of the population speak only native American languages. English is spoken in the larger cities.
89% Roman Catholic; Protestant, Jewish and Bahai minorities.
Mexico extends over three time zones:
South, Central and Eastern Mexico, Mexico City (Central Standard Time): CET – 7th Sunday in April to last Sunday in October: CET – 6 (summer time = standard time CET (winter time in Central Europe) – 6 hours difference to Central Europe is in summer and winter respectively -7 hours.
Baja California Sur and the West Coast to Puerto Vallarta – (Mountain Standard Time): CET – 8th Sunday in April to last Sunday in October: CET – 7 (summer time = standard time CET (winter time in Central Europe) – 7 hours difference to Central Europe is in summer and winter respectively -8 hours.
Baja California Norte – (Pacific Standard Time): CET – 9th Sunday in April to last Sunday in October: CET – 8 (daylight saving time = standard time CET (winter time in Central Europe) – 8 hours difference to Central Europe in summer and winter each -9 hours
110/120 V, 60 Hz; American two-pin flat plug. Adapter necessary.
Money – Currency:
Mexicanos, al grito de guerra
Postal and telecommunications:
International direct dialing.
52. For tourists, a 24-hour free hotline is available at 91 800 903928 (any information in English and Spanish).
AMPS network, operator: IUSACELL (Internet: www.iusacell.com.mx). A GSM network (GSM 1900) is provided by Telcel (Internet: www.telcel.com). Mobile phones can be rented.
Are available in many larger hotels.
Internet / E-mail:
Internet service provider is e.g. Internet Mexico (Internet: www.internet.com.mx). Internet cafes are available in all regions, especially in the main tourist areas.
Internet TLD = .mx
Airmail letters to Europe are traveling for about six days. Shipment by land and sea takes much longer. In the capital, an express service is available (Entrega Immediata), which allows delivery within two to three days.
Since the use of shortwave frequencies changes several times over the course of a year, it is recommended that the current frequencies be contacted directly by the customer service of Deutsche Welle (Tel: (+49) (0228) 429 32
Mexico – Climate
In the spring and summer it is very warm in Mexico, but not extremely hot. Mexico is at 2300 m altitude. The hottest months are March, April, May. 27 to 30 degrees. Light summer clothing is announced.
In the rainy season between August and October, it can be wet and cold. The temperatures are then around 20 degrees and less. Then you can put on a protective rain jacket and a light sweater.
In winter, the temperatures in the morning and in the evening partly go back below 8 degrees. Thick sweaters are appropriate.
When the rainy season is over, it gets sunny and during the day the temperature rises to between 23 and 25 degrees Celsius.
It is tropical up to 1,000m, it becomes subtropical from 1,000m to 2,000m and temperatures above 2,000m are temperate.
in the north there are cold winters and hot summers. In the central plateau is to be calculated in the rainy season with strong thunderstorms from May to September. The hottest months in México City are April to June.
Mexico – Fauna & Flora
The wildlife of Mexico is just as rich in species as its flora. The fauna includes many monkey species such as howler monkeys and spider monkeys.
Then there are bears, beavers, flamingos, deer, jaguars, iguanas, lynxes, coyotes, crocodiles, ocelots, pekaris, pelicans, prairie wolves, pumas, herons, giant ants, scorpions, spiders, green sonoran toads, turtles, tapirs and snakes.
There are thirteen different species of rattlesnakes alone. The birds are particularly diverse and species-rich. Many seabirds are found here, because the coastal waters have a large fish wealth.
Wolves and coyotes can be found, for example, in the north of the country. Ocelots, jaguars, cougars, coatis, pekaris and monkeys live in the forests on the mountain slopes.
In lagoons and swamps you will find crocodiles and turtles.
On the coasts are seals, flamingos, herons and pelicans.
In the tropical rainforests, the various species of birds such as parrots and hummingbirds are very numerous represented.
Mexico is one of the countries with the greatest biodiversity. Due to the size of the country and the different altitudes and the various climatic zones, the vegetation is very diverse.
There are over 30,000 plant species. Of the 6,000 cacti known worldwide, there are about 4,000 species in Mexico. The Nopal Cactus is the symbol of Mexico. The candelabra cactus is native to the north of the country. He becomes up to 15 m high and up to 70 centimeters thick.
Slash and timber exploitation as well as diversion of many rivers and agriculture and livestock farming lead to strong changes in the vegetation. The tree populations have been decimated in the past but there are still large and wide forest areas. The tree line is about 3,500 m in Mexico.
Different regions of Mexico have a predominant form of vegetation. Here are particularly the rainy slopes of the Cordilleras and the rain forest to call, which merges at higher altitudes in mixed forests, such as pine, oak, juniper and then in coniferous forests. Then there is the Baja California, which is characterized by its cactus steppe.
In the north of the country there are thorn bush vegetation with countless cactus species, agaves, yucca palms and mesquite plants.
In the south of the country (Oaxaca, Chiapas, Tabasco) the tropical rain forest and jungle occurs. Here you will find precious woods such as the mahogany and zapote tree.
In the state of Chiapas there are about 200 different types of oaks and 40 different types of pine. In the lowlands of Tabasco prevail wide swamps. The peninsula Yucatán shines with predominantly dry forest and thorn shrub savanna.
The “Tierra Caliente” (hot land) can be found at an altitude of about 900 meters. Here temperature differences prevail from 15 to 48 ° C.
In the south, palm trees and mangroves prevail. In the north you will find coniferous forests and savannas. It is here the cultivation of bananas, tropical fruits, cocoa, vanilla, sugar cane, tobacco and cotton operated.
The “Tierra templada”, the temperate country ranges from about 900 to 1800 meters in height. Here, the average temperatures of 16 to 21 ° C prevail. In this climate zone you will find most of the Mexican states. Here you can find deciduous forests, sugar cane cultivation, cotton cultivation and coffee cultivation.
The “Tierra Fria” is the cold land. It ranges from a height of about 1800 to 2700 meters above sea level. The average temperatures here are 15 to 17 ° C. This also applies to Mexico City and Chiapas.
Mexico – History
The first Spanish expeditions under Francisco Hernández de Córdova and Juan de Grijalva reach the peninsula of Yucatán in the years 1517 and 1518.
The newly discovered high cultures and the abundant gold objects make the mainland interesting for the Spaniards.
In the years 1519 to 1521, Hernán Cortés succeeds in overthrowing the Aztec empire with the help of numerous allied Inians. Mexico becomes the viceroyalty of New Spain.
In 1815 the independence of Spain was declared. This resulted in a long war. He led in 1821 to final independence.
After that, the Mexican area lost in size, on the one hand by sale to the USA and also by the American invasion.
In the 1860s, the country was occupied by France. During this time, the Emperor Maximilian of Mexico was used. President Benito Juarez, expelled by the French, ended the imperial era with the execution of Maximilian.
The dictatorship Porfirio Díaz ‘led 1911 to the Mexican revolution. The revolutionary forces defeated the army, but lost themselves in internal quarrels. The country was in constant turmoil for twenty years. At the end of this revolution, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) controlled the country. That went on until the end of the 20th century.
Mexico – wining and dining
The Mexican cuisine is so tasty and good that you can easily get weight problems. The city is, thanks to the variety of spices and ingredients, one of the metropolises of gastronomy on an international level. In the streets everywhere the famous tacos and quesadillas are offered.
The Mexican cuisine is characterized by the synthesis of Aztec and Spanish-colonial, in the south also Mayan traditions.
Regionally, there are big differences in Mexico between the coast and the central highlands, the chile south and the beef north.
The most important meal of the day is lunch. The lunch break of a usual working day is correspondingly long.
In the evening, usually only a small snack is eaten, a few fruits, a taco or something similar.
A thoroughly recommended place is the La Cantina, a bar-restaurant, with many typical Mexican food and drinks. For those of you who prefer fine dining, the San Angel Inn, dedicated to the “high Mexican gastronomy” is recommended.
Of course, in between meals or as an appetizer you can try the tacos and quesadillas that are offered at the street stalls at any time of day or night. For friends of international cuisine, the restaurant Winston Churchill is recommended, offering English and international cuisine, then La Mansión, with excellent meats, the Thai Gardens with Thai cuisine and of course the Casa Italia, an Italian trattoria. Who appreciates the Magaritas, will probably not get around, the Villa María in the south of the city to pay a visit, there are offered over 20 different Margaritas.
In a hot and tropical country like Mexico, where lush vegetation is abundant, fruits and certain types of vegetables play a prominent role.
Drinking water is sold in water bottles or canisters. Water from the water pipes is dirty and inedible.
The Horchata, introduced by the Spaniards, is drunk, a sweetish rice-cinnamon drink that is served chilled.
The other usual alcoholic drinks are beer, tequila, mezcal and pulque.