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Snapshot of Mexico – Spanish is the official language of Mexico. Mexico is an ethnically diverse country, with many people being descendents from both indigenous groups and European immigrants, though the southern part of the country has significantly higher levels of indigenous peoples than other areas. These southern and central regions are also home to several indigenous languages, such as Nahuatl and Yukatek Maya. Over 80% of Mexico’s population belongs to the Roman Catholic church, with attendance rates at about 47%. Many Mexican towns and cities have their own patron saints, which are celebrated with yearly feasts. Both Spanish and indigenous influences can be seen in art, architecture, and music. Mariachi performing groups (bands using singers, guitars, trumpets, and other instruments) regularly perform at festivals and restaurants, and many folk dances and traditional music are still practiced. Rock, pop, and other music styles such as norteña and ranchera are popular today. Soccer is the most popular sport in Mexico, though baseball is also popular. Lucha libre wrestling and bullfighting are also popular events. Mexican cuisine is based on the staples of corn, beans, and chili peppers, often used with meat, cheese, and other herbs and spices. Traditionally, the main meal is eaten during the afternoon. A soup is served first, followed by a meat dish with sauce and salsa, along with tortillas and beans. Street vendors are also quite popular, selling tacos, quesadillas, tortas, roasted chicken, and other dishes. Bacon-wrapped hot dogs are another popular street vendor food. Cuisine varies in different regions, with flour tortillas, burritos, cheese, and beef being more popular in the north, while tropical fruits and tamales are more commonly used in southern cooking. Seafood, morisqueta (a sausage and rice meal), and carnitas (deep-fried pork) are more commonly eaten in western Mexico.
The Church is rapidly growing in Cancun because it is an area of Mexico wherein a lot of people are moving. Currently, the neighboring state of Yucatan has the highest percentage of Mormons in Mexico.
The food in Cancun generally consists of pork or chicken; beef is very rare. Other staples include items such as beans and tortillas.
The main way that most missionaries get around is by foot, but there is also a public transportation system (buses).
The customs of the area are such that there is much focus on the marriage of Catholicism and the Mayan culture. It is a very spiritual cultural group, with heavy emphasis on familial relations.
The local lingo is at times difficult to understand; keep in mind that it is a mix of Spanish and Mayan.
You’ll need lots of deodorant, as well as a hand towel (you tend to sweat profusely in such a hot and humid climate).
Be advised that the locals eat very spicy habanero peppers. Also take note that the entire economy of Cancun revolves around the tourism business.
Calle 70 #521A x 65 y 67
97000 Mérida, Yucatan
*What items were hard to get or not available? Fresh milk and root beer were very hard to come by. The only way to find stuff like that is to go to the Costco or try and buy some locally.
*What did you eat the most of? Pork and beans seemed to be the most prevalent food item along with a lot of cilantro and tortillas.
*What is the craziest thing you ate? I ate iguana, dog, and a few other weird things. Not a big fan of chicken head but cow head meat was very good.
*What was most surprising about the culture? The culture is a very spiritual one. The Mayan people may not be able to understand Spanish or the gospel, but they could definitely feel the Spirit.
*What advice would you give to someone going to the Mexico Cancun Mission? Prepare to sweat. The clothing you take is very important because you will wear it out, and be prepared to wash clothing by hand.
*What do you wish you had known before you served? The habanero peppers taste good and will help with your Spanish.
**Did you serve in the Mexico Mérida Mission? If so we would love to hear your advice and your stories! Please contact us at email@example.com**