Local culture in Mexico

We've put together a list of books and films which will help you get a flavour of Mexico before you visit. From discover each region's unique music to sampling mouth-watering cuisine, there's lots to do while you're there as well!

Local Culture


Set in the 1930s, Graham Greene’s The Lawless Roads describes him wandering through Mexico to Chiapas at a time of conflict between Catholics and an atheistic state.

Angeles Mastretta's Arráncame la Vida (Tear Up My Life) similarly covers Mexican society after the Revolution and its values, contradictions, and pleasures.

Read Like water for chocolate by Laura Esquivel which describes life in turn-of-the-century Mexico with much of the action centering around the kitchen, the heart and soul of a traditional Mexican household.


Real Mexican food is quite unlike the dishes found in most Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants in other countries. When visiting Mexico you’ll soon realize that the best food is the real Mexican street food.

Try tamale, which are made of a cornmeal paste often stuffed with chicken, pork, raisins or dried fruits – wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves.

Have a shot of Mexico’s national drink, Tequila, double distilled and then aged in wood casks or a delicious cold Margarita topped off with fresh lime juice.

Try delicious Mexican street food such as quesadillas which are tortillas are stuffed with cheese, then folded and grilled and often served with beans or salad. They are perfect for those who want to avoid the spicy dishes.


Watch Julie Taymor’s Frieda, starring Mexican actress Salma Hayek who also produced the film. It’s an enchanting biopic about Frida Kahlo's life and work.

Amores Perros by Alejandro González Iñárritu (director of 21 Grams and Babel) presents a keen glimpse of contemporary Mexican society through three stories about different ways of life in Mexico City that converge at the scene of a horrific car accident.

Stephen Soderbergh's Academy Award-winning Traffic with Benicio del Toro, has powerful scenes focusing on Tijuana's drug war.


Take an adventure tour through the Baja desert, surf on the pacific coast and snorkel along the world's second largest coral reef on the beautiful Mexican Riviera.

Explore the grounds of a beautiful colonial hacienda on horseback, set within a coffee plantation in the foothills of the Colima Volcano.


Each region of Mexico has its own unique flavour of music, and with each of the styles of music comes a unique style of dance. Mexicans love to dance, and many popular dance types have originated from the country. Passing through Mexico you may see mariachis serenading restaurant audiences, natives in their ancient dress styles doing traditional and symbolic dances, or people at clubs dancing to salsa or meringue.


Get into the spirit of Mexico’s Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a two-day festival from 01 November.

In February, Candlemas symbolises the end of winter and is celebrated all over Mexico as the Fiesta de la Candelaria, with parades, music and lantern-decorated streets.

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