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Mexico City metro |© LWYang / Flickr
Mexico City metro |© LWYang / Flickr
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11 Things You Should Never Say to a Mexican, Ever

Picture of Stephen Woodman
Updated: 20 November 2017
Mexicans are a welcoming bunch, but there are a few things you should avoid saying as a foreign guest. As with any country, it is important to be aware of cultural etiquette and taboo subjects during a vacation in Mexico. Here is a list of 11 things you should never say to a Mexican.

This is my first time in Central/South America

Geography knowledge is of great benefit in Mexico, a country which many foreigners believe is in Central or even South America. Mexico is actually a part of North America, which is why it is included in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) along with Canada and the United States.

Mexican is a beautiful language

There are 289 individual languages spoken in Mexico, according to Ethnologue, a publication that provides a linguistic profile of the world. However, none of these languages is called Mexican. The word “Mexican” refers to the nationality, not to any language. Spanish is the most commonly spoken language in the country, with more than 99 percent of people speaking it.

Mexican flag
Mexican flag | © iivangm/Flickr

How much money do you make?

When it comes to money, Mexicans are private, so asking about personal finances is a taboo subject. Although this information may be shared between close friends, asking strangers about their salary is a definite no-no.

Mexican pesos
Mexican pesos | © emiliomeza0 / Pixabay

Chilango

You might hear this word used to describe a Mexico City resident, but avoid using it yourself. The word has pejorative connotations and you’re likely to lose friends in the capital if you start casually employing it.

I don’t like Mexican food

Mexicans are proud of their culinary culture, and they are not the only people to recognize that their food is mouth-wateringly delicious. UNESCO even added Mexican cuisine to its cultural heritage list in 2010. Avoid generalizing about Mexican food, which is very diverse, with each region using different ingredients and techniques. There is a whole lot more to Mexican cuisine than Taco Bell, so it is best to leave narrow-minded notions of melted cheese and burritos at home.

‘Estupido’ (stupid)

I’m sure you can think of many more offensive words in English than stupid. But the Spanish equivalent, “estupido,” is much more powerful and shouldn’t be used lightly. Never call anyone else “estupido” and avoid using it in any context, even when referring to yourself and those stupid little mistakes we all make from time to time.

‘Coger’ (to take)

This verb, which means “to take,” is used in Spain all the time, especially in the context of “taking the bus” or “taking the metro.” In Mexico and throughout Latin America, the word is certain to trigger giggling, because “coger” is a synonym for a certain four letter word in English. Never suggest anyone coger a taxi.

Taxi in Mexico City