Mexican Culture

Do's and Don'ts

Primary Author
Nina Evason,


  • Be respectful and courteous, especially when in the company of parents or elders.
  • Try and be open to the friends and family of your Mexican counterpart. Mexicans are often very welcoming to friends of friends on the basis of small social connections. They will appreciate it if you are similarly open-hearted to their loved ones.
  • Refer to Mexican migrants living in the US without paperwork as “undocumented migrants”. Avoid using the term “illegal”.
  • Have an understanding of Mexico's cultural achievements and mention them when you see fit.
  • Try and offer your service to help with domestic duties or basic tasks whenever possible. Even if a Mexican declines your offer, it is polite to extend the gesture.
  • Be sure to thank Mexicans for their hospitality. It is the only gesture expected in return for their generosity.
  • Share stories from your country, home and family life. Mexicans love tales from other parts of the world. 



  • Never criticise the Virgin of Guadalupe or say anything about her that could be perceived as a slight (see Catholicism in Mexico under Religion).
  • Do not stereotype Mexicans as ‘narcotraficantes’ (drug traffickers) or heavy drug consumers. Only a very small percentage of the population is engaged in such activity. Furthermore, consider that the current violence of cartels is driven by the Western consumption of drugs. Meanwhile, the Mexican consumption of illicit drugs is lower than US levels.1
  • Do not emphasise Mexico’s problems or seek to make people feel ashamed of them. Most Mexicans are disgusted by violence and want to redeem the reputation of Mexico in foreigners’ eyes. Furthermore, while they are very critical of their own nation’s issues, they do not need further judgement from outsiders – especially when this criticism is informed by stereotypes.
  • Do not criticise another person in public, or in earshot of others. Deliver all sensitive news privately to avoid embarrassing others.
  • Avoid referring to the United States as “America”. Mexico is also a North American country and some people can find it frustrating when the term is used solely to refer to those from the USA. Therefore, Mexicans may call Americans ‘estadounidenses’ instead of ‘americano’ in Spanish.
  • Do not imply that Mexicans are overcrowding the US or flooding the US border with undocumented immigration. In reality, the numbers of Mexican migration has been steadily declining.2
  • Do not imply that Mexicans are lazy. The population works more hours on average than any other nation.3



1 U.S. Department of State, 2016
2 Pew Research Centre, 2015
3 OECD, 2018

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