Northern Region of Mexico

El Norte de Mexico (Northern Mexico) corresponds to the northern cultural and geographical region in Mexico.

In Mexico, this northern region is the most extensive, as it occupies more than 700,000 km2. Northern Mexico makes up about half of the national territory.

Normally, northern Mexico is considered to consist of the states of Baja California Sur/Norte, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo Leon, Sinaloa, Sonora, and Tamaulipas, and the northern region of Zacatecas.

Traditionally, it is considered that El Norte de Mexico (Northern Mexico) are only those states that have a border with the United States.

Generally, the Northern Region of Mexico is characterized by a semi-desert and desert climate and high temperatures in the summer.

saguaro cacti in the sonoran desert

The Sonoran Desert, one of the largest on the continent, is in the northern region of Mexico.


Economic activities in the Northern Region of Mexico are diverse. Northern Mexico presents the greatest economic development in Mexico.

Given its proximity, the northern region of Mexico has commercial relations with the United States. Its economic life has developed in close relationship with the United States and the influence of the United States is felt along the Mexican border.  

Moreover, modern technology is purchased from the United States.

Agriculture:  Apples, peaches, walnuts, cotton, wheat, corn, grapes, beans and dried chili.  There are extensive irrigated agricultural areas.

Livestock: Cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs.

Logging: Pine and oak.

Mining: Lead, coal, barium, gold, silver, iron, zinc, marble, quartz and calcium. The northern region is a leading mining area.

Industry: Steel, paper, food, glass, brewery, oil, timber, footwear, etc. Industrial parks and maquiladoras are located along the border.

Media and communications networks cover almost the entire region allowing extensive communication with the rest of Mexico.


The northern region population is mostly concentrated along the border cities with the United States of America and in the irrigated agriculture areas.

There are some indigenous groups in northern Mexico. The Tarahumara (Raramuri) fled to and live in Chihuahua, mainly in the mountainous areas. The Tepehuano live in Durango. The Kickapoo live in Coahuila. The Huastecos and Pames live in San Luis Potosí.

Natural environment characteristics

Relief formsClimateMain RiversVegetation
East – part of the Sierra Madre Oriental   West – part of the Sierra Madre Occidental   South – Mountains Sierra de la Breña, Zacatecas, San Luis, and Guadalcázar   North- large plains,   altiplano del Norte ( Boreal Plains)Extreme dry. Very high temperatures during the day and very low at night. Very high in the summer and very cold in the winter.   In areas with low altitude, a semi-dry climate occurs.  Aguanaval Nazas Santa Maria The Carmen Casas Grandes (Large Houses) Rio Grande (with several tributaries)  Desert in arid areas.   Steppe in the semi-dry parts.   Mixed forest in areas with temperate climate and mountains.  


The culture of Northern Mexico tends to be conservative.  Regarding business and technology, it tends to be liberal. In addition, Northerners have been described as more open to modernism, progress, and technology. Mexicans in the Northern region tend to identify with Spanish/European heritage.

In recent years, many Mexicans have moved to northern cities and many northerners have emigrated to central Mexican states, resulting in Northern Mexican culture taking on more strength in Mexico.

Northerners are identified by their very direct manner of speaking. They also are known for a universal informal use of “you” instead of distinguishing the formal and informal form.


In addition to Spanish and indigenous cuisine, Northern Mexico cuisine has been influenced by the cuisine of immigrants.

Northern Mexican cuisine is basically based on beef, goat, pork, and flour tortillas.

Jewish and Lebanese heritage have left remnants and cheese and dairy products are of German influence.

Northern Mexican gastronomy includes quesadillas, burritos, and Carne Asada (barbecue).

Discada is a mixture of meats grilled in a disc, an agricultural plow stand.

Cabrito (roasted goat) is common in the city of Monterrey.

Música norteña

Norteño is considered the typical musical genre of the Northern Region of Mexico. Instrumentation includes the accordion, guitar, and sixth bass, and voice. The redova is used as a percussion instrument. Heeling or zapateo is also used. Norteño music is a folk ensemble of a style that is made up of elements of different origins traced through the history of Mexico.  

Certain traits are inherited from European, German, Czech, Swiss and southwestern United States styles, with polkas widely used. The corrido is also integrated in the repertoire of the Northern region, a musical genre practiced during the Mexican Revolution.

Norteño musical group members typically use a cowboy hat, leather jacket and boots. Musical groups such as the Alegres de Terán, the duet Los Relámpagos, singer Piporro, Las Potranquitas del Norte, Los Broncos de Reynosa and Los Tigres del Norte, have commercially spread norteño music.


Sport plays an important role in northern Mexican culture.

The most popular sport in the northern region of Mexico is baseball. Northerners distinguish themselves in this sport and great Mexican baseball players like Fernando Valenzuela and Adrian Gonzalez are known to have been formed in the  northwest.

Football soccer is also important. The three big soccer teams from the north are Club de Futbol Monterrey, Club Santos Monterrey, Club Santos Laguna, and Tigres UANL. Club de Futbol Monterrey achieved a third place in the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup, and the three-time CONCACAF Champions League championship.

American football is also played in the northern region There are two teams from the Professional American Football League. The most important player of this sport in Mexico, Raul Allegre, won 2 Super Bowls.

Basketball is also very popular, especially in the states of Chihuahua and Durango. There are many recent teams. A professional state league from Chihuahua is very active in Mexico. Eduardo Najera, a northerner, was the first Mexican player to be drafted into the NBA.

Boxing and Lucha Libre (wrestling) are very popular.  Great wrestlers like the Black Warrior, Blue Panther and the Blue Demon are from this region.

Blue Demon photo credit Microsoft Bing

Bullfighting continues to be popular. Monterrey was the bullfighting capital of Mexico on many occasions. Famous bullfighters from the northern region include Lorenzo Garza Arrambide, Manuel Martínez Ancira, and Eloy Cavazos.

Northern Region Dialect

Northern Mexican Spanish is distinguishable in the rest of the country.  The dialect differs in the intonation (accent) and contraction of word.

The northern accent of Mexican Spanish appears to be thrashed.  

Northernmost Mexican Spanish includes the use of Gallicisms, and Germanisms, and uses little indigenisms.

In the states of Coahuila and Nuevo Leon, a Northern Altiplano Mexican accent is commonly used. Accents with similar characteristics are also shared in the northeast, in the state of Tamaulipas and in the coastal Northwest.

In the state of Chihuahua, the accent is characterized with sound of the /ch/ sounding like /sh/.

Author: AllGoodsOnline