When planning your next trip you may be considering going to Mexico or Belize! Both countries are beautiful with a lot to offer, but there are some stark comparisons. If you’re thinking about Costa Rica vs. Belize click here and check out our 18 things to do before every international trip.
The main differences are that Mexico is quite large and inexpensive compared to Belize. Mexico borders the northern part of Belize, so they do have some borderlines in common. Read on as we break down the major differences which will affect your trip, to help you decide where you want to go.
Mexico is 761,600 square miles or 1,972,550 square kilometers. It’s about three times the size of Texas in the USA. Mexico has a total land boundary length of 2,704 miles or 4,353 kilometers
Belize is 8,867 square miles or 22,700 square kilometers. At it’s widest, it’s only 68 miles (109 kilometers) wide and its longest is 170 miles (274 kilometers).
Winner: Mexico is WAY bigger! But does size really matter? Keep reading…
Weather in Mexico varies a TON depending on where you are. Mexico City is at a high elevation, meaning they have generally mild weather with little humidity.
If you hop on over to the peninsula, the weather in Cancun, for example, will be totally different. It’s generally hot and humid most of the year. Cancun is on the eastern side of Mexico – closer to Florida and the Carribean.
You can see how different the weather can be inland, at higher elevations, and on one side of the peninsula. Be sure to be wary of hurricane season if you’re heading to the eastern peninsula side of Mexico. It can bring not only hurricanes but also rainy weather.
Check out this website which tells you the best time to visit any city!
Belize has a subtropical climate. Most tourists will want to visit during the dry season to avoid the rain. The climates between these two places are similar but Belize is generally humid everywhere.
- Dry season – “winter” in Belize, this includes November-May. November to January temperatures are generally cooler with lots of sunshine, although it can get windy. February-May is hotter with almost no clouds, making it the best time to visit.
- Rainy season– June to October. The sunny days can be peppered with rain showers that are usually no more than 2 hours long, with the exception of tropical storms. It’s less popular and therefore cheaper to visit during the rainy season.
Winner: Mexico because the weather is more varied instead of just being humid all the time!
Variety of Activities
Mexico has a ton to offer tourists including water activities like swimming with dolphins, Mayan pyramids, TONS of amazing food, stunning architecture, historical museums, and the list goes on. Such a big country is bound to offer a huge variety of things to do, and just in Mexico City alone you could easily spend a month exploring all the major tourist attractions.
Belize is a much smaller country but has a lot of similar activities that are mostly concentrated in San Ignacio, San Pedro, and along the coastline. It has Mayan ruins, water activities (including some of the best snorkeling in the world), amazing food (don’t miss the stew chicken), caving, a cool zoo, hiking, and more!
Winner: Mexico, for its larger variety of activities!
Currency: The Mexican peso’s value changes daily, but is currently $10.15 Mexican Pesos to 1 American dollar (USD).
Average 1-bedroom Air B&B: Chances are you if you’re visiting a tourist town in Mexico you’ll have hundreds of rentals to choose from. In Mexico City, an average Air B&B costs about $40/night but the general price range is $10-100/night.
In Cancun, an average Air B&B costs about $65/night but the general price range is $10-150/night.
Currency: The Belize dollar is a fixed price and is always 2 Belize dollars to 1 American dollar (USD)
Average 1-bedroom Air B&B: We found a ton of these in Caye Caulker and San Ignacio for $30-$50 a night. These are small but nice private rooms or entire guesthouses for rent. Closer to $70 a night will get you a shared pool or a treehouse-style rental.
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Due to the relatively low value of the Mexican peso, Mexico is cheaper across the board for most visitors, especially from the UK/Europe. We found that the only thing that’s close in price is automobile gas.
Ease of Access
Depending on where you are going in Mexico, you may need to rent a car or take a shuttle to get around. There are a lot of flights into major cities in Mexico and there’s often shuttles available to get you to your final destination. Ubers are cheap so they can be a great option for those who don’t want to rent a car or join a shuttle. We easily found desirable flights to Mexico City and Cancun from Los Angeles, California for around $350 USD round-trip.
Most tourists will fly into Belize City. Booking a flight to Belize from America may be a bit of struggle. United, Delta, Southwest, and Avianca seem to be the biggest airlines flying there. If you can get to Houston, Texas there seem to be a ton of flights from there. You may end up with a flight with a terribly long layover, or one with multiple stops. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of flights to Belize, so the flight times are less than desirable.
You can also get to Belize by boat, generally leaving from Mexico.
Winner: Mexico, for being easier to access.
A friend of a friend was recently horrified when we told her we recently went to Belize, claiming that she read about how it was full of murderers and criminals. Other people have said the same about Mexico, which gets pretty bad publicity in the US. Both countries have their flaws when it comes to safety, but which one is better?
Of course, the drug cartels of Mexico tend to scare people away from visiting, but I feel that overall the touristy parts of Mexico (where you want to visit) are generally safe. You may get pickpocketed, possibly mugged, but you probably wouldn’t die. To avoid this, be smart with your belongings and carry a bag that’s hard to open or locks. We recommend the Eagle Creek packable daypack, which folds down to take up almost no space. Ladies, also check out this locking crossbody bag from Travelon.
In Mexico, my general advice is – don’t do anything you shouldn’t be doing (hard DRUGS specifically), listen to your instincts, and be wary of what seems like a scam. Avoid traveling at night on public transit, especially if you’re alone and a female. Lock everything in your hotel safe, but keep copies of your passport in your wallet.
I have a more in-depth article about whether Belize is safe or not but we were nervous before going after finding out that Belize City is one of the murder capitals of the world. I did not feel comfortable in Belize City, but you will have to land in it if you’re flying there since the Belize City airport is the big one. I recommend keeping to yourself there and going straight to a hotel or if possible, leaving after arrival.
Outside of Belize City, I felt very safe on the little island of Caye Caulker where the biggest crime that probably occurs is pickpocketing drunk tourists. In San Ignacio, we were more cautious since that area is more poor and urban, but had no issues. Overall, Belize felt safe other than Belize City.
Winner: Belize, because of the relatively small population.
If you were to tally up the “wins” here Mexico is a clear cut champ. This is largely due to its size and favorable currency exchange rate.
However, depending on what you’re looking for Belize may be a better option. We absolutely adored our trip to Belize and both countries are rich in culture. Wherever you choose, you are sure to have a great time!