The United States often gets most of the love when it comes to the continent of North America. But America’s neighbors to the north and south definitely deserve plenty of their own recognition. Both Canada and Mexico have much to offer for USA folk looking to travel, albeit very different qualities. When factoring which country to visit, there are plenty of things to account for including the climate, major cities, beaches, national parks, the value of the dollar, and famous landmarks. Each country offers all of these characteristics, but in contrasting ways.

Canada is cold for the most part while Mexico has a warmer temperature. Canada is home to more national parks while Mexico specializes in many beach towns. Each country has several major cities with millions of residents with famous sites known throughout the world. Americans flock to both countries to the tune of millions of travelers with both Mexico and Canada seeing tens of millions of visitors a year. Despite the numbers, each country has its fair share of competing qualities. Here are ten reasons why Canada reigns supreme and another ten why Mexico is America’s favorite neighbor.

20 CANADA: Vancouver - "North Hollywood"

Vancouver is the third most populated city in the country with nearly 2.5 million residents. For any visitors who may think Vancouver is a small town without much to do, many will be surprised that it is actually the fifth most densely populated city in North America only behind NYC, Mexico City, Guadalajara and San Francisco. There are a lot of folks here and they all have plenty of reasons to live here.

In fact, tourism is the city’s strongest industry attracting visitors because of its nightlife, theatre district and a rise in movies being filmed here, recently earning it the “Hollywood North” nickname. It’s also rankedin the top ten in the world in quality of life for over a decade now, proving that it’s a world class place to visit.

19 MEXICO: Cancun - Picture perfect beaches

Located in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, Cancun is one of the country’s premier destinations for tourism. The city quite literally started as a tourism project in the early 1970’s in an attempt by the government to boost its tourism efforts to help with the country’s economy.

Once the city got going with its expansive hotels and resorts, visitors began to flock to Cancun’s sunny skies and beautiful beaches, making it one of the most popular destinations in the country.

With an average yearly temperature of 81 degrees with no month dropping below an average of 79 degrees, the climate is nearly perfect for anyone looking for a beach getaway destination.

18 CANADA: Montreal - Guaranteed a good time

Often overlooked by the largest city in the country (Toronto), Montreal is as great as any major metropolis in the world. With a population of 4.1 million people, it is the second most inhabited in Canada. This classifies it as a world-class city which includes its abundant diversity.

Nearly 50% of its residents speak French as their first language with English a distant second at 23%. The city has a strong cultural presence in the arts, tourism, gaming, fashion, and film industries, and major sporting events, attracting millions of tourists a year.

17 MEXICO: Puebla - cobblestone streets and students galore

Puebla is the fourth most populated city in Mexico with over 3.2 million residents, making it a cultural hub for the country with tens of thousands of students moving to the city for its high-quality education and high density of universities.

The city is a popular tourist destination because of its rich history, often considered the founding city of Mexico. Its aesthetic feel is often a popular attraction because of its unique look which couples an antiquated and modern design. Historic downtown is filled with cobblestone streets and countless Catholic churches while the outskirts have contemporary high rises and distinct architecture looking to move into the future.

The city is also known for being the birthplace of one of Mexico’s most famous dishes called mole, which many visitors are hoping to taste.

16 CANADA: Jasper National Park - Charge the camera batteries!

Named after Jasper Hawes, the man who essentially operated the park at the turn of the 20th century, Jasper National Park is one of Canada’s largest parks at over 4,200 square miles. It’s also one of its most popular with an annual attendance of more than 2.3 million visitors.

The park is famous for its beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife. Its primary ecosystem is wooded forest with waterfalls, canyons, lakes and mountains throughout. The wildlife that can be seen by visitors are moose, caribou, elk, deer, grizzly bears, coyotes, black bears, cougars and eagles.

The park attracts those looking to hike, sleep overnight or simply explore the countless trails throughout the expansive greenery Jasper has to offer.

15 MEXICO: Chichen Itza - Wonder of the world

Perhaps the most popular ancient city in the country, Chichen Itza draws over 2.6 million visitors a year. Tourists come to see the ancient ruins of what was once the largest city of the Mayans centuries ago. The structures left behind are still in incredible condition and the site is well maintained which make it a popular destination. Once serving as a culturally diverse important city of the country, it is now a historic archaeological site with many of its landmark structures, especially the most famous, El Castillo, still a sight to behold.

14 CANADA: Halifax - Rad art scene

One of the smaller cities on our Canada list, with a population of just over 400,000, Halifax is a more of a destination for those looking for a peaceful getaway to a city with a small town feel. Halifax is small enough that you feel like you can enjoy all of the natural space and beautiful parks while still having the fun and nightlife that larger cities have to offer.

The city is home to some of the country’s most beautiful parks and also has a strong art scene in its downtown area. Its coastline showcases the natural beauty of the city which attracts many looking for a tranquil weekend.

13 MEXICO: Puerto Vallarta - a perfect vacation spot

The city of Puerto Vallarta was converted into a beach resort destination in the late 1960’s by the Mexican government in its continued efforts to expand tourism as a bigger source of its economy. Resort style hotels were constructed along the city’s scenic beaches and it is now one of the country’s most visited locations for tourism. Located next to the large city of Guadalajara, it attracts many of the neighboring locals, but also sees many foreign tourists from the US hitting its beaches.

The climate throughout the year makes this a perfect destination for those looking to hit the sand for a vacation getaway.

12 CANADA: Victoria - showing off its natural beauty

With a population of only 86,000 residents within an area of only 11,400 square miles, Victoria has a small population. Even though the size is also small, it still has one of the highest population densities of any city in the country with so much going on within its confines, giving the city a much bigger feel than what anyone would expect.

Tourism is actually one of Victoria’s biggest economic drivers with over 3.5 million annual visitors and half a million daytime visitors who come in from the many cruise ships that dock in its ports. This has energized the city’s tourism and made it a destination for those who would otherwise not visit Vancouver, allowing it to show off its natural beauty and culture to the outside world.

11 MEXICO: Zihuatanejo - small-town feel

With a name too difficult to pronounce for the average US tourist, most people can refer to its inclusion in the movie, The Shawshank Redemption, for a quick lesson in its pronunciation, although it’s still quite off in the movie as well.

Either way, this beach town has seen an incredible rise in its popularity, becoming the third most visited resort city in Mexico behind only Cancun and Puerto Vallarta. Originally a fishing village, it has managed to keep its small-town feel despite the increase in tourism, which attracts those looking to stay in world-class resorts, while also exploring the city’s fishing and boating activities.

10 CANADA: Calgary - An underrated destination

The fourth largest city in Canada has become synonymous with many things, most of which are appealing to tourists. Calgary is home to an engaging art scene with numerous theatres, art museums and concert halls in the downtown area, attracting many visitors.

With over 1.2 million residents, the city is an active metropolis with many things to do including its place in the country as a sport destination. It has a rich history in wrestling producing some of the most famous entertainers in the sport including the Hart family and Chris Jericho.

US tourists will have to pack warm as temperatures can be frigid year-round in the city.

9 MEXICO: Cozumel - Hello, dolphins

Cozumel is an island off the coast of Mexico’s state of Quintana Roo and its economy is based almost entirely on the tourist industry. The island is a series of resorts and beaches attracting millions of visitors a year who are looking to not only relax but take part in the countless activities that are offered during most resort stays.

Travelers can choose from any number of entertainment avenues such as scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins and zip lining.

8 CANADA: Banff National Park - unmatched beauty

Located not too far from the city of Calgary, Banff National Park, Canada’s oldest park makes an appearance on the list of famed attractions in the country because of its unmatched beauty. Although the park is home to plenty of green space, it is also well known for its glaciers and snow covered mountain tops because of the cold temperatures sustained throughout most of the year.

It’s also Canada’s most visited national park with over 3.6 million annual tourists exploring its nearly 2,600 square miles of awe-inspiring beauty.

7 MEXICO: Playa del Carmen - tourists are sure to flock

A famous cruise ship port and destination in the Gulf, this resort beach town is one of the country’s fastest-growing cities in popularity. The visitors that stop here due to cruise ships are exposed to the beautiful beaches and abundant outside activities offered throughout its resorts which have made it a popular tourist destination.

It has grown so much so that TV production crews have started using its shores for filming beach scenes and the PGA Tour has held several of its golf tournaments here as well, taking advantage of its natural beauty and ideal weather. US tourists are sure to flock to Playa del Carmen’s beaches and fun nightlife!

6 CANADA: Niagara Falls - Hear that roar

Perhaps one of the more well-known locations in North America, Niagara Falls, which falls on the border of both the US and Canada, is a great reason to visit our neighbors to the north. This entry actually refers to the city of Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada, rather than just the infamous waterfalls.

The city, although small at a population under 90,000 offers plenty of activities for visitors, many of which are centered on the natural wonder. But tourists can also take advantage of the new attractions being built in recent times including the casinos, entertainment theatres, golf courses, museums and indoor waterparks. Of course, there’s always Niagara Falls, which is likely the reason for the visit to begin with.

5 MEXICO: Guadalajara - Almost too much to do

Mexico’s second largest city with a population of over 5 million inhabitants is also one of its most beautiful metropolises. Guadalajara is an advanced mega-city with a strong economy based on international businesses making it their home, including IT, manufacturing and the auto industry.

The city’s historic architecture in the downtown area make for an incredible evening of sightseeing while its more modern sections of the city offer incredible nightlife. It is also home to one of the most popular soccer clubs in the nation and is a hub to many of the country’s most famous boxers.

With more to do and see in this city than can be listed, tourists from up north will have a hard time choosing their itineraries.

4 CANADA: Ottawa - the world’s largest skating rink

Canada’s capital city is also one of its most endearing. With a population of 1.2 million residents, it’s a large city filled with plenty to do. Located in the province of Ontario and surrounded by plenty of natural forests, it gives visitors the chance to get the best of the architecture and the greenery it has to offer.

The capital of the country is situated right next to the Ottawa River with downtown located on the banks of the water, making for a beautiful landmark. The city is home to many cultural hotspots including the historic parliament buildings and many art structures perfect for sightseeing.

When the temperatures drop, parts of the river freeze forming the world’s largest skating rink which is used for recreational purposes, bringing the city to life.

3 MEXICO: Cabo San Lucas - unique and beautiful wildlife

One of the few beachfront cities located on the western coast of Mexico facing the Pacific Ocean, Cab San Lucas is located in the Baja California peninsula. This resort city of 81,000 residents makes it onto our list because of its abundant marine life that tourist love to explore. It has also become a hotspot for vacationing during the winter holidays because of its near-perfect climate and abundant resorts and timeshares.

The unique and beautiful wildlife seen in the waters off the coast of Cabo San Lucas keep visitors coming back year round!

2 CANADA: Toronto - the most diverse city in the country

With a population of nearly 6 million residents in the Greater Toronto Area, it is considered a certified mega-city and is easily Canada’s most populated. Ranked with other top cities throughout North America like NYC, LA, and San Francisco, Toronto is the country’s hub for all things cultural, often considered Canada’s greatest city. Its downtown area is known for its undeniable skyline with its numerous skyscrapers, most notably its impressive CN Tower.

It is the country’s most visited city by a significant margin, although tourism isn’t one of the biggest contributors to its economy. Toronto is the most diverse city in the country and offers residents and visitors incredible options when it comes to education, arts, fashion, live entertainment and sports.

1 MEXICO: Mexico City - North America's Biggest

Mexico City is not only the largest city in Mexico, but in all of North America, beating out giants like New York City and Los Angeles. The greater area of Mexico City has a population of 21.3 million residents, making it the largest in the entire Western Hemisphere. With so many inhabitants, it is also the country’s most important city, accounting for nearly a quarter of its entire economy.

Considered the largest Spanish speaking city in the world, Mexico City has an endless amount of activities for tourists visiting year round. The city is home to many famous art institutions like the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera museums, the now world famous Chapultepec Park, rivers, canals, a flourishing downtown, several zoos and just about any other entertainment venue a visitor could desire!