Belize and Costa Rica might seem like two destinations that have much in common but, in reality, they have more differences than anything else. While both feature exotic destinations and enough tropical activities to fill multiple itineraries, each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, the scenery is different, along with the culture and atmosphere of each, which can really make a traveler think hard about which one they'd rather experience first.
Those seeking outdoor excursions and beach time will find no shortage of either in both destinations, and that's pretty much where the similarities stop. If it's nightlife you're looking for, then you'll want to look in Costa Rica. If it's marine life and snorkeling that you're interested in, then Belize is your best bet (after all, it is the home of the Great Blue Hole!). And, if we still haven't made your decision any easier, then perhaps this in-depth comparison will help.
Wildlife And Excursions
One thing to consider in all of this is the cost of seeing one country's wildlife or environment over another. When considering Belize, it's also important to consider that Belize is home to a wealth of marine life, much of which can be experienced by doing something as simple as snorkeling. In terms of costs, this is on the lower end of the spectrum unless travelers choose to go on guided expeditions or charter a boat for the day. Additionally, some of the islands have nature parks that allow visitors to walk through at no charge - this means that crocodiles, birds, and even manatees may only be a short walk away. In terms of water-based animal watching or excursions, there's really no better place to take advantage of them than in Belize.
In Costa Rica, travelers have access to a completely different type of environment. The lush and dense rainforests of this country give way to any manner of exotic wildlife - not necessarily just aquatic life, either. While it comes at a cost, those who choose to find lodging within one of these rainforests will also find that the potential for that wildlife to be at your back porch can be infinite. Therefore, this is a personal preference - for land and tree-dwelling wildlife, Costa Rica is the winner in that sense.
Land Excursions Vs. Marine Excursions
In the same sense, due to their geography, both Costa Rica and Belize offer completely different excursions based on their terrain. Those looking to go to Belize will be treated to an entirely new world of marine life and coral reefs, many of which can be snorkeled or dived. For experienced divers, the Blue Hole will inevitably spark some interest and is one of the most thrilling dives in the world.
On land, Costa Rica offers brilliant rainforest treks as well as adventures that take visitors above the treetops and to geological wonders such as volcanoes and cloud forests. For most people, the thrills on land are what they're going to be leaning toward, which means that Costa Rica offers more for those who aren't scuba-certified.
The dishes in the two regions vary drastically and this is another great way to determine which one is better suited for your exotic trip. In Belize, the food is shaped by South American culture and flavors and that's exactly what you can expect on most of the islands. Some dishes feature tropical twists, such as rice and beans with coconut milk as a standout flavor. Seafood is also another huge part of Belize culture and with its proximity to the ocean, you can be sure that practically anything you eat here came from its very own shores. In fact, it may have even been caught that day! Fresh dishes such as ceviche are common so, for seafood lovers, Belize is a well-earned vacation.
Costa Rica takes pride in its bold and bountiful flavors, many of which are evident in its coffee as well as its most traditional dishes. While travelers might try a dish that has a base of rice and beans, it's bound to be bursting forth with so much flavor that you'll wonder how something so seemingly simple could be so unbelievably delicious. Fresh fruit, strong coffee, tamales, and rice and beans, known as Gallo Pinto, are all very popular throughout Costa Rica. Travelers will also find seafood and dishes such as ceviche but not necessarily with the tropical twist that Belize offers.