1. It takes longer to get to Costa Rica from the U.S. because it’s located all the way down there, next to Panama where the occasional skirmish over the canal has been known to erupt. Time is money if you’re taking a vacation, so wouldn’t you prefer to fly to Belize rather than all the way to Costa Rica?2. Belize is smaller and more manageable; you’ll travel less to see more sites. Cultural sites in Belize are richer and more varied. Repeat visitors to Belize can’t get enough of Maya ruins that recall a legendary culture numbering a million people who disappeared without a trace. Costa Rica ruins? Say what?
3. Residents of Belize speak several languages, including English, Spanish and Creole, so you needn’t buy a pricey Rosetta Stone course in Spanish to understand what Belizeans say to you. In Costa Rica, losing your translation guide or access to your Spanish translation app could spell trouble.
4. The snorkeling and water activities off the shore of Belize and island chain are superior to those in Costa Rica. One Costa Rica resident admitted that Belize offers a much better “under the water” experience than those in her home country, and we’re sure she felt badly after making that admission.
5. Does Costa Rica protect endangered species? Sure. But in Belize, government and people are fanatical about it. Belize is a talked-about eco-tourism Mecca and the only place on earth you’ll find a jaguar sanctuary. An impressive 40-percent of all Belize land serves as havens for plants, birds, marine life, reptiles and amphibians.
6. You can target your destination. When in Belize, find exactly the crowd you seek at specific locations. Make a beeline for Tobacco Caye where a young crowd indulges in anything-goes partying 24/7 or head for St. George’s Caye where the rich and famous gather at the island’s adults-only resort.
7. Discover a culinary paradise in Belize. Costa Rica dining is big on beans and rice, but in Belize, Creole, Mestizo, East Indian Maya and Garifuna-style food awaits your palate. The Escabeche (savory chicken cooked in onion and spices) is divine, as is the Fish Sere: snapper and root veggies cooked in coconut milk. Yum.
8. You’ll have your pick of islands. Some say there are 200 islands (cayes) populating the reef off Belize. Others claim there are 450 of them! Let’s just say that having hundreds of diverse cayes at your disposal can’t compete with Costa Rica’s 33 islands.
9. Costa Rica has no blue hole. Belize is home to the world’s largest underwater hole, measuring 1000-feet in diameter and sinking 412 feet to the ocean floor. Divers become giddy at the sheer variety of fish, sharks and marine life living at this depth, which is why it’s the subject of a Jacques-Yves Cousteau documentary series.
10. Our caves are better than theirs! Call Belize the Cave Capitol of Central America. At least that’s what spelunkers say after repeat visits to the Chiquibul Cave System that’s the longest in Central American at 540,000 square feet. Sure, Costa Rica has caves, but given all of the other benefits found in Belize, why bother?