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Costa Rica or Belize?

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Apr 24th, 2011, 06:33 PM
  #1
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Costa Rica or Belize?

Hello,
I am planning a trip for 2 in the middle of May for a week and a half. I am deciding between Belize or Costa Rica. Interest include history, culture, wildlife, beaches. We want to explore but not necessarily with a big group of people. If Costa Rica, 3 or 4 hotels or towns that would be key stops to see volcanos, jungle, beach. If Belize, a safe location with options for water activities and ruins. We are flying out of Boston. Thanks for the help!
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Apr 24th, 2011, 09:35 PM
  #2
 
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You could try a "Costa Rica or Belize" search - there have been previous threads about this. It comes down to priorities:
Beach/volcanoes/wildlife - pick Costa Rica
Ruins/culture/snorkeling/diving - pick Belize

My photos, blogs, and travelogues are below if you're interested (including Belize but not Costa Rica, which isn't really attractive to me). Happy trails!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections
hopefulist is offline  
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Apr 25th, 2011, 06:18 AM
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Hopefulist summed it up pretty well. Although, there is wildlife to be seen in Belize, just not as abundant as in Costa Rica.

If you choose Belize, I would split your trip. Spend a few days in the San Ignacio area, probably at one of the jungle lodges for caving, Mayan ruins, hiking, canoeing on the rivers. Then, head to one of the beach destinations, I personally prefer Ambergris, but there are several, for snorkeling/diving and relaxing.
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Apr 25th, 2011, 06:32 AM
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Tru dat, Jean - you basically can do most of it in both countries to some extent except no Maya ruins in CR and no volcanoes in Belize. The wow factor for culture/ruins and easy access to good snorkeling and diving in Belize really tip the balance for me.
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Apr 25th, 2011, 10:08 AM
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In Costa Rica, I'd do a split between the Arenal area and Manuel Antonio; in Belize, the San Ignacio area and Ambergris. Agree with everyone else, if you want ruins/culture and snorkeling, go with Belize; if you want wildlife, go with Costa Rica. Costa Rica has the most amazing wildlife we've ever seen, and Belize has the best snorkeling we've ever done - it depends on what's most important to you. Belize has the advantage of being an English speaking country, although it's spoken pretty widely in the tourist areas of CR too.
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Apr 25th, 2011, 10:50 AM
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Wildlife in Belize. A friend actually saw a jaguar here.

http://ambergriscaye.com/pages/town/parkcockscomb.html
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Apr 25th, 2011, 10:52 AM
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We did see wildlife in Belize, but not anywhere close to what we've seen in CR, depends on where you go though - a place like Chan Chich would give you good wildlife viewing opportunities.
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Apr 27th, 2011, 08:22 PM
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If airfare is a consideration, Belize, for some reason, costs more that twice the amount to Costa Rica when leaving from Chicago.
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Apr 28th, 2011, 04:32 AM
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Both are fine sort of depends on what you want.

Belize better beaches ruins english speaking

cozycorner-belize robertsgrove.com cavesbranch.com

spirit.com flies down to Cancun usually bus down to Belize

via Tulum and Chetumal to save a tonne.

Costa Rica spanish speaking volcanoes browner beaches

good adventures nature desafiocostarica.com corcovado.org

I might go with Belize for better beaches CR for adventure.

Happy deciding,
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Apr 28th, 2011, 09:01 AM
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volcanogirl hit the nail on the head. And, if decided to go to costa rica and time permits, you might consider Monteverde.
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Apr 28th, 2011, 11:32 AM
  #11
 
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Costa Rica is beautiful and adventurous. Rafting, kayaking, hiking, horseback riding, great waterfalls and beaches, volcanoes, AMAZING wildlife and world class birding, WONDERFUL people. If snorkeling/diving is a high priority though you'd be disappointed with Costa Rica.
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Apr 28th, 2011, 01:15 PM
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It's not just the diving/snorkeling, though. 3 huge strengths of Belize are the Maya ruins, the variety of contemporary cultures - Indian, Mennonite, Garifuna, and Creole - and the limestone karst system that means incredible cave systems, many with ancient Mayan artifacts inside.
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Apr 29th, 2011, 12:16 PM
  #13
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Thanks for your help. We chose 8 nights in Ambergris Caye with day trip to the ruins. Costa Rica is definitely at the top of my list for next time. What ruins should we see? We are looking at doing Xunantunich Ruins & Cave Tubing. Also, is there any reason to lay over in Belize City before we catch our shuttle to Ambergrise Caye? Overall, any suggestions would be great!
Thanks again.
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Apr 29th, 2011, 12:59 PM
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Tikal is really amazing - any chance you'll spend part of your time in the jungle? Those make for long day trips from Ambergris. A lot of people like to do a split. I wouldn't lay over in Belize City at all. Hol Chan is wonderful for snorkeling.
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Apr 29th, 2011, 03:17 PM
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You could stay your first night in/near Belize City or north of there and do the boat trip up the New River to the beautiful Lamanai ruins, then head back to Belize City and cross on an afternoon ferry to Ambergris (or head to the airport and fly).
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May 3rd, 2011, 11:05 AM
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hope - I didn't say the only difference between the two countries were snorkeling/diving. I said, if that was the prime interest they would be disappointed in CR. However, it is a an amazing country and it does deserve more credit than you tend to give it.
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May 3rd, 2011, 12:11 PM
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I realized you weren't saying that was the only difference. I just picked up on "if snorkeling/diving is a high priority though you'd be disappointed with Costa Rica" and was moved (by my love of Belize) to point out that if they had my other travel priorities (Maya ruins, interesting variety of contemporary cultures, and incredible caving) they'd also be disappointed with CR.

I'm aware that the wildlife opportunities are stronger in CR and that it offers nicer beaches and active volcanoes. It has huge appeal to the masses, otherwise 90% of the visitors to Central America wouldn't head there. Based on my travel priorities, though, I can't give it much credit as a destination which is why I haven't been tempted.

Just goes to show: one man's ceiling is another man's floor!
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May 4th, 2011, 11:52 AM
  #18
 
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I would reccommend Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens (www.arenalnayara.com) in Costa Rica. It's amazing. 44 casitas overlooking the Arenal Volcano. So much to do in the area right from the hotel.
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