From Coral Reef and Mayan Ruins to the Cloud Forest

Picture of Lamanai Mayan Ruins in Belize
The Lamanai Mayan Ruins in Belize

Occasionally we get this question… people rightly figure that if they are going south, they want to stay south and see more than just one country. What a great combination! Belize for the coral reefs and Mayan ruins, and Costa Rica for the cloud forest.

Three different airlines fly between the two, and on the quickest and cheapest schedules there is only one stop (San Salvador, El Salvador), so it’s very doable. They all share so you may actually be on one airline on the way over and a different one on the way back. The three airlines are  Avianca, Taca, and Lasca. They can get you between the two in just over four hours and they go every day. You can also fly between the two in about five hours stopping in Panama instead of El Salvador, but it costs about $200 more.

San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO) to Belize City, Belize (BZE) – Leave SJO at 6:47 am, arrive BZE 9:52 am
BZE to SJO – Leave BZE 12:15 pm, arrive SJO 4:05 pm

Comparing Flight Costs: Belize vs. Costa Rica

Picture of the Santa Elene cloud forest skywalk, Costa Rica
Santa Elena Skywalk, Costa Rica

The cost between the two is currently $334 – $584 (depending on the day of the week) round trip. You will have to do a little research to figure out whether to fly from the US to Belize or to Costa Rica. On some dates it is roughly the same, on other dates we checked it was more expensive to fly in and out of Costa Rica.

  • Houston to Belize, approx. $300 round trip, 1 stop on American (Miami), or non stop on Southwest
  • Houston to Costa Rica, approx $315 non-stop on Southwest, and approx $425 non-stop on United

Costa Rica Tour Company Recommendations

There is a great travel company in Costa Rica similar to us: Serendipity Adventures. They come highly recommended, and are the only other company I have found offering as many sports as we do. Why not spend a week in Belize on our island, then fly to Costa Rica and do one of their week-long trips? For example, consider their 7-day Costa Rica Intrepid Adventure Tour which is 7 days of horseback riding, hiking and climbing trees, rafting, rain forest, cloud forest, hiking a volcano, soaking in hot springs, and a zipline canopy tour.

Wouldn’t this be a great honeymoon? Or why not a second honeymoon if you already took your first?

We have some new friends we haven’t met yet, the owners of Hush Valley Lodge, a brand-new off-the-beaten-path resort somewhat like ours, but located in Costa Rica. They recently sent us a link to another organization in Costa Rica, the Copey Learning Center, that is looking for volunteer English teachers. Doesn’t that sound like fun? You can read more about it on their website:

Costa Rica

The minimum length of stay is 3 months, but they prefer 6-12. They need teachers starting in February 2013. Qualifications needed are that you must be a native English speaker and have a Bachelor of Education as well as past experience living and working independently.

You don’t receive any compensation, but they do provide transportation from the San José Juan Santamaría airport, lodging, and 3 meals per day. Accommodations includes a private room and laundry facilities. Teaching materials are also provided. The volunteer is responsible for their flight to and out of Costa Rica and medical insurance for the duration of their stay. Volunteers teach an average of 20 hours per week. The program is offered to the general community and student ages can vary from toddlers to retired adults. Volunteers live with a host family.

You can apply by emailing your resumé and references to Seidy Rodríguez at or Angela Tribus at angela@

Belize and Costa Rica are quite similar in that they are both Central American countries with great beaches and jungles, but they also have their differences.

Arenal Volcano – Costa Rica – photo by Ardyiii

All of Belize’s beaches face the Caribbean, while Costa Rica’s more popular beaches line the Pacific. Hence, Belize’s beaches have more of that classic Caribbean island-feel than Costa Rica’s do.


Another difference is that pretty much everyone speaks English in Belize as that’s the official language. So it feels a lot less foreign over all than Costa Rica. Another thing is that Belize is much smaller so it’s pretty easy to see a lot of the country in a short time, and the tourism industry is set up to facilitate that.