We’re in Maui for our friends’ wedding and it is wonderful! Obviously, the Belize-blogger in me can’t help but compare these two tropical locales. Here’s my quick breakdown on the similarities and differences between Maui and Belize; maybe it will help you make a vacation choice between the two (but I’d recommend trying both for yourself).
Maui is so CLEAN
Holy smokes! I can’t get over how tidy Maui is; this place is utterly pristine in comparison to Belize. No rubbish littering the roadways, no tidal waves of garbage washing in along the shores, no public urination stinking up the sidewalks and parking lots. The roads are well-marked and maintained. The buildings are all solidly constructed and modernly decorated. This is definitely First World.
The Sea Life
Pacific vs Caribbean. We have a lot of the same types of tropical fish but also a ton of different kinds. Because Hawaii is so remote, 25% of their sea life is endemic, meaning it exists nowhere else in the world. How cool is that?! Also, Maui’s coast is absolutely FILTHY with sea turtles! Littered with them! I can hardly throw a stone from shore without hitting a sea turtle, they seem to be everywhere. I absolute love that and I’ve been spending lots of this trip tracking down each and every turtle around. Aside from the turtles though, I much prefer the snorkeling in Belize. I like the colorful corals and sponges of our reef in the Caribbean, not the bland stones of the Pacific.
Airfare might end up being about the same to HI or Belize depending on your port of embarkation. The accommodations are really where the big difference in costs can be found. Belize has almost exclusively small or micro-hotel/ vacation-rental-by-owner options. I think we have a good range of offerings from budget stays to luxury resorts or private villas with a solid mid-range majority. The average cost of a 1-bedroom in Placencia is $125us per night but the average Maui rental is more around the $400 a night mark. I’m finding restaurant prices in Maui to be fairly reasonable but cocktails are 4 times pricier than my Barefoot Beach Bar favorites. There’s plenty of free things to find in both locations- movie nights, quick little cultural shows, conservation talks, etc.
Hawaiians and Belizeans both have fascinating and diverse cultures and histories. One of my pet peeves is when people talk about “falling in love with the friendly people” on their vacation (idiots say this all the time about their Belize holidays)… who?!? The bartender? The snorkel guide? The gift shop girls? They work in the service industry- it’s their freaking JOB to be nice to you! I’m not saying their friendliness is phony but you can’t judge an entire population by it and yes, I know that there’s friendly and unfriendly people everywhere. I get the general feeling that Belizeans overall might be more friendly and welcoming than Hawaiians and perhaps take more time to give you directions or answer visitors questions but that is simply from my very small sampling of interacts outside the resort zones on Maui.
This is the biggest similarity between Maui and Belize- how geographically small yet diverse the landscapes are. Both have long stretches of beaches, soaring mountains, lush rainforest, rolling hills and plains, farmland. I love how organized, well-designed, and thoughtful all the communities in Maui are but I also love the raw, haphazard, natural beauty of Belize.
This is comparing 1st World apples and Developing Nation oranges. Maui has all the conveniences of North American Suburbia- big box stores, chain restaurants, drive-thrus, 24 hour pharmacy and medical care, recycling centers, ample parking, traffic lights, you name it! An amenity we discovered in Maui that I’s LOVE to bring back to Belize is the Audio Tour Apps. Dang these are COOL! We downloaded GyPSy Guide and were blown away by the informative audio that automatically adjusts based on your GPS location. Any of my readers App designers? Because I want to partner with someone to make this a reality in Belize.