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This Mexico vs. Honduras showdown compares two very different countries. Mexico is huge and Honduras is tiny. Mexico is a popular tourist destination, and Honduras is pretty far off the beaten path.
But yet, here you are reading this, which means you’re interested in visiting both, and here I am writing this to help you make the right choice between the two!
I currently live in and love Mexico, which got me curious about how the countries around it stack up both as vacation destinations and long-term digital nomad destinations.
Thus, this Honduras vs. Mexico comparison was born to pit the two countries against each other in categories like:
- Tourist attractions
- Capital cities
- Nature and hiking
- Drinking and Nightlife
- All-inclusive resorts
- Infrastructure and long-term living
Let’s dive in!
White sand beaches in Tulum
Let’s begin with Mexico because it’s somewhat of an area of expertise here on Slight North.
Dan and I lived and worked in Mexico for three months in 2018, six months in 2019, and will come back for another six months in 2020.
By the time we finish, we’ll have lived in Playa del Carmen, Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende, Oaxaca, Puerto Vallarta, Puebla, Queretaro, and Guadalajara, and visited countless more small towns, villages, and tourist sites as well.
What are the top tourist attractions in Mexico?
- The pristine beaches of the Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen, Cancun, and Tulum
- The Cozumel Barrier Reef (the second largest barrier reef outside of Australia)
- Mayan ruins in the Yucatan Peninsula, like Chichen Itza and Coba
- Aztec ruins in Mexico City like Teotihuacan
- Zapotec ruins in Oaxaca like Monte Alban and Atzompa
- The Hierve El Agua natural cliffside pools in Oaxaca
- Hiking, mountain climbing, and waterfall hunting in 67 national parks around the country
- Eating Mexican cuisine and taking food tours in Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara, and Oaxaca
- Celebrating major holidays like Grito de Dolores in San Miguel de Allende and Day of the Dead in Oaxaca
- Exploring museums like the Frida Khalo House and the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City
Mexico has a great mix of city attractions (museums, food, nightlife, art galleries) and natural attractions (hiking, climbing, swimming, ruins) which makes it a crowd-pleaser to pretty much any type of traveler.
But don’t count Honduras out just yet.
The clear blue waters around the Bay Islands in Honduras
In Honduras, the top tourist attractions are:
- Hiking, mountain climbing, and waterfall hunting in 20 national parks around the country
- Soaking up the sun in the Bay Islands (Roatan, Utila, Guanaja)
- Diving with whale sharks in Utila
- Visiting hot springs in Arcilaca
- Wandering the cobbled streets of colorful towns like Santa Lucía, Valle de Ángeles, and the La Lenca Route in Gracias
- Checking out museums like the Sculpture Museum at the Copan Ruins and the National Identity Museum in Tegucigalpa.
- Exploring the Taulabe cave system near Lago de Yojoa.
- Visiting the Copan Mayan Ruins (a UNESCO World Heritage Site)
- Trekking through the rainforest at the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve (also a UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Both countries have awesome natural sites but because Mexico is bigger, they have more: 67 national parks vs. 20 pretty much speaks for itself.
Both have a gorgeous coastline with beaches, diving, and snorkeling, but Mexico also has better museums and city sites (like two of the five biggest church structures in Latin America).
Mexico vs. Honduras Tourist Attractions Winner: Mexico
Cobblestone streets in Honduras
Next, let’s look a little closer at the capital cities with a Tegucigalpa vs. Mexico City comparison.
Both are the biggest cities in their respective countries. Both are located in central valleys surrounded by mountains. Both are known for beautiful colonial architecture and terrible traffic.
However, that’s where the similarities end. Tegucigalpa has a population of about a million people while Mexico City has almost nine million people.
Mexico City is safer than Tegucigalpa (which came in at No. 39 on a ranking of cities by murder rate) and there is more to do in Mexico City than in Tegucigalpa, where top attractions lists were hard to come by and most included parks outside of the city, malls, and lots of restaurants rather than unique tourist sites.
Mexico City is a vacation destination in its own right while Tegucigalpa is more for passing through to get to the jungles, ruins, and beaches in the rest of the country.
Mexico vs. Honduras Capital Cities Winner: Mexico
Hiking to a hidden cove in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Nature and Hiking
Is Mexico or Honduras better for nature and hiking?
This is probably the closest round in this showdown.
Both have more ruins, beaches, jungles, hiking, trekking, caves, waterfalls, and wildlife diversity than you could ever see on a one or two-week vacation so this one is a tie.
Unless you’re planning to spend a super-extended amount of time in one country vs. the other (in which case, Mexico would ultimately offer more to explore) then you’ll find plenty of gorgeous natural sites to discover in both and truly can’t go wrong.
Mexico vs. Honduras Nature and Hiking Winner: Tie
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Small market in Honduras
How many Mexican restaurants have you eaten at around the world, and how many Honduran restaurants have you seen?
I’ll be straight up, Mexican food is one of my absolute favorite cuisines in the world and I’ve eaten so many memorable meals around Mexico that I even created a guide to 101 Mexican foods to try before you die.
Some of the most popular dishes, drinks, and desserts are:
- Tacos (obviously)
- Chile Rellenos
I mean, the list goes on and on.
One interesting similarity between the two cuisines is that corn tortillas are prevalent at almost every meal in both countries. Some dishes to try in Honduras are also similar to Mexico like tamales, enchiladas, and ceviche.
Others you may not be as familiar with are tajadas (fried plantains) and mondongo soup made with cow intestines. Baleadas are another Honduran staple made by folding flour tortillas over refried beans and cheese.
Still, Mexican food is more popular than Honduran food for a reason – one expat in Honduras described the food as “pretty bland” with “a lot of white rice, white flour, deep frying, cheese, and meat.”
I rest my case.
Mexico vs. Honduras Food Winner: Mexico
Drinking and Nightlife
I like to party on vacation and you probably do too.
So, does Honduras or Mexico have better nightlife?
Mexico is the birth place of one of the wildest liquors in the world, so Honduras is going to have to put up a serious fight to come out ahead in this round.
Tequila – the driving force behind an untold number of terrible drunken decisions around the world – was born in Tequila, Mexico.
All the tequila you have ever or will ever consume is made from blue agave plants in the state of Jalisco (and a select few surrounding areas). If it comes from anywhere else or is made from any other type of agave plant, it must be called mezcal instead.
Beyond just being home to this spectacular drink, Mexico also knows how to party.
Mexico City has tons of bars, clubs, and nightlife for every type of traveler (I love the breweries in Mexico City and craft beer bars and breweries in Oaxaca) and Cancun is one of the most famous spring break destinations in the world.
Honduras has a poppin’ nightlife scene as well. Clubs, bars, dancing, beach-front drinks, you can find it all.
The best nightlife is found in La Ceiba, the gateway to the Bay Islands, which is known as the party capital of Honduras. There are even a few craft breweries scattered around the country for craft beer lovers like me.
Honduras is more dangerous than Mexico, and that’s only exacerbated by being out drunk at night. Because of that, and the fact that Mexico created one of the best liquors in the world, Mexico wins (but Honduras does seem to hold its own in this category as well).
Mexico vs. Honduras Drinking and Nightlife Winner: Mexico
Pretty street in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
I always use the travel advisories from the US State Department to compare safety in different countries.
Mexico currently has a “Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution” travel advisory.
Some states are more dangerous than others but most popular tourist destinations like Mexico City and the Yucatan Peninsula have Level 2 ratings.
Mexico has five of the worst six cities ranked by murder rates and Cancun comes in at a surprising number 13, while Honduran cities don’t appear until the 33rd and 39th slots.
Still, Honduras has a “Level 3: Reconsider Travel” rating from the US State Department.
Separate areas don’t have individual ratings, but the tourist-centric islands like Roatan and Utila are somewhat safer than the big cities like Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula.
This doesn’t dissuade me from still wanting to visit Honduras, but it is a reminder to travel smart when there.
Mexico vs. Honduras Safety Winner: Mexico
Traditional Mexican Pottery
I’ve never been to an all-inclusive resort because it’s not really my preferred travel style.
But because both Mexico and Honduras are popular resort destinations, I feel like I should touch on it in this comparison.
Mexico is jam-packed with all-inclusive resorts along their coastline in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum on the Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta on the west coast, and in Cabo on the Baja California peninsula.
Some of the top-rated resorts in Mexico are:
- Hotel Xcarat Mexico, an all-Inclusive Resort in Playa del Carmen
- The Cape in Cabo San Lucas
- Resort Paradisus Los Cabos All-Inclusive in Cabo San Lucas
- Grand Miramar Luxury Suites and Residences in Puerto Vallarta
In Honduras, the resorts are mostly concentrated on Roatan Island. Some of the top-rated all-inclusive resorts in Honduras are the Grand Roatan Caribbean Resort, the Infinity Bay Resort, and the Las Verandas Hotel & Villas.
While the value seemed similar to my untrained eyes (Honduras resorts a bit cheaper, but also probably with fewer amenities), one point in Mexico’s favor is the variety.
You could have three completely different resort experiences in three separate parts of the country in Mexico, whereas visiting three resorts on Roatan Island in Honduras isn’t quite as fun.
If you’re just going once, though, both places are gorgeous so I’m inclined to leave this one as a tie.
Mexico vs. Honduras All-Inclusive Resorts Winner: Tie
Kabah ruins in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico
Infrastructure and Long-Term Living
Last, but certainly not least for all my fellow digital nomads reading this, is infrastructure and long-term living.
If you’re thinking of settling down in Honduras or Mexico for a few months to work and play, you’ll want to know how the infrastructure like grocery stores, internet, airports, and visas in each country stacks up.
Honduras was hit by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. It was the deadliest hurricane ever recorded, killing 11,000 people in Central America and leaving 20% of the Honduran population homeless.
In the aftermath, President Carlos Flores said that Hurricane Mitch wiped out 50 years of economic development in the country. The effects of it on the infrastructure in Honduras are still felt today.
Both countries have pretty good grocery stores (like Walmart) but Mexico has better infrastructure overall when it comes to airports, internet, and day-to-day amenities.
You can find plenty of cheap domestic and international flights from the Mexico City airport while the Toncontin International Airport in Tegucigalpa doesn’t have quite as many options.
The Toncontin Airport runway is cut short due to the mountains around it so it’s also one of the most difficult places in the world to land (a super fun fact for the nervous flyers out there!).
Honduras is ranked 141st overall in fixed broadband internet speeds while Mexico is ranked 74th and Mexico has Uber in their major cities while it’s not yet launched in Honduras. Plus, you can stay in Mexico for six months (and then do a quick visa run and return for six more) while you can only stay in Honduras for 90 days before you have to skedaddle.
As a whole, living in Mexico is easier than in Honduras.
Mexico vs. Honduras Infrastructure Winner: Mexico
Traditional Day of the Dead attire and make up in Mexico
And the Mexico vs. Honduras Travel Winner is…
It came out ahead with a not-altogether-unsurprising score of 6 to 0, although Honduras did manage to snag two tie rounds.
All in all, traveling in Honduras or Mexico will be fun and beautiful but Mexico is safer, has more tourist sites, and has better food and infrastructure for long-term stays. For all those reasons, it comes out ahead in this showdown.
Ready to go? Use the Mexico Series to plan your trip and explore accommodation like unique stays on Airbnb (like the cozy apartments we lived in in Oaxaca and Puerto Vallarta) or the top-rated hotels on Booking.com to book the perfect stay in the country. Then, check out hundreds of guided tours and activities in Mexico on Airbnb to round out your itinerary!
This article is part of the Latin America Smackdown Series. Read the rest below:
Or, explore more from around the world in the complete Country Comparison Series.
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