Mexico vs. Bahamas Vacation

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Is it Mexico or the Bahamas? Both have beautiful tropical beaches, but this one is in Cancun, Mexico.
Is it Mexico or the Bahamas? Both have beautiful tropical beaches, but this one is in Cancun, Mexico. (Image: AND Inc./iStock/Getty Images)

Vacationers looking for a warm climate with lots of sunshine, miles of inviting beaches and opportunities to explore a new culture can find what they want in the Bahamas or Mexico. Seven hundred islands make up the Bahamas, and you can vacation in an active city like Nassau or settle on the private pink sands of Eleuthera. In Mexico, hit the hot spots like Cancun or Puerto Vallarta or have an eco-vacation along the Riviera Maya. These two destinations share some major atrributes, but they offer unique vacation experiences.

Big Picture Basics

You can get to the Bahamas and Mexico on either a cruise ship or an airplane. All the major cruise lines offer trips to ports of call in both locales. One way to combine a visit to each place might be on a cruise. If you fly, you'll find you can get any type of accommodation in both the Bahamas and Mexico. Choose a four-star resort, your favorite hotel brand, a cozy bed-and-breakfast or a private house on the beach. Recreational opportunities are also similar in both destinations. You can hang out on the beach, swim in the surf, enjoy water sports such as jet skiing and parasailing, play some golf, do a little shopping and visit aquariums and museums in both vacation spots.

Mexico's Magic

When you vacation for history and culture, Mexico might be a better choice. Mayan ruins wait to be explored at Tulum and Chichen Itza. The Coba archaeological site displays pyramids and artifacts from ancient times. Visit the goddess of fertility in Cozumel and ride a horse through jungles and remote seaside villages. Nature and biodiversity are also on display in Mexico, and you can visit every habitat, from the rain forest to the tundra. Climb mountains in Colima or explore the forests in Jalisco. In Mexico, you'll eat tortillas and tamales, spice things up with chilies and salsas, and wash it all down with some local beer or a shot of tequila.

Best in the Bahamas

The third-largest barrier reef in the world is found in the Bahamas, so grab your snorkel and book your trip if coral reefs and the underwater world interest you most. The Bahamian islands are the place to be if you want to spend your vacation boating and fishing. You can charter a luxury yacht or man the helm of your own sailboat. Head out into the Bahamian waters for marlin, tarpon and bonefish. A trip to the Bahamas can also be family-friendly; swim with dolphins and amuse the kids at one of the water parks found around the islands. The Bahamas is a logical choice if you prefer rum to tequila and your favorite food is fresh fish, particularly conch.

Location, Location, Location

While choosing between Mexico and the Bahamas for your vacation, you'll also need to consider your budget and travel times. Mexico touches the Pacific Ocean as well as the Gulf of Mexico, and the Yucatan Peninsula borders the Caribbean. The Bahamas are off the coast of Florida, so if you're traveling from the West Coast or the Midwest, it may be easier to reach points in Mexico. Hurricane season is from June 1 to November 1 in the Bahamas and on the east coast of Mexico.

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