Welcome to your guide to comparing two of the most vibrant and diverse countries in Latin America: Chile vs Mexico. Located on the western coast of South America, Chile boasts stunning natural landscapes, from the arid Atacama Desert in the north to the glacier-covered peaks of Patagonia in the south. Meanwhile, Mexico, in the heart of North America, is a country with a rich cultural heritage, where ancient ruins and colourful colonial towns blend seamlessly with modern cities and beach resorts.
Both countries offer travelers a wealth of experiences, from hiking in the Andes and sampling Chilean wines to exploring Aztec ruins and indulging in spicy Mexican cuisine. While Chile and Mexico share similarities in language, climate and colonial history, each has its own distinct personality and charm that sets it apart from the other.
Whether you’re an adventurous backpacker, a foodie looking for new culinary experiences or a culture vulture looking to immerse yourself in the local way of life, Chile and Mexico have something to offer everyone. Join us as we compare these two fascinating countries and discover what makes them both unique and unforgettable destinations.
Top Things to Do: Chile vs Mexico
Chile and Mexico are two of the most popular tourist destinations in Latin America. Both countries have a wealth of attractions that are sure to please the adventurous traveler. From towering volcanoes, lush rainforests and fascinating ancient ruins to white-sand beaches, vibrant cities and world-class skiing, both countries offer something for everyone.
When it comes to exploring Chile, the northern part of the country is a great place to start. In northern Chile, visitors can explore the fishing village of Los Choros, take in breathtaking views of the Atacama Desert, or venture out to the San Rafael Glacier.
Further south, travelers can experience the breathtaking beauty of the Lake District, the rugged peaks of the Darwin Mountain Range and Chile’s renowned wine regions. For the more adventurous, there is also remote Easter Island, where visitors can marvel at the mysterious stone statues or brave a sunrise kayak ride through a petrified forest.
Mexico, meanwhile, offers a unique blend of culture and nature. The ancient pyramids of Teotihuacan and the awe-inspiring cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula are just some of the highlights. For those looking to relax, there are plenty of beaches to choose from, including the Caribbean island of Isla de Mujeres, Isla Holbox or the beautiful Costa Azul in southern Baja California.
Adventure seekers will love horseback riding through traditional Mexican haciendas, scuba diving off the coast of Cozumel or climbing the fiery volcano of Villarrica. Meanwhile, culture buffs will enjoy exploring the colonial cities of Guanajuato and San Cristobal and mingling with the locals in the traditional villages of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantán.
Summary – What to Do
No matter what type of traveler you are, Chile and Mexico offer a variety of activities and attractions for everyone. From the spectacular mountain views of Chile to the cultural experiences of Mexico, there is something for everyone.
|Natural Attractions||Northern Chile, Atacama Desert, San Rafael Glacier, Lake District, Darwin Mountain Range, Easter Island||Teotihuacan Pyramids, Yucatan Peninsula cenotes, Isla de Mujeres, Costa Azul, Cozumel, Villarrica volcano|
|Cultural Attractions||Wine regions, Easter Island’s stone statues, San Juan Chamula, Zinacantán||Colonial cities of Guanajuato and San Cristobal|
|Adventure Activities||Horseback riding, scuba diving, volcano climbing||Horseback riding, scuba diving, exploring cultural villages|
|Skiing||World-class ski resorts in the Andes Mountains||No notable ski resorts|
Food and Drinks
Chile and Mexico have a lot in common when it comes to food and drink. Both countries have long coastlines that provide an abundance of seafood, and both are renowned for their excellent wines. In Chile, popular dishes include empanadas, sopaipillas, lomito and pastel de choclo.
In Mexico you can find tacos al pastor, enchiladas, huaraches, machetes, tlacoyos, sopes, molotes and quesadillas. Both countries also have a variety of savoury snacks such as empanadas and quesadillas.
Breakfast in Chile tends to be a lighter meal, usually consisting of coffee or tea with bread, jam and cheese. Lunch is the main meal of the day and usually consists of meat, rice, potatoes, pumpkin, garlic, onions and tomatoes. Dinner is usually a lighter meal, such as soup or sandwiches.
Breakfast in Mexico is usually a light meal such as eggs, beans and tortillas. Lunch is the main meal of the day and usually consists of tacos, tamales and enchiladas. Dinner is usually a lighter meal such as soups, sandwiches or salads.
Drinks in Chile include Chilean wine, beer and pisco sour. Popular Mexican drinks include tequila, mezcal, kahlúa, lager and negra modelo. Chile and Mexico also have a similar drinking age of 18.
Although Chile and Mexico have a lot in common when it comes to food and drink, there are some differences. Chile has an extensive coastline, which makes seafood one of the highlights of its cuisine, while Mexico has a greater focus on corn-based dishes. Chileans also tend to use fewer spices in their cooking than Mexicans.
Food Summary: Chile vs Mexico
Both Chile and Mexico have unique and delicious cuisines that reflect their diverse cultures. Whether you’re looking for a hearty meal or a light snack, there’s something for everyone in both countries. From fresh seafood in Chile to tacos al pastor in Mexico, there’s something for everyone. It’s easy to see why both countries are top destinations for foodies.
|Popular Dishes||Empanadas, Sopaipillas, Lomito, Pastel de Choclo||Tacos al Pastor, Enchiladas, Huaraches, Machetes, Tlacoyos, Sopes, Molotes, Quesadillas|
|Savoury Snacks||Empanadas, Quesadillas||Empanadas, Quesadillas|
|Breakfast||Coffee or tea with bread, jam and cheese||Light meal such as eggs, beans, and tortillas|
|Lunch||Main meal consisting of meat, rice, potatoes, pumpkin, garlic, onions, and tomatoes||Main meal consisting of tacos, tamales, and enchiladas|
|Dinner||Lighter meal such as soup or sandwiches||Lighter meal such as soups, sandwiches or salads|
|Drinks||Chilean wine, beer, and pisco sour||Tequila, mezcal, kahlúa, lager, and negra modelo|
|Focus in Cuisine||Abundance of seafood||Corn-based dishes|
|Use of Spices||Fewer spices||More spices|
Chile and Mexico are two countries with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. With thousands of miles of coastline between them, visitors to both countries can enjoy stunning white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and a wide range of activities and attractions.
When it comes to finding the best beaches in Chile and Mexico, there is no shortage of options. In Chile, popular beaches include Playa Reñaca, Viña del Mar, Pan de Azúcar National Park, Viña del Mar, Playa Anakena, Easter Island, Bahía Inglesa, La Serena and Playa Grande. These beaches offer sun-filled days and a variety of activities, from surfing and swimming to bird watching and fishing. Chile also boasts some of the best scuba diving in South America.
Mexico is known for its diverse range of beaches, from bustling party spots to tranquil hideaways. Popular beaches in Mexico include Playa del Amor in Cabo San Lucas, Playa Sisal in Yucatan, Playa Mayto in Jalisco, Progreso in Yucatan, Medano Beach in Cabo San Lucas, Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve in Quintana Roo, Playa Tangolunda in Huatulco and Playa Maroma on the Riviera Maya.
For the ultimate beach experience, head to Cancun Beach in the Riviera Maya, one of the most popular beaches in Mexico. Other must-visit beaches include Isla Holbox, Isla Mujeres, Playa Ruinas in Tulum, Punta Mita in Nayarit and Playa Balandra in La Paz.
Beach Summary – Chile vs Mexico
So which country has the best beaches?
It’s hard to say. While both Chile and Mexico have some stunning beaches, they each offer something different. Chile’s beaches tend to be quieter and more remote, making them ideal for those looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience. Mexico, on the other hand, is home to some of the most luxurious resorts in the world, as well as some of the best nightlife in Latin America. Mexico has more crowded beaches, but also very beautiful white sand beaches and dive sites (especially on the Caribbean side).
So, depending on what kind of beach experience you’re looking for, you’ll find something to suit you in either country.
|Popular beaches||Playa Reñaca, Viña del Mar, Pan de Azúcar National Park, Viña del Mar, Playa Anakena, Easter Island, Bahía Inglesa, La Serena, Playa Grande||Playa del Amor in Cabo San Lucas, Playa Sisal in Yucatan, Playa Mayto in Jalisco, Progreso in Yucatan, Medano Beach in Cabo San Lucas, Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve in Quintana Roo, Playa Tangolunda in Huatulco, Playa Maroma on the Riviera Maya|
|Popular activities||Surfing, swimming, bird watching, fishing||Luxurious resorts, nightlife, Snorkling|
There are many similarities and differences when it comes to getting around Chile and Mexico. Both countries offer a wide range of transport options, from buses and taxis to cars and ferries. However, the transport infrastructure and regulations differ between the two countries.
In Chile, buses are the most popular form of transport. Pullman and Turbus are the largest companies and dominate the market, with routes all over the country. Smaller companies can often be a better choice for niche destinations, such as small resorts or surf beaches. For those wanting to cover long distances quickly, domestic flights are available and roads are generally well maintained. The Pan-American Highway crosses the country from north to south, while the Carretera Austral is a dirt road that runs southwest through Patagonia.
Mexico also has a wide range of transport options, including buses, taxis, cars and ferries. Cheap and reliable, make the bus your best mate is the motto here, as buses connect almost all towns and cities. Central bus terminals in major cities provide services and information on fares and timetables. Domestic flights can save you both time and money, while taxis can be surprisingly cheap.
Cars and motorbikes offer more flexibility, while ferries can be used to get to and from the Baja Peninsula. Mexico City’s metro system is the most extensive, with frequent, efficient service and a flat fare that can be paid with individual tickets or a pre-loaded smart card.
When it comes to making the decision of which country to visit, it really depends on what you are looking for. If you are looking for an efficient and reliable way to move around the country, Chile may be the best choice for you. The roads are well maintained, and the bus network is extensive. On the other hand, if you are looking for a more diverse range of transportation options, Mexico offers a wide range of options, from buses and taxis to cars and ferries.
|Most Popular||Buses||Buses, Cars|
|Other Transport Options||Domestic flights and well-maintained roads, Cars||Taxis, motorbikes, and ferries|
|Metro||–||Mexico City’s metro system|
|Bus Terminal Services||Provide services and information on fares and timetables||Central bus terminals provide services and information on fares and timetables|
Whichever country you choose to visit, you will be sure to have an enjoyable experience.
Travelling to Chile and Mexico offers tourists a wide range of options with different climates and landscapes. The best time to visit Chile is from December to February, when the country is in the southern hemisphere’s summer season. Coastal regions such as Valparaiso and Vina del Mar are bustling with local holidaymakers and international tourists.
This is also a great time to visit Torres del Paine National Park, as Chilean Patagonia offers warmer temperatures and well-maintained trails. For Antofagasta and the north, September to May is the best time to travel in Chile. If you are looking for adventure and want to visit the cooler south, the best time to travel is between December and March.
In Mexico, the best time to visit is during the dry season between December and April, when there is virtually no rain. The coolest months are between December and February, although temperatures can still reach an average of 82°F during the dry season.
November is probably the best month to visit Mexico, as the rains are over, the land is still fresh and the high season has not yet begun. For most regions of Mexico, the best time to travel is in January, February, March, April, October, November and December. However, some areas such as La Paz are best avoided during the rainy season in June and July.
When to Go: Chile vs Mexico
Overall, the best time to visit Chile and Mexico depends on which part of the country you are visiting and your itinerary. While the rainy season in Mexico is technically June to October, the dry season between December and April offers tourists the best weather and fewer crowds. Chile is a vast country with a variety of climates and landscapes, so it is difficult to pinpoint the best time to travel across the country. However, the best time to visit Santiago and the central region of Chile is from December to February.
No matter when you decide to visit Chile or Mexico, you are sure to have a great time exploring the different climates, regions and cultures of each country.
|Best Time to Visit||December to February for southern hemisphere’s summer season, September to May for Antofagasta and the north, and December to March for cooler south||December to April for dry season with virtually no rain, November to avoid rains, and January to May and October to December for most regions|
|Coolest Months||May to August in central Chile||December to February in Mexico|
|Best Months to Visit Regions||Santiago and Antofagasta: January, February, March, April, October, November and December||Mexico City, Mérida, Monterrey and Cancun: January, February, March, April, October, November and December|
Weather and Climate
Chile and Mexico have very different climates due to their geographical locations. Chile is located on the South Pacific Ocean in South America, while Mexico is located in Central America and shares a border with the United States.
The climate of northern Chile is mainly a desert climate, with temperatures ranging from 61°F to 75°F throughout the year and little to no rainfall. This contrasts with central Chile, which has a Mediterranean climate. During the summer months (October to March), temperatures range from 72°F to 86°F and rainfall is low. In the winter months (May to August), temperatures drop to around 59°F and rainfall increases.
In comparison, Mexico’s climate varies according to altitude and landscape. The southeastern region has a tropical climate with high humidity and temperatures in May. Rainfall is highest from June to September, and October marks a change in most of the country. The dry season begins in November. There is almost no rainfall in the north and Chiapas is the wettest state. Along the coast, September to mid-October is hurricane season.
Overview – Climate: Chile vs Mexico
Overall, Chile and Mexico have very different climates. Chile is largely characterized by desert areas in the north, a Mediterranean climate in the centre and an oceanic climate in the south, while Mexico’s climate varies according to altitude and landscape. In addition, Mexico has more rainfall than Chile in most parts of the country, while Chile has lower temperatures than Mexico.
|Geographical Location||South Pacific Ocean in South America||In Central America, shares a border with the United States|
|Climate||Desert in the north, Mediterranean in the center, and oceanic in the south||Varies according to altitude and landscape, tropical in the southeast, and dry in the north|
|Temperature||61°F to 75°F throughout the year in the north, 72°F to 86°F in the summer in the center, and around 59°F in the winter in the center||High humidity and temperatures in the southeast, dry and hot in the north|
|Rainfall||Little to no rainfall in the north, low in the center||High from June to September, almost no rainfall in the north, wettest in Chiapas|
|Hurricane Season||No||September to mid-October along the coast|
When it comes to accommodation, Chile and Mexico have a lot in common, but also some distinct differences. Both countries offer a wide range of options, including hotels, bed & breakfasts, hostels, camping and cabañas.
In Chile, the standard of accommodation is reasonable, although many visitors feel that prices are high for what they get, especially in the middle and upper class hotels. Prices often rise dramatically in high season, although discounts are available outside this period. Luxury hotels can be found in Santiago, as well as boutique hotels that meet Western standards. Members of foreign motoring organisations can often get discounts at hotels.
Chilean hotels are rated from one to five stars, but this only reflects facilities and not standards. Camping is also an option and there are many campsites throughout the country, especially in Patagonia. Hostels and residenciales (rooms in someone else’s home) are also available.
Finding a room in Mexico is rarely difficult, with cheap accommodation usually concentrated around the main square or near the market, train or bus station. Hotels range from simple guesthouses to large international chains, and bed and breakfasts are increasingly available. Hostels are plentiful, especially in the more touristy areas, with 18 affiliated to Hostelling International and discounts available with an HI card.
Camping is easy enough if you have the right equipment, with official campsites designed for caravanners and tents that can be pitched at a reduced rate. Cabins are also available in natural settings such as the Lacandon Jungle in Chiapas and the islands of Lake Pátzcuaro in Michoacán. Guest ranches are traditionally working cattle ranches or farms where visitors pay to be guests of the owner’s family, although many now focus more on tourism.
Summary: Chile vs Mexico
Both Chile and Mexico offer a variety of accommodation options to suit any traveller. Whether you’re looking for luxury or budget, there’s something for everyone in both countries. For those on a tight budget, hostels, camping, and residenciales are all great options. For those looking for a bit more luxury, hotels, bed & breakfasts, cabañas, and guest ranches are sure to fit the bill. No matter what kind of accommodation you’re looking for, Chile and Mexico are sure to have something that fits your needs.
|Types||Hotels, Bed & Breakfasts, Hostels, Camping, Cabañas||Hotels, Bed & Breakfasts, Hostels, Camping, Cabins, Guest Ranches|
|Standard||Reasonable, but expensive||Ranges from simple guesthouses to large international chains|
|Camping||Many campsites throughout the country, especially in Patagonia||Official campsites designed for caravanners and tents|
|Guest Ranches||–||Traditionally working cattle ranches or farms|
|Hostels||Plentiful, especially in touristy areas||Plentiful, 18 affiliated to Hostelling International|
|Discounts Available||Members of foreign motoring organisations can often get discounts at hotels||Discounts available with an HI card at Hostels|
|Price Range||High prices for middle and upper class hotels, but discounts available outside of high season||Cheap accommodation around main square or near the market, train or bus station|
In terms of population size, economic growth and overall development, Mexico and Chile are two very different countries in Latin America. With 133.8 million people in 2023 compared to 19.68 million in Chile, Mexico has a much larger population than Chile. Mexico also has a much larger GDP than Chile, with a PPP of $2.4 trillion compared to $454.7 billion in Chile.
In terms of economic growth, Chile’s growth will decline by 5.8% in 2020 compared to 2019, while Mexico’s will decline by 8.2%. Chile’s 5-year compound annual growth rate is 0.4%, while Mexico’s is -0.3%. In terms of GDP per capita, Chile is ahead with a figure of $23,366, while Mexico’s is $19,130.
Chile has a higher unemployment rate than Mexico, with 11.5% compared to 4.7%. Inflation, as measured by the CPI, is similar in both countries, with Chile at 3.0% and Mexico at 3.4%.
In terms of public debt, Mexico has a higher ratio than Chile, with 60.6% of GDP compared to 32.5% in Chile. The overall tax burden is also higher in Mexico than in Chile, at 16.5% of total domestic income compared to 20.7% in Chile.
In summary, Chile and Mexico are two countries in Latin America with very different populations, levels of economic growth and development. While Chile has a higher GDP per capita and a lower unemployment rate, Mexico has a higher GDP and a lower overall tax burden. Both countries have similar inflation rates and top individual and corporate tax rates. Chile’s economy is largely driven by exports, while Mexico’s is driven by FDI inflows.
|Population||19.68 million||133.8 million|
|GDP (PPP)||$454.7 billion||$2.4 trillion|
|Economic Growth||-5.8% (2020)||-8.2% (2020)|
|Compound Annual Growth||0.4% (5 years)||-0.3% (5 years)|
|GDP per capita||$23,366||$19,130|
|Public Debt to GDP||32.5%||60.6%|
|Tax burden||20.7% of total income||16.5% of total income|
|Top individual tax rate||40%||35%|
|Top corporate tax rate||27%||30%|
|Main drivers of growth||Exports of minerals, timber, fruit, seafood and wine||FDI inflows of $29.1 billion|
In conclusion: Chile vs Mexico
In conclusion, both Chile and Mexico offer unique and memorable travel experiences. Chile offers stunning natural attractions such as the Atacama Desert, Torres del Paine National Park and Easter Island, while Mexico’s attractions include the ancient ruins of Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza, as well as the vibrant cities of Mexico City and Cancun.
For beach lovers, both countries have beautiful coastlines with warm waters and sandy beaches. Chile’s coastline offers surfing and whale watching, while Mexico’s beaches are known for their turquoise waters and lively beach clubs.
In terms of travel time and transport, Chile can be more challenging due to the long distances and limited infrastructure in some regions. Mexico, on the other hand, has a well-developed transport system, making it easier to get around.
When it comes to food and drink, both countries offer delicious and unique cuisines. Chile is known for its seafood and wine, while Mexico is famous for its spicy and flavorsome food and tequila.
Accommodation in both countries ranges from budget hostels to luxury resorts. However, Mexico’s tourism industry is more developed and offers a wider range of options.
Finally, in terms of the economy, Mexico has a larger and more diversified economy with a higher GDP than Chile. However, both countries offer affordable travel options for the budget-conscious traveller.
Overall, both Chile and Mexico have something unique to offer travellers, and the choice between the two ultimately comes down to personal preferences and priorities.
- Yucatan National Parks - September 10, 2023
- National Parks in Indiana: A Travel Enthusiast’s Guide - August 22, 2023
- National Parks in Oregon: A Nature Lover’s Paradise - August 11, 2023