Honduras: Quintessential Caribbean
Other Central American countries may boast their infrastructure, their sparkling highrise cities, endless outlet malls, and slick highways. But if you seek a place where life can be simpler, where you are addressed warmly by name…where the children politely stop to listen and address you as Sir or Madam…where people always have time for you…where your favorite meals and drinks are remembered in local restaurants…then Honduras is the retirement place for you.
Thankfully, a retirement in Honduras does not mean being far from family in North America. Honduras is only two hours from the United States by air, and four international airports make it easy to schedule travel. Roatán boasts its own international airport on the island, with direct flights coming from Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Miami, Toronto, and Montréal throughout the year. Deep-water ports on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the mainland make the movement of goods quick and inexpensive, and with easy access to Roatán you can ship goods as needed from home.
Roatán offers multiple public and private medical clinics and hospitals. Easy access to any of these facilities will provide you with any basic medical care needed. Pharmacies on the island also offer many medications over the counter, enabling many Americans to access their necessary prescriptions for less than the copay back home.
The two major cities in Honduras, Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, have excellent medical facilities, equipped with the latest technology in healthcare, and staffed by physicians, most of whom were trained in the U.S. So if healthcare is a major concern as you look toward retirement, then rest assured that there is quality care widely available in Honduras.
Several stable banking institutions with decades of experience and connections to banks in the U.S. are available, and money can be wired in or out of your accounts here in less than a day. Property in Honduras can be owned by foreign individuals with the same rights of ownership as Honduran nationals.
There is so much to do, and so much time in which to do it here, so retirement in Honduras is perfect for those interested in maintaining an active lifestyle. If you like adventure travel, opportunities for white-water rafting, canopy zip-line touring, hiking, fishing, scuba diving, and snorkeling abound. Or if you are on more of a meditative bent for your retirement, Roatán’s beaches and lush jungle hillsides provide beautiful settings for spas and retreats.
You will have plenty of time to enjoy all this and more. Maid services and gardening services are incredibly affordable onRoatán—so you can spend it exploring and having adventures instead.
Roatán is a multi-cultural location, allowing for a variety of languages, foods, and traditional celebrations to intertwine. Your life will be richer while your expenses won't hurt your wallet.
Get Your Free Honduras Report Now
Learn more about Honduras and other countries in our daily postcard e-letter.
Simply enter your email address below and we'll send you a FREE HONDURAS REPORT: Island-living at an Affordable Price in Honduras. This special guide covers real estate, retirement and more in Honduras and is yours free when you sign up for our postcards below.
Get Your Free Report Here
- Population: 8,448,465
- Capital City: Tegucigalpa
- Climate: Subtropical in lowlands, temperate in mountains
- Time Zone: GMT-6
- Language: Spanish (official)
- Country Code: 504
I moved to Roatán for the warm Caribbean waters, white-sand beaches, lush jungles, and laidback island lifestyle. But despite all the island’s attractions and its low cost of living, many would-be expats are concerned about healthcare. What’s it like on an island off the coast of Honduras? Well, through my eight happy years here I’ve become well acquainted with all aspects of healthcare on Roatán. And I can tell you that your healthcare options are affordable…and about to get a whole lot better.
It’s another leisurely morning in paradise for Helen Murphy, as she strolls through the garden of her tropical-island home. She repots her plants and reorganizes her purple orchids. She has all the time in the world to spend, as she plants new seeds in her nursery and takes photos of the latest blooms to post online later. She meanders through the garden, savoring the sweet scents floating through the salt-air breeze, and she takes her time watering the hundreds of plants that surround her, stopping to pick the ripe bananas off the tree for breakfast.
On the western end of the pristine, laidback Caribbean island of Roatán, there’s a growing community of contented, beach-loving expats. The beach here is perfectly protected from the island’s prevailing southeastern breezes. This leaves the turquoise waters calm and still, perfect for a refreshing swim or snorkel. For many residents, a people-watching stroll on the white sands with a cold beer in hand is a daily routine.
The beach here is often voted one of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Snorkeling from shore is easy, and the coral reef around this island is among the most beautiful in the world. The reef’s proximity to shore, the amazing visibility in the crystal-clear waters, and the versatility of healthy coral reef and vibrantly colored fish make for the easiest and most awe-inspiring diving. There are many dive shops on the beach here, all offering affordable dive packages for lessons or fun diving—at dive sites all within a few minutes from shore.
A salty sea breeze…tropical birds calling in the treetops…sunlight reflecting brilliantly off the white sand… Another relaxing day in paradise. And this particular paradise offers apartment rentals to suit any budget. On the island of Roatán—in the Caribbean about 30 miles off the coast of Honduras—you can rent from $400 to $2,000 a month. But how do you find the perfect one?
Valentine’s Day may be the most romantic day of the year, but it’s undeniable that some locations have a certain “je ne sais quoi”, which adds that something special to the occasion. International Living ranks the top five most romantic locations on their beat—great places to visit with a loved one or to strike out and find love anew.
It’s that time of year again—the birds are singing, love is in the air, and hopeless husbands are trawling gas stations for that last bunch of flowers. It must be Valentine’s Day—that special day when you spoil the one you love, devote your attention to one another, and escape momentarily from the humdrum of everyday routine. It can be a wonderful time, no matter where you are, but it’s undeniable that some locations have a certain je ne sais quoi that adds that something special to the occasion.
My wife, Suzan Haskins, and I do a lot of traveling. So we often find ourselves on the way to places. We find ourselves in airports. In taxis and shuttles. In planes and buses. In snow-bound cities and towns for holidays and family functions.
Many factors come into play when considering a retirement abroad. Cost of living, prices of rents and real estate, and healthcare options are main concerns. But quality of life for retirees moving abroad also depends in large part on being able to fit in quickly, learn the ropes, and mix well with the locals in their adapted communities. Language, culture, and community support from locals and other expats all can have a dramatic effect on the quality of the expat retiree experience.
When planning your retirement overseas, many factors come into play. Low costs, real estate, and healthcare are some of the main concerns…but what about being able to mix well with the community or make friends with the locals? Being able to integrate well will help ensure that you feel at home in your new home. Do the locals speak English or do you speak the local language? Is the community welcoming to expats? Are there groups and clubs available to join?
You can take Rob Baker and Lisa Blythe out of Wisconsin, but you can’t take away their obsession with the Green Bay Packers. The dynamic duo left their snow-covered home for a beachfront business in paradise, and they’ve brought their favorite pieces of home with them. “Our restaurant was the ﬁrst ofﬁcial Packer Bar in the whole country!” Lisa proudly exclaims. “Football season is so much more fun on the beach.”
Retiring abroad is easier and more affordable than ever before. These days it really is possible to spend your days relaxing beneath palm fronds on a Caribbean beach, enjoying farm-fresh produce in a mountain haven with year-round spring weather, or wandering the storied streets of a historic and cultured European city…or all of the above. But with so many choices available, finding the right one can seem daunting.
Often voted one of the best beaches in the Caribbean, West Bay Beach, on the western end of the island of Roatán, Honduras, boasts a growing community of contented, beach-loving expats—part- and full-time. West Bay rests along Roatán’s northwestern shore, which is perfectly protected from the island’s prevailing southeastern breezes. This leaves the turquoise waters calm and still, perfect for a refreshing swim or snorkel. For many residents, a people-watching stroll on the white sands with a cold beer in hand is a daily routine.
Sunlight streams into your bedroom. The birds sing and the soft lapping of the ocean on the beach lures you to your front patio. The light is golden as it glides across the water to bathe the palm trees.
Roatán offers an appealing expat lifestyle, diverse and healthy food, easy access to North America, and great infrastructure for such a small island (only about 50 square miles in size). You’ll find an international airport, two cruise line ports, paved main roads, two hospitals, a golf course, and several high-quality grocery stores that stock North American gourmet items. The lifestyle is also highly affordable for the Caribbean. I met one expat couple who own their own home and live comfortably on less than $1,200 a month.
Your voice could be your passport to an income overseas…and we’re not just talking about singing. Sure, if you can carry a tune, you can take that talent with you. Many expats make their money, or at least a supplementary income, from singing. Some even discover that carving out a singing career is easier overseas.
Roatán, the largest of the Bay Islands of Honduras, is surrounded by the beautiful Mesoamerican Barrier Reef and also boasts a lush, verdant landscape above water. As you fly toward the island on a direct flight from the U.S. or Canada, you’ll notice how much of this paradise remains undeveloped. Natural beauty abounds on Roatán. Homes built on the gorgeous jungle-covered hillsides overlook the turquoise Caribbean water and even beachfront homes enjoy privacy and tranquility.
“We love the culture and the people in Roatán. The quality of life is fantastic here and it’s really just so affordable. We couldn’t afford to do everything we do in Roatán in most other Caribbean locations,” Bill explains. “I’m a member at Pristine Bay Golf Course, we own a beachfront condo, and we own a boat that we can take out for a joy ride anytime. That’s not something we could do in Florida or on most other islands.
“I get to be barefoot all day,” says Sylvia Miller from the beachfront in Roatan, Honduras. I’d die if I had to be inside a cubicle!” The 43-year-old from Haliburton Village, Ontario lives on West Bay Beach in Roatan. Her “workplace” is a bohemian enclave in the sand facing the ocean with small peace flags hanging over the open stairway leading onto the deck. And she’s loving the vibe.
Ann and Lew Tucker, from outside Albany, New York, now invite everyone into their brand-new home on the Caribbean island of Roatán. From here they can relax on the upstairs patio and watch the boats float by, admiring the sunset over the Caribbean. Meanwhile, the gorgeous scent of orchids wafts up from the garden below. The place they now call home is a Cape Cod-style cottage on the hillside of a popular neighborhood in West Bay. But this is a relatively recent development. For nearly two decades, they’ve been sailing around the world together.
It’s another tough winter day in paradise for Bill and Ann Addison. Bill just finished a round of golf on a course that overlooks the turquoise Caribbean Sea, while Ann spent the day at a picturesque, secluded beach, snorkeling with her friends. Retirement is filled with fun for these snowbirds.
When Christine Larose moved to the Caribbean island of Roatán in 2011 it didn’t take long before her neighbors were telling her how desperately they needed a personalized property management service for their vacation homes… “I seized that opportunity and created a business,” says the 45-year-old. “I had no property management or real estate background at all—I worked in sales marketing back in Ontario. But what I learned from that job was quality customer service.”
There is no better way to celebrate island life than to step aboard a boat and cruise away from shore for stunning views and extraordinary experiences. Whether it’s in a luxury yacht, a spacious catamaran, a quaint sailboat, or a personal kayak… The Caribbean island of Roatán, off the northern coast of Honduras, is surrounded by clear turquoise water.
Roatán is a gorgeous island located off the northern shore of Honduras, and surrounded by the Caribbean Sea. It’s known for its exquisite, crystal-clear turquoise water…beautiful golden sand beaches…diverse water sports…abundant marine life…and the World Heritage barrier reef that runs along its shores. Life is easy on Roatán, a laidback island with a Caribbean vibe. English is the primary language and a couple can still live on a budget of $2000/month here.
The dazzling Caribbean island of Roatán offers much more than spectacular sugarsand beaches and cozy, inviting bays. You’ll also find mountainous terrain lush with vibrant tropical flowers. Head up any of the many hills that form the interior to be awestruck by the surrounding Caribbean Sea, its surface sparkling in the sun, its depths tinged with aquamarine, topaz, and soft green hues.
Neither Yvonne nor Michael Bauche qualiﬁed for a pension in Canada. And so the adventurous duo decided to embark on a round-the-world trip that has seen them visit Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Portugal, Italy, France, and the Caribbean. “We cut our expenses in half,” says Yvonne of their new life on the road. “Running two cars, paying for electricity, gas, phone, cell phone, internet, food, and eating out used to cost us almost $4,000 a month. Our average expenditure is now about $2,000, and we live and play very well on that.”
After working as an electrician for over 27 years, Jeff Brewer was ready for something new that didn’t involve another snowy winter in New York. In March 2014, as the piles of dirty snow still filled parking lots and street corners, Jeff decided he’d had enough.
Every morning Barbara Wastart rises to another glorious tranquil day, surrounded by fruit trees, coconut palms, and exotic tropical birds. As she looks out from her hilltop home, she takes in the spectacular view of the turquoise Caribbean bay below. A fleet of kayaks, and a pontoon boat, are tied to her private dock. A quick paddle through the mangrove forest and she can tie up to a private buoy near the barrier reef, and snorkel in the crystal clear waters abundant with fish, rays, and coral.
Each morning I’m greeted with vibrant sunshine and the enchanting sounds of a jungle awakening. I often start my day watching the stunning sunrise while walking along the beach. Then, perhaps a late-morning swim in the warm, clear waters or snorkeling on one of the most incredible coral reefs in the world.
Log in to read the full article Sign in to access your subscriptions and subscriber-only content. Username Password Log In Lost Your Password?
The Honduran island of Roatán has a lot of things going for it: low cost of living, a laidback island lifestyle, sun, sand and, of course, sea. The island has over 95 miles of coastline fronting the rich, warm waters of the Caribbean making it a scuba diving Mecca. This is a fact that expat business partners Gary Carlson and John Hart have been able to take full advantage of with their diving shop, West End Divers.
It’s almost lunchtime, which means it’s time for the work to end and play to begin. The beach awaits and the dive boat will be heading out soon, leaving just enough time to shut down the laptop and mosey into town. Such is a typical day in Roatan, Honduras, for expat Rika Purdy. Originally from Vancouver, Rika worked as a paralegal for years, obeying the clock, and working to make other people rich. But she came to realize there were new opportunities for earning online which could release her.
I live in paradise—there’s no disputing it. My home on the island of Roatan is surrounded by gorgeous, lush jungle and faces out to the sea. The palm trees and flowers that fill my yard draw hummingbirds who zig and zag their way among the colorful blossoms.
In International Living’s March issue, Roatan was named as one of the best islands to retire to in 2015. Having just returned from an exploratory trip of Roatan, that didn’t surprise me. So what exactly makes this island so special? Most islands are surrounded by a sea…but not all are created equal. If, like me, you find the Caribbean Sea’s aquamarine hues and vibrant sea life irresistible, this article was written with you in mind… I’ve experienced many seas during my many travels. But the Caribbean Sea is my all-time favorite. After my first trip to the Virgin Islands, my mind kept leading me back to the idea of investing in a property on the Caribbean Sea.
Five days after arriving on the Caribbean island of Roatan, 30 miles off the coast of Honduras, my vacation became a new life. I forgot about that return flight and instead settled further into the sand. I felt at ease and welcome in this community, and I realized it was because people were taking the time to actually chat and get to know me. Nobody was rushing; nobody was too distracted by emails or phone calls. Everyone just seemed so calm.
A new report from the editors of InternationalLiving.com ranks and profiles the five best tropical-island paradises for retirees today. Spread throughout the world, these islands are unique—but they share certain characteristics: They’re warm, offer good infrastructure, provide acceptable healthcare facilities either on-island or nearby, and they represent good value—a couple can live comfortably from $1,500 a month, housing included. “Something about the word ‘island’ makes the mind race to ‘escape,’” says InternationalLiving.com’s executive editor, Jennifer Stevens. “On an island, the pace slows, you live in the present, you shed concerns right along with your closed-toed shoes.
In Western Australia, April marks the return of the majestic whale sharks to Nimbaloo Marine Park. This is a perfect time of year to snorkel with these gentle giants— the largest fish in the ocean. If behemoths of the deep aren’t your thing, there’s plenty more for you to do at the Surfer’s Paradise Festival, on the country’s Gold Coast April 3–18. You’ll find a wide array of food, street performers, art, music, and other entertainment to cater to all tastes… and all of it free of charge. April also rings in the Buddhist New Year. In Malaysia this is marked by the Songkran Festival (April 12–14), which also serves to celebrate the country’s Siamese community. Rivers and beaches in the state of Kedah are ornamented with sand temples, called stupas, which are then washed away by the tide.
In this article, we outline the best five tropical island paradises for retirees. These places meet all the criteria needed to make them perfect retirement havens. As well as looking the part, all five of these islands—spread throughout the world—are becoming easier to get to as more and more flights open up to and from North America. Many tropical getaways have been consumed by commercialism, leaving them beyond every reasonable budget. But the islands on our list remain affordable, as attested by our expat experts on the ground. On some, it’s possible to live for as little as $1,500 a month including rent.
Turquoise blue water, white sand, palms swaying in the breeze, and a cold drink in hand…it’s the setting for a new life on one of Central America’s picture perfect Caribbean islands. In a place like this, the cares of the world melt away and you are very much on island time.
I’m on an English-speaking tropical island right now gathering data for International Living readers. The sea and beach views are hard to beat. The island’s surrounded by a fringe of coral reefs, so the water inside the nearby reef is that irresistible aquamarine color. The beaches on this island tell a variety of geological stories. Some are composed of soft, golden sand, with wide, welcoming shores.
“I love the greens and blues,” says Washington native Deb Crofutt of her new life on a tropical island. “I love the smiles on the faces of everyone I make eye contact with. I like being away from the hustle and bustle of home and the pressure to own ‘things.’ I spent so many years working in the corporate world just to have stuff. This is a simpler, better life.” Imagine the feel of the warm sun on your shoulders as you walk along a pristine white sand beach stretching to the horizon, fringed by palm fronds and the sumptuous blue ocean.