Rent From $553 on the Caribbean Island of Roatán

Imagine waking up each morning to the sound of gentle waves lapping up the shore of a white-sand beach. The warm Caribbean waters are clear, in shades of turquoise and azure. Down the road is a community with shops, restaurants, and, most importantly, lively beach bars. This is what it is like to live on the tropical island of Roatán.

Best of all, to be in this perfect location will only set you back around $500 per month in rent for a beachfront cottage. And by asking around and networking with locals and expats, you can often get even better prices.

There are rentals available, from homes and condos–fully-furnished, often with utilities included in the rental fee. Rental prices are a bargain compared to what you’d pay on some other Caribbean islands.

Roatán, off the coast of mainland Honduras, is naturally beautiful, with plenty of laidback charm. Sunset happy hour is the only can’t-miss appointment when you’re living on island time. But it is also one of the best spots in the world to scuba dive and snorkel. There’s also boating and fishing. And there are tiny towns where you can stroll among shops selling folk art and handicrafts, dance the night away to live music, and enjoy a fresh seafood meal for $8 a plate at a sea-view restaurant.

Soon after arriving, many people say that they never want to leave…and they make a vow to return, whether in retirement or sooner. Roatán has that kind of draw.

The western end of the island is where most expats live, as this is the center of activity for tourism and has the most developed infrastructure. The eastern side is more sparsely populated and less developed, with fewer rentals. Communities like the West End and West Bay are walkable and hives of activity.

Condos are popular, but there are also standalone homes available. Here are some examples of rentals on offer:

  • A condo, a quick walk to the water and 10 minutes to West End, is available for $900 per month. There is even a sea view from the patio.
  • A one-bedroom beachfront cottage rents for $1,000 a month in Sandy Bay, a quiet mostly residential community close to West End and West Bay.
  • For $819, you can get a hilltop studio cabin in the West End area. It’s surrounded by forest with a view of the water over the treetops.
  • A two-bedroom home in Sandy Bay is renting for $553 a month.
  • Another two-bedroom house, also with a view of the Caribbean but in West Bay, is available for $975 per month.

These are typical prices. As mentioned, the best deals can be found through talking with folks on the island. Join the happy hour crowd at Sundowner’s in the West End or ask around at the beach volleyball match. You can also check Facebook pages for the island, as well as vacation rental management sites and Airbnb—although geared towards tourists, many offer long-term arrangements too.

Once you’ve found a property you like, contact the property manager or owner. Individual owners might be open to negotiating the rental price. You should also discuss who will pay the utility bills, the length of the lease, and the amount due as a deposit.

There is limited inventory for rentals on Roatán, as well as real estate overall. This is a small but popular island after all. So it pays to start your search well in advance of when you plan to arrive on Roatán. And, if possible have something reserved before you arrive.

If you plan to buy at some point, my advice is to rent first so you’ll get to know the island well. This will help you decide which area is right for you. By renting first, you’ll also understand the local real estate market and be able to spot a fair price…and bargains.

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