Part three in this mini-series of vacationing and/or living in Roatan. Here’s part one (one week) and part two (one month) in case you missed them. And here’s my post from last year with a general cost of living breakdown. Also, as previously stated, please don’t take this as exact payments and then get mad at me if you under-budget. I’m just trying to offer a guide to help you guys out.
Here’s what you should expect to pay…
if you’re coming to Roatan for a year:
Housing: Let’s average out at about $400/month. You could pay more, especially if you’re solo and don’t want to pull a Real World/Big Brother scenario. You could pay less for a place farther outside of “town” or sharing space with many other transient divers. I always recommend you look for a long-term place after arriving so you can actually check it out in person before signing any crazy leases. Trust me on this one. You need to really check out the area to be sure it’s a safe neighborhood, there aren’t a million stray dogs wandering around willing to bark and howl at all hours, the neighbor’s rooster doesn’t think you should be awake at 2am, and it’s accessible enough to wherever you need or want to be. You won’t really know that until you’re here in person.
Food: $400/month on groceries. I guess that’s average? I don’t know. I live with a walking garbage disposal so our costs may be skewed. Eating out can wreck your wallet for sure, so if you’re coming for a year keep that in mind. Yes, it’s tempting to eat lunch out everyday instead of eating your weird leftovers. Yes, it’s easy to just buy a beer, or four, after a long, hot day and watch the sun set over the water. Yes, it’s delicious to buy baked goods every day (and now ice cream!!!) in West End. Trust me, I know. But also trust me that whatever you just made working that day disappeared in food and drinks and rent is still due. Stick to the weird leftovers, kids, it’s worth it!
Transportation: Depends on what that entails, but you could go anywhere from $20/month if you’re right in West End and only need to run to Coxen Hole for groceries every few weeks, to $100/month in gas if you’re driving an actual vehicle around. Gas is about $5/gallon on average. Eek!
Activities: If you live here for a year, you will likely be working at a place that does an activity so you can do it for free, or you will make friends with said people to get awesome discounts. Expenses should be minimal. You should also always ask if there’s a local discount. If you’re here for a week no one will give it to you so don’t even bother. But if you’re here for several months and become a regular in certain places, you’ll get some good deals. Just don’t abuse that privilege! Alternatively, maybe you’re coming here for a year to do your Divemaster internship or IDC and get some work experience. If that’s the case, obviously your activity expenses will be drastically higher. A typical DM internship will set you back over $1000 and then add on the IDC for another $2k. Add on your regular living expenses, plus all the cool gear you’re going to be so excited to/have to buy to be professional.
Other expenses: Again, utilities. Electricity = expensive. Other stuff = not. My wifi package includes free cable with HBO, Starz, and Showtime all included for only $65/month. It all balances out pretty well so if you get wifi in your place and utilities aren’t included in your rent, expect about $175/month to cover drinking water, electricity, and internet. Ish. Again, people vary incredibly so if you’re really planning to move here just over-budget until you figure it all out for yourself. Maybe you simply cannot function without A/C at home (I’m looking at you, Wendy!) or maybe you are nearly never in your house so your RECO bill is virtually non-existent (congratulations!). These are personal life decisions I’ll leave up to you. The only thing I’d like to reiterate from this series is this: TIP EVERYONE WHO DOES A SERVICE FOR YOU. Just because you move here does not exempt you from this. These people are your friends and they will take really good care of you as long as you don’t stiff them all the time. Also, it’s a small island. People talk. Don’t be that guy.
I hope this mini-series helps most of you! Keep in mind that island life can make you feel incredibly rich or it can destroy your bank account, depending on where you are in life and what your plans are while you’re here. Looking to retire and already have a regular income? No worries, you’ll find cheaper property here than at home and can enjoy the island life. Looking to do your DM/IDC and get your first diving gig? You will spend thousands and maybe make a little bit back once you start working. Or, if you’re like me, you just bop along every day making money and spending money but not really worrying about it all because that sunset is just too gorgeous and that hammock is all too inviting. The money worries can take a swim for all I care.