How to Move to Roatan: Finding Housing

In an effort to answer a few of the most commonly asked questions I get via email, Facebook, and here in the comments, I figured I’ll give some more general info on moving to Roatan. You’re all curious, so here’s the first part in a new series to try to answer your questions. Part One: Housing!

Housing is understandably a concern when you’re thinking of moving somewhere new, especially a new country. Finding a suitable place, knowing the right neighborhoods, getting a good deal – these are everyone’s concerns. So here’s the best I can offer for now…Roatan rentals and real estate 101.

Rentals:

Finding an apartment rental in Roatan is incredibly easy. First recommendation: don’t bother booking anything from home. Come here first and get familiar with the island. If you’re planning to stay here long-term (more than 3 months), you’ll get better deals here than you will searching online. Lots of listings never make it online beyond the close expat circles already on-island. Once you’re here you can ask around, get to know people, and better select a long-term location suited to your needs. Online, this island looks tiny. You could live in French Harbour and work in West End – I mean, come on, it’s only about 15 miles away! And then you get here, your world shrinks, and you realize that those 15 miles are driven on a winding single-lane road with nutso drivers who obey zero traffic laws from any country. Trust me, you don’t want to do that commute. If you want to commute, why move to an island?

Roatan vacation home rentals

Island Rose Rentals offers long-term and vacation homes throughout Roatan. This is Ocean Breeze Villa in West Bay.

Looking online for an apartment won’t tell you that there are 20 stray dogs that run around that particular neighborhood barking at all hours and freaking out your kids/pets/you with potential attacks. Looking online won’t show you that absolutely zero cabs or buses are willing to make that heinous drive on the dirt road riddled with potholes causing them to get stuck in rainy season. Trust me, unless you’re here on vacation or just a few months, wait until you get here to find a place. It’s really not hard at all.

Roatan apartments

Roatan Life Vacation Rentals also offers long-term apartment/house rentals. This is Mango House in West End.

I’ve broken down prices before so I won’t rehash that, but here’s a general idea of what you’ll get in an apartment rental in Roatan. Most are fully furnished since people come and go so frequently and nobody carries their couch and flatscreen on a plane. Furnishings typically include a TV, couch (of sorts), table and chairs, and beds. Again, seeing the state of furnishings in person will be better than finding a place online whose photos could very well be 10 years old. Most will have basic kitchen appliances: toaster, blender, coffee pot, microwave. You’ll likely have a gas stove and you’ll use 5-gallon water jugs for drinking water. Many houses run their water on an electric pump – meaning when the power goes out (which it does fairly often) you will have no running water. These are all things to consider when choosing a long-term home in Roatan. If not having running water is a major issue, look for a place with a generator. If not having stylish and updated furniture and appliances is a deal-breaker, expect to pay more for a newer place. The options really vary widely so being here in person to check them out yourself is truly the best option. Word of mouth is powerful on the island – let it be known you’re looking for a place and I guarantee somebody knows somebody with the perfect solution.

Real Estate:

I highly recommend renting before buying. HIGHLY. Living on an island is not for everybody – and living in a developing nation with less than perfect infrastructure and a completely different legal system can be too much for some to handle. If you’re a go-with-the-flow type of person, you’ll be fine. But be honest with yourself, understand the limitations island living can present and understand the frustrations some expats feel with construction, legal red tape, and infrastructure issues before purchasing property. If it’s the right choice for you, it’s paradise. If you buy a plot of land thinking you’ll have a gorgeous house built in a few months, you need a reality check. Things happen on island time, costs are always higher than originally quoted, and upkeep on a home on the beach can destroy even the most patient homeowner’s composure. All that being said, living in Roatan is amazing and if it’s the lifestyle you’re looking for you will be successful and happy moving here. Roatan has a booming real estate market right now. Whether you want beach-front or hillside, mansion or condo, rustic or modern, the options are plentiful. Contact Roatan Life Real Estate for the widest array and best service. Prices can range anywhere from $100,000-$1,000,000 between small homes and sprawling mansions, so they’re not just giving you lip-service – there really is something for everyone’s budget.

Roatan homes for sale

This is an example of a typical Palmetto Plantation property for sale through Roatan Life Real Estate.

That’s part one in a series for How to Move to Roatan. Next up: Working Abroad.

10 thoughts on “How to Move to Roatan: Finding Housing

  1. Hi Amanda, this is Jim Turk we spoke a few months back, I will be on the island for good September 6, living on the beach in sandy bay. I read your blogs, you offer sound advice. One point I would add us while one us on the island looking for rentals or property, probably wise to suggest places to stay while conducting there search. From resorts like infinity bay to cabins in west end. Just a thought, see u soon.

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    • Hey Jim! Congrats on the upcoming move! There are certainly lots of options for staying here temporarily, which all depend upon the person’s style and needs. Definitely a good recommendation! Enjoy Sandy Bay and we’ll see you soon!

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  2. Hi Amanda,
    I found your blog online and had a few questions for you. My name is brad cook. I have booked a month on Roatan between Feb. and March. This is my third trip to Roatan, and will be my first time staying in West Bay, as opposed to West End. This is my 44th year as a certified diver (got my certification at the age of 16, in 1970. I am a writer and underwater photographer, and retired from teaching a year ago. Because I love to travel and see the world so much I wouldn’t consider owning property on Roatan, but I know I will keep coming back for the fantastic diving the island offers. If the month in West Bay goes well, as I expect it to, I will likely look at spending more time on the island in the future – as long as the diving stays fabulous. I know that once on the island, I can find whatever I need, but it would be nice to hook up with an ex-pat community on the island until my espanol improves. Since I have spent time on the island before, I have made several friends on the island. One is a dive master friend from Victoria, Canada who works for Infinity Bay. Since I will be there an entire month, I think it’s important to check out a couple other dive outfitters, and would like more info. on your dive shop. Can you please send me a link to your dive web site, and also let me know about any ex-pat organizations or clubs I might join on the island? I belong to Internations, since I lived in Panama last year, but they only showed an ex-pat group in La Ceiba – obviously too far to travel. I thank you, in advance, for your assistance.
    Sincerely,
    brad cook

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    • Hey Brad!

      There really is no major expat club or anything – it’s a pretty tight-knit community anyway so it’s quite easy to make new friends and connect with people. No worries on that 🙂

      I manage Ocean Connections Water Sports in West End – we’d love to have you dive with us! Definitely shoot us an email at diving@ocean-connections.com. Hope to see you soon!

      Thanks for reading 🙂

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  3. Pingback: How to Move to Roatan: Working Abroad | AWalk on the Run

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  6. Hi Amanda! Love your blog, so helpful. My name is Dennell, my family and I are from Canada and are considering moving to Roatan well we’ve been dreaming about it forever, i think though its time we just make it happen. Eventually we would like to start a little beach front business if possible.. We didn’t realize you can find work locally, it would be ideal to just pack up! Do you have any advise on how to find work beforehand, is it fairly easy to get work? Realistically, finding work and renting would definitely get us there sooner and thats ALL we want.

    Any advise would be greatly appreciated, take care!
    D

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  7. Hello Amanda, I’ve just been appointed as a short-term (3 mos.) English teacher in Sandy Bay, arriving April 30. Can you recommend some places that won’t cost an arm and a leg? This is a volunteer job so I can’t afford much. I’d be willing to stay with a host family, rent a room, or a small studio. Thanks in advance.

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    • Hi Sharon! I’ve never heard of any host families around here unfortunately, but I’m sure you could find a small place to rent on your own or a room to rent in a larger home for around $300 or so. If you can get onto some of the Facebook groups, you can ask around there. Try Roatan Garage Sale. If I hear of anything in the meantime I’ll definitely let you know!

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