Moving to Roatan
Roatan is the home of a number of Americans, some Europeans, and people from other countries. Many people only live here part of the year, returning to their home countries periodically.
Getting temporary residency in Honduras is important if you do not want to leave the country every few months.
A growing number of Americans living in foreign countries are renouncing their American citizenship. Motivation for this drastic move could be partly the fact that the US government taxes American citizens that live overseas on income earned overseas, even if the majority of that resident's time is spent overseas. The tax burden is becoming greater as the US moves toward more socialist policies. Regardless of the reason for renouncing US citizenship, Honduras offers Americans a low cost of living and less government restriction and instrusion on personal privacy.
Although there are a number of villages on Roatan where English is the predominant language and many islanders are bilingual, Spanish may be the predominant language on the island. Many business owners do not speak English, but that is primarily in non-tourist industries. The tourism related businesses have wide-spread English. The population of the island is becoming more Spanish speaking as immigration from the Honduran mainland continues, but English is also making inroads due to a number of bilingual schools, tourism and access to English media.
Labor is cheap and plenty of people are looking for work, making hiring gardeners, maids, and other workers affordable.
Be prepared to experience inconveniences that you may not be accustomed to - electrical power failures, internet services going down, auto parts not being available, limited dining and grocery choices, and errands which seem minor such as depositing a check being time consuming tasks.
Roatan electric service has improved but is still unreliable, with unpredictable black outs. RECO has been purchased by an American, and hopefully new management will improve the financially struggling company, but with the equipment in bad shape and the capacity strained to meet rapid island development, poor service will probably be the the norm for a long time to come.
Honduras is known for its red tape in government. Doing business here is difficult and getting documents from the government can be time consuming and frustrating. The government is inconsistent with its rules and the enforcement of them.
You must pay a tax each year for your vehicle. Police stop traffic to confirm the tax payment is up to date for vehicles.
Items shipped from the U.S. are subject to import duties unless you qualify for the retiree residency or find some other exemption.
Banking - You may have accounts in Lempiras or in dollars. Banks freely exchange between the currencies. Money may be transferred to Honduras by wiring from the foreign bank to the Honduran bank, by Western Union, by foreign check deposits into local bank accounts, or by ATM withdrawals from foreign accounts. ATM withdrawals are one of the most convenient. Foreign checks are held in banks for 15-30 days to clear. Any amount greater than $10,000 entering Honduras must be declared with the proper government forms.
In buying land, make sure you have the appropriate qualified legal help. Some people have been known to sell the same piece of land two or three times. Not all property ownership has been legally recorded.
On the other hand, the island is absolutely beautiful. People are willing to live with some inconvenience for the enjoyment of being here. It is like stepping back in time. If you do choose to move here, welcome to this beautiful country!