I am in the business of selling real estate on the Caribbean island of Roatan, located just off the coast of Honduras. But I’m not just here to sell a property and then walk away. There are too many realities of island life that I think some folks overlook when jumping into the real estate market, so I choose to be available as more than just a real estate agent.
After all, I did the same move years ago, so I know what it’s like!
I left my life and home in the U.S. to move to Roatan in 2009. I wanted a slowed-down environment, where nature takes center stage. I absolutely made the right decision!
But there are certainly limitations to living on an island. After all, an island is surrounded by water and there’s only so far you can go in any direction. I’m always happy to chat with clients about the ups and downs of living on an island, so here are some of the basic realities of island life to consider when you are looking at moving to Roatan.
Small Town Realities of Island Life
Living on an island with limitations means that our towns and our overall population are small, making island life another version of small town life and all that it entails.
Small town life can be a harsh adjustment for some folks who are used to the anonymity or even the plentiful options for entertainment and nightlife when living in a city.
The coconut telegraph is alive and well, so be sure to think about what you do and what you say before you end up starting a new rumor here in this small-town world! Of course, the perks of small town life are great, too. You can always check out my posts to catch a daily glimpse of life in Roatan!
Island realities certainly include knowing most folks quite well, but because Roatan is also a popular tourist destination, there are constantly new people to meet and more fun to be had. So don’t worry that you’ll feel isolated here in Roatan – the small town vibe just adds to the island life charm.
When you know what you’re getting into and you understand those limitations, it’s actually a wonderful adjustment to make. Greeting all your neighbors as friends and running into friends everywhere you go is just a bonus to island living!
Island Life is Isolating
Islands are also isolated, which also means that sometimes we don’t have options for purchases or that we have to import something specifically from the mainland. We make do with what’s available, which can be hard for some people who are used to living in the land of plenty!
Living on an island comes with new challenges for those who have never lived on one before. You can’t take long road trips to the mountains or lakes; going anywhere requires a drive on the island’s one main winding road or hopping on a boat or a plane. You usually need to plan in advance if you want to travel to the mainland and flights can be expensive with limited options at certain times of year.
But the benefit of this island being small and our options being slightly limited sometimes is that we waste no time choosing from the hundreds of shampoos you find at a grocery store back home…we don’t spend hours in a car commuting or driving to the beach for the weekend.
Instead, we walk out our front doors to get our toes into the sand and we consider a 40-minute drive a very long journey! It’s all a matter of perspective…
Understanding Island Life Real Estate
And living on the island of Roatan also comes with other aspects that someone from the U.S. or Canada might not understand. The legal system here can be a headache and there are certainly challenges to doing business in a developing country with often-volatile social and political problems.
Luckily, our island is isolated (remember?) from many of those issues. But legal transactions for real estate and residency processing can still be a bit more of a challenge to navigate here.
But just remember that red tape exists everywhere! In a foreign, developing nation, the navigating of those systems can feel like a true maze for foreigners. That’s why I can’t stress enough the importance of working with professionals.
There are challenges of living on a Caribbean island that you should be aware of before you make a massive investment in real estate.
That’s where working with a professional realtor comes into play. If you try to purchase real estate on your own on an island in a foreign country…well there’s not much I can say except, “Buena suerte.”
Having a true professional on your side to not only help you find the right investment, but to also advise you on your potential lifestyle here or the potential pitfalls you might face as a homeowner, landlord, or retiree on this island.
This is just a glimpse into the realities of living on an island in the Caribbean. Life here is wonderful, but – just like life everywhere! – there are limitations and realities you should understand before you take the leap.
Nowhere is perfect. But this Caribbean island paradise sure feels mostly perfect to me.
I’m always happy to talk about living in Roatan and the realities of daily life and doing business here, so get in touch and let’s talk about your potential move. I always want my clients to feel like friends…after all, we’re about to be neighbors on this tiny little rock.