Moving to a new place can create a lot of headaches when it comes to logistics. Learning about local companies and what options might be available for utilities in Roatan are primary concerns for new expats. To give you a general idea to get started, here’s a breakdown of current options.
Electricity in Roatan
The main electric company in Roatan is RECO – the Roatan Electric Company. Their services have expanded greatly over the past several years, but we are still living on an island. That means power fluctuations and outages somewhat regularly.
Another common problem for island utilities is the cost – electricity in Roatan is likely about 4x higher per kilowatt than you’re paying back home right now. That’s something to keep in mind when you’re tempted to leave the air conditioning on all day!
If you’re interested in alternative forms of energy, solar panels can be a wise investment for your new island home. RECO has also recently started new 28MW LPG fired power plant and wind energy, so we might see electricity charges dropping in the future.
Cable and WiFi in Roatan
You’ll find both companies offer local as well as foreign cable stations, so don’t worry about missing out on your favorite TV shows from back home.
Phone Services in Roatan
Landline deals are common with a cable and internet package for your home, although many expats opt out of a landline at this point. If you do want a landline, look into VoIP services that allow you to make international calls over the internet.
Alternatively, there are many smartphone apps that allow you to make free international calls from your cell phone. WhatsApp, Skype, and even Facebook all allow free phone calls over WiFi.
For your cell phone plan, you want to first make sure your smartphone is unlocked if you’re bringing it from home. That allows you to simply purchase a new SIM card in Roatan for a local number. You can do a pay-as-you-go system for data, texts, and calls, depending on how much of each you might need.
Tigo and Claro are the two main providers for cell phone plans. Which one you choose will most likely depend on where you live – you want to make sure you have coverage in your area. Claro tends to cover more of the East End, while Tigo focuses on the western half of Roatan.
Drinking Water and Propane in Roatan
If you don’t have potable water from the tap, you’ll likely be using the very popular 5-gallon jugs of drinking water at home. You will purchase your first full jug at cost (about $5), and then when it’s empty you can exchange it for a full one for only about $1.50.
My recommendation: buy at least two jugs at first, that way you don’t forget to pick one up and end up out of water completely. Have a back up around, just in case!
Propane tanks for your oven and grill will run on the same type of system as the drinking water. You will purchase the initial full tank, and then you can exchange for a full tank as needed. Prices vary depending on the size of your tank.
For both drinking water and propane, you can arrange for the company to deliver full bottles/tanks to you. This is especially helpful if you have storage space to get several water containers delivered and then not have to worry about running out randomly.
Utilities in Roatan
Utility companies can change, costs will vary, and your personal experiences with customer service or delivery or availability can all vary. I am more than happy to offer my personal recommendations for anything related to life here in Roatan. But always keep in mind that these are just my personal experiences!
Other expats may have other advice that differs, and that’s all fine, too. The many expat Facebook groups are another great resource for specific questions related to utilities in Roatan – you can poll a large group for some interesting responses.
And, as always, contact me anytime with questions about your move to paradise.
If you have any comments or questions, Please feel free to drop me a note.