Life on Roatan residency owning real estate

Frequently Asked Questions about Roatan

Roatan Travel Documents

A valid passport is needed to enter the country. In order to leave Honduras, you must also return the entry papers you are given. There is an approximately $32.00 USD departure tax upon exiting the country.

Roatan Accommodations

West Bay Roatan There are many fine resorts and vacation rentals available on this tropical island. If you are traveling during the high season or holidays, these should be booked in advance to ensure availability If you are in need of a recommendation or if you need help making arrangements, please feel free to contact us. We will be glad to assist you as well as pick you up at the airport and provide free Island tours for you to get your bearings.

Purchasing Roatan Real Estate

The purchase of real estate in Roatan is an simple process when you use a competent real estate broker and a lawyer who is a notary.  A Honduras lawyer is required to complete the final documents. Foreigners, as individuals, can own up to 0.75 of an acre of land. If you wish to own more than 0.75 of an acre, you can do so by forming a Honduran corporation with the help of a qualified lawyer at a cost of about $1500.00. When purchasing real estate in Honduras, it is important to have a good understanding of the documents associated with clear title. To protect your investment, a qualified real estate broker and lawyer should assist with reviewing the documents. American title insurance is available, as well as financing.

Building Costs on Roatan

Wood construction in Roatan starts at about $65 per square foot. Concrete is about $85 per square foot. These are averages and will vary with your home design and the options you choose. Building materials are available both on the island and on the mainland. Some specific or special items may not be available. Those could be ordered from the United States and shipped to the island of Roatan on one of two main freight carriers, at a fairly reasonable price.


Most of the water on the Caribbean island comes from private or community wells. We advise everyone to build a cistern to collect rain water to supplement the well systems. Roatan Electric Company (RECO) provides electricity. It is available to the majority of the island. Sewage is handled by private septic systems in most cases. For about $5000, a good septic system can be installed with gray water as a by-product for irrigation. Generators and solar power may also be used in outlying areas. Because the price of oil has soared, electricity from the grid in Roatan has increased in price significantly over the past year. Alternative energy is a good consideration to lower your costs.


There are a number of private bilingual schools located on the island many with American teachers. There is also a Spanish public school system.

Honduras Medical Care

Health care in Honduras is very affordable. Many physicians were trained in the United States, so they speak English and keep up-to-date. A visit to the doctor costs between USD $5 and USD $20, and a private hospital room costs USD $30 to USD $40 a day. You can have complex surgery performed for as little as USD $1,000. (Information from International Living.)

Taxes on Roatan

Property taxes are very affordable. Expect to pay about $ 3.50/ $1000.00. For example: property taxes for Roatan real estate valued at $50,000.00 would be assessed about $175.00.

Tax Incentives

If you have a plan that will bring tourists to the island, there are tax incentives. A 20-year exemption from income tax, no import duties, and no property taxes are some of the incentives available.

Roatan Building Restrictions

Depending on what you wish to do with you property in Honduras, you will probably have to apply for a permit. This could be as simple as a building permit for a house or condo, to something more complicated like a resort. With a house, the main concerns are sewage treatment, height restrictions, and structural integrity. If you plan on building a resort or doing a housing development, you may need to do an environmental study.

Honduras Political Climate

Honduras has a democratically elected government that encourages island tourism. The municipal governments on Roatan island also encourage tourism. There is a large U.S. presence on the mainland of Honduras and on the Caribbean island of Roatan.


Insurance for hurricanes, flooding, and many other acts of God is available through two companies on Roatan. Car insurance runs about $600 per year.

Honduras Residency

You do not need a Residency number to own property or real estate in Honduras. You may want to apply for residency for various reasons including allowances for bringing in some items duty free or if you plan to spend more than 90 days at a time in Honduras. Obtaining a Residency number can be a lengthy process and should be started from your country of residence before you move to the island. Information on what is required can be obtained from the Honduran consulate nearest to you. We can also introduce you to lawyers on Roatan who can answer more detailed questions.

Roatan Crime

Much like in many towns and cities in North America, it is not advisable to leave valuables in unlocked, unsupervised vehicles. Nor is it a good idea to leave a house vacant with valuables in it for extended periods, unless it is in a secure community. Children hitch rides with strangers on the small winding main road. Use caution when walking in isolated, dark places, and on the street in evenings.

Money and Banking on Roatan

American dollars are taken everywhere on Roatan, but it would probably be wise to have some Lempiras, as the exchange rate may vary and you might get a better buy with Honduran currency. Real estate transactions are generally made using wire transfers from banks in your native country to a real estate escrow account. There are several banks to choose from on the island, with several in French Harbor. Some have automatic teller machines, but all offer checking accounts and savings accounts and most offer Visa advances and Traveler's Check cashing.


Shrimp and lobster are Roatan’s largest industry and are readily available and very fresh. There are three larger modern grocery stores on the Island, two in Coxen Hole and one just off the main road in French Harbor. There are also small neighborhood stores all over the island. Availability of quality products is getting better all of the time and you can find good cheeses, meats, baked goods, and fresh fish and vegetables. There are fruit and vegetable trucks and seafood trucks on the roadside in West End where prices and quality are usually very good. A new bakery at French Harbor has whole grain breads, bagels, and wonderful desserts. Don’t worry about satisfying your sweet tooth. The only problem is what to choose- Coconut Pie, Key Lime Pie, New York Cheesecake, or Chocolate Delights like only a true chocolate lover can imagine!

Roatan Restaurants

There are several fine restaurants on Roatan and many places to enjoy excellent food. Shrimp and lobster are plentiful, fresh and clean. Most people find the problem is overeating since prices are definitely some of the best in the Caribbean. An average dinner price at a good restaurant ranges from $8-$15 per person.