Earlier this spring we took a Caribbean cruise. Of all the spots we visited, the one I’d really like to go back to is Roatan. I could definitely see myself retiring in Roatan.
I would love to visit Roatan tomorrow and just sit there on the beach, with my feet in the clear blue water and the warm sun smiling down on my little bald head. ( see the full-size pictures at the end of this post and you’ll see what I mean) And of all the many reasons to visit Roatan as a vacation spot or as a retirement plan, I have selected my personal top 5 reasons to visit and maybe retire in Roatan. First though, while you’re still saving for retirement you’re probably asking yourself “where is Roatan?”
Where is Roatan?
Roatan is an island in Central America. One of three large Honduras Bay islands, it lies off the northern coast of Honduras between Utila and Guanaja. Sitting about 82 miles off the coast of Honduras it is 48 miles long and about 5 miles wide at it widest. It is officially part of the country of Honduras, but in reality, its pure “Margaritaville.”
UPDATE: recently I have been made aware of some serious crime in Roatan. Unfortunately, there is now danger in paradise. I just want you to be aware of everything. Jim Walker has published an informative article about the problem of crime in Roatan.
Roatan has a tropical climate
I’m pointing this out because today, as I write this, it’s about 4 degrees in Chicago, they are expecting 8 inches of snow. And it’s almost the middle of March! By contrast, if you visit Roatan in March the average temperature is around 84 degrees. The coldest month, January is only 80 degrees and the hottest month, September, averages almost 88. It’s like “Goldilocks” weather, not too hot, not too cold, just right. It has two rainy seasons. One from around the first of July to the start of September. The second appears in January to February. Throughout the year occasional rains can quickly pop up, but the rest of the time its pure heaven. You can’t beat the bright sunshine and cool breezes. If one of your retirement plans is to escape the cold, then Roatan may be the place for you.
Roatan has dazzling beaches
Last time we were there we just laid in our beach chairs and dangled our feet in the water. I was trying to come up with a retirement plan I could convince the wife of, but I’m still working on it. She’s not ready to retire in Roatan just yet, but she did agree it was as close to perfect as you can get. There are so many sparkling sandy coastlines it’s hard to pick the best. The turquoise-blue waters seem to come alive with light, as the sun reflects off the clear white ocean floor. The fishing in Roatan is world-class also.
From West Bay Beach to newly designed Mahogany Bay Beach, the choices are endless. I love relaxing on the beach at West End because of its proximity to the restaurants and shops, and the view is pure Caribbean. Sandy Bay Beach to the east is another favorite when you want a little fewer people around. Mahogany Bay Beach was built by the cruise ship industry to cater to tourists and it’s definitely working. Currently, about a million tourists visit Roatan each year.
Saving for Retirement is easy in Roatan
Whether you are looking for a first class resort or just a backpackers hostel, Roatan has what you want. Recently, we found a nice little spot right across from the beach at West End. It’s called Crystal Beach.
If you’re looking for a more upscale resort check out Cobalt Coast Resort or an all-inclusive dive package at Anthony’s Key Resort.
Moving up in quality, another spot we found has nice little bungalows right on their own sparkling white beach.The Lost Paradise Inn on West End beach is a great spot to chill-out and let your troubles melt away. The place was full of snow-birds doing just that. We are hoping to be joining them in the near future. The view is amazing and the beach is more than I can say. Check out their website for some great pictures and all the information at Lost Paradise Inn.
Early Retirement in Roatan is easy to get to
If you want to visit Roatan it’s easy. Flying from Miami takes about 2 hours and you can land at Roatan’s International airport. It’s only 761 miles by air and that’s about the same distance as Miami to Charlotte, NC. So, it really is close and yet, when you get there, you will feel like you’re a million miles from home. You can also get there by ship.
Cruise Ship companies have discovered the beauty of Roatan and quickly added Roatan to many of their cruises.
(In fact, we are already booked to go back. Maybe I’ll convince her this time)
Diving in Roatan
Roatan is a diver’s paradise
Roatan lies right beside the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is over 800 miles long and stretches from Honduras to Mexico. And the great thing is you can step into the water in Roatan and swim right out to great snorkeling or diving spots. The dive reefs in Roatan are world famous some of the best spots on the entire planet for fish, coral, plant growth, and enjoyment.
Visit Roatan to work on your retirement plan and you’ll quickly find there are numerous dive shops and dive schools along the coast. You can get PADI certified for as low as $300 while enjoying beautiful diving locations at the same time. If you ask any experienced divers around the world “where is Roatan?” … they all know.
Getting to Roatan
From the States, the best way to visit Roatan is by air. It’s only two hours from Miami and the fares are not too bad. Recently we found out that you can go toKayak.com and set fare alerts that will automatically E-mail you with the best fares to anywhere you pick. there’s just not any good reason not to visit Roatan. This the most “tropical Island” I’ve ever visited. Oh, did I mention.. this is where they filmed Fantasy Island so naturally you can arrive on “the plane! the plane!”