Healthcare is always a common concern among expats. Rest assured, Roatan has several hospitals and medical clinics available for you should you need treatment.
The private hospital in Coxen Hole is called Woods Clinic, which is where most expats go. Private rooms are available and many doctors are bilingual. Also in Coxen Hole, there is a public hospital offering incredibly cheap care. However, keep in mind that Honduras is a developing nation and the public hospital frequently lacks adequate funding.
A brand new hospital is being built at MegaPlaza in French Harbour, which is only a few minutes down the road from Mariposa Lagoon. This hospital is being constructed in coordination with Hospital Cemesa, which is a premier hospital on the mainland of Honduras.
Additionally, Roatan is lucky to host the GARM (Global Alliance for Regenerative Medicine) Clinic at Parrot Tree plantation. This clinic is bringing in medical tourists from North America and offers state-of-the-art facilities not just for stem cell treatments, but also for a wide variety of services. Parrot Tree Plantation is located at First Bight, which is just next door to Mariposa Lagoon.
Finally, Roatan has many smaller medical clinics available as well, both private and public. Clinica Esperanza is run by Nurse Peggy and serves as the island’s best clinic offering free or low-cost services for locals. The clinic at Anthony’s Key Resort is more expensive but offers incredible care at still incredibly low rates in comparison to what you might pay in the U.S. The plethora of pharmacies on the island all offer medications over-the-counter, making it cheap and easy for you to access what you need, including prescriptions from home.
If you live in Mariposa Lagoon full time, you’ll want your own vehicle for convenience and to save on costs. However, public transportation on the island is extensive and offers ample opportunity to get around if you’re just visiting or coming to your vacation home only a few times each year. Taxis and buses run the length of the island, so you could stand anywhere along the main road to pay for a ride. Keep in mind that taxis in Roatan are collective, not individual. You pay per person and you will stop along the way to pick-up and drop-off other passengers. If you are in a rush, you can tell the driver you want to go privado instead – though of course the cost will be higher. Taxi rates are posted publicly, and the more often you take cabs the more familiar you will be with typical costs. Buses are cheaper, though they run only their particular routes so you cannot get dropped at your specific destination.
Alternatively, you can rent a car if you’re heading out just for a day or two to run about the island. There are a plethora of rental car companies, most based at the airport to assist passengers as they arrive and depart. There are smaller, locally owned companies elsewhere on the island that you can contact by local phone as needed while you’re in Roatan. Keep in mind that the main road in Roatan is well paved, but full of tight curves and wild drivers, as is common in the Caribbean. Drive defensively and be extra cautious driving at night as many areas have very little or no lighting available.
Grocery stores in Roatan look just like those in the U.S.! At Eldon’s Grocery, you’ll see aisle after aisle of familiar brands and products alongside local products. The diversity reflects the diversity of Roatan’s residents.
Outside of the larger grocery stores, there are also specialty shops like The Bulk Gourmet, offering an even wider array of imported products to make your holidays and special occasions even more special. You can really find almost anything you need in Roatan, despite the fact that it is an island. Keep in mind, however, that if you want imported products, you’ll be paying higher prices. So it does benefit you to try local brands and products to save some money on your grocery bill.
Although Roatan is an island, you will find a wide variety of stores selling everything you might need for your home or family. Lady Lee at MegaPlaza offers everything for the home, from appliances to decorations.
Hardware stores are everywhere, even including an ACE Hardware just east of MegaPlaza. Sometimes, however, you may have to visit every hardware store on the island to find the specific item you need. Keep in mind that these are not massive Home Depot warehouses; these are locally owned and operated stores offering the best variety they can in an ever-growing market.
You can find clothing stores on the island, but all are local. You won’t find your chains from home so you could either check out the local stores and styles, or you could head to the mainland if you need a wider variety and brands you recognize.
There are a few stores offering electronics and electronic repair as well. And if there’s anything you need that doesn’t yet exist in Roatan, you can bet that someone is working on it already. As more and more expats move to Roatan, a wider variety of options continues to grow. Utilize the Facebook groups to find out where to buy specific items if you’re unsure – the community is incredibly involved and very helpful.
The expat community in Roatan is really welcoming and easy to get involved with as a newcomer. Before you even move, you can start connecting with others on Facebook through the multitude of Facebook groups. Check out Expats Living in Roatan, Roatan Garage Sale, and Roatan Schedule to get started. For the ladies, there is a monthly luncheon where you can meet other women in Roatan, both local and expat.
Additionally, the expat community is very involved with local issues, especially with organizations like Roatan Because We Care, SOL International Foundation, Rotary Club, the Roatan Humane Society, and the Roatan Animal Shelter.
At Mariposa Lagoon, we recommended that all of our neighbors support the Roatan Marine Park, because without their tireless conservation efforts, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the beautiful natural resources we have in Roatan. We also highly recommend a charity called Dwellings, an organization committed to building homes and changing lives by providing shelter and hope for recipient families, as well as a life-changing experience for those involved in the building process.