Roatan – is it the place for us?
Roatan certainly has a lot going for it! When I bump it up against our hit list, it’s almost perfect. Almost.
Let’s break down the pros & cons as they pertain to us:
- Easy to get to – Roatan is easily accessible from the US. In under 4 hours you can be there. It’s also easy to reach other places from Roatan like Belize and Cuba, a huge plus!
- A full time vet – in addition to the traveling vets which come every couple of months there’s a vet full-time on the island. That’s a huge comfort to us since our dogs will definitely be joining us there. Maybe not right away but soon after.
- Amazing & varied diving – thanks to the RMP & all of the concerned citizens and volunteers, Roatan’s reefs are thriving. There are shipwrecks, walls, swim-throughs & drift dives. Tons of beautiful corals, sponges and fans – all in great health. We love diving here. If all of that wasn’t enough, most sites are accessible by a very short boat ride.
- Small Community– even for a larger island there’s a close-knit community. We’ve been there three times and have a good number of friends and acquaintances on the island. I imagine after a few months that number will grow significantly.
- Infrastructure – you’re not going to find a Home Depot by any means but there’s a decent selection of goods on the island. There are a few large-ish grocery stores and you can find pretty much whatever you need. You might have to hunt for it, but you’ll probably find it eventually.
- Tons of dive shops – there’s a lot of opportunity to do our dive-master and IDC training here. Tons of shops also means the opportunity to work and gain experience as instructors.
- Reasonable cost of living – definitely cheaper than the states and with a gorgeous reef! Yes please!
- Visa Runs – until we can navigate a permanent form of residency, leaving every 3 months for 3 days will be a pain and also costly. This isn’t unique to Roatan though.
- Hard to Find Work – and getting harder as new fees are put in place that make permits very expensive.
- Crime – personal property crime is definitely a growing issue including some violent incidents. This is a pretty big drawback as feeling & being safe are a top priority.
- Limited Services – medical, banking, etc. but that’s all small developing islands so it’s not specific to Roatan.
- Stray Dogs – I know this one sounds silly but I’m really afraid of strange dogs. I was attacked by a dog on a beach as a kid and just never got over it. I’m going to have to get past this if we move to Roatan as there’s a pretty large population of island dogs roaming around.
Roatan might just be where we start out when we go where it’s warm! Doing a 3 month dive-master class and internship will most certainly expose cons we’re not seeing at this juncture & then we can decide if it’ll become our permanent home.
It feels good to be narrowing it down to a few key places. By no means have we decided our starting point yet, but we’re getting close, stay tuned!
Hope you’re all enjoying summer! I know we’ve been taking full advantage of it here.
Warm thoughts to all!