It’s really happening! You’re closing on a house in Roatan and your Caribbean dream is soon to be reality. A future free from daily commutes and snowy winters is tantalizingly close. You can almost feel the Caribbean tradewinds on your face. Just one last hurdle to pass. The move! The logistics can seem overwhelming but don’t sweat it. We’ve got you covered.
Roatan Real Estate are the experts on end-to-end Caribbean relocation logistics and the ONLY realtor on Roatan which offers this comprehensive service to our clients.
In this article we discuss one big and daunting part of the relocation process.
Packing. Minimalism is key. After all, aren’t you moving to Roatan for a more simple way of life? Let go your attachments to materialistic icons of the old lifestyle. They don’t serve you anymore. The Roatan community is pretty low key. We don’t care what kind of glass we drink our wine from – keeping our beverages cold and transportable is more important than stemware. And as far as floor covering and soft furnishings go, the most important thing is the they stand up to the daily traffic of sandy feet and wet swim-suit bottoms.
Read on for more tips of what to pack and what baggage to simply leave behind.
Furnishings: Nesting in your new home is fun, but we advise against wholesale shipping of your household furnishings. Most homes on Roatan are sold fully furnished and, even if those furnishings are not to your taste, it will allow you to move here and settle in without the expense of shipping furniture which may in the end not be suitable to the tropical climate and island lifestyle. When you are ready to put your own stylistic mark on the home there are plentiful local options including a balinese teak importer and several very fine artisan cabinet/furniture makers who work in Honduran hardwoods. Limit your container choices to a few special sentimental pieces (if any).
Kitchenware – good quality kitchen and cookware is not available on Roatan. If you enjoy cooking we recommend you to bring quality cookware, mixing bowls, measuring jugs/cups/spoons, quality knives, quality and kitchen machines such as food processors. Also in particular consider bringing a selection of quality Tupperware or plastic air-tight food storage containers. There are invaluable in the tropical climate. You have several options for shipping of kitchenware: a container or partial container with your other household goods; shipping a pallet or crate; or shopping online and shipping via one of our freight forwarding services.
Electronics – Flat screen TV’s and audio equipment are readily available here but selection is limited and cost is high when compared to North America. Personal computing choices are limited, expensive and there is no resales for Apple products or accessories. Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire and other streaming devices are not available. If electronic gadgets are an important part of your life then best to bring them with you but keep your selection as minimal as possible. Life on Ratan is all about living outdoors and being part with nature, not sitting indoors playing xbox. Also, while our electric supply is far more stable than in years gone by, we still can experience the occasional black and brown-outs which can fry delicate electronics, so better not to invest too heavily in this area.
Household Linens – Definitely source quality bed linens, pillows and towels with you. The selection in Honduras is very limited, poor quality and even then requires a purchasing trip to the mainland. Even if you don’t plan to ship a container this is something that can easily be purchased online and packed in a suitcase or shipped using one of our several freight forwarding companies.
Sporting Equipment – if you have a sporting passion, like mountain biking or SCUBA, we recommend you to bring your gear with you. The choices on island are limited and will be more expensive than back home. As far as SCUBA we have a CRESSI and Aqualung retail outlet but with limited selection as compared to North American or European outlets.
Power Tools – we have fairly well-stocked ferreteria’s for your basic hardware needs but nothing like a Home Depot. If you are a DIY enthusiast we recommend bringing speciality tools with you or having them shipped once you arrive.
Clothing – challenge yourself to be a minimal as possible, and then halve it! On Roatan you do not need fancy clothes or shoes. It is hot year-round and we have two dress-codes – street-casual and beach-casual! Think clothing which is loose-fitting, cool , easy to wash and doesn’t require ironing. For footwear you need a decent pair of sport shoe, rubber boots for rainy season and a couple choices of flip-flops (formal or everyday). You will be in and out of the water, hanging on the beaches, walking on unpaved roads, and constantly slipping off your ‘shoes’ to go inside. Keep it simple and ladies, leave the iron, blowdryer and high heels at home.
Jewelry – leave the expensive and irreplaceable sentimental jewelry in a safe place ‘back home’. Roatan is a safe place to live, but we must acknowledge that Honduras is a third-world country. The wealthy expat communities rub shoulders with some of the poorest people in the world. Opportunistic, non-violent home robberies do occur. Flashy jewelry can draw unwanted attention and that’s not what we’re about down here. Wearing a watch that could feed your gardeners family for a year is unnecessary and a bit lacking in cultural sensitivity.
Pets – at Roatan Real Estate we are animal lovers and fully understand that pets are part of your family. But of course you’re not going to ‘pack them’. If you are considering to bring your dog or cat to Roatan then speak to us we have specialty expertise in pet relocation and we can help you with this important decision point and all the logistics that go along with it.
You will have other questions on what to bring with you on your move and we are here to advise you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us. And remember that online shopping is still possible once you arrive on Roatan. We can help you setup a US mailing address with one of our freight-forwarders and delivery lead-time is usually around 3 weeks. So if in doubt, leave it out.
We look forward to helping you with this exciting transition to your new life. Hasta Proxima!