Working in Roatan


Image: snorkelling in Roatan

Working in Roatan is something that many people have wondered about and asked about. Why?

Because once you visit this place you tend to get 'hooked' on the atmosphere, the opportunities, the tranquility, the freedom and the laid back lifestyle.

The stress of our back home tends to disappear and you start to wonder ... 'hm ... I wonder if I could just LIVE HERE and find a way to make some money ...'.

There are many things to do in Roatan and people have come here and opened up dive shops, restaurants, scooter rental shops, you name it.


Ron Sedlak by THE VIEW in Roatan


By our project truck on one of my visits to the condo development.



Following the Rules

As far as working in Roatan goes, you need a work visa and it generally has to be for work that is not able to be done by a Honduran citizen or resident.

The government here does not want you taking a job away from one of their people (like just anywhere else) and you can appreciate that with a nation-wide 30% unemployment rate!

I have heard figures of 30% to 50% unemployment for Honduras so I am not sure what the accurate figure is. It is high.

If you want to work in Roatan it is better to start your own business or to invest and form a corporation (easier than it sounds).

There are many types of businesses that are not represented in Roatan that can be started. Doing this is appreciated by the government - anything that brings more tourism and money to the island. That is their bread and butter.

Businesses are easy to start here, there is not a lot of red tape. A business licence will cost you about $2,500, paid at the municipality in the main town of the island called Coxen Hole.

You will need a visa to work for your business unless you are a resident.

If that fee rubs you the wrong way (as it does me) there are other alternatives.

Tax Breaks

There are some great tax breaks involved with starting a Tourism related business here. This means businesses that help bring people to the island or service them while they are here.

In fact, how does 10 years of tax free profits sound? You can even move here with all your property and your car without paying any duty when you decide to take up residency here.

Check for the latest laws and programs on this before jumping in.

Image: work at home with laptop

Working from Home

Of course if you already have an on-line business and work on the Internet, you are ahead of the game and can live and work wherever you want! You can travel all over the world and keep working your business.

If you want to do something like this and have not already started, why not start now and get prepared for the future?

You will likely be working at something to bring in money, why not do it this way?

Investing in Roatan

Investors are always welcome in Roatan, as they bring money into the country and potentially bring jobs to people.

And even if you do not have a lot of money of your own, banks are always willing to lend money against existing real estate or you can raise money to start a project with a partner (or several). This is what I have been doing and is something you can do if it suits you.

Click here to see my Roatan investment story.

I have not been working in Roatan per se' but I set up an investment corporation (Colibri Villas S.A.) which is also a real estate project.

Tourists can invest and purchase property, up to 3/4 acre in your name. Anything larger needs to be established in a corporation (Honduranean corp). It's easy.

You can set up corporations in Honduras and purchase property with just a tourist visa (or just your passport if you are US, Canadian, etc.)

Corps cost about $700 to set up, which is quite inexpensive compared to other places I have seen. It will cost you more if you want to arrange it from outside of Honduras.

When you are actually on the island things become easier, faster and less expensive. I set up my property and project this way from inside the country and can recommend a lawyer who can do this for you.

How to Live on Roatan as a Visitor

Living in Roatan for two years, I could not just stay in the country the whole time as a visitor.

Each 3 months you have to leave the country for at least 3 days and then come back in and get a new 90 day visitors visa. I never had a problem with this coming back into the country.

I took care of this legally by visiting extended family in Canada occasionally as well as visiting other countries such as Panama, Venezuela, etc.

There are several very interesting (and safe) countries in Central America you can visit for a few days. Costa Rica, Panama and Belize come to mind.

And as long as you do not work a job to earn money on Roatan, you can stay as long as you like, renewing your tourist/visitor status each 3 months as I wrote above.

If you want to work, just get a work permit or become a resident. There are several types of residency available and I will cover these in a separate article.

Return from Working in Roatan page to Colibri Villas Condos page.