Menu

Free 200+ Page eBook

Top 57 Places to Live & Invest in the Tropics

Quickly find out which country is right for you.
No-hype updates & resource guides. No Spam. Ever.
Limited offer. Instant Download.

Join More than 58,187 people who are breaking free


we value your privacy

An Expat’s Guide to the Honduran Bay Islands: Which One Is for You?

roatan-bay-island

Matty Wack

In recent years Honduras has become a hotspot for international dive and beach lovers. The Bay Islands on the Caribbean Coast are what have brought them there and some people have even chosen to make an island their home.

Like Belize, these islands lie along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest in the world. This makes for some amazing scuba diving. Because Honduras has yet to become an on-the-beaten-track tourist destination, the prices here remain considerably lower than other Caribbean destinations.

Perhaps this explains why many serious divers and those simply looking to enjoy relaxed island life end up retiring or opening businesses here.

With three incredibly distinct islands, visitors and residents often find their favorite. Each island offers access to great diving, has an interesting local culture with Caribbean, Spanish, and Indian roots, and has primarily English-speaking locals due to their Caribbean ancestry. However, each island is quite unique.

We’ve broken down each island to help you determine which of the three Bay Islands you might call home.

Roatan

roatan-honduras-bay-islands

Viva Tropical

Roatan is the largest and most developed, populated, and tourist-frequented of the Bay Islands. In 2011 Island Magazine named it the #1 island in the world to retire on. The white sand beaches and clear Caribbean water make it the image of island paradise, while its accessibility makes it a desirable place to live.

The island consists of a long, forested ridge surrounded by white sand beaches which allows for many outdoor activities. Snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, and water sports can be enjoyed in the ocean. On land there are trails for hiking, horseback riding, zipline tours, and mangroves for exploration.

Roatan lies just off the shore of Honduras and a 2.5 hour plane ride away from Houston. This makes it a great island for those looking for convenience to the U.S. and the mainland for basic supplies.

If you have plans to open a tourism-based business, particularly a restaurant or hotel, Roatan is a great option because it has a steady influx of tourists. Particularly luxury hotels, spas, fine dining restaurants, and most shops will do best on Roatan which attracts more luxury-minded tourists than the other islands. Cruise ships sometimes stop in Roatan so businesses that appeal to cruise passengers will likely also do well on this island.

While the island enjoys tourism for its economy, it is still an up and coming location that is far from densely populated, allowing you to enjoy the relaxation and nature around you.

Utila

Utila-honduran-bay-islands

Simon Hook

Utila first became a tourist destination for backpackers and dive enthusiasts seeking the most affordable diving in the world. While it does enjoy tourism, the island is significantly less developed and populated than Roatan. The local scene is a diverse array of foreigners whether their ancestors came over a hundred years ago on a pirate ship or they moved over from the United States a few months ago.

Because of the island’s small size of under 10,000 residents it has a supportive small town feel. All of the residents know one another and share a peaceful lifestyle on this sleepy island. Utila has a bigger nightlife scene than the other islands because of its popularity with backpackers but it still has a quiet, laid-back island vibe.

Unlike Roatan, Utila is mostly mangrove covered and does not have large stretches of white sand beach. However there are small cayes nearby that you can reach with a dingy for your own private paradise island experience, a favorite day trip for many residents.

This island may not be for everyone, but those who have chosen to live here absolutely love it. It would be a great investment choice for those looking to open budget accommodations, particularly hostels, dive shops, bars, and inexpensive eateries. It’s also a great place for those simply looking to get away.

Guanaja

Guanaja-honduran-bay-isands

Denise Clarke

This small island is certainly the most difficult to access of all the bay islands, but that is likely what keeps it relatively untouched. When you arrive on Guanaja, it becomes apparent that you are somewhere off the beaten track.

Reaching Guanaja does take more effort than the other islands, which is what keeps it so pristine. You must either fly from La Ceiba on the mainland, about a thirty minute flight, or fly first to Roatan and then charter a boat from there.

The island is the most mountainous of the three and has waterfalls, creeks, hiking trails, and beautiful beaches. Most residents live on a small caye off the mainland called Bonacca which has been called the Venice of Honduras because it connects residents with its many waterways.

People who long to be in a truly undisturbed paradise will fall in love with Guanaja. It also has a local fishing community which makes it a great place for fishing enthusiasts. Because this island is considerably less tourist-frequented it has just a few restaurants and hotels. Those looking to work in tourism may be better suited to other islands, however the lack of competition on this island does present an opportunity.

 

The Bay Islands are some of the most beautiful and affordable islands in the entire world. Whether you’re seeking the ease, simplicity, and beauty of Roatan, the local culture and diving on Utila, or the gorgeous relaxed paradise of Guanaja there is an island for you.

 

Up Next

7 of the Top Places U.S. Expats Are Living in Latin America (and Why)

New data shows where U.S. expats are residing all across the globe. Many of the top destinations are in nearby Latin America. Find out why. (Read It)

Central America's Best Real Estate Buy

Don't miss this up and commer. It has the tropical lifestyle, stunning beauty, and smokin appreciation potential. (Read It)

The World’s Top 10 Best Places to Put Your Money

Offshore banking isn't just for the super rich. But how does the average Joe decide where to put his money? Here are the world's top banking jurisdictions. (Read It)
panama city panama real estate update

Panama City, Panama Real Estate Market Update

Today we have a guest post written by Kent Davis, owner of one of the most successful real estate brokerages in Panama City The Panama City real estate market may have finally taken a turn in …

(Read It)
costa rica websites

Top 133 Costa Rica Websites for Expats and Investors

Did you know there are dozens and dozens of great resources on Costa Rica for expats and investors? Sure, we have a ton of resources for Costa Rica on our site, and a whole bunch …

(Read It)

The Truth about Living in Costa Rica: The Good, the Bad, and the Muddy

It's easy to find tons of articles and information out there highlighting all the great benefits of living in Costa Rica. But it's also easy to read those blogs and marketing pieces and think, "Yeah, it …

(Read It)

Why Nosara, Costa Rica Is Not Your Average Surfing Town

A deeper look at Nosara and its history will quickly reveal that this long-time mecca for surfing enthusiasts offers so much more than just the sand and sea. The increasing interest in the area as a …

(Read It)

Expats Are Still Falling in Love with Nosara and Here’s Why

What was once the up-and-coming expat haven of Nosara, Costa Rica, has blossomed into one of Costa Rica's most established expat communities that continues to be ranked near the top of the list of most desirable destinations in the Latin …

(Read It)

How Nosara Strikes the Perfect Balance of Rustic vs. Connected

When you hear people applaud Nosara for its laid-back rustic vibe, what you may not realize is that despite it's off-the-beaten-path atmosphere, Nosara is also surprisingly well connected. As such, this Costa Rican hotspot continues to be one …

(Read It)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hot Real Estate Offer

Real Estate In The Area

Honduras
Luxury day Spa and Salon located in the renowned Infinity Bay Resort, on West Bay Beach, Roatan. This successful spa opened in October 2015. TranQuility Spa has...
$249,000
Honduras
Enjoy the lush tropical gardens and clear ocean views from this jungle home nestled in the hills above and just a block away from West Bay. This 1 bedroom 1 bat...
1.0 beds
1.0 bath
Land Size:0 acres
Building Size:700 sq.ft.
$199,000
Honduras
This unique property sits on 3.71 acres in West Bay Ridge, which overlooks the South shore of Roatan. Nestled in the lush tropical jungle of Roatan, this locati...
5.0 beds
3.0 bath
Land Size:4 acres
Building Size:2,979 sq.ft.
$449,000
See All Listings In The Area
Share8
Tweet
Pin
+1
Share
8 Shares
Free Tropical Toolkit
Free 200+ Page Report: Top 57 Places to Live & Invest
  • The only book in the world that ranks investment and lifestyle in one place.
  • Over 200 information packed pages with hundreds of beautiful photos.
  • Download the book instantly (for free!) with this limited time offer.
*We value your privacy. No spam. Period.