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2014 cost of living in Roatan: One week

I get lots of emails about cost of living here, so beyond my initial post about the cost of living in Roatan I thought I’d offer some more updated information. Part one is cost of living for a week. Stay tuned for a month and a year. You’ve asked, so here you go, people!

Here’s what you should expect to pay…

if you’re coming to Roatan for a week:

Housing: $10/night for a shared room in a hostel, $45/night for a basic room with a fan, $175/night for a resort room, $450/night for a house. The options are endless so do some research or just wing it if you’re into that sort of thing. If you have a big group, rent a house and share it – it’s worth it!

Food: Assuming you’re eating out all the time because a) you’re on vacation, b) you don’t have a full kitchen in your hotel room, and/or c) you’re super lazy interested in local cuisine, expect to pay $5 for breakfast, $12 for lunch, and $20 for dinner.

That’s if you get a baleada and coffee for breakfast, a sandwich and a drink for lunch, and an entree with a drink for dinner at most casual places.

Let’s be serious, though: you will have more than one drink. You are on an island. So budget for that, too. Beers are usually $3-6 each, mixed drinks $5-10 each.

And for the love of all things holy, people, TIP YOUR SERVERS. That’s waiters/waitresses, bartenders, housekeepers, divemasters, everyone who has every option to ruin your vacation but instead makes it awesome. They work for tips. Budget accordingly.

Transportation: You can get cabs very cheaply here, so unless you’re planning to drive all over the island on your own every day, renting a car really isn’t necessary for your whole trip. That’s assuming you’re staying in West End or West Bay or staying at a resort where you’ll also be doing most of your activities.

My recommendation: rent a car for one day to drive around and check out the awesome views and the rest of our beautiful island. Otherwise, $2.25 for a cab from West End to Coxen Hole (grocery stores, banks, and other random things you can’t buy in West End or West Bay), $5 for a cab between West End and West Bay or $3 for a water taxi during daylight hours. $10 cab from West End to the airport or ferry.

As a tourist, you will likely be charged more initially for all of these things, but you can negotiate. I still get charged more fairly often, until I tell them that I live here, know the prices, and won’t pay more than I need to. Then we smile and chat for the whole cab ride instead.

Also note that cab prices are per person so sharing doesn’t save you anything here – you will likely share your cab with many others on your journey so make friends!

Activities: $40 for a single scuba dive in most shops, estimate around $300 for a week of diving, add gear rental if you don’t have your own, add Roatan Marine Park fees, and DON’T FORGET TO TIP!

Ziplining, paddleboarding, kayaking, sunset cruising, you name it the list is endless. You could spend $1000 in a week, or only $100 and still do a few fun things. After all, the ocean is free 🙂

Other expenses: Keep in mind if you’re renting a house they may charge you for your electricity use. Electricity in Roatan is 4x what it costs in the States. That’s $0.48/kw.

What you pay in a month at home you will pay in a week here if you use your A/C all day and leave lights on and watch TV and sit on your computer. But wait, you’re not at home, so why would you do that?! Go outside, get some fresh air, and keep the A/C off while you’re gone. You’ll thank me later.

Please don’t write this down as exact payments and then get mad at me for being off – these are merely estimates to help you plan your trip.

I seriously cannot be considered an expert on household budgeting. I’m totally cool with eating pasta every day and never using an A/C despite the fact that it feels like 120 degrees with the humidity. I don’t expect that of everyone and realize that some people may not enjoy sweating as much as I do.

But you know what? It’s true that salt water cures everything. Tears, sweat, and the sea. That’s all we need!

Hope this helps you guys plan your trips better! Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 as I break down cost of living by month and year as well.