It is a country with just about everything to offer from inexpensive land and low building costs to a stable government and excellent health care.
Hondurian food is not much different from the food you find in the U.S. with a couple of exceptions.
A typical Honduran breakfast usually consists of scrambled eggs, beans and tortillas. "American-style" breakfasts are also available and usually include toast with jam and coffee or orange juice.
A typical Honduran meal will include rice, benas, tortillas, grilled chicken or beef and a salad. In the Bay Islands or the Honduran coast, seafood dishes featuring fresh fish, shrimp, lobster or the endlessly versatile conch.
Other meals in Honduras might include burritos made up of shredded meat, refried beans, cheese and avocado rolled up in flour tortillas; tamales that may include vegetables or potatoes, as well as chicken or pork. And desert is often Tres Leches Cake - a cake soaked in three kinds of milk, including evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and cream.
The cost of living
Honduras’s cost of living is between one-third and one-half lower than its Central American neighbors and is considered to be one of the world’s most reasonable.
A three-bedroom home with a pool, tennis court, maid’s quarters and plenty of land in one of Honduras most exclusive areas sells for about $80,000. Additional monthly expenses such as a live-in housekeeper, telephone, electricity and air conditioning costs only about $150.
A meal for two in a mid-level Honduran restaurant costs only about $10.00 (U.S.), fresh cheese is $2.00, and imported beer $1.50. Taxis cost $3.50 (for trips within 3 miles of city center), a one-bedroom apartment at City Centre, $275 a month, and a three bedroom apartment, also in City Centre, just $487.00 (U.S.) a month.
In addition to a low cost of living, Honduras is a great place for taxes as there is no income tax on income earned outside the country. This means that if your earnings are from stocks, bonds, mutual funds, social security or a pension from some country outside of Honduras, you will live tax-free.
You can own property with the same property rights as Honduran nationals. Honduran property taxes are based on the property’s declared value and are progressive. Property taxes in San Pedro Sula are from 0.1% to 0.8%; Real estate properties in the Central District are taxed at the rate if 5%.
Capital gains earned by non-residents of Honduras are taxed at a fixed rage of 10%.
Real estate in Honduras
It is relatively easy to buy property in Honduras but you will want to hire a Honduran real estate professional and an attorney to help with the transaction.
Foreign nationals can own up to ¾ of an acre in Honduras but you can form a Honduran corporation and own more.
Beachfront real estate buys in Honduras are truly unparalleled. There are good building sites still available in the Bay Islands but much of their beachfront is now occupied by condominiums.
It is still possible to buy large land parcels on Guanaja and to a lesser degree on Utila and Roatan Islands.
Temperatures in Honduras vary with the elevation and not the season. For example, areas below 3300 feet are commonly known as “hot land.” Land between 3300 and 6500 feet is called “temperate land.” And anything above 6500 feet is tierra firia or “cold land.”
Both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts are hot lands with daytime highs between 82o F. and 90o F. throughout the year.
Honduras’ interior highlands range from temperate to hot. However, Tegucigalpa lies in a sheltered valley at an elevation of 3300 feet and has a very temperate climate with an average high temperature of 90 F. in April, its warmest month to January, its coolest.
Retiring to Honduras
If you are interested in retiring to Honduras, here’s good news. The country makes it easy to obtain residency.
There are three types of residency – one for retirees, a second for people who want to invest in a business of some kind and a third for those with investment income outside the country.
You begin the process of applying for any of these types of residency at your nearest Honduran embassy and it ends with an Honduran attorney. The cost for obtaining residency and moving to Honduras will be about $2,000 (U.S.) Getting residency will take somewhere between a month to a year. In the meantime, you will be allowed to live in Honduras via a passport stamp that will be issued by the embassy or the Honduran Immigration Department.
If your goal is to get a retirement residency card, you will need to be able to show a passport, police record, a health certificate, one photograph and several other documents. You can get complete details on the documents you will need at your Honduran embassy.
Spanish is Ecuador’s official language. English is the most spoken foreign language.
It’s not necessary to learn some Spanish but it is helpful as this will make your life in Honduras much easier.
Children in most Honduran schools are now being taught English but older Hondurans tend to speak only Spanish.
Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere. It has a per capita gross national income of only $1,845 (U.S.). However, its economic growth rate was 6.3% in 2007 and 4% in 2008.
While the Honduran economy has historically been dependent on the export of agricultural goods, it has diversified in recent years and now has a strong export- processing (maquila) industry that focuses primarily on assembling textile and apparel goods for re-export to the United States. It also processes automobile parts, wiring harnesses and similar products. In fact, these industries now employ about 140,000 Hondurans. The country also has extensive forest, marine and mineral resources.
Economic growth in Honduras has averaged 7% per year which is one of the best growth rates in Latin America. However, approximately 3.7 million Hondurans still remain below the poverty line.
The Honduran cites of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula offer excellent medical facilities that are equipped with the latest, state-of-the-art medical equipment such as MRI, bone density, mammography and CAT Scan equipment and anything else that is currently available in the U.S.
These facilities are staffed by physicians and specialists of all disciplines, many of whom trained in the U.S. Health insurance typically costs about $250 a month for a couple in their fifties.
Honduras offers a variety of cultural attractions. One of the most popular can be found in Copan and is the remnants of Native American civilization. In fact, this area is often called the “Athens of the Mayans.”
There is also the UNESCO World Heritage site, which is famous for its hieroglyphic staircase built in 743.
A series of towns, Santa Rosa, Corquin, Belen, Gualcho, Comayague and Gracias provide an interesting glimpse of the country’s colonial years.
The second largest coral reef in the world can be found in Honduras’ Bay Islands. Its water also plays home to bottlenose dolphins, bright colored parrotfish, manta rays and the enormous whale shark.
Honduras has many world-renowned artists, including Antonio Velásquez. Carlos Garay, and Roque Zelaya.
The country also has national holidays that feature festive and colorful celebrations. The most important of these are Honduras Independence Day (Sept. 15), Children’s Day (Día del Niño) on Sept. 10, Christmas, Easter, Good Friday and Day of the Soldier (Oct. 3) and New Year’s Eve.
Three Honduran cities we like for retirement – Where to Retire in Honduras
Honduras has three cities you should investigate if you intend to retire there. They are Tegucigalpa, La Cieba and Roatan.
Tegucigalpa. As noted above, this city lies sheltered in a valley and offers a very temperate climate. In fact, its climate is among the most pleasant available in Central America due to it altitude.
Tegucigalpa is the capital of Honduras and its largest city; It is the home of a modern and well-equipped medical facility. The Presidential Palace, which is now a national museum, is in Tegucigalpa, as well as the headquarters of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration and the campus of the National University of Honduras.
The city of Tegucigalpa has a population of about 1,240,000 people. The inhabitants are predominantly Spanish speaking mestizos with a small minority of white Hispanics.
An example of housing costs in Tegucigalpa, there was recently listed a new home in one of the city’s best neighborhoods, with three bedrooms, 2 ½ baths, living room, studio for an office, maid’s room and many other luxury amenities for $149,500 U.S. Also listed was a three bedroom house just 20 minutes away from the city with a small raspberry vineyard for only $250,000 U.S.
La Cieba. This is a port city on Honduras’s northern coast. It has a population of more than 200,000 that live in 170 residential areas called colonias or barrios. It is the third largest city in Honduras and has a tropical climate.
La Cieba has many public schools as well as a number of private bilingual schools. The areas around La Cieba have many natural reserves and parks. Pico Bonito (Beautiful Park) is its best known. What is described as a beautiful house in the north zone of La Cieba with four bedrooms, 4 ½ baths, a TV room, maid’s quarters and swimming pool was recently listed for $209,818 U.S.
Roatan. This island is located between the Utila and Guanaja Islands. It is approximately 37 miles long and less than 5 miles wide at its widest point.
Roatan has two municipalities – Jose Santos Guardiola in the east and Roatan In the west. Its most populous town is Coxen Hole.
Roatan has seen an almost overwhelming increase in population in recent years with numerous American, Canadian, British, New Zealand, Australian and South African settlers and entrepreneurs coming to the area.
Real estate on Roatan is not inexpensive. For example, there was recently listed a big beach house with three bedrooms, three baths, a sleeping loft and 100’ of beach frontage for $575,000 U.S. West Bay Beach has Caribbean Breeze Villas – fully furnished two-bedroom, 1,164 sq. ft. condo units listed at the “discounted” price of $299,000 U.S.
When you think of great places to relocate or retire to, you might not have thought of Honduras. But with its low cost of living, non-existent taxes, mountains and beaches and wealth of things to do and see – it definitely belongs on our list of the top 10 best places to retire and should be on yours.