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Cost-of-Living: Below the U.S. National Average

 

Honduras Retirement Communities

 

Honduras Escape

Copán Ruinas, Honduras

For Retirees with a Sense of Adventure, Copán Ruinas, Honduras Apartment Suites Offer Inexpensive Retirement in a Beautiful Country

 
Copán Ruinas, Honduras is a village snuggled in Honduras' Western Highlands (3,500 feet), approximately 12 km miles from the Guatemalan border.  It is the site of the Copán  Ruins, a massive, magnificent Mayan ruin considered the cultural center of the Maya world.  The ruins attract 200,000 tourists a year, so although Copán Ruinas is somewhat remote, it is not isolated.   Roughly 5,000 people live in town, with another 5,000 or so living in the surrounding hills.  Perhaps 50 of these residents are foreign expatriates, many of them retirees.  One place they live is a small apartment building called Honduras Escape, which is managed by a North American couple and has long-term rentals for retirees.

 

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While the suites are not luxurious, they are not bare-bones and comfortably accommodate two people.  Each suite is fully furnished and has a bedroom, a living room, a kitchen and a bathroom.   The floors are tile, and the furniture is wicker, all locally manufactured.    The eat-in kitchen has a table and chairs, a refrigerator, a coffee maker, a stove and all utensils.   Two sets of linens and towels are supplied, and washers and dryers are available, although the apartment homes have full maid service.  Each suite comes decorated with Mayan objects and materials, and each has a mural painted by a local artist.  Best of all, rates start at $350 USD per month.   There is no gated entrance or high-tech, state-of-the-art clubhouse, but there is a fresh-air reading room with books, cards and board games.  Two meals, breakfast and dinner, are prepared by the in-house chef and are served in the private, tropical garden.  Meals are not included in the monthly fee but are very inexpensive.  Visit the Honduras Escape website at www.hondurasescape.com.

 

Copán is poor but considered very safe.  Its people are friendly and generally welcoming, and the village's charm is enhanced by  cobblestone streets and whitewashed buildings with red tile roofs.    The lush hills around Copán offer opportunities for caving, hiking and horseback riding, and there are restaurants, a general store, a bank and an English-speaking doctor in town.  Local transportation is provided by motorized rickshaws; shopping for local handicrafts, particularly jade and silver carvings, is worth a visit here in and of itself.  Spanish is the official language, but some English is spoken, and fully equipped hospitals are located 45 minutes away in Chiquimoula, Guatemala.   The U.S. is two hours away by air.

This Latin American country experienced a coup d’état against the democratically elected government in June, 2009.  In November, 2009, peaceful and transparent elections were held, and in January, 2010, a new president was sworn into office.   Since the elections, political violence in the country has decreased considerably, and the U.S. State Department canceled the travel alert for Honduras on December 8, 2009.

Rroughly the size of Tennessee, Honduras has 7 million inhabitants.  Residents and tourists alike here enjoy nearly 400 miles of pristine, powdery Caribbean coastline and turquoise waters (the northern coast is about 200 km away from Copán and the Bay Islands, wonderful spots for diving, are roughly 300 km northeast and another 40 km offshore), as well as unspoiled tropical forests, fierce rivers and undiscovered ruins.   The Copán region is one of the best in the world for growing coffee, and nothing quite measures up to sipping a delicious morning cup while gazing at mist-shrouded hills in a mountain Paradise and knowing that the stresses of modern, urban life are far, far away.   Living well here can be done on $500-$600 a month.  

The Copán climate is temperate.  The average January high is 75 degrees (winter temperatures do not dip much below 60 degrees) and the average July high temperature is 80 degrees.   The rainy season is from August to December.  The area is prone to earthquakes, but generally they are mild.  Hurricanes have been known to strike (Hurricane Mitch caused great damage in 1998).

Relocating to Honduras is not difficult.  Retirees must complete an application, best done at a Honduran Consulate, and be able to show $600 per month in income.  An applicant also needs a form from the Honduran Institute of Tourism stating that he or she is not a Communist, a letter from the applicant's local police department saying that he or she has not been arrested within 6 months, a letter from the applicant's doctor stating that he or she is in good health, a birth certificate, some other miscellaneous documents and fees and a passport.  An interview is required at the Consulate; usually at this point a six month visa is issued.  The application is then sent to a Honduran lawyer who sends it to the Institute of Tourism, and assuming nothing is amiss with the application, a 2-year visa is issued; its renewal is generally automatic.  Expatriate retirees, to maintain their resident status, must live in Honduras for a cumulative total of four months each year.


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