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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