When moving to another country or staying for an extended period of time, you have to take into consideration certain things that apply to your daily life. Questions like what hair products will I use, what hospitals are available or where will I buy grocery always come up. Today we will discuss two common topics that come up with expats, food shopping and internet service.
Buying groceries in Roatan can be a challenge if you are looking for everything in one place. Your best bet is to make a complete list of all the items you want, and then divide them into categories. Afterwards, you go through your mental rolodex of all the places that sell what you need and plan your day accordingly. It might seem like a tedious task but trust me; it will save you time, money and patience.
One of the fortunate things about living in Roatan is there is a wide selection of American products and other international cuisines. Sure you want to live like a local but after living here for a couple of months I can guarantee you will have cravings of some dishes that you are used to eating in your hometown. If you can’t find a restaurant to enjoy it, more than likely you will be able to recreate the dish in your home.
Eldon’s Supermarkets has the largest variety of American brand products. You can find dietary items for people with food allergies such as alternatives to dairy milk, vegan cheese and gluten free bread. If you have children you can find breakfast items such as cereal, hot cereal, juices and pancake mix. Eldon’s also recently opened up an Asian cuisine section with a very good selection.
If you are looking for even more specialty items like USDA beef, you can find it at the Bulk Gourmet. The Bulk gourmet is Roatan’s premiere retail and wholesale gourmet grocery store for USDA Black Angus Meats, ethnic and gluten-free food products, fine wines, liquors and beer. They also have a bistro deli where you can enjoy delicious lunches such as a beef brisket with mashed potato and green beans or a chicken pot pie with mixed fruit salad. This is definitely the place to go if you want to switch up your dinner menu.
The “Mercado” in Coxen Hole is the market that is mostly visited by locals. However if you are looking for some good local meat, fresh veggies or seasonings, you should add this place to your shopping list. Not only is it less expensive than buying it at the supermarket but you can buy in bulk as well. One of my favorite spots to buy delicious Honduran ground beef is at Rosita’s meat market. The owners are very nice people and the meat is stored properly.
With the growing number of people working from home and working abroad, internet service has become a necessity for many expats. Fortunately, you have options in Roatan. Buyer beware: You are not in the United States so the service and speed will not be equivalent to what you are used to. Some companies to consider are Reytel, Max Communications, Claro, Tigo and Island Cable. Please be advised, sometimes your location will make it difficult to get signal. Therefore, before signing any contracts make sure that the company does a study of your area to make sure that you can actually get signal.
Here is an excellent explanation about the internet situation in Roatan from Madison Keith. He owns a radio station in Roatan. This explanation was found on a Facebook thread that was asking for internet recommendations on the island.
“I like MAXcom… That said, as the owner of a radio station, I have to add that you get what you pay for here… I know that compared to US or Canadian or European service, the lowest speed they offer is not nearly enough for the way most of us use the internet… We stream, send pictures, send audio and video files, etc. and in the US the lowest rates of transfer are adequate for most people. Here, I suggest strongly that you use the third option… I use 3Mbps up and down… It’s something that I had to request… and for that service, I pay $145 per month… The service level at that quality is very good… and I also have guaranteed assignment of that level… It’s more than most people are willing to pay but I have no complaints.
Keep in mind also that all of the internet/cable providers here are small… They have crews that are constantly working on many issues as well as installations… Also compared to the US, most areas weren’t outfitted with proper infrastructure when they were developed.
Finally, there is no underwater cable to the mainland. This means that all internet transmission is by Microwave Uplink… sometimes the uplink goes down on the mainland and this causes transmission issues here on Roatan. Think of internet as a giant pipe carrying water. Kind of like in a giant hotel. When no one else is using the water the pressure is good…. but when everyone is using it at the same time, pressure drops… the water trickles out… it’s very much the same for internet. Of course, I require the level of speed I pay for to provide good radio service here on Roatan… And I’ve done a great deal of research…
I know Duane McNab, their owner personally and I know he takes his small, but growing business very seriously. He’s constantly training his people and they are very much hard-working… Like everything else here on Roatan or in any small community, it’s not perfect, but Duane is investing a great deal of money and time into making his service better. Things can only move so fast…”