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A Comprehensive Guide to Shipping a Vehicle to Roatan

Known for its beautiful sandy beaches, clear blue water and great spots to reef dive and watch the wildlife, Roatan has become an expat dream over the span of the last decade. There are many beautiful locations for homes on the island as well as plenty to do. From swimming, hiking and Ziplining to sailing, surfing or snorkeling, there is much to do in this vibrant paradise. TripAdvisor has ranked Roatan in the Top 10 beaches in the World, and with good reason, the beaches here are majestic.

Before moving to Roatan, you will want to try to get temporary residency, so you won’t need to leave every few months as many others do. English is spoken predominantly in many areas, but Spanish is still the most widely used language on the island and it’s best to learn the language before you move if you don’t already know it. Even some basic Spanish will be beneficial for getting around and going out.

Many people bring a personal car with them to Roatan when the move to the island. Not only does it make travel easier, but it is certainly less expensive to drive yourself than to hire a public taxi or rent a car during your stay. It is best to have a 4WD rather than a small economy car or a sports car because of the roads. They can be very bumpy and have many potholes. Here’s some information on shipping a vehicle to Roatan that will come in handy when you’re ready to import your own.


Before you can bring a car to Roatan, you’re going to have to gather up some important paperwork for Customs. This may include:

  • Vehicle Title
  • Vehicle Registration
  • Driver’s License (Photo I.D.)
  • Commercial Invoice/Purchase receipt
  • Bill of Lading
  • National Taxation Registry Number (RTN)
  • Copy of Passport

New or used vehicles may be imported, but vehicles must have been manufactured within the last seven years. Taxes can be very hefty, but if you have a valuable car that you do not want to leave behind, you may want to go ahead and pay the taxes. For cars that may be a little older or have little value, you might find the taxes to be a little excessive to justify bringing the car. Contacting the Embassy of Honduras is a good idea to find more information about taxes, duties and regulations that you will need to go by to import a car to Roatan. (source:

Household Goods with a Vehicle

Some good news for those who are planning to move to Roatan is that if you plan to ship your household goods in a container at the same time you ship the vehicle, you can avoid paying extra import taxes on the vehicle if it is inside the same container as the household goods. You will need to have residency prior to being able to ship household goods to Roatan.

You should take time to check into the local service stations to make sure your car will be able to be serviced before you schedule it to be shipped over. If you have a luxury car or one that requires special parts, you will most likely not be able to find a mechanic who can work on it, and getting parts may be difficult as well as expensive as you will most likely need to have them shipped in from another country.

Best Way to Ship to Roatan

There are a couple ways that people can ship a car to Roatan. It is best to know what each is and how they work.

First, the cheapest way to bring a car to Roatan is going to be with RORO transport. This is a mode of transport that entails the car being driven onto a freight ship, secured in place on deck and then shipped.

You can also consider container shipping, which is going to be more expensive than RORO, but it is also more secure since the car will be sealed inside a waterproof, and vandal proof container for the journey overseas. With a container, you can also ship household goods, which makes it a god idea for those who may be moving over and need to bring more than a few bags and a car to drive while here.

It’s a good idea to make plans to have the car delivered from the port to your new home or for you to be able to pick it up on your own when it arrives. These plans should be handled well before the vehicle arrives, so you won’t find yourself billed for a storage fee for not picking it up and removing it from the port in a timely manner.

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