Copán Ruinas, Honduras

This delightful village is nestled in Honduras’ Western Highlands (3,500 feet), about 12 km miles from the Guatemalan border, and is a quiet haven with roughly 5,000 people, with another 5,000 or so living in the nearby mountains.  Perhaps 50 of these residents are foreign expatriates, some of them retirees.

Copán Ruinas is the site of the Copán Ruins, a massive Mayan ruin considered the cultural center of the Maya world.  It attracts 200,000 tourists a year, so although this community is hard to reach, it is not isolated. 

The Copán climate is temperate, with the rains coming from August through December.  There are occasional earthquakes but most are not severe.  The average January high temperature is 75 degrees, and the average July high temperature is 80 degrees.   

Copán is poor but safe, and its residents are welcoming.  There are cobblestone streets and picturesque whitewashed buildings with red tile roofs.    The green hills around town provide chances for caving and hiking and there are restaurants, a general store, a bank and an English-speaking doctor in town.  Motorized rickshaws are the favorite way to travel; shopping for local handicrafts, particularly jade and silver, is worth a visit here in and of itself.  Spanish is the official language, but English is also spoken.   Hospitals are located 45 minutes away  and across the border in Guatemala. 

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.  Expatriate retirees, to maintain their resident status, must live in Honduras for a cumulative total of four months per year.