One of my favorite places on the planet is Cayos Cochinos. We've been visiting The Hog Islands (their name in english) for years! Here's a picture of our youngest, about 6-7 years ago, saying how much she loved Cayos Cochinos!
The journey is incredible because you can encounter incredible marine life like whale sharks, dolphins, pilot whales & I've even seen a sperm whale along the way! The views from Utila to Cayos Cochinos are stunning with the backdrop of the mountain range of mainland Honduras. It's about a 26 mile ride, and on the Miss Trinity boat, the trip takes about an hour and a half. You can't always make the trip due to the weather. The seas need to be fairly calm, and the wind needs to be low, around 6 knots is decent.
The scuba diving just outside of the cays, at Roatan Banks is probably some of the best diving you'll ever do! There are tons and tons of fish, all darting about in schools. You will NOT be disappointed! Check out my youtube video I just posted today about the three main spots to visit on your Cayos Cochinos tour: Cayo Menor, Cayo Grande, and Chachahuate.
You make your check-in at the Cayos Cochinos/Hog Islands Marine Reserve on Cayo Menor. The cost is just $12/foreigners and $3/locals. The navy patrols the area by boat, and rules in the reserve are strictly enforced. That's what makes the area so wonderful. It's been a marine reserve since 1993.
A must-see for your bucket list, is to visit the charming, and culturally rich village of Chachahuate, an authentic Garifuna community living on a tiny little cay. You can sit and have lunch while overlooking the most stunning views of turquoise blue waters atop the sandy shores of Chachahuate. It really looks like a screen saver, it's hard to believe how gorgeous it is. And to imagine, this is part of our life! If I was living in Canada, I'd probably go to the mall, but living on the island of Utila, I probably go to the mall about once a month, on average! But don't worry, I make up for it whenever I go to the U.S. and I do a monster shopping for the family! LOL!
Anyhow, as always, I digress... Visit Chachahuate is my point!
And while you're there, make sure you get a "Coco Loco"! It's a fresh-cut coconut, mixed with a touch of rum (usually Flor de Caña, and you'll probably have to bring it yourself), a twist of lime , and you'll be set to sit in a hammock, or the white sand! You can stare out at the scenery for hours. I've snorkeled out the front of Chachahuate, and there's no reef out front, but seeing the drone footage of our visit last week, makes me think that the snorkelin on the back side would be awesome! I'll have to check it out next week when we go again!
I guess my New Year's resolution would be to get out here much more often! Maybe you want to join us. Just let us know!
#utilaremaxagent #islandlife #utila
See this Youtube video below that Mark shared while educating me from the awesome Facebook Page called the Entomology Group. You can post a picture from anywhere in the world, and the members help identify the creature: The Entomology Group.
I guess just like: Whale Shark, that's not a whale. Orca Whale that's actually a dolphin. And my favorite example is: Sea Horse, which isn't really a horse. Haha!
only in #utila
Albert Einstein said: "Try not to become a woman of success. Rather become a woman of value".
Okay, maybe he said 'man', but you get the gist of it! So I'm very proud to receive our team's RE/MAX Bay Islands TOP GUN award for Highest Sales for 2017! Thanks to all the amazing new Utila homeowners, welcome to all the new land owners who will build their dream homes one day, and in appreciation to all the sellers who entrusted their property to me allowing all this to be achievable.
My goal is always to provide value in making the transition to island life easier, to give as much knowledge as possible about the buying or selling process, and making new residents feel at home.
I also achieved the RE/MAX 100% Club, which was a goal I set at the beginning of the year. My reward is to send myself to R4, the REMAX Convention in Las Vegas at the end of February! Woohoo! Vegas, here I come!!!
Tony Robbins just posted that "Goals are like magnets... They'll attract the things that make them come true." And how fortunate that the magnets I attracted are really wonderful, compassionate, energetic and equally grateful people that either bless this little island of Utila now, or will augment the beauty of this quirky little island in the future. #Utila life, and #CaribbeanLife really couldn't be better, and I love what I do!
The great thing about being an expat on a tropical island is that you get to leave every so often. What always happens is that by the end of my trip I can’t wait to get back to the island. I guess it’s human nature to always look on the other side of the fence, or think that things are better somewhere else, but I am constantly reminded of how fortunate I am to live in Utila.
I just spent the most amazing birthday weekend river rafting with awesome friends on the mainland at an amazing lodge up on the Rio Cangrejal. Although the hummingbirds didn’t cooperate allowing me to capture them on camera, my favorite bird showed up the day that we were leaving for an extended photo session. This the Turquoise Browed MotMot! I had been telling everybody that I really wanted to see one at the lodge and this male was sitting in the tree quietly the whole time I was looking for other birds and wildlife to photograph!
That was a wonderful end to top off a weekend of fun rafting with family and incredible friends
The lodge was incredible, the weather was cool, sunny and bright, the food was superb, and the company was even better! I had visited the river countless times, but I had never gone rafting. It’s a must do, because nothing compares to the breathtaking beauty of the river than when you’re actually riding down it! The huge rock formations that had been smoothed out by the white water over thousands of years made for wonderfully shaped artwork, the rushing white water flowing over and around the boulders were so much fun to ride, and the diversity of the scenery was mesmerizing and unforgettable!
I definitely could have stayed on the river for a couple more days, but going into La Ceiba for some shopping and errands for two days made us all want to return to Paradise ASAP!
It was one of the most memorable weekends of my life, but it’s soooo good to be home too!
Did you purchase a property in Utila? Did you buy vacant land, and build a house on it? Are you interested in selling your home now?
Please keep in mind that I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. This is simply some information that you can verify and discuss with your attorney if you want to learn how you can reduce the amount of Capital Gains you’ll pay upon selling your property.
The current rate of capital gains is 4 percent (fortunately down from 10% previously). You can mitigate the amount of capital gains that you need to pay by filing for a Declaration of Improvements. This Declaration details any improvements that you have made to your property. If you have built a home, constructed a road, fenced in your property, or any have made any other improvements to the land, you can apply for a Declaration of Improvements.
Upon selling your property you can take your selling price, deduct the initial investment and the amount of the declaration of improvements (did you know you can also deduct real estate commissions?) to arrive at the amount to calculate your capital gains.
The cost of the application is US $475 dollars to submit through a lawyer + 0.15 percent of the declared amount of the improvement. If you compare that to the current rate of capital gains at 4 percent, most often this will result in more money in your pocket when you sell your property.
So for a simple calculation, see below:
Using the amounts above, your capital gains tax would be:
Now if you make a Declaration of Improvments of $200,000 (the amount it cost to build your home), this is how your Capital Gains will be calculated:
Using the amounts above, your capital gains tax would be:
Don’t forget the calculation of the Declaration application and tax:
The Declaration must be made in Spanish, and all improvements described. For example (in english): "I declare that I have built a 1200 sq. ft home with two floors, 3 bedrooms, made of wood on the top floor, and concrete on the ground floor. There are ceramic tiles throughout... etc. "
I hope this helps. Please feel free to email me if you need more information or for a list of reputable real estate attorneys.
Many of you have come to Utila to check out the real estate market. You fell in love, went home, got back into the rat race & forgot about how wonderful your life could change if you were to move here.
Well, this statistic I gathered, Year-to-Date (YTD) from Jan. 1st, 2017 up to August 2nd, 2017, compared to the same period last year shows that the home site sales have increased by 500%! Yikes! That's a Year-Over-Year (YOY) sextupled growth!
You know what I love about real estate in Utila? There is something for everyone!
The more diverse my listings are, the more varied the kind of people I can make happy. Whether it's a larger more expensive home, or a tiny piece of paradise, pleased buyers are equally overjoyed, no matter what the purchase! And that's what I love about my job today!
I just did some last minute research today when looking for a link to an Emotional Support Animal Registry, and I discovered that there is no registry. In the same way I got shafted for the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) for my husband who is German. all the websites registering support animals are not necessary.
I paid $140 to some company that I thought was the official provider for the ESTA authorization. AND they didn't even get back to me with a number, in time for my flight (which was 2 days later)! Thank goodness for the amazing American Airlines Employee that told me to bring my laptop to the desk and he showed me how to get the ESTA instantly. I think it was $14!!!
Christina's Story bringing her small dog for a visit from Canada: I showed Immigration Canada his Canadian International Health Certificate that shows all his current shots -- RABIES being the most important.
So be careful, you may be just spending your retirement dollars for nothing?!
Please tune in to HGTV and Caribbean Life's episode on Utila!!! I'm so excited to be on HGTV as it has been one of my real estate dreams. LOL! I love HGTV!
When I first arrived on Utila back in 1999, we didn't have cable tv for years. My mother used to tape HGTV shows and then bring them down on VHS tape when she visited. That's how we used to binge watch! Haha! Well, no 'we' involved I suppose, it was just ME!
I hope I don't look like a dweeb with my hair flying all over my face. When I sent my Mom a selfie while filming, she said "You need bangs. Your forehead looks big!"
To better serve retirees & those seeking a slower pace of life in the Caribbean, I became the First and Only Accredited Buyer's Representative in the country of Honduras. This means you can be assured of the best representation of your real estate needs, like no one else can.