Mail and packages on Roatan
"Como dicen, las cosas buenas vienen en paquetes pequeños."
"As they say, good things come in small packages."
Divided into two parts. Part one is all your mail which is packages like Amazon etc. and part two is large items up to your whole house shipped from the USA to Roatan.
Part one, your packages.
The first thing to understand when you move to Roatan is that there is no address system like in many first-world countries. For instance, my address for years was "The blue house, past the zip line, west bay." This means that you generally have to go somewhere to pick up packages although a few companies deliver to your door even if you have to guide them the first time. Second, why are you still getting mail? These days the only thing you should receive via mail is credit cards and things you have bought. Credit cards and the like I usually as a friend or tourist to bring down for me.
Most mail and packages are sent to companies based in the USA who collate packages for lots of people and then put them all in one container and ship them by sea to Honduras. So depending on the time of the arrival of your package, when the container leaves the USA port, how long the container takes to travel (under a week), the time to get through customs, then the time to travel from the port to Roatan your package could take 3-5 weeks for delivery door to door. So much for Amazon Prime shopping and overnight delivery. :)
Sending packages by Fed Ex or DHL is prohibitively expensive unless the envelope contains some urgent and important legal document. For instance to close a sale on a house. A FedEx envelope costs about $150 and takes 4-5 days to arrive in whichever direction it goes even if you send it overnight. So they are only useful in very urgent matters.
Honduras does have a postal system. I have used it many times. It is extremely slow and you have to collect mail at the post office itself. I would never use it for anything that was time-dependent or important. All packages that I have sent to me have a tracking number and when they hit the Hondurean mail system they just disappear. However, that number has allowed me to locate them when they did not arrive.
Once again you need to know this is Honduras and sometimes things change. There was a period about two years ago when the government decided everything had to be carefully checked at customs to make sure that they were not losing any possible income. They were taking out every item on a container to see if it was correctly written on the manifest. This caused incredibly long delays. The shipping companies all got a lot of flack from their customers but there was nothing they could do. A package that should have arrived in 4 weeks was taking many months to come through. A difficult situation that nobody could have foreseen.
Be careful you follow all instructions on addressing, manifests, insurance, custom forms, etc. You are responsible to make sure you follow the procedures correctly. Not filling out the form correctly can mean weeks of delays in customs. Of course, the company you are working with should help you through these stages.
Let me go through some of the different companies and methods that are the most popular.
My favorite method
Have someone bring it down for you. Obviously, this does not work for all your mail but it can be very useful if you need something in a hurry. The bottom fell off your running shoes and you need a new pair ASAP post in a Facebook group and ask if someone can bring down a package that you will have delivered to their door. Many times especially in summer when there are a lot of flights people are more than willing to bring down some small packages, car parts, or emergency needs. Of course, you should let them take it out of the packaging so they can't be taxed on it, so they can tuck it into their luggage and also know what it actually is in the package. It should be noted that when you travel you will often be asked this favor by your friends on Roatan.
My second favorite. Ask a friend
This one works best when you need a bunch of items. Have all your shipments sent to a friend or family member. Then they repackage it together into the smallest package possible and then send it on. Why? Well, most of the consolidators mentioned below charge on a weight and size basis. So if you had 10 packages delivered by Amazon, with their love of large boxes for small items you would end up paying a lot! However, having a friend reduce it down into one package will save you a lot of money.
The Honduran Postel Service.
The post office Office is located in Coxen Hole. You can have anything delivered to the Post Office by just making up your address basically. Google coordinates 16.31457, -86.53875
100 meters passed the Zipline
℅ 9931 1987
Islas de Bahia, Honduras
The ZIP code is a strange thing. Not every code uses them and I do not think they are needed to get mail here. The keywords are Honduras and Island de Bahia but if you google zip codes then the Islas de Bahi, which is a department (state/area) in Honduras, has its own. Some people write C.A. 34101 which is confusing to me and does not mean California. It means "Central America."
It is essential you put your phone number on it as sometimes they will call you to tell you it is there. I generally leave them a small tip when I collect something if they do. Other times they post on Facebook a list of all people with mail waiting. Once or twice I had it delivered but I feel that was because of an employee who realized you would be grateful for the delivery. Tip. Make sure you bring your ID when collecting mail.
Sending letters, anything important or anything you want rapidly is a very bad idea. I have received Christmas cards in May and letters from a Government saying you have 60 days from the postmark of this letter to respond when it in fact arrived 90 days after the postmark. Generally packages from Europe or the USA with tracking numbers I have always received. Once or twice I have to go in to ask what is going on just to have the package mysteriously appear a week later. Again though once the package hit Honduras it disappears from tracking until it arrives and sometimes packages never appear. So you take your chances.
Package consolidators basically accept your packages for you, and from all their other customers and then consolidate them all into containers. Some give you an identity code like a PO box number others your name if correctly spelled is sufficient. Over the years I have learned to put my phone number on the outside of all packaging usually including it with my address. I believe this has reduced the number of missing packages over my time here.
They don't just accept packages you can also ship cookers, TVs, and household items or you can rent a full/partial part of a container. They may provide lots of other services but I am going to stay focused on Roatan. They then ship your items by boat often via mainland Honduras to Roatan. Usually via Puerto Cortes or Ceiba. Once here you can either pick them up at their office or in case of Dip Shipping they deliver them to your door. They do not forward mail unless it is tracked and then it is treated as a package.
I am going to list the three most popular ones and one newcomer. I have been shipping with DIp for years and am very happy with their service. If you see people post on Facebook which ones they recommend, everyone seems to recommend their own. That makes sense really as if they weren't happy they would change. The pricing can get a bit tricky and changes especially right now with the price of oil so high. As always you need to check directly and take nothing I say as gospel. Things change quickly and without warning. This is Honduras get used to it! :)
Obviously don't ship dangerous or forbidden items. Hazardous materials, guns, ammo, weapons, or need I say it drugs. The insurance on items is very low, if you are shipping something expensive or fragile best to discuss the item with the shipper.
There is one new one called Charlie's Shipping which I had mixed feelings about but have now I have used their service several times and so far it is excellent. They actually will open your boxes for you and consolidate your mail. So those 10 boxes from Amazon filled with lots of costly air can be reduced down to one box or so but on the other hand, someone is seeing every item you ordered which must be interesting for them sometimes.
DPS Logistics (formally DIP shipping) is also on Facebook
Toll-Free +1 (866) 250 6347
Miami +1 305 597 5246 Nola +1 504 464 0777
Payment via credit card or ACH transfer
I am not sure if they had a name change but I have always called them DIP however DPS it is now. DPS can ship from either Nola, Louisiana cut-off for delivery is 3 pm Saturday, or Miami, Florida cut-off for delivery is Monday at 3 pm. Once shipped it takes 14-18 days to arrive on Roatan.
For packages, they offer two basic services. The one I advise is that you pay a yearly fee of $50 and all packages arriving are then collected together and shipped together when you give them the "green light."
The commercial conditions of this DPS Box are as follows: $ 50.00 once per year.
Cuft is 1 cubic foot.
Up to 10 cuft and valued at less than $100.00 it’s $18.00 per CUFT
Up to 10 cuft and valued between $101.00 to $500.00 it’s $25 per CUFT
Up to 10 cuft and valued between $501.00 to $2,000.00 it’s $30 per CUFT
Articles over 3 cuft or 30lbs won't consolidate and will be shipped as a single item.
For example, for a patio umbrella that's 4 cuft and weighs 40 pounds with a value of $90 it will be $18 per cuft = $72
If you rarely get packages then you can just have an account where your box arrives and they put it on the next container. Usually, I try to get it there Thursday to ensure it gets on the next week's container regardless of the cut-off times. This is automatic but on a package basis, it can be more expensive as you get charged the minimum rate of $20 for each package that arrives no matter how small it is, and to avoid this you need to have your packages arrive the same day.
The advantage of the contract is that with small parcels it pays off to get DPSbox. For example, if I have 4 small items that total 1 cuft for all 4 and I consolidated them the shipping fee is $25 If these 4 parcels do not consolidate and are sent separately they are each charged the minimum which is a $20 shipping fee each, $80. A huge difference
I found the non-contract service to be fine when Amazon actually delivered on the days it agreed with Prime. I could arrange for all boxes to arrive on a single day. No problem. However, Amazon is highly unreliable now and boxes rarely arrive when they should. However if you rarely ever get packages or have a friend pre-consolidate them this is still a good option. Now I am going to switch and just pay the $50. The $50 saving is not worth one mistake by Amazon and a shipment being spread over several days.
DPS emails you when your package arrives and supplies a tracking number for each consolidation with a box count, contents and value. Once you green light them you can then follow your package as it finds its way to Roatan. The price of the shipping includes shipping to your door which is great!
Tropical Consolidators formally Roatan Express on Facebook
+504 9542 5777 WhatsApp and cell
Formally known as Roatan Express, Tropic Consolidators has been in business for 20 years on the island so they are obviously doing something right. Their name might lead you to believe that they consolidate your mail into one box but they like all the others on this list consolidate your boxes with other shipments into a container for shipping here. You need to send them a copy of each invoice for each package you are expecting via email.
The boats ship direct to Roatan and so they arrive a little faster than some others. Normally in about 2-3 weeks, depending on how close to the weekly cutoff your package is delivered to their Florida warehouse. Their boats leave and arrive the same week. The cutoff for packages to be included on the following week's shipment is midday the prior Thursday, and you can claim your shipment the following Wednesday through Friday. So 2 to 3 weeks at most. Which is faster than most.
The annual mailbox fee is $50 and you will be given a box number that cannot be shared, then individual packages are priced as follows:
Total dimensions under 1 cubic foot, any weight: $16 flat rate
Equal to or greater than 1 cubic foot, up to 50 lbs: $24 per cubic foot
Equal to or greater than 1 cubic foot, over 50 lbs: $29 per cubic foot
All charges and rates are per box, not based on consolidation.
Insurance only covers up to $100.00 for visibly damaged boxes. We do offer additional insurance based on the value of your cargo, which will need to be arranged prior to cargo leaving Miami.
Our ship schedule is currently every week, cut off days are Thursday at Noon. The ship departs Miami on Monday. Pick-up days in Roatan are Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday 10 am-5 pm.
All items need to be picked up in a timely manner or storage fees will be levied.
2841 NE Breezeway Circle
Jensen Beach FL, 34957
(gate code #6555)
What's App +504 8864-5841
Charlie's MAX Shipping
+1 585 710 8460 (WhatsApp)
We want to inform you that our new office is now open. It is located in Brick Bay to the left of Puerto Cortez and across from the Dale Jackson house. It is on the right side of the building, on the second floor. Our office is air-conditioned. We will have complimentary water and soda for you to enjoy. We have Wi-Fi and will have several laptop stations if you'd like to get out and place your orders from our office. Remodeling is still underway, so excuse the improvements for the time being. Additionally:
1. Nothing has changed except our name now includes MAX. This is because you, our loyal customers, made us so much bigger and better that we've gone to the MAX level. We will continue to receive all of your packages and consolidate them as we always have.
2. We promise that we will continue to provide you with the best communication and will always respond to your calls, emails, messages, and WhatsApp.
3. We will continue to do pick-ups throughout the US. We can come to you to pick up your items or even move the entire contents of your house for you.
4. Our container is located in Deerfield Beach just 20 minutes from Port Everglades where all of the ships sail from. Our container is in a dry, gated area, can be accessed 24 hours per day and there is plenty of space should anyone like to personally deliver their items to us.
5. We will continue to offer discounts for businesses in the Bay Islands and churches.
6. Our pricing will remain the same. We will beat any other company's pricing. Get a price from another company. Get our price. If their price happens to be lower, send us their quote and we will beat it-Guaranteed!
7. Unless there is a holiday interruption, weather-related delay, or something beyond our control, we will continue to ship weekly.
8. Contacts for our company :
Doug +1 980 829 5782
Chad +504 9417 4067
Edimar +504 9599 7439
Junior +504 8841 4705
Our motto is results, without excuses. We don't want you to have any bad experiences, only a simple stress-free shipping process.
We charge $16.50 per cubic foot. Here are our prices per box. It's a good reference if you think of the Lowes and Home Depot moving boxes. This pertains to Home Depot and Lowes boxes or boxes with these dimensions.
Small (16x12x12 = 1.5 cubic feet) = $25.00
Medium (18x18x16 = 3 cubic feet) = $50.00
Large (18x18x24 = 4.5 cubic feet) = $70.00
Extra Large (22x22x22 = 6.1 cubic feet) = $95.00
So, for example, you send if you send two extra-large boxes to us then your cost would be $190. That includes us receiving them, transporting them, and loading them securely. That includes shipping to Roatan. Customs fees are included. When they arrive in Roatan, we notify you and you pick up your items. No other costs to incur, only a small charge if you'd like delivery in Roatan.
Packages are safe and secure and stored several times per day. Our warehouse isn't manned per day so we transport all packages to our warehouse /container weekly.
Any packages sent you would just send :
"Your name" c/o Charlie's Shipping
2841 NE Breezeway Circle
Jensen Beach FL, 34957
(gate code #6555)
The address is a residential house in the USA, not that means anything. Doug says they can arrange pickup in the USA and delivery in Roatan, they will quote on any size delivery including cars, boats, and containers of household goods. There is no signup fee and they hope to offer GPS tracking soon.
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