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Central and South America Internet and Phone Reports

Written by Kobus on April 24, 2012

Below you’ll find a list wifi reports covering each country we've traveled through during our PanAm trip. We are working and traveling, so it's necessary for us to have consistent and stable internet access. We've learned that information online and in guidebooks is vague at best.

Included in these guides is information about how to purchase, activate and use prepaid phones and USB modems. We continued to be surprised at the hoops we have to jump through in each country to buy and activate a simple SIM card so hopefully you'll find this information useful.

USA Wifi Report: It's all good news

General Availability: Very High
Quality of Bandwidth: Excellent if signal strength is high
Frequency of internet in hotels: Very High
Frequency of internet in campgrounds: Very High in RV parks, Medium in other campsites, Low in national parks

Mexico Wifi Report: Plentiful, But Not Reliable

General Availability: Very High
Quality of Bandwidth: Like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. Quality and reliability is higher in internet cafes than in hotels.
Frequency of internet in hotels: Medium most places. High in touristy areas.
Frequency of internet in campgrounds: Zero in campgrounds. Medium in RV parks. High if there is a hotel associated with the camping/RV area.
Average cost to connect: Usually free. Places with fee usually charge around $10-20 pesos ($.75-1.50) per hour

Prepaid Phone and Internet in Mexico

Movistar: Easy to buy and cheaper than Telcel, coverage is less than great.
Telcel: Takes hours to buy and get setup, but has the best coverage in the country.

Belize Wifi Report: One Giant Monopoly

General Availability: Medium to High
Quality of Bandwidth: Usually very bad. Few places pay for high speed. Unless you can get a hardline, count on painfully slow connections.
Frequency of internet in hotels: Medium. The more touristy the more likely to have internet. But if you need it, check in advance.
Frequency of internet in campgrounds: Surprisingly high. Most campgrounds were part of a hotel or wildlife sanctuary that also had restaurants with wifi. Every campground we stayed at had internet, but we planned it that way.

Guatemala Wifi & Phone Report: Buy a USB Modem and Be Happy

General Availability: High
Quality of Bandwidth: It’s a crap-shoot. Usually low with wifi and high when connected via cables.
Frequency of internet in hotels: High in hostels and mid-range hotels. Low in guesthouses or budget hotels.
Frequency of internet in campgrounds: Campgrounds that were part of other lodges or restaurants all had wifi. Camping in national parks did not have any type of internet.

El Salvador Wifi & Phone Report: More of the Same

General Availability: Medium-High
Quality of Bandwidth: In cities, excellent. Everywhere else, good luck.
Frequency of internet in hotels: Medium. Always in hostels and mid to high end hotels. Not likely in small guesthouses.
Frequency of internet in campgrounds: Low. Only expect internet if the campground is attached to a restaurant or a hotel.

Nicaragua Wifi & Phone Report

General availability: Medium-High
Quality of bandwidth: Pretty terrible
Frequency of internet in campgrounds: Rare
Frequency of internet in hotels: Surprisingly high. Everywhere we stayed had internet access.

Costa Rica Wifi & Phone Report

General Availability: High
Quality of Bandwidth: Medium-High
Frequency of Internet in Campgrounds: Rare – Most campgrounds are in national reserves. Don’t expect any internet unless there is an established hotel or restaurant.
Frequency of Internet in Hotels: High (we think). We only stayed at two hotels and both had internet.

Panama Phone & Wifi Report: Good but not Great

General Availability: High
Quality of Bandwidth: Medium
Frequency of Internet in Campgrounds: Average. Camping in a hostel or hotel, there will be internet. Camping at a national park, there won’t be any access.
Frequency of Internet in Hotels: High

Colombia Phone and Wifi Report

General Availability: High
Quality of Bandwidth: Medium
Frequency of Internet in Campgrounds: Medium-High
Frequency of Internet in Hotels: High

Ecuador Phone and Wifi Report:What the Hell is a Paquete?

General availability: High
Quality of bandwidth: Medium
Frequency of internet in campgrounds: Medium
Frequency of internet in hotels: Medium-High

Peru Wifi & Phone Report: Great on the Gringo Trail

General availability: High
Quality of bandwidth: Medium
Frequency of internet in campgrounds: Medium-High
Frequency of internet in hotels: High

Bolivia Wifi Report: Crap, Crap and More Crap

General availability: Medium
Quality of bandwidth:
Low
Frequency of internet in campgrounds:
Medium
Frequency of internet in hotels:
Medium-High

Northwestern Argentina Wifi & Phone Report: Worse than Expected

General availability: Medium
Quality of bandwidth: Low
Frequency of internet in campgrounds: Low
Frequency of internet in hotels: Unknown

Uruguay Wifi & Phone Report: Better than Argentina

General availability: Excellent
Quality of bandwidth: High
Frequency of internet in campgrounds: Medium
Frequency of internet in hotels: High

Brazil Wifi and Phone Report: Not Bad at All.

General availability: Excellent
Quality of bandwidth: High
Frequency of internet in campgrounds: Medium
Frequency of internet in hotels: High

We will continue to add wifi reports here as we travel.

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