What alternatives are there for bad WiFi in Latin America?

Hey gang, I’ve traveled pretty extensively through Central America and was recently in Colombia.

I love Latin America and want to continue to travel/work here, but internet connectivity is a constant issue. Hostel wifi is always hit or miss and when it does work, it’s often slow or there’s no convenient place to work.

Cafes are even worse most of the time.

I’ve tried local sim cards with data and sometimes that works well, but skype calls eat the data right up and in many locations, the speeds are slow.

I’m willing to pay more for more reliable internet, but I haven’t found anything…

Wondering what most of you fine folks do and if anyone has any suggestions.

Also, what are some alternatives to hostels?

I know you can use AirBnB, but the locals jack the prices up on there (if you’re in an area you can find anything on AirBnB). Apartment rentals can be found pretty inexpensively, but I like to stay moving and usually don’t want to stay somewhere for even a month.

On top of all this, I like to surf and the coastal towns tend to be the worst for wifi.

I’m a little frustrated and wondering if anyone has any suggestions I haven’t thought of?

Admin edit: Fixed title to lessen ambiguity & to adhere to community guidelines.

Hi Ryan
I am in Latin America too, traveling in a Westfalia van, and totally facing the same issue.
The partial solutions I found for now are 2 apps.“Wifi Map Pro” & “Wifi Finder”.
I wrote a blog post about them here:

Then, for sure, a local data plan is always needed as a backup. I always tend to consume at least 3GB / month, so when crossing a new border, I always end up buying the biggest plan, for in general not too much (here in Mexico, 4GB are worth $30 with TelCel).
And then the holy grail would be satellite, but I checked recently and their price is still prohibitive, like $3k / month for 1GB.

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Nice post @codam! We’ve got a dedicated fiber line at Sayulita CoWork (located in Sayulita, Mexico) - wonder if we could ad ourselves to those maps?

We just opened a second office in Puerto Vallarta (called Vallarta CoWork), where fiber is about to light up city-wide. We’ve got the fiber box on the back of the office and have been told that we can turn on our line in about a month.

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Ping on satellite is just soooooooo long, you could kill yourself ssh’ing into the remote machine.

My girlfriend and I were in Sayulita and in Puerto Vallarta a couple of weeks ago, as we are traveling along the Panamerica Highway in a van.
Too bad we did not know about your coworking spaces before!
I think you can totally add your locations in these apps, as their content is user-generated.

It’s clear that you have not been to Uruguay. Best internet in latin america, nearly at the same level as Scandinavia. Do your research :slight_smile:

Google FI has treated me well when I needed to use mobile data ($10/GB). You can pay $10/GB for overage too and they roll over unused data in the form of cash paid on your next bill. In the philippines the local data plans work, but they always limit you and the connection ends up being terrible. I’ve not had this problem yet when using my google fi service for data.

Other than that, you could try carrying a pair of powerline adapters with you so you can get wired connectivity through the electrical outlets (assuming the hostel will allow you to hard wire a device to their router).

In Uruguay you can have prepaid LTE with Movistar that has good coverage along the coast. It’s awesome. Beautiful beaches, work from anywhere and don’t worry about Wifi at all.

@borowis use mosh instead of SSH. It helps a lot on long-distance links.

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A bit unrelated, but are there any apps/websites that let you rate the wifi in different places? I know citrix had an app for a bit called cube-something but I don’t think they continued to support it.

I’ve been living in Mexico City for about the past year working remote, and I’ve found several good work-spots. I’d love to plot them and comment on them in a place where others could easily see.

I’ve also found some other spots here and there in other Mexican towns that I’ve spent some time in.

@gnefkow http://workhardanywhere.com/ lets you to rate cafes (wi-fi speed plus bunch of other parameters).