I'm Andreas Kambanis and I'm the founder of Nibble Apps. This blog is all about creating and launching successful apps.

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Internet access while travelling through central and south America


Travelling from Vancouver to Antartica and running my business as a “digital nomad” means I need “heaps” of internet access.

Unfortunately, look on a site such as Net Index and you’ll see countries like Costa Rica and Nicaragua lagging behind in the internet speed race. When you mix that in with the fact everyone now has an iPhone or wifi enabled phone, thus clogging up Wifi networks in hostels and hotels you’ve got a problem.

Enough about the problems, how about the solutions?

Well, I’ve tried a few of them.

The first thing I tried was to find a network that would work in all of Central and South America. My searching proved fruitless. There is no such thing as an “International network”. The closest I’ve found is a recently launched serviced called Doodad. However, not only is this only available in a limited number of countries, it’s also still very expensive.

The other option is a 3G internet dongle. Tigo and Clara seem to be the two big mobile networks out here. While I was in Honduras I went in to a shop and bought a Tigo internet dongle.

This was liberating! Suddenly I was accessing internet and getting work done while I was speeding along in a boat from Utila back to La Ceiba. Speeds were fairly good, it was cheap at around $50 for the device plus another $25 for internet access and you get a 5gig download limit.

However, we didn’t stay in Honduras long and soon I was in Nicaragua which would have meant buying another $25 worth of sim card and internet access. This didn’t seem worth it as I was only there for 7 days.

Now I’m in Costa Rica. Average internet speeds here are some of the worst in the region even though it is the most expensive and developed country in Central America.

As I’ve got so much work to do here with the new apps I’m launching, I decided along with my friend that renting an apartment was the best option. This meant private internet access that we could share between the two of us.

So far that’s working out really well. It certainly beats access in any hostel or hotel that we’ve stayed in and we’ve only had the connection drop twice in the past three weeks. Which is impressive considering the amount we are downloading.

We plan on doing the same for our internet access in Columbia. We’ll rent an apartment for a month and see how we get along there.

I’d be open to hearing alternative suggestions from anyone who comes across this post as it’s a constant problem I’m facing while running my business remotely.

The only other option I haven’t mentioned so far are internet cafes. A few people have said they’ve found good access in an internet cafe, although again you are sharing a connection with many people and also it might not be the best environment to work from. It can also work out expensive.

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