Internet Providers & Working Remotely in Nicaragua

We have been asked many times if working remotely in Nicaragua is a viable option? Is the internet fast enough and reliable enough?

The simple answer is yes. The internet in Nicaragua is fast enough and reliable enough in the cities most expats choose to call home.

We have many friends working online in San Juan del Sur and they all agree that it is important to plan for service and power outages, by having a good back up method for connecting to the internet. A good plan for uninterrupted internet service always involves more than one internet service provider.

OUR STRATEGY FOR 100% UP TIME

HOME ISP

We live outside of the city centre so wired service is not an option for us and therefore we use a point to point provider. Our favourite company that has provided us with the best service is WifiNicWe pay $75 USD per month for a 2 Mbps package. This is easily fast enough for video calls, downloading large files and streaming video.  

BACK UP ISP

Since power outages do occur in Nicaragua we have a backup plan. We have dual SIM cell phones with a SIM card that Movistar sells for wireless routers. If we really need to use some serious bandwidth we send a text message to activate a 1 Gig package that costs $4 USD for 24 hours. Then we turn our phone into a wireless hotspot, so all of our devices can receive internet.

NOTE: It’s important to always keep your phone and computer charged otherwise this back up plan isn’t of much use.

ALWAYS STAYING CONNECTED 

Here in Nicaragua we use pay as you go cell phones.

Once per month we each load our phones with 500 cordobas ($18 USD) worth of credit (known here as saldo or recarga). Then we text the code “GB2” to the number “7000” which give us 2.5 Gig of data for 30 days.  

Note: Purchasing credits of 300 cordobas ($10.71 USD) or more automatically gives you 3x the regular Movistar to Movistar calling minutes, which is good for up to 45 days.

Internet Service Providers and working remotely in Nicaragua.

Kharron Reid from Señor Coders Website Design is obviously trying to decide whether to work another hour or partake in happy hour on the beach. We helped Kharron, his wife Jenna and their two children move to San Juan del Sur over a year ago. The first year he worked remotely for a company in the USA, but most recently has decided to branch out on his own. Also hard at work in this photo is our friend and long time San Juan resident Sean Dennis, COO of Ribbit Rewards.

In San Juan del Sur we have a variety of different ways to access the internet:

WIRED ISP – Claro 

  • Only available in the heart of the city.
  • 1 Mbps to 4 Mbps download speeds available. Upload speeds are typically half of download speeds. 10 Mbps packages are now starting to become available in some neighbourhoods.
  • Hard wired DSL or Cable depending on the street you live on. 1 Mbps package (including basic cable TV) costs approximately $50 USD per month.
  • No bandwidth limits.

POINT to POINT ISPs – WifiNicGGnet, IBW

  • Available anywhere you can get a direct line of site to the communications tower or any of the many repeater stations.
  • 1 Mbps – 10 Mbps download speeds available. Upload speeds are typically equal to download speeds.
  • Point to point service wired to a wifi router.
  • 1 Mbps package costs approximately $50 USD per month.
  • Cable TV packages are not available.
  • No bandwidth limits.

3.5G and 4G WIRELESS WIFI – Movistar Claro 

  • Available almost everywhere — although some remote areas may only have Movistar or Claro — but not both.
  • 1 Mbps – 10 Mbps speeds can be seen on tests. 5 Mbps is average for our testing.
  • Wireless through a 3G USB drive, SIM card router or dual SIM phone used as a hotspot.
  • Daily packages start at $4 USD for 1 Gig of bandwidth.

CELLULAR INTERNET – Movistar Claro 

  • Available almost everywhere — although some remote areas may only have Movistar or Claro — but not both.
  • 1 Mbps – 10 Mbps speeds can be seen on tests. 5 Mbps is average for our testing.
  • Packages start at 35 cents USD for one day with 50 Mb of bandwidth.

In this article we’ve only given you a brief overview of internet pricing and packages available. Of course there multiple packages offered by each provider. Everyone has different needs when it comes to internet. As long as you have a plan working remotely in Nicaragua is possible. 

Travel light in Nicaragua and still connect to work with your iPad or Android tablet using services from Cloud Desktop Online and Cloud Apps Portal.

Posted on May 16, 2016, in Daily Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. Randall Beckett

    Thanks for the update. Very useful. I do telepsychiatry and uninterrupted service with 5mbps is essential. How often and long are the power outages? I understand it may not be a local power outage but at the server site meaning a UPS is useless.

  2. Robert Montague

    Your posts are thorough and so helpful. Thank you for taking the time to let all of us know how things work!

  3. Thank you!!! We have been looking into living on the beach in Nicaragua but really need reliable internet to work. A relief to hear the power outages are scheduled so we can plan around them too. Looks like we’ll go ahead with our month trip and if all goes well make the move! Again, thank you!!

    • Hi Tegan,

      Definitely don’t let internet concerns hold you back. There are lots of people living here and working online.

      When are you planning to visit? Let us know if you need help planning your trip or finding a rental!

      Cheers,
      Elisha

  4. Hi Gordon and Elisha,
    Thanks for the valuable information. I am working remotely in León, and all of the technological descriptions are like a different language to me. I am thinking about using a portable 4G Claro modem as a backup for electricity outtages, but I would need it for video-conferencing through the Zoom application (teaching online). Do you know how I can determine if they have enough data for this? ( I see that there are monthly options of 5 and 8 GB at highest).

    Also, even though I have wired internet through Cable, it has been failing, and someone from Claro told me that having it wired through the telephone is a more reliable option. What is you perspective on this?

    Thanks for the help!
    Hope

    • Hi Hope
      Every cities infrastructure is different. I can only speak to San Juan del Sur. Movistar is king in SJdS and they have packages with a 4G router that provide 90 Gigs of Data for $52USD. As for Claro I am not aware of their packages but I am sure you could get all the information you need from their office in Leon.

      • Thanks! Yes I have been in conversation with Claro but my question has to do with reliability-whether wired internet through a phone line here in Nicatagua is more reliable than wired through cable….

        Thanks 🙂

        • Hi Hope
          Not only is every cities infrastructure different it often varies from street to street. In SJdS it is possible for one street to have cable, the next street over may have DSL and in some cases there are even fiber lines now. Some streets may have all three but who knows how many customers are on the cable tie on that block or how long ago were the DSL lines installed. Every home will have a unique experience so there is no answer to your question. Possible if you have cable and your neighbor has DSL you could compare the two services although it will still likely be anecdotal.

          • Thanks for your help! I would agree, it seems that each situation is unique. Mine was fine, but since Christmas I am having a lot of issues, so maybe everyone on my block got new devices to access internet/ cable for Christmas haha.

            Thanks again!
            Hope

  5. I am currently living in San Juan Del Sur. My apartment has really slow internet and I was told that it is not possible to get better internet set up. Is it true that if you are not a resident, you can’t get internet set up in your name?

    • Hi Tiara,

      No it is not true that you can’t get internet set up in your name if you are not a resident.

      Are you currently receiving service from Claro? If so, it’s likely you’re on the basic package. You may want to ask your landlord if you can upgrade the service and pay the difference.

      Claro offers the following options for home internet:

      1 Mbps $27.99 USD + tax
      2 Mbps $33.99 USD + tax
      3 Mbps $45.99 USD + tax
      5 Mbps $57.99 USD + tax
      10 Mbps $70 USD + tax

      You can check out their website for more info.

      A client of ours (who does not have residency) just purchased a Movistar router for $160 USD and had service set up in his home within 24 hours. He gets 80 gigs of data for $62 USD per month. Speed is 20 Mpbs. There are also less expensive options available. To set up service you can go to the local Movistar office or call Pedro at (505) 8588-5271.

      You can also get service with Wifinic. Installation is $175 USD.

      Monthly packages are as follows:

      2.0 Megabytes $56.35 USD
      3.0 Megabytes $69.00 USD
      4.0 Megabytes $80.50 USD
      5.0 Megabytes $92.00 USD
      6.0 Megabytes $103.50 USD
      7.0 Megabytes $115 USD
      8.0 Megabytes $126.50 USD
      9.0 Megabytes $138 USD
      10 Megabytes $149.50 USD

      These prices include tax.

      For more information or to set up an install you can contact Leonel at (505) 2276-0705. He speaks English and provides excellent customer service.

      With Wifinic and the Movistar router you can take the equipment with you when you move.

      Cheers,
      Elisha

  6. Hi Elisha & Gordon,

    Do you have any recommendations on Internet in the north Pacific regions, near Jiquilillo? I’m told to look into dongles, just wondering if you’ve heard/experienced one over another.

    Thanks 🙂

  7. Great info, thanks. Looking forward to a visit in the spring, to scout out retirement venues. We have Panama and Mexico already booked, but Nicaragua is after that.
    Ken

    • Hi Ken,

      Do you know about our group Relocation & Retirement tours? We have one scheduled for February 24 – March 4, 2018.

      The tour takes you to three most popular expat inhabited areas – Granada, Leon and San Juan del Sur. It’s a great way to see what your life could be like living in Nicaragua.

      For complete details just click here.

      Cheers,
      Elisha

      • Thanks,
        We are teachers and have very specific dates of when we can travel. We will hopefully be in Nicaragua in Mid March or Mid April on one of our breaks.
        We are currently living in the US but originally from Canada.
        Ken

  8. Elisha, the tours look very interesting. We’re going to plan the next adventure after our trip to Panama in October. Thanks

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