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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.

Semana Santa 2014: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Beach towns like San Juan del Sur celebrate the deeply religious holiday of Semana Santa with something resembling Spring Break in Cancun. 

There is loud music, dancing and libations the entire length of beach. All major beer, rum and cell phone companies are represented by young ladies wearing company colors. 

Semana Santa 2014: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

– In deference to the perpetual heat of San Juan del Sur the corporate clothing is designed and sized with cool comfort in mind.

It’s a festive atmosphere, and not one meant just for the young party crowd.

Families take this time to get out of the city and have some fun. San Juan del Sur transforms into a mini amusement park of sorts complete with a carnival, beach and street vendors. 

Contrary to North America festival conventions food and drink prices actually drop during this celebration. Good eats and cold beverages are plentiful and much less expensive than any other time of the year.

Semana Santa 2014: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

– It’s hard to beat $1 rum cocktails, 60¢ beer and 3 Heineken for $4.

The same can’t be said for accommodations. Places to sleep are in short supply and demand makes for higher prices. Many locals rent rooms in their homes to make some extra cash which helps alleviate the bed shortage.

Semana Santa 2014: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

– Mattresses and pillows for sale

This particular Semana Santa in San Juan del Sur has been much different than the last.

We’ve heard speculation that many Managuans stayed home tending to property due to the earthquake red alert status that is currently menacing our capital city. We may never know the reasons for the low attendance numbers, but at a guess I’d say 50% stayed home.

The shame is that this year San Juan seemed ready for the influx of tourism. There were dozens of extra tents set up on the beach for shade, too many portable toilets to count (emptied daily), teams of people combing the streets and beach for garbage, a plethora of vendors and hundreds of police. Temporary parking was even set up in town and on the edge of town.

Elisha and I went out during the day and night to join in the festivities. There was an abundance of drinking and dancing on the street, in the temporary event bars, as well as all of the usual hangouts. Everyone was smiling, laughing and jumping to the beat.

Semana Santa 2014: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

– Things were just getting warmed up Wednesday afternoon at the Flor de Caña stage.

Semana Santa 2014: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

There were a few over indulgers taking “naps”, but nothing compared to US Spring Break standards. We didn’t see any signs of drunk aggression or any real illegal activities.

What we did see was Nicaraguan families enjoying a much needed and deserved vacation at the beach. There were also legions of hard working Nicas running concession stands.

Semana Santa 2014: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Semana Santa 2014: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

– Not a bad place to sell your products and spend the night.

During my morning run I saw people working away setting up for sales. They were still hard at it when Elisha and I headed home for the night after enjoying the evening festivities. Often their children were sleeping on mattresses or hammocks after a long day in the sun.

Together Elisha and I drank cheap Heineken, enjoyed great live music and ate Tip Top Chicken twice.

Semana Santa 2014: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

– We found good service, great music and value priced beer in the Heineken tent.

I rode the rides AND jumped off the Claro tower.

Semana Santa 2014: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

– My jump took place at night and therefore couldn’t be photographed…but you get the idea.

Hopefully next year the crowds will be back, our town will be just as prepared and more of our expat community will stick around to enjoy Semana Santa in San Juan with us.

(Click on any thumbnail to view larger sized images)

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