Staying Connected In Mexico

Until recently traveling to Mexico meant being out of contact with the rest of the world. This is not the case any more. Over the past few years, Mexico has invested heavily in their infrastructure for technology. This gives you the ability to travel in Mexico without giving up contact with the rest of the world.

In most areas of Mexico it is easy to find internet cafes where you will be charged a few dollars an hour to use a computer to connect to the internet. In some of these cafes you can bring your own laptop to connect. The cafes aren’t always well marked and sometimes they are just setup in someone’s garage as a way to help justify the monthly expense of a cable modem or DSL. Many of the internet cafes are starting to add cameras so you can do video conferencing.

If your email account has a web based email option, the internet cafes will be a great solution. If you have to travel with a laptop, it may be just slightly more difficult to locate a place to connect, but it should still be pretty easy to find.

Wifi connections are becoming more and more common especially in cities frequented by tourists. Many places will let you use their wireless connection if you buy a meal. You may also find your computer connecting to wireless access points automatically even when you aren’t sure where they are. A small percentage of the wireless connections are encrypted, but most of them are open.

There is pretty good cell phone coverage of most of the major cities in Mexico, but the roaming feeds can be very expensive. It can be much cheaper to get a phone with prepaid minutes from Mexico. For data usage on your phone, most US carriers offer some type of unlimited email capability with Blackberry phones. If you use it a lot, this can be a very good deal for traveling. Just make sure you understand the terms of the agreement. Some will give you unlimited email, but charge you $15 per MB for surfing the internet. You want to make sure you understand the billing plan so you aren’t hit with a large bill when you return to the U.S.

If you are staying for a while and need to get an internet connection, you should probably consider using a cable modem over DSL. The telephone company in Mexico is a monopoly so their terms are much more difficult than the cable modem carriers. With the cable modems you’ll generally get a faster connection for a cheaper price on a month to month contract. DSL will charge you much more and will generally require at least one year commitment. In many cities you will even have the option of two cable companies at the same location so they have to compete for your business. Generally this results in much better service than in the U.S.

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