Internet and Telephone

While Guatemala may be a third world country there is pretty decent Internet connectivity and some telephone options. There are Internet cafes but for those who bring their own device you have quite a few options.

Wired Internet Connection

While not available everywhere, Claro — the folks that offer wired telephone service — offer DSL in Panajachel as well as some other locations. Speeds up to 20Mb/sec download are available. A 10Mb/sec connection costs Q300/mo and is very reliable. You do, of course, need a telephone in order to get this service so figure about Q600/mo total.

Wireless to your house

That is, an Internet connection delivered to your house via a wireless service. There are a lot of these services, depending on which community you are in. The three wireless phone companies, Claro, Movistar and Tigo offer options delivered using a telephone-like SIM chip and usually a USB stick modem you buy from them. I say usually as it is not always necessary. For example, I have a tablet with a SIM chip slot. It cannot be used as a telephone but it works for Internet connectivity.

Each company offers various packages at typically realistic prices. Packages vary from close to no bandwith for close to no cost up to maybe 30GB for Q300. Check out each company both for coverage area and costs.

There are also quite a few little companies that supply service to your home. Typically they are delivered using 5GHz (802.11a) connections. Two that I know of are GringoNet and MayaNet. If you are interested, ask around in Internet cafes as many seem to be associated with one.

Free WiFi

While you won’t find this in Gringo-free areas, in tourist areas you will find lots of options. For example, along Calle Santander — the main tourist street in Panajachel — virtually every restaurant, hotel and travel agency offers WiFi. With a few meals and visits to travel agencies you can probably collect enough WiFi passwords to walk anywhere on Calle Santander and still be connected.

Telephone

The big three — Claro, Movistar and Tigo — offer wireless telephone options and Claro offers wired to your home. Each will have advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few:

  • With Claro wired service, there is no cost to call any other Claro wired phone in Guatemala.
  • Movistar offers the least cost to just maintain your number.
  • Tigo has lower call rates than Movistar.

Thus, what is right for you will depend on two things: availability where you are (coverage for wireless) and cost per call.