In this article, we explore the latest data from Ookla, the internet speed test experts, to reveal which countries offer the fastest internet in Central America. Let’s dive in and discover the top performers, so you can stay connected seamlessly while in the region.
Whether you’re traveling for a short time, or you’re a potential digital nomad/remote worker, internet speed is a critical issue. Slow/unstable internet is a potential dealbreaker for many people. Folks need to have some semblance of what to expect in Central America. And that’s where we come in.
We went to Ookla, the internet speed test guys, to check their latest global index of mobile and fixed broadband speeds from around the world. It’s been a while since I’ve done this and I wanted to see how Central America’s performance compared to the rest of the world right now. The latest info from Ookla is from December 2023 – they generally update around halfway through each month with data from the previous month.
First, it’s important to say that compared to the rest of the world, Central America performs rather poorly.
The highest ranking country in Central America for fixed broadband speed is Panama, at number 25 in the world, which, admittedly, isn’t too shabby. For mobile speeds, Guatemala ranks highest in the region, at 74th in the world.
These rankings are still a far cry from countries like the UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait (top three fastest mobile speeds) and Singapore, Hong Kong, and Monaco (top three fastest fixed broadband speeds). The fastest mobile speed in Latin America is Uruguay at 32nd in the world, with Chile (4th in the world) having the fastest LatAm fixed broadband speed.
Unless you’re prepared to spend some money, your internet speeds in Central America will be slower than many places, which is something to consider. But it’s not all bad. Internet speed has improved dramatically over the years in Central America, all across the region.
So let’s see how each country in Central America performs for both mobile and fixed broadband internet speed.
The most interesting (although not surprising) thing that jumps out is that Panama has by far the fastest fixed broadband speed in the region, with a download speed of 149.27 mbps (upload speed of 41.76 mbps). If you’re looking for the fastest internet, look at Panama first and Costa Rica second. For mobile internet, Guatemala leads the way in Central America, making it the better choice for staying connected on your phone. Honduras takes the second spot for mobile speed in the region.
On the flip side, the worst countries in the region for mobile speed are Nicaragua and Belize. As for fixed broadband speed, Belize and Honduras are the slowest.
Here’s how it plays out country-by-country for December 2023:
Mobile internet speed fastest to slowest:
- Guatemala (74th in world)
- Honduras (83rd in world)
- El Salvador (84th in world)
- Costa Rica (90th in world)
- Panama (119th in world)
- Nicaragua (124th in world)
- Belize (135th in world)
Fixed broadband speed fastest to slowest:
- Panama (25th in world)
- Costa Rica (56th in world)
- Nicaragua (94th in world)
- Guatemala (99th in world)
- El Salvador (100th in world)
- Belize (101st in world)
- Honduras (104th in world)
How about individual cities in Central America?
Ookla also ranks cities based on their internet speed. This is invaluable for remote workers trying to decide where they want to base themselves in any given country. It’s important to note that Oola only includes cities with populations of over 500,000. This excludes most Central American communities.
With that said, we’ve looked at the Central American cities from Ookla’s rankings. Aside from Honduras, which has both San Pedro Sula and the capital Tegucigalpa listed, Ookla only includes the capital cities. Belize, however, does not have any cities large enough to be featured.
Mobile internet speed fastest to slowest per Central American city:
- Guatemala City, Guatemala (92nd in world)
- Tegucigalpa, Honduras (102nd in world)
- San Salvador, El Salvador (120th in world)
- San Pedro Sula, Honduras (122nd in world)
- San José, Costa Rica (130th in world)
- Panama City, Panama (146th in world)
- Managua, Nicaragua (149th in world)
Fixed broadband speed fastest to slowest per Central American city:
- Panama City, Panama (44th in world)
- San José, Costa Rica (73rd in world)
- Guatemala City, Guatemala (113rd in world)
- San Salvador, El Salvador (115th in world)
- Managua, Nicaragua (116th in world)
- Tegucigalpa, Honduras (126th in world)
- San Pedro Sula, Honduras (127th in world)
Bookmark this article to track general internet speeds in Central America and how the countries compare with each other.
Central America has made considerable progress in improving internet speed, and Panama and Guatemala lead the way in fixed broadband and mobile speeds, respectively. As you search for the fastest internet in Central America, keep in mind the region’s overall performance compared to global leaders.
For travelers and digital nomads seeking the fastest internet in Central America, Panama and Costa Rica remain the top contenders. Consider the rankings and locations carefully to ensure a seamless online experience during your stay in the region.
James Dyde is the editor of centralamerica.com. He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.