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 June 2023 – they generally update in the second half of each month with data from the previous month.
The latest Global Index is here. In mobile, several countries made big moves. The most impressive climb was by Uruguay, which went from 67th to 8th. Brunei moved 13 spots to make its debut in the top 5. See the list to find out where your country lands. https://t.co/aNDy5uG3q3 pic.twitter.com/tePLp1jgYz
— Speedtest by Ookla (@Speedtest) July 17, 2023
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 26 in the world, which, admittedly, isn’t too shabby. For mobile speeds, Costa Rica ranks highest in the region, at 78th 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, the UAE, and Chile (top three fastest fixed broadband speeds). Nice to have a LatAm country right up there, though – congrats to Chile.
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.
On the flip side, the worst countries in the region for mobile speed are Panama and Nicaragua (although Ookla has no figures for Belize). As for fixed broadband speed, Guatemala and Honduras are the slowest.
Here’s how it plays out country-by-country for June 2023:
Mobile internet speed fastest to slowest:
- Costa Rica (78th in world)
- Guatemala (86th in world)
- El Salvador (93rd in world)
- Honduras (97th in world)
- Panama (117th in world)
- Nicaragua (120th in world)
*No figures available for Belize.
Fixed broadband speed fastest to slowest:
- Panama (26th in world)
- Costa Rica (61st in world)
- Nicaragua (90th in world)
- Belize (99th in world)
- El Salvador (102nd in world)
- Guatemala (103rd in world)
- Honduras (108th 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 places in Central America.
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 (100th in world)
- San Pedro Sula, Honduras (135th in world)
- San Salvador, El Salvador (132nd in world)
- Tegucigalpa, Honduras (118th in world)
- Managua, Nicaragua (140th in world)
- San José, Costa Rica (106nd in world)
- Panama City, Panama (142nd in world)
Fixed broadband speed fastest to slowest per Central American city:
- Panama City, Panama (36th in world)
- San José, Costa Rica (75th in world)
- Managua, Nicaragua (113th in world)
- San Salvador, El Salvador (119th in world)
- Guatemala City, Guatemala (122nd in world)
- San Pedro Sula, Honduras (128th in world)
- Tegucigalpa, Honduras (129th 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 Costa Rica 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 are 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.