Whether you’re visiting Mexico on vacation, staying for an extended time, or living here, WiFi hot-spots are helpful as they can provide a good quality internet connection without eating-in to your mobile data allowance.
WiFi spots are widely available across Mexico, and you’ll find them even in some of the country’s (semi)rural areas. Some require you to have an account or service, but many remain open to the public at no charge. Here are some current tips about how to go about getting connected to WiFi hot-spots here, as well as a note about using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to protect your privacy when using publicly-accessible WiFi networks.
Common places where you’ll find public WiFi connections in Mexico
Airports: Mexico’s airports offer public internet access over WiFi, although you will need an account for Telmex’s high-speed internet service known as ‘Infinitum’, or a US airtime provider with whom Telmex has a roaming agreement: there are several including AT&T and Boingo; check with your airtime provider to see if they have an agreement with Telmex. You can alternatively purchase an access token online from the Telmex portal that presents itself when connect to the network.
Coffee shops and restaurants: Some coffee shops, cafés and restaurants at airports offer free WiFi to customers. Free WiFi access is offered at almost every coffee shop and bistro across Mexico, whether its an independent establishment or a national chain, like Starbucks. Ask at the counter for the access code.
Mexicos’ national diner chains: All of Mexico’s principal food diner chains offer free WiFi access to their customers. Ask the waiting staff for details.
Public parks, plazas, and museums: Many municipalities across Mexico are now providing free public WiFi access in public parks and plazas (especially the main square or zocalo of each town) as well in other public buildings including libraries and clinics. The quality of service at these public spaces can be hit-and-miss sometimes, and connection speeds can be slow when there are many people around. Some museums also offer free WiFi to visitors. You should always use a VPN (see below) if you connect via one of these public spaces.
Hotels and AirBnB: Most hotels and all AirBnBs in Mexico offer WiFi access to guests. Some hotel chains charge an additional daily fee for the access—check with the hotel you are staying at. Smaller independent hotels in Mexico, as well as AirBnB rooms and spaces, tend to offer WiFi access included the nightly room charge.
Extended stays: If you plan to stay in Mexico for an extended period of time, or you plan to live in Mexico, high-speed internet access is readily available from fixed-line telephone and cable companies, data plans for local mobile phones, as well an mobile data modems you can install and use at home.
Internet via Satellite: If you’re situated in a very rural location, satellite internet services are also available, although they are more expensive than internet served over landline and mobile networks.
Why you should use a VPN on Public WiFi connections
VPN is an acronym for Virtual Private Network. A VPN enables your device to create a secure connection between itself and the remote website or services you connect to over the internet.
VPNs have several practical uses, and when you’re connecting to the internet using a WiFi connection that’s open to the general public, they are especially important because they create a connection that prevents the operator of the WiFi network from eavesdropping on your browsing activity and also prevents potential hackers using the same public WiFi to steal personal information from your device or browsing activity.
There are plenty of VPN service providers to choose from; some offer a limited free service (search online for options). Popular services include Windscribe, Norton, and ExpressVPN, and some VPN providers also bundle-in ad-blocking as part of the service package, so connecting via the VPN gives you a secure connection that also blocks online ads.
VPN service providers offer an App to download that makes connecting using a Virtual Private Network quick and simple with no need for technical expertise.
Whether you’re in Mexico or elsewhere, it’s prudent to always use a VPN service when you’re connecting over any public WiFi network, as you never know who else may be connected and trying to hack people using that shared WiFi network.
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