Mobile Internet in The Bahamas
For U.S.-based cruisers and boaters hopping over to the Bahamas, the options for mobile internet keep getting better and better.
From utilizing public Wi-Fi, Starlink satellite internet, cellular data roaming from U.S. carriers, obtaining a local SIM card, using cloud-based SIMs, or using personal satellite communicators - it's entirely possible to cruise the Bahamas and be swimming in mobile internet.
You won't have to choose between sublime sandy beaches and anchorages or getting mobile internet in the Bahamas - unless you really want to.
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International Mobile Internet Tips Video
Our international video overviews some general tips for traveling to The Bahamas by boat with mobile internet options:
You can also use our International Resources Page to access all of our guides to international & OCONUS travel, including: Canada, Mexico, Alaska, Bahamas, and Global. We even have a guide for our Canadian friends for keeping connected in Canada & the USA.
Wi-Fi in the Bahamas
Relying on public Wi-Fi is a simple mobile internet solution in the Bahamas. You do not need to secure any special hardware or plans in advance for this option. Wi-Fi works exactly the same in the Bahamas as it does in the USA, and you can use all of your current equipment to access public Wi-Fi spots.
Most Bahamian towns and cities are home to at least one cafe, restaurant, or business that offers Wi-Fi either for free or for a fee. If the Wi-Fi is free, it is expected you will patronize that business - and the Wi-Fi will likely be password protected to help encourage you to do so.
If you're staying in a marina, the marina may also offer Wi-Fi for an additional fee, or it may even be included in your marina fee.
If you're in a marina or are anchored out near a Wi-Fi hotspot, having Wi-Fi extending gear on board can help improve your connectivity if your boat is too far from a Wi-Fi source.
It's important to know that no amount of gear will make any difference if the source of the Wi-Fi is overloaded or doesn't provide sufficient bandwidth to perform the tasks you desire. Very often it is the upstream connection itself that is very limited – especially when working with Wi-Fi at smaller businesses.
Be especially considerate of others sharing the same Wi-Fi network. Streaming video should only be attempted if you have explicit approval from the network manager.
Don't be the one who drags the internet to a crawl for everyone - in some areas, there just is not a lot of connectivity to go around. In these locations, high bandwidth activities will be very frustrating.
Wi-Fi Calling Tip: Every one of the big four cellular carriers now supports Wi-Fi Calling on compatible phones. If your phone supports this, you can make and receive text messages and voice calls over Wi-Fi, even if you have no cellular service.
For more on the realities of using Wi-Fi, see our guide:
Roaming on Cellular Data Plans
Roaming is when a cellular carrier has agreements with another network to utilize that other network's cellular towers. This helps a carrier provide connectivity to its customers who are just passing through areas that the carrier doesn’t directly service themselves.
Behind the scenes, the carriers may charge each other for any usage while roaming onto each other's networks. As such, the carriers often manage their costs by enforcing specific roaming policies on their plans.
There are two main types of roaming - domestic and international.
When roaming internationally, many US carrier plans differentiate between North American (Mexico and Canada) roaming and International roaming (all other countries).
All of the major U.S. carriers consider roaming in the Bahamas to be International roaming.
While all of the major carriers do offer international roaming options via international plans or plan add-ons, quality of service - or service at all - is not guaranteed.
Most reports from those who have attempted to use their U.S. based plans in the Bahamas are not good. Roaming options are limited, and speeds are often quite slow.
If you’re traveling for just a few days, international roaming on your native cellular plan might be an option. But for those spending lengthier periods in the Bahamas - and those who need larger amounts of mobile internet or speedier data - international roaming add-ons will likely not cut it.
It's very important to know the exact terms of your U.S. based plan's international roaming features so that you know how much data you will be able to use - and what the costs are - if attempting to use your U.S. based cellular plan. International roaming on U.S. based cellular plans can get pricey - quickly.
Data Saving Tips for Capped Plans
As noted above, most U.S. based plans that permit data roaming into other countries place data usage caps on the roaming portions of those plans. If you are purchasing a local SIM card to use in another country, you may also find yourself dealing with data caps. Satellite options also often have data caps.
So how can you make the most of your data limits?
We've got a complete guide - with tips to lowering data usage - in our guide:
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Bahamian Roaming Policies by Carrier
Each carrier has its own roaming policies. In this section, we track the International roaming policies for current and legacy plans on each of the major US carriers - including Google Fi and Global SIM options.
Cellular Frequency Bands in the Bahamas
Getting the best cellular service means having equipment optimized for a carrier's network - this section tracks the cellular bands utilized by the Bahamian carriers.
Bahamian Cellular Carriers
It may be best to seek out a local plan - we go over the options in the Bahamas.
Global Cloud SIMs
Global SIMs provide easy global support, with no need to purchase SIM cards in each country.
Satellite Internet in the Bahamas
Starlink satellite internet makes mobile internet in The Bahamas a breeze.
VPN Service: Virtually Getting Back to the USA
You may find your favorite websites and streaming services block international traffic. This section has some tips on getting around those blocks.
Summary: Stay Connected in Paradise
If cruising the Bahamas has caught your eye, rest assured that you can explore while staying connected. With some research, planning, and flexibility, maintaining a decent mobile internet connection is possible.
- International Mobile Internet Options for U.S. Based Travelers
- Keeping Connected in Mexico
- Keeping Connected in Canada
- Mobile Satellite Internet & Communication Options for RVers and Boaters
Related News Stories:
- T-Mobile Changes Global Plus 15GB Add-on, Removing Unlimited Domestic Hotspot Posted on: July 31, 2023
- Verizon Increases Canada/Mexico and TravelPass International Roaming Data to 2GB/Day Posted on: November 17, 2022
- AT&T Upgrades International Day Pass - $100/Month Cap Posted on: July 13, 2021
- Google Fi Enforcing Restrictions on International Data Use Posted on: January 27, 2020
- Skyroam Introduces Solis X Global WiFi Smartspot Posted on: July 24, 2019
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