Due to circumstances beyond our control we have been forced to learn more about internet connectivity in Belize. The resort we are staying in is having some challenges. One of which appears to be the ability to keep the free wifi we have become accustomed to up and running. It depends on who you talk to but the bottom line is we have lost the ability to communicate on line. Some people would say, So what? This is a valid point other than the fact that we have chosen to forego cell phones for as long as possible and email is our only connection with family, friends and opportunities around the world. Snail mail just does not cut it.
We chose to ask around and inquire with locals and ex pats we have been fortunate enough to have made contact with in the last 3 months. If you find yourself on Ambregris Caye and are looking for cellular connectivity, we found you have two choices. BTL or Smart. We initially went to BTL and experienced wonderful customer service from one of their reps. The solution he came up with for us was to get our iPhone 3Gs unlocked and then use it as a hotspot for our wireless devices. With great excitement we headed off to Geeks, which appears to be the go to place for computer type help on the island. I know there must be other places, but this was the one everyone we spoke with suggested. After leaving the phone with them, under the impression it would cost us $70BZ ($35US) to unlock our phone and put us back in the “world” we returned to find out life is not that simple. Because it was a Bell phone from Canada they could only do a factory unlock which would cost as much as purchasing a new smart phone from them. Not!
Next stop was our wonderful ex-neighbours in the condos. I forgot to mention we have been moved from our lovely 2 bedroom condo to a 2 bedroom villa in the complex. Not by choice but the management asked nicely for us to help with accommodating some other travellers, and being the good natured Canadians that we are we agreed.
Sorry, back to the story. These wonderful folks from Colorado that are down here for half the year directed us to Smart. The other communications choice on the island. They gave us a lift to their office on Barrier Reef Drive in San Pedro where once again we encountered fantastic customer service from a wonderful lady that politely told us that our only real option based on the equipment we had was to get a MiFi portable wifi device. So not wanting to be left in the technological dust we dropped the $195BZ ($97.50US) for the little white box. We were thrilled to learn it came with 1GB of free data. We were back at noon the next day to purchase another 15GB for $110BZ ($55US).
Don’t get me wrong, we are absolutely thrilled with the device we have acquired. It works like a charm and we had no problem Skypeing and Facetimeing with family and friends. We just had to learn that video equals data. Did I mention that we are somewhat challenged in the arena of hi tech.
In the end we are back online and happy with the whole process. I am constantly amazed at the positive attitude and willingness to help of all the people we have come in contact with in our last 3 months here on the island.