The Panbo Forum

Return to Panbo Forum main page »

Ben E

Connected from Cuba?

Vote 0 Votes

Please help Wally Moran figure how to communicate while cruising Cuba:


I've been researching a variety of options for email/internet access for my trip on the south coast of Cuba this year. All I've managed to do is confuse myself, due to the various options, not all well explained. To make matters worse, Cuba's internet infrastructure is very poor, wifi is non-existent.

What is the best option for a) email and b) the net, for a cruising boat? Also, I see megayachts with a satellite setup, and I presume that's very expensive?

What I'd really like to be able to do is conduct a webinar about cruising Cuba for SAIL while there, and frankly, I don't see any way to get that sort of bandwidth.

-- Wally Moran

3 Replies

  • Hi Wally, A big question here will be your budget! It is actually possible to get a (fairly) high speed Internet connection on a cruising boat using Inmarsat FleetBroadband or KVH mini VSAT or Iridium Openport. But the hardware and service costs are considerable.

    A more affordable level would be an Iridium or Globalstar (getting much more reliable, I'm told) sat phone with a data set-up. Email and blogging possible, but web surfing very limited. The various new gadgets that let you connect to the phone via WiFi make the process much less painful.

    Good sources of information on all of the above:

    Finally, there's the DeLorme inReach, which can give you Iridium satellite texting, tweeting, tracking (and distress calling) in a fairly low cost easy-to-use package. I've written a lot about it on Panbo recently.

  • Sorry Wally, but what your looking for in Cuba ain't gonna happen. Besides the very poor internet service, the government controls what can and can't be done over the internet. I doubt webinars will be allowed. You may be able to record and archive them and then email it to the magazine. That too will be tough with files that size. Another option might be to "phone it in", let the magazine set up the webinar and use a satphone to call in. It's still a controlled Communist country. Chuck

  • Ben, Chuck - thanks for the comments. I was aware of the controls on communications in Cuba Chuck - it's actually worse than you realize, they monitor celphone calls and texts.
    Ben, I'll look into those options - but it's always a budget thing. The search continues....