Los Cabos comprises of the sister towns of San Jose Del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas which sit at the southern extreme of Mexico’s Baja Pennisula. Here two bodies of water, the Pacific ocean (to the west) and the Sea of Cortez (to the east) meet creating a fantastic profusion of marine life and a beguiling atmosphere of stunning coastal formations. For decades now Los Cabos have been a bonafide resort where North Americans, Mexicans and more come to enjoy sun, sea and tequila. As a result, the U of land of which they sit is home to bountiful tourist infrastructure and a sizeable expat community (particular during the winter months). How then is the quality of internet connection in such a resort town and how does connection quality (or lack of) affect the traveller’s narrativisation of travel?
Generally speaking, access to the Internet in Los Cabos is fair. There are a variety of connections available (in hotels and restaurants), and indeed every hotel we enquired with boasted a connection. Also, the speed of Internet connection is consistent and fast enough to upload photos or watch YouTube clips (maybe not in HD though). It is, however, notably slower than our home connection in Japan. With this consistent connection available we were able to approach our online narratives in a regular manner, spending a couple of hours each day in the hotel room or at a café. While our connection to the Internet within the main area of Los Cabos itself was sufficient, we did, however, experience some problems when it came to accessing the Internet within the broader Cabos area including towns about 100km away from Los Cabos themselves.
Like many resort towns in the world, the tourism focus in Los Cabos has begun to spread beyond the main town into outlying areas which are visited on day trips or by tourists who would prefer a more low-key holiday. In the broader Los Cabos area (specifically, Cabo Pulmo and Todos Santos) the Internet connection is not as serviceable as in town. While these areas boast sizeable expat communities and tourist infrastructure, Internet connection in these outlying areas is not constant. This particularly so in Cabo Pulmo, a burgeoning dive tourism hotspot located on a marine reserve in the Sea of Cortez. Climatic conditions in the arid Baja peninsula are extreme and towns which are located of the main highways may not be well amenitied in terms of services such as roads, power, water and telecommunications. Cabo Pulmo is located 15km of the paved highway, it is off the grid and relies on trucks for water. It has phone signal, however, Internet availability in town is patchy. In the one restaurant in town well known for having the Internet (The Coral Reef), the potential user is created with a sign listing various limitations on Internet usage. These restrictions can be seen to limit downloads and preserve the connection for a longer time. Interestingly, there is no mention made regarding uploading on this sign, perhaps, this service simply isn’t available.
The restrictions bring implications for the narrativisation of travel such as the imposition of text only format and the limitation to certain platforms (is Facebook banned because it’s videos load automatically and it has a high data usage rate?). These are indeed conditions I have seen in another remote location and in terms of connectivity Cabo Pulmo is much more a remote town than resort location. This contrast helps to highlight some of the different tiers of connectivity in different types of locations which travellers visit.
The road from Cabo Pulmo south highlights the rugged charm of Los Cabos
Restrictions on Internet use at The Coral Reef