Exotic Locales with High Speed Internet?
May 6, 2006 9:55 AM   Subscribe

Help me daydream! What are some fairly inexpensive, delightfully exotic places to live that have excellent internet connections?

I am an academic who teaches most of his classes online. My college also has a major emphasis on international education. Professors are encouraged to study, take students, and form connections abroad. I am pretty sure I could convince my administration to let me go abroad for an academic year. My wife and 6-year-old would come along.

But where would we go? In my minds eye I am swinging in hammock between two palms trees as the surf breaks yards away. Or at a street cafe drinking the local drink and soaking in the culture. Or in a quaint village in the mountains, listening to the tinkling bells of the goats being herded down the cobble stone streets just outside my cottage garden. In any case, I need an absolutely reliable high speed internet connection to do my job.

Any advice? My priorities are 1) fairly inexpensive, as my wife would not be working, 2) reasonably connected to a major airport, so friends can visit, 3) safe of course--I used up all my luck in my 20s, 4) someplace I can justify as being related to the history courses I teach (which fortunately are quite broad--the Atlantic World is one course I do, and I could develop a course in X to justify the trip).

Where could we go?
posted by LarryC to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Good, cheap, safe. Pick two.

Costa Rica has decent Internet connectivity. And beaches, mountains, rain forest, cloud forest, and several Stateside flights a day. Not the cheapest place to live, but reasonably safe, and still affordable, if you get good advice, act sensibly, and aren't absolutely committed to living on a Pacific Beach.

As for being a venue for teaching history, what do you know about the United Fruit Company?
posted by paulsc at 10:16 AM on May 6, 2006

Having done a school term abroad in Barcelona I might suggest the Costa Brava or inland Catalunya in northeastern Spain. There are secluded, tiny towns on small beaches on rocky shorelines, there are villages in the foothills of the Pyrenees, and lots of inbetween.

The locals are very friendly, it's safe, fast internet is available, and it's cheaper than most European countries. Barcelona is no more than an hours' drive away from most areas there, France is just as close, and you can fill your boots with history in the area.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:21 AM on May 6, 2006

Not a direct answer, but I would think any place with a cluster of online betting/gambling sites would be a good choice. Even if they aren't running the servers there they probably need high speed access. A quick search shows Antigua, Costa Rica, Curacao, Bermuda, etc. Another idea might be Argentina - it has a good infrastructure and is very cheap relative to Europe or US.
posted by true at 10:21 AM on May 6, 2006

Buenos Aires is a big cosmopolitan city, full of history, and ridiculously inexpensive right now. See the Washington Post's recent write-up.
posted by medpt at 10:34 AM on May 6, 2006

Thailand. You can live comfortably on $20 a day or less (3 restaurant meals, simple hotel accomodations, beer) and they've got solid internet access everywhere. Even on the islands.
posted by furtive at 10:47 AM on May 6, 2006

Yeah the places with the best (speed of internet)/(cost of living) ratio has got to be Vietnam or Thailand.
posted by vacapinta at 10:58 AM on May 6, 2006

Living in Thailand, I agree with furtive. The quality of life in Bangkok is excellent, and the cost of living quite low (although $20 a day I think is an exaggeration).
posted by soiled cowboy at 11:06 AM on May 6, 2006

How about Zagreb? It has a rich history and a really interesting present. And it's beautiful.
posted by sueinnyc at 12:26 PM on May 6, 2006

For the record I second/tjhird Beunos Aires. I have not visited there but have spent a lot of time anticipating it and reading about it. Incredibly affordable, all the cafes you can stand and good internet access. At least hi speed access it is very available in a number of apartments which we considered renting--it appears many buildings are extensively wired. Good luck and let us know where you decide
posted by rmhsinc at 12:38 PM on May 6, 2006

I second Croatia, but instead of living in the city, why not move to one of the islands on the coast? Hvar, for example, pretty much encompasses all three potential daydream scenarios- palm trees and hammocks, great cafes, and definitely cobblestone streets.
posted by Oobidaius at 12:53 PM on May 6, 2006

New Zealand. Cheap by US standards. More expensive than many other places of course. Safer than the US. While all the cities have airports, the flight distance is so far from the USA that airfares and flight length might discourage friends from casually dropping by.

For the same reason (of distance) Internet broadband connections between NZ and USA is either fibre optic or satellite. If you're into first-person-shooter gaming, the ping times to gamers in the US due to the distance can be annoying, but I can't see that being a problem for anything other than gaming that hinges on reflex-speed :-). Some areas it's difficult/expensive to get broadband, but you can find what's available where before you leave and plan accordingly.
posted by -harlequin- at 2:36 PM on May 6, 2006

Having had the luxury of spending time in S.E. Asia, Costa Rica, and Argentina in the last 18 months, I have a couple comments:

"Buenos Aires inexpensive" is not the same as S.E. Asia inexpensive. Buenos Aires is dirt-cheap compared to living in NYC or San Francisco, but for basics, you can live much cheaper in Southeast Asia than you can in Bs. As. I could live on $25 a day in Malaysia, including liberal quantities of beer (the only expensive item, because of Muslim "sin" taxes), whereas I was spending four times that in Bs. As. Having said that, I had much much higher standard of living (nice hotel, fancy steak, red wine). Bs As remains one of my favorite cities in the world for many reasons, most too personal and individual to matter to anyone else. It's more than a destination, but one place that I would live when I become an ex-pat.

As for Costa Rica: I turned down a job wiring a network of internet cafes while passing through a Costa Rican beach town (Dominical). If that chance ever comes around again, I won't make the same mistake. Anyway, my understanding was that the government was laying down a variant of DSL lines around areas of the country. It struck me as a bit odd, since the tiny mountain village I had just left had only one landline for the entire village (everyone else used cells). My traveler's impression was that Costa Rica was fairly one of the safer Central American destinations.

Also: as an academic, you probably want to avoid Vietnam, for internet censorship issues.

Good luck! dammit, I'm jealous.
posted by soda pop at 9:19 PM on May 6, 2006

Istanbul. The whole of Istkklal Cadessi (the main cafe drag near Taxim Square) is free wifi.
posted by zaelic at 4:29 AM on May 7, 2006

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