Cellular Service And WiFi In Baja

Cellular service and WiFi availability in Baja have drastically improved year over year. However, there are definite stretches of “dead zones” where you can expect to be without cellular service. In fact, finding these areas is still a joy to many travelers looking to travel to Baja to disconnect from the world to take in many of the off-the-beaten-path adventures that still exist on the rugged peninsula. 

The days of having to purchase daily international plans or relying on local SIM cards are all but past when you travel to Baja. Most major US carriers and many Canadian carriers provide service when you travel to Mexico. However, it is up to you to discuss with your carrier any restrictions, fees or other limitations on your cellular plan. 

Throughout Baja, you will see TelCel as the major Mexican cellular carrier. The major US carriers will use TelCel towers to provide service based on your plan. So do not be surprised when you see TelCel pop up in your phone settings. 

If you do not have a cellular plan that includes Mexico in its coverage, an alternative is to purchase a TelCel SIM card from any number of TelCel retailers. There are official TelCel stores that are trustworthy to assist you in this matter. 

However, you can also find TelCel distributors at any number of corner stores, such as OXXO, that can also provide you with a SIM card. 

Activating the SIM card and accessing cellular service may be a little tricky, depending on how well you can understand Spanish. For this reason, we advise you try an official TelCel store and ask politely if anyone can assist you in English. 

Regardless of whether you need a SIM card for cellular service or not, we always travel with a TelCel SIM card to access the best WiFi you will find in Baja. 

Although WiFi is offered at various campgrounds, restaurants and other public places, we have found that using the TelCel cellular network via a local SIM card provides the most reliable WiFi if you need to stay connected. 

You will need an activated TelCel SIM card to create an online account either through the mobile app or website. Once you create an online registration you can fund what is called your “Amigo” account either by paying cash at a TelCel distributor or by using your credit card. 

With funding in your account, you can select any of a number of “paquetas” (“packet”) that provide various quantities of data. Use your mobile device to broadcast a hot spot and you will have WiFi for all of your devices. 

A note on Starlink: Starlink for RVers is now available and more and more campers are taking advantage of being able to use their Starlink satellite dish virtually anywhere they travel. We have Starlink as well and appreciate the connectivity, albeit at a $135 USD per month premium!

However, be aware that as of the time of writing, Starlinkl’s official policy on using Starlink outside of your country of residence is that you can only expect 2 months of service before having to return to your home country or purchasing a Starlink in the new country. 

Some users have equated this to highway robbery and there is a discussion about workarounds. We cannot speak to either and encourage you to play by the rules and/or do your own research on whether Starlink will make a better option for you during your time in Baja. 

EXPERT TIP TelCel has had an unlimited 2-hour packet you can purchase for under $1 (around 15 pesos at time of writing). This is by far the least expensive packet and you can use multiple unlimited packets back to back throughout the day, especially if you need to put together an 8-hour mobile work day. 

However, you must have a balance in your Amigo account and you will want to set an alarm to remind yourself when it is time to renew the unlimited packet. If the unlimited packet lapses, TelCel will charge your account at the highest data rate possible and you will quickly find your balance depleted.