After visiting the Grenadines for 10 days on the water, I can tell you that “open” wifi is widely available. In just two of these spots were people with personal devices like Ipads able to connect, and even then it was hit or miss with the oscillation of the sailboat. With my Wifi setup using an Alfa USB Wireless Network adapter and the USB extender, I was able to find and use open hotspots — sometimes at several miles away at every location except the Tobago Cays (but then again I was busy playing in the water there).
I had my latop in the Salon, then the USB extender cable run out a hatch and up somewhere on the mast tucked away. It got a little wet a couple of times, but it would be wise to either take it down or find a solution to protect the electronics. I may even make some of these devices and create a kit that people can buy. I noticed that there are $300-$3000 boat wifi solutions. I think you can do it for $50 or less, and maybe $70 or less for a whole boat Wifi solution.
Each of the following is a link to the Wifi hotspots I found at a given location.
- Young Island on St Vincent
- Admirality on Bequia
- Saline Bay on Mayreau
- Macaroni Bay on Mustique
- Clifton Bay on Union
- Prickly Bay on Grenada
A note, there are many pay services available. Mega, HotHotHotSpot, KC Hot Spot to name a few. One of them lets you use the internet for free for 5 minutes.
If the security of your data is at all important to you, I would highly suggest a VPN solution especially when you utilize open wifi connections. All your data is able to be intercepted if you do not. One such solution is from Golden Frog’s VyprVPN. This particular company even has applications for IPAD so that every time you hit the internet, it reconnects the VPN. You can appear as though you are coming from a certain country which also may assist you in getting content from that area. I found a link to more information on VPNs and a few more options.
2015 Update: You can now get a wifi device which is weather ready (and it’s cheap)