How to Get a SIM Card in Costa Rica

How to Get a SIM Card in Costa Rica

If you are like most people, your phone is an extension of your day. While you may be able to turn off work emails during your vacation, you still want to be able to use the internet. You don’t want to miss out on family and friends when you’re away. In this post, we will show you how to get a pre-paid sim card in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica’s Mobile Network

Costa Rica has many cell phone towers. You can make a local call in most places around the country with this.

There are places in Costa Rica where the towers aren’t reaching. They can be partially blocked. Good coverage is likely to be found if you are traveling to a tourist destination.

Most popular secondary roads have good coverage. Some spotty zones are likely to be found along the way.

If your phone is locked in your home country, Costa Rica’s mobile networks won’t work. The most common problem people have when trying to get a foreign sim card is this. If you have a cell phone contract with the carrier, you should try to get the phone unlocked for international travel. They may be able to give you a temporary international calling/data plan europe data sim.

Costa Rica Mobile Providers

Costa Ricans have several cell phone networks. The biggest is the government. This is the most popular because of its extensive coverage.

Claro is growing in popularity. The companies are newer to the market.

If you are going to be in Costa Rica for a long period of time, be sure to ask your host/property manager which company has the best coverage in that area. Claro works well in some rural areas. It is possible to get fast, reliable internet in parts of the country without a cable or fiber connection.

Prepaid vs. Postpaid SIM Cards

Prepaid and postpaid are the two options for getting a new sim card.

Anyone with a passport can buy a pre-paid card.

There is a certain amount of money for minutes and data that can be purchased for a certain amount of colones. You won’t be able to make calls or use the internet if you don’t have enough money to pay the balance. You can add as much money as you like. It is inexpensive. The colones will last you a long time.

Postpaid phone cards that give you a certain amount of data and minutes are billed monthly. You have to be a legal resident with a cedula to get one. You will sign a contract when you do that.

Getting a SIM Card in Costa Rica

It’s easy to get a Costa Rica sim card for your phone. Make sure that your phone is unlocked or has a dual sim card. We will cover the rest of the process.

Buying SIM Cards at the Airport

You used to be able to purchase a Kolbi sim card at the airports. The desks have been closed. There is a desk at the baggage claim, but it is not always open.

You can get a sim card at any of the international airports, but you have to take a 5 to 10-minute drive.

You can go to the City Mall if you arrive at SJO Airport. It is 5 minutes away. There are storefronts in the mall.

There are three stores in town, one of which is Movistar. Depending on traffic, these are close to the airport.

Where Else to Get a SIM Card?

There are many places to get a Costa Rica sim card.

ICE Offices

Costa Rica has a government-run electric and telecommunications agency.

Most of the offices are in larger towns and some in rural areas. White, blue, and yellow are their colors. Sometimes lines are long when people go to pay their bills.

The staff in most ICE offices can help you set up a new phone. The government runs the mobile provider branch of ICE.

Kolbi Retail Locations

The ICE offices are in Costa Rica. There is a list here. You don’t need to know where you’re going to.

The list will show you both the ICE offices and the store locations. Most of the storefronts are in the San Jose area.

The stores are near popular tourist destinations.

  • The Red Cross is across from La Fortuna.
  • On the way to many Guanacaste beaches such as Tamarindo and Flamingo.
  • Correos de Costa Rica is on the Caribbean coast.

Claro and Movistar Retail Stores

The retail stores for Claro and Movistar are the same as the ones in the Kolbi storefronts. There are locations in many tourist destinations.

You can find the locations of Claro stores here.

Setting Up Your Costa Rica SIM Card

The mobile provider will help you set up your phone and make sure it works. They will give you a phone number that matches the one you have on your phone.

Each provider has different packages that include phone minutes, data, and sometimes even free usage for things like Facebook, but they all have the same package.

Kolbi has a package that includes 5 gigabytes of internet, 5 gigabytes for specific apps, and 100 minutes for national calls. The price includes 4% VAT. It depends on the exchange rate.

For a short vacation, this should be enough.

Adding More Data/Minutes to Your SIM

You can add more money to your balance if you run out of phone minutes.

Most grocery stores can either add minutes using their computer or sell you a card that has a code on it.

To use the card, you have to call the toll-free number and enter some numbers from the back. The cell phone stores can add minutes.

If you have a sim card, you can ask if they sell any of the other ones. You can see the logos at the register or on a sign outside.

You will receive a text message with your new balance after you have successfully charged.

You can check your balance by calling.


We hope this article has helped you navigate the process of getting a sim card in a foreign country You can rest easy now that you are connected.

Do you have a question about Costa Rica?

Are you looking for more information? Check out the posts.

Adobe is one of the best rental car companies in the country. If you think you need more data for your trip, add a wi-fi stick.

Make sure to read this post if you are about to pack for Costa Rica.

Are you looking for a hotel that doesn’t feel like an airport hotel? This is a list of our favorites.

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