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3 Best Prepaid SIM Cards in Costa Rica: Buying Guide

Costa Rica – meaning Rich Coast in Spanish, is known for its clear beaches, incredible national parks, and water-based activities, such as river rafting, canyoning, and cave tubing.

With the North Pacific Ocean on the west and the Caribbean Sea on the east, there is no shortage of sea to be found while in Costa Rica (unless you are solely staying in San José).

But the country is not just a beach destination. Monteverde has cool hiking trails and the Cloud Forest Reserve. San José has interesting museums and plenty of bars (great for nightlife). And Parque Nacional Manual Antonio has an incredible rainforest – there is no need to be bored while in Costa Rica.

In fact, you probably want to share your Costa Rica travel experience when you are there, and that is your right.

However, you should know that getting a Costa Rican SIM card and using data on that SIM card is better than using the SIM card from your home operator. If you do, you will be roaming, and international roaming can be super expensive if you do not watch out.

Luckily, Costa Rican SIM cards are inexpensive, and the data packages the local operators, Kölbi, Movistar, and Claro, are no match than the standard roaming rates your operators would charge you.

But how much will a SIM card in Costa Rica cost you?

You can get a Costa Rican SIM card for 1000 CRC (1.60 USD) to 2500 CRC (4.05 USD) in Kölbi, Movistar, and Claro stores – third-party resellers sell SIM cards. You can get Claro SIM cards often for free when visiting their stores. A plan with 1 GB valid for 7 days will cost at least 2000 CRC (3.25 USD).

Cannot see the video above? Watch it here or on YouTube.

Now you are almost ready to explore Costa Rica and enjoy cheap local rates. But before you do so, there are quite some things to know about Costa Rican SIM cards and data plans here.

In this guide, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Costa Rica. Let's do this.

Buying a SIM Card in Costa Rica Guide (logos of Kölbi, Movistar & Claro)

Original publication: 29th of December 2019. Last updated: 5th of June 2021.

Table of Contents

Can You Buy a SIM Card in Costa Rica?

Everyone visiting or living in Costa Rica can buy a SIM card from Kölbi, Movistar, or Claro without restrictions. However, travelers may only have 5 active prepaid lines at a time.

You should know that your SIM card has to be registered in your name through a SIM card registration process. Moreover, your phone needs to support the frequencies used in the country (even if you plan on roaming in Costa Rica). Finally, your phone needs to be unlocked (SIM-lock-free) to use local SIM cards

Where Can You Buy a SIM Card in Costa Rica?

You can get a Costa Rican SIM card in the official stores of Kölbi, Movistar & Claro or from authorized dealers. It is also possible to get a SIM card at San Jose – Juan Santamaría International Airport (Aeropuerto Internacional Juan Santamaría).

Cannot see the video above? Watch it here or on YouTube.

Can You Use Your Phone in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica uses GSM for its cellular communications, meaning that you need a GSM-capable phone to use your phone in the country. CMDA-phones will not work in Costa Rica, but there is about a 99% chance you have a GSM phone anyway. Fortunately,

Besides that, you need to be aware of the ITU regions to determine whether your phone will work in other parts of the world.

Although there are 3 ITU regions, you only need to know these two terms: American Frequencies and European Frequencies.

Africa, Asia (including the Middle East), Europe, and Oceania (ITU Regions 1 & 3) typically use European Frequencies, meaning phones bought in those regions can be used in countries using European Frequencies without issues.

The Americas (North-, Central, and South America + the Caribbean), ITU Region 2, use American Frequencies, which are different from the European Frequencies.

ITU Regions Map
By Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumwa) – Own work, using this file by Denelson83, CC BY-SA 2.5

Costa Rica uses a mix of American frequencies and European frequencies for 2G and 3G. 4G/LTE is exclusively on European frequencies.

If you bought your phone in the Americas (ITU region 2) and have a low/medium-end device (without Tri-Band or Quad-Band) support, you can go with any operator. However, you will be restricted to 2G and 3G only.

If you purchased your phone in Africa, Asia, Europe, or Oceania (ITU regions 1 & 3) and have a low/medium-end device (without Tri-Band or Quad-Band) support, you can go with any operator. You will also be able to use 4G/LTE.

Suppose you have a medium/high-end device with Tri-Band or Quad-Band support. In that case, you can go with any operator, as your phone will support both American and European frequencies, even on 4G/LTE.

Mobile Operators, Networks & Frequencies in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has three mobile network operators:

  • Kölbi
  • Movistar Costa Rica
  • Claro Costa Rica

The following frequencies are used in Costa Rica:

  • 2G: 850 MHz & 1800 MHz
  • 3G: 850 MHz & 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 1800 MHz (Band 8) & 2600 MHz (Band 7)

You can learn more about frequencies in the video below.

Cannot see the video above? Watch it here or on YouTube.

To check whether your phone will work in Costa Rica, check out this page by Will My Phone Work (may be outdated or inaccurate at times).

Again, make sure your phone is unlocked. Otherwise, you will not be able to use any SIM card except the one from your home operator (meaning you have to roam internationally or buy another unlocked phone that does support the frequencies listed above).

If you want to learn how international roaming works, this guide explains it in-depth. If you wonder why it is often so expensive to roam, this article explains the hidden reason they do not want you to know.

5G in Costa Rica

5G is not available in Costa Rica as of 2021. However, the national regulator SUTEL (Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones) has held 5G consultations in 2020. ICE (Kölbi) also held 5G tests back in 2019.

Best SIM Card in Costa Rica

If you want to buy the best SIM card in Costa Rica, I recommend going with Kölbi because they have the best coverage and fastest speeds in Costa Rica. It also has the largest variety of plans and packages.

SIM Card Registration in Costa Rica

SIM card registration, with the use of your passport information, is mandatory in Costa Rica. This will be done at the point of purchase.

In addition to registering your SIM card with the operator, you have to register it with the national regulator SUTEL (Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones). Most of the time, the operator or authorized dealer will do this on your behalf. If not, you have to do it yourself online (in Spanish only).

Costa Rica Speeds, Internet Prices & Insights

Flag of Costa Rica

Mobile data in the Americas is cheap. Well, Latin America, to be specific. North America and the Caribbean have high data rates.

What what does cheap mean in this case?

The average price for 1 GB of data in Costa Rica is 2.36 USD, around the Central American average of 2.40 USD. The world average is 4.07 USD.

Costa Rica Mobile Data Rates 2021

Those are good figures. Compared to 2019, the average cost of 1 GB of data in Costa Rica has gone down by 51.7%.

Central America Mobile Data Rates Stats 2021

Let's take a look at the Americas as a whole, including the Caribbean. Costa Rica is in the 19th place of the American countries with the lowest mobile data rates The continent's average is 4.61 USD (and 3.84 when excluding the Falkland Islands because it is such an outlier with 44 USD).

Enough about prices. What about speeds? Can you get fast download speeds while in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica's average mobile download speed is around 31 Mbps, making it the country with the fastest mobile download speed in Central America.

Costa Rica Mobile Internet Speeds 2021
Global Mobile Internet Speeds 2021

Sure, those numbers are still far behind the global average, but it could be much worse. At least you can expect fast speeds when in Costa Rica.

Network coverage is excellent in the populated areas. Expect spotty or no coverage in the mountain areas. Reception in rural areas should be decent too. With all of that in mind, you should have a smooth network experience in Costa Rica.

Currency in Costa Rica

1000 Costa Rican Colón Bank Note
© Banco Central de Costa Rica

Costa Rica uses the Costa Rican Colón with the symbol CRC (which will be used throughout this guide). However, prices are often listed as just . For example, 25 CRC = ₡25. For reference, below are some exchange rates between CRC and USD (US Dollars):

  • 10 CRC = 0.01 USD
  • 100 CRC = 0.15 USD
  • 1000 CRC = 1.35 USD
  • 10 000 CRC = 13.30 USD
  • 100 000 CRC = 132.90 USD

For up-to-date CRC:USD exchange rates, search CRC to USD on Google, or replace USD with the currency you use.

If your credit/debit card charges you foreign exchange fees, get yourself a Wise Borderless Account and Debit Card. Their fees are MUCH lower than banks, and credit card companies charge you (and Wise is transparent about their fees, unlike banks). I have saved literal THOUSANDS of Euros, my main currency, when using Wise abroad when traveling compared to my debit and credit cards. Open a Wise account FREE!

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Costa Rican Prepaid SIM Cards

Below, I will guide you through Kölbi, Movistar Costa Rica & Claro Costa Rica, and go through:

  • Background information
  • Mobile coverage
  • SIM card types, prices, and availability
  • Recharge / top-up information
  • Combo plans, data plans, and special packs (such as social media packs) 

With that being said, let’s see what Costa Rica has to offer to us.

Kölbi

Kölbi/Kolbi Logo
© Kolbi/Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad

Kölbi is the mobile brand by ICE – Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad – a government-run electricity and telecommunications company. Kölbi had a monopoly until 2011. Since then, it has faced competition from Movistar Costa Rica and Claro Costa Rica. Still, Kölbi has a market share of more than 50%.

Kölbi uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: 1800 MHz
  • 3G: 850 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 1800 MHz (Band 3) & 2600 MHz (Band 7)

Coverage – Kölbi

Kölbi has the best coverage throughout Costa Rica.

This was also confirmed by Opensignal's Costa Rica Mobile Network Experience Report of December 2020.

Below is Kolbi's official 2G coverage map:

Here is its 3.5G coverage map:

Then we have the 4G coverage map:

Finally, the 4.5G coverage map (LTE-A):

These maps may be a bit challenging to read. So here is a coverage map produced by Speedtest. Be aware that this map is more generous than the other maps shown earlier:

SIM Card Price – Kölbi

You can buy a Kölbi SIM card for 1000 CRC in Kölbi stores and partner stores. The SIM card includes 6000 CRC in credit (2000 CRC/month over 3 months – valid for 7 days each month) and unlimited WhatsApp data for 12 months if you recharge at least 3000 CRC.

Topping Up & Recharging – Kölbi

Kölbi top-up cards are sold in Kölbi stores and top-up partners (Puntos de Recarga), including grocery stores.

To recharge your Kölbi SIM card, dial *888# and follow the instructions. The same shortcode can be used to check your balance.

Kölbi 888 Menu Banner
© Kolbi/Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad

You can also tell the salesperson how much credit you want, your phone number, pay, and they will top up your SIM card with the POS system.

Finally, you can also top up and check your balance on the Mi Kölbi (My Kölbi) app (Android/iOS/Huawei App Gallery).

Kölbi App
© Kolbi/Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad

Plans, Packages, Bundles & Offers – Kölbi

Kölbi has five data-featured plans, which are:

All plans can be activated by dialing *888# or on the Kölbi app.

Kölbi 888 Menu
© Kolbi/Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad

Click on the links above to jump to the plan you are interested in.

Planes Dominio Prepage (Prepaid Domain Plans)

The Planes Dominio Prepage (Prepaid Domain Plans) are combo plans with data, local minutes, and local SMS.

The following Planes Dominio Prepage are available:

PricePlanDataSocial DataLocal MinutesLocal SMSValidity
5000 CRCDominio Prepago 12 GBUnlimited 135 minutes30 SMS30 days 
8000 CRCDominio Prepago 24 GBUnlimited 150 minutes30 SMS30 days 
12 000 CRCDominio Prepago 35 GBUnlimited 2100 minutes30 SMS30 days 

1 WhatsApp
2 Facebook, Instagram, Waze & WhatsApp

Paquetes Internet Prepage Ilimitado (Unlimited Prepaid Internet Packages)

The Paquetes Internet Prepage Ilimitado (Unlimited Prepaid Internet Packages) are “unlimited” data-only plans. However, each package comes with a fair-use high-speed allowance.

You can get one of the following Paquetes Internet Prepage Ilimitado:

PricePlanDataValidityActivation CodeDeactivation Code
200 CRCPaquete Hora“Unlimited”, 1 GB60 minutesPAQUETE DIAsalir hora
300 CRCPaquete Día“Unlimited”, 3 GB1 night (21:00 – 6:00)PAQUETE NOCHEsalir dia
500 CRCPaquete Noche“Unlimited”, 3 GB24 hoursPAQUETE HORAsalir noche
3000 CRCPaquete Fin de Semana“Unlimited”, 15 GB1 weekend (Friday 21:00 – Monday 6:00)PAQUETE FINDEsalir finde
4000 CRCPaquete Noche + Fin de Semana“Unlimited”, 20 GB7 nights (21:00 – 6:00)PAQUETE FINDE+salir fin+
7000 CRCPaquete Semana“Unlimited”, 25 GB7 days PAQUETE SEMANAsalis semana

If you go over the fair-use allowance, your speeds will be throttled up to 1 Mbps.

Paquetes Internet Prepage Ilimitado auto-renew. To disable auto-renewal, text the Deactivation Code to 8888. The plans can also be deactivated on the app.

En Todas (All In)

The En Todas (All In) plans are data-only bundles with regular data and unlimited data for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter & WhatsApp.

Below is an overview of En Todas:

PricePlanDataSocial Media DataValidityActivation Code
200 CRCEn Todas 150 MBUnlimted 11 day ET1
600 CRCEn Todas 3200 MBUnlimted 13 daysET3
1300 CRCEn Todas 5300 MBUnlimted 25 days ETP5
2500 CRCEn Todas 10500 MBUnlimted 210 days ETP10

1 Facebook, Instagram & WhatsApp
2 Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter & WhatsApp

Paquetes Internet Prepago (Prepaid Internet Packages)

The Paquetes Internet Prepago (Prepaid Internet Packages) are data add-ons for Planes Dominio Prepage. They cannot be purchased as standalone plans.

There are two Paquetes Internet Prepago add-ons:

PricePlanDataValidityActivation Code
2500 CRC1 Giga1 GB15 days 1GIGA
4000 CRC2 Gigas 2 GB30 days 2GIGAS
Paquetes De Internet Para Entretenimiento (Internet Packages For Entertainment)

The Paquetes De Internet Para Entretenimiento (Internet Packages For Entertainment) are unlimited data add-ons for select games, social media, music & video streaming apps for Planes Dominio Prepage. They cannot be purchased as standalone plans.

The following Paquetes De Internet Para Entretenimiento add-ons are available:

PricePlanSocial DataValidityActivation CodeDeactivation Code
1000 CRCPaquete JuegoUnlimited 17 days JUEGOSalir JUEGO
1500 CRCPaquete SocialUnlimited 27 days SOCIALSalir SOCIAL
4000 CRCPaquete MúsicaUnlimited 330 days MUSICASalir MUSICA
4000 CRCPaquete Video10 GB 430 days VIDEOSalir VIDEO

Paquetes De Internet Para Entretenimiento auto-renew. To disable auto-renewal, text the Deactivation Code to 8888. The plans can also be deactivated on the app.

As I do not recognize all the apps part of each package, I will just show you all the icons instead.

Kölbi Paquete Juego Apps
1 Paquete Juego Apps
Kölbi Paquete Social Apps
2 Paquete Social Apps
Kölbi Paquete Música Apps
3 Paquete Música Apps
Kölbi Paquete Video Apps
4 Paquete Video Apps

APN/Internet Settings – Kölbi

  • Name: Kolbi 4G Internet
  • APN: kolbi4g

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

Movistar Costa Rica

Movistar Logo New

Movistar Costa Rica, just Movistar, is the second-largest operator in Costa Rica. Movistar as a brand is active in many countries in Latin America.

Movistar uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: 850 MHz & 1800 MHz
  • 3G: 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 1800 MHz (Band 3)

Coverage – Movistar Costa Rica

Movistar has extensive coverage throughout Costa Rica.

Just like with the other operators, you should not expect much in the mountains, and reception in rural areas can be spotty. However, coverage should be good in the populated areas.

Below is Movistar's 2G coverage map:

Then we have the 3.5G coverage map:

Finally, the 4G/LTE map:

Below is a combined coverage map produced by Speedtest. Do note that this map shows a more favorable coverage than there actually is.

SIM Card Price – Movistar Costa Rica

You can buy a Movistar SIM card for 1000 CRC in Movistar stores and partner stores.

Dial *686# to see your Movistar phone number. The same can be done by texting MINUMERO to 606.

Topping Up & Recharging – Movistar Costa Rica

Movistar top-up cards are sold in Movistar stores and top-up partners (Puntos de Recarga), including post offices.

To recharge your Movistar SIM card, dial *650*VoucherCode#.

For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *650*VoucherCode#.

You can also tell the salesperson how much credit you want, your phone number, pay, and they will top up your SIM card with the POS system.

It is also possible to top up online with (international) debit and credit cards in the following denominations:

  • 2000 CRC
  • 3000 CRC
  • 4000 CRC
  • 6000 CRC
  • 10 000 CRC

You can enable a benefit called Super Recarga (Super Recharge) when you top up 1000 CRC or 2000 CRC. These bonuses include credit, data, social media data (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Waze & WhatsApp), and local minutes.

You get the following bonuses by texting the Activation Code to 606:

Top-UpOn-Net CreditCreditDataWhatsApp DataSocial Media Data  1Local MinutesValidityActivation Code
1000 CRC1000 CRCN/A300 MBUnlimitedN/A10 minutes4 days SUPER1
2000 CRCN/A2000 CRC1 GBN/AUnlimited15 minutes6 days SUPER2

1 Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Waze & WhatsApp

There is another recharge bonus called Súper Bonos Prepago (Super Prepaid Bonuses). These bonuses include data, social media data (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Waze & WhatsApp), local minutes, and international minutes to Canada, Nicaragua (Tigo), and the United States.

Enable Súper Bonos Prepago by texting the Activation Code to 606:

RechargePriceBonusDataSocial DataLocal MinutesInternational MinutesValidityActivation Code
1000 CRC550 CRC/monthSuperbono Llamadas 8 MinutesN/AN/AN/A8 minutes 32 days A
1000 CRC550 CRC/monthSuperbono Internet 150 MB150 MBN/AN/AN/A2 days B
1000 CRC1000 CRC/monthSuperbono Internet 300 MB300 MBUnlimited 110 minutesN/A4 days C
2000 CRC1100 CRC/monthSuperbobo LlamadasN/AN/AN/A20 minutes 34 days B
2000 CRC1150 CRC/monthSuperbono 500 MB500 MBUnlimited 1N/AN/A4 days A
2000 CRC2000 CRC/month Superbono Internet 1 GB 1 GB Unlimited 215 minutesN/A6 days C

1 WhatsApp
2 Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Waze & WhatsApp
3 Canada, Nicaragua (Tigo) & United States

Text SALDO to 606 to check your Movistar balance.

You can also top up and check your balance on the Mi Movistar (My Kölbi) app (Android/iOS/Huawei App Gallery).

Plans, Packages, Bundles & Offers – Movistar Costa Rica

Movistar has only one data-featured plan, which is Paquetes de Internet Prepago (Prepaid Internet Packages). It is a data-only plan.

The following Paquetes de Internet Prepago are available, which you can activate by texting the Activation Code to 606:

PricePlanDataWhatsApp DataValidityActivation Code
200 CRCPaquete Básico 30 MB30 MBUnlimited1 day 1BASICO
300 CRCPaquete Día 100 MB100 MBUnlimited1 dayDIA
300 CRCPaquete Diario 100 MB100 MBUnlimited1 day 1DIARIO
600 CRCPaquete Nocturno Ilimitado 100 MB100 MBUnlimited1 day 1 2NOCTURNO
600 CRCPaquetes 2 Días 400 MB400 MBUnlimited2 days 12DIAS
1200 CRCPaquete 4 Días 450 MB450 MBUnlimited4 days 4DIAS
2000 CRCPaquete Semana 550 MB550 MBUnlimited7 days SEMANA
2000 CRCMúsica 5 GB5 GB 3N/A30 days MUSICA
2000 CRCConectados 10 GB10 GB 4N/A30 days CONECTADOS
3000 CRCVideo 25 GB 25 GB 5N/A30 days VIDEO

1 auto-renews
2 100 MB between 7:00 – 23:00, unlimited between 23:00 – 7:00
3 Amazon Music, Apple Music, Deezer, Spotify & SoundCloud
4 BlueJeans, Google Hangout, Microsoft Teams, Skype, WebEx & Zoom
5 Amazon Video, FOX Movie, HBO Go & Netflix

APN/Internet Settings – Movistar Costa Rica

  • Name: Movistar 4G Internet
  • APN: internet.movistar.cr
  • Username: movistarcr
  • Password: movistarcr

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

Claro Costa Rica

Claro Logo

Claro Costa Rica, just Claro, is the smallest operator in Costa Rica. Claro is active in various other countries in Latin America.

Claro uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: 850 MHz & 1800 MHz
  • 3G: 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 1800 MHz (Band 3)

Coverage – Claro Costa Rica

Claro has great coverage in Costa Rica.

Coverage is extensive in the populated areas. Have low expectations in rural areas. Expect no coverage in the mountains.

Below is Claro's coverage map:

Here is a coverage map produced by Speedtest. Do note that this map shows a more favorable coverage than there actually is. However, it is easier to read than the one shown earlier.

SIM Card Price – Claro Costa Rica

You can get a Claro SIM card for free in Claro stores. Partner stores may charge you up to 2500 CRC for a SIM card. You get a bonus called Claro te Chinea, which gives you unlimited WhatsApp for 3 days if you recharge at least 1000 CRC upon purchasing your SIM card.

Topping Up & Recharging – Claro Costa Rica

Claro top-up cards are sold in Claro stores and top-up partners (Puntos de Recarga), including post offices.

To recharge your Movistar SIM card, dial *10 and follow the instructions.

You can also tell the salesperson how much credit you want, your phone number, pay, and they will top up your SIM card with the POS system.

It is also possible to top up online with (international) debit and credit cards.

Dial *30 to check your Claro balance.

You can also top up and check your balance on the Claro app.

Plans, Packages, Bundles & Offers – Claro Costa Rica

Claro has two types of data featured plans: Paquetes Prepago M@s (Prepaid M@s Packages) & Paquetes Internet (Internet Packages).

Paquetes Prepago M@s (Prepaid M@s Packages) – Claro Costa Rica

The Paquetes Prepago M@s (Prepaid M@s Packages) are combo plans with data, minutes, and SMS.

You can activate Paquetes Prepago M@s by texting the Activation Code to 111:

PricePlanDataSocial Data 1On-Net MinutesOff-Net & International Minutes 2Local SMSValidityActivation Code
1000 CRCPaquete M@s 3300 MBUnlimited50 minutes10 minutes20 SMS3 days planmas3
2000 CRCPaquete M@s 71 GBUnlimited200 minutes20 minutes50 SMS7 days planmas7
3000 CRCPaquete M@s 102 GBUnlimited200 minutes30 minutes100 SMS10 days planmas10
4500 CRCPaquete M@s 153 GBUnlimited200 minutes45 minutes200 SMS15 days planmas15
6000 CRCPaquete M@s 15+4 GBUnlimited200 minutes70 minutes200 SMS15 days planmas15p
10 000 CRCPaquete M@s 305 GB Unlimited200 minutes85 minutes300 SMS30 days planmas30

1 Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Waze & WhatsApp
2 Nicaragua, Panama & United States

Paquetes Internet (Internet Packages) – Claro Costa Rica

The Paquetes Internet (Internet Packages) are data-only plans.

Get a Paquetes Internet by texting the Activation Code to 111:

PricePlanDataWhatsApp DataValidityActivation Code
100 CRCM@s Navego 30 MB30 MBN/A1 day 30mb
300 CRCM@s Navego 150 MB150 MBUnlimited1 day 150mb
400 CRCNoches IlimitadasUnlimited N/A1 night (22:00 – 6:00)noche
600 CRCM@s Navego 300 MB300 MBUnlimited1 day 300mb
1000 CRCM@s Navego 400 MB400 MBUnlimited3 days 400mb
2000 CRCM@s Navego 1 GB1 GBUnlimited7 days 1gb
4500 CRCM@s Navego 3 GB3 GBUnlimited15 days 3gb

APN/Internet Settings – Claro Costa Rica

  • Name: Claro 4G Internet
  • APN: internet.ideasclaro

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Costa Rica

I would highly encourage anyone visiting Costa Rica to get themselves a Costa Rican SIM card – you will be saving a lot of money when you do so.

However, for some, getting a Costa Rican SIM card is not an option. For example, your device may be SIM-locked, meaning that you cannot use any SIM card other than the SIM card provided by your operator.

There are other ways to stay online while in Costa Rica, but they may not be cheap.

However, these methods may be more expensive than getting a SIM card from the two local operators.

International Roaming

International roaming is the most convenient way to stay connected when traveling in other countries because you do not have to buy a new SIM card, have to deal with SIM card registration regulations, nor have multiple phone numbers to deal with.

However, international roaming has proven to be expensive in many cases, especially compared to buying local SIM cards. That is why many travelers are not fond of international roaming.

International roaming has its pros and cons. However, it is important to know how it works. This in-depth guide explains it all.

Find out whether your mobile operator has attractive roaming rates for Costa Rica here.

Using an International SIM Card or Travel SIM Card

International SIM cards are SIM cards made for the traveler in mind. Using them is often cheaper than international roaming. However, they are almost always more expensive than using a local SIM card.

There are many other advantages and disadvantages of getting international SIM cards, which you can learn about here.

Using a Mobile Hotspot (Pocket WIFI)

Mobile hotspots, or pocket WIFI, are small devices that connect to the local operators of the country you are visiting. Mobile hotspots are ideal for families or those traveling in a large group, as they allow you to connect multiple devices to one hotspot without the need of each traveler having to buy a SIM card.

You can either buy a mobile hotspot or rent one.

Using Free WIFI Networks

Using free WIFI connections is the cheapest way to stay connected because they are free. The major downside of trying to use WIFI hotspots is that you will have to locate them, and they are not available on every corner in Costa Rica.

Make sure to protect your internet traffic with a VPN so that hackers cannot steal your personal data.

The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Costa Rica

Getting a SIM card from Kölbi would do you well when considering a Costa Rican SIM card.

Local Prepaid SIM Cards in Other Central American Countries

Visiting other countries in Central America? Check out my Central America SIM card buying guide, covering other Central American nations, such as:

Next Steps to Enhance Your Travel Experiences

Looking for the next steps to enhance your phone travel experiences? Here is what to do:

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Learn About Your Phone Travel Options

You can buy local prepaid SIM cards, international SIM cards, mobile hotspots, or roam internationally. Each of these options has its pros and cons. Learn more about them, and find the best option for you.

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