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Costa Rica: 3 Best Prepaid SIM Cards Buying Guide (2023)

Costa Rica – meaning Rich Coast in Spanish, is known for its clear beaches, incredible national parks & water-based activities, such as river rafting, canyoning & 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 mobile 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 mobile operators, Kölbi, Movistar & 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 790 CRC (1.20 USD) or 1500 CRC (2.30 USD) from Claro, 1000 CRC (1.50 USD) from Kölbi, or 1500 CRC from Movistar in their stores. SIM cards are also sold at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) but not at Liberia-Guanacaste Airport (LIR) anymore.

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: 10th of November 2022.


Table of Contents

In This Guide Show

Can You Buy a SIM Card in Costa Rica?

Anyone living in or visiting Costa Rica can buy a Costa Rican SIM card from Kölbi, Movistar & Claro in their stores with some restrictions.

The main restriction is that you can only have five active SIM cards in your name in Costa Rica.

Besides that restriction, you are free to use Costa Rican SIM cards.

You do have to comply with the SIM card registration regulations.

  • Find out which countries have SIM card registration regulations and what is required from you (lookup tool)
SIM Card Registration Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

Moreover, you need a phone that supports the frequencies used in the country (preferably all of them to have the most optimal experience while in Costa Rica).

Furthermore, you need to have a SIM-lock-free device.

Where Can You Buy a SIM Card in Costa Rica?

You can get a Costa Rican SIM card in Kölbi, Movistar & Claro stores. They are also sold at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC – Claro only). Liberia-Guanacaste Airport (LIR) does not sell SIM cards anymore.

You can expect to pay the following for Costa Rican SIM cards:

  • Kölbi Costa Rica: 1000 CRC
  • Movistar Costa Rica: 1000 CRC & 1500 CRC
  • Claro Costa Rica: 790 CRC & 1500 CRC

For up-to-date CRC:your currency (let's say USD) exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.

  • Find out how much SIM cards cost in every country, including data-only SIM cards and tourist SIM cards, offered by each mobile operator + information about starter benefits (lookup tool)
SIM Card Prices Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz
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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.

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 & 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– & 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 use a mix of American frequencies and European frequencies for 3G, depending on the mobile operator. 2G and 4G/LTE are 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 want to go with Kölbi Costa Rica or Movistar Costa Rica.

They support traditional American frequencies on 3G (850 MHz), meaning that you can use their networks (at slower 3G speeds compared to 2100 MHz).

But Movistar also uses European frequencies for 3G (2100 MHz). But 850 MHz provides wider coverage than 2100 MHz.

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 Claro Costa Rica.

All the frequencies Claro uses are European frequencies.

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

Mobile Operators, Networks & Frequencies in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has three mobile operators:

  • Kölbi Costa Rica by Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE)
  • 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.

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.

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VoLTE & VoWiFi in Costa Rica

Both VoLTE (Voice over LTE (4G) – also known as HD Voice) and VoWiFi (Voice over WiFi – also known as WiFi calling) are not offered by the mobile operators in Costa Rica (yet).

This means that when you make a call, your phone will downgrade to 3G (or 2G when 3G is not available) instead of staying connected to 4G/LTE.

This is also why you often cannot use mobile data while calling if not connected to WiFi.

VoWiFi is, as the name implies, calling on a WiFi connection as opposed to on a cellular network.

5G NR in Costa Rica

5G NR is not available in Costa Rica as of 2022, and the Costa Rican government has not made any indications of when they will auction 5G licenses.

Best SIM Card in Costa Rica

If you want to buy the best SIM card in Costa Rica, I recommend going with Kölbi or Claro. Kölbi has the fastest speeds and the best 4G/LTE coverage experience. Claro has the best overall network performance and is the better option in select rural locations.

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Best eSIM in Costa Rica

Unfortunately, none of the mobile operators offer eSIM to prepaid customers in Costa Rica yet.

Note that the Costa Rican mobile operators require your identification (passport) for (future) eSIMs and physical SIM cards (will be discussed later).

Therefore, if you wish to get an eSIM for Costa Rica (without personal detail capturing), you can get the Costa Rica (Hot Telecom) eSIM from Airalo.

Costa Rica Hot Telecom eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

You have three options:

  1. Costa Rica/Hot Telecom 1 GB eSIM for 7 daysvery popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  2. Costa Rica/Hot Telecom 3 GB eSIM for 30 days
  3. Costa Rica/Hot Telecom 5 GB eSIM for 30 daysmost popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers

The Airalo links will automatically get you the available Phone Travel Wiz exclusive offers – a code is unnecessary.

For an in-depth analysis of the Costa Rica Hot Telecom eSIMs (covering pros and cons as well), check out my Costa Rica eSIMs Compared guide.

Or you can get Costa Rica eSIMs from Holafly.

Phone Travel Wiz x Holafly Banner
No unlimited data for Costa Rica (yet)

Use code PHONETRAVELWIZ for exclusive deals when getting Holafly eSIMs, AND get an additional 5% off!

For an in-depth analysis of the Holafly Costa Rica eSIMs (covering pros and cons as well), check out my Costa Rica eSIMs Compared guide.

Holafly Travel eSIM Reviews by Phone Travel Wiz

Finally, you also get Costa Rica eSIMs from Nomad.

Costa Rica eSIMs Nomad

By the way, the 5 GB Costa Rica Nomad eSIM for 30 days is the most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers.

Use code ADU123 for the best deals available when getting Nomad eSIMs (on the site or their apps), such as getting 3 USD off!

For an in-depth analysis of the Nomad Costa Rica eSIMs (covering pros and cons as well), check out my Costa Rica eSIMs Compared guide.

Nomad Travel eSIM Reviews by Phone Travel Wiz

With these eSIMs, you can skip Costa Rica's SIM card registration scheme entirely and use it immediately upon arriving in Costa Rica!

  • Find out about the best local eSIMs, local travel eSIMs & regional travel eSIMs for every country (lookup tool)
Best Local & Travel eSIMs Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

TIP: check out my Best Costa Rica eSIMs Compared guide for an in-depth comparison of several eSIMs for Costa Rica, including ones not mentioned above.

Airalo introduced an eSIM for Latin America (Central- and South America): Latamlink. The Latamlink is following the popular Eurolink eSIM for 39 European countries and the fairly new Asialink eSIM for 14 Asian countries.

Latamlink Latin America eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

The Latamlink eSIM comes in four variants: 1 GB/7 days, 2 GB/15 days, 3 GB/30 daysmost popular with PTW readers & 5 GB/30 daysmost popular with PTW readers, to be used in Costa Rica and 18 other Latin American countries:

  • Argentina
  • Belize
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • French Guiana
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

With the Latamlink eSIM, you can save a lot of money by skipping the initial SIM card costs per country you visit in Latin America!

Holafly also has an eSIM covering most of Central- and South America (although the eSIM is called South America eSIM).

But honestly, the Latamlink eSIM is superior (but you can consider the Holafly Central America eSIM if you want 6 GB of data instead in 13 countries – just do not forget about code PHONETRAVELWIZ if you go with Holafly).

TIP: Check out my eSIM lookup tool for an overview of local mobile operators offering eSIMs to prepaid customers and travel eSIMs I use and love (for eSIMs in Costa Rica and eSIMs worldwide) and my Best Costa Rica eSIMs Compared guide for an in-depth comparison of several eSIMs for Costa Rica.

Best International/Travel SIM Card for Costa Rica

If you want to buy the best international/travel SIM card for Costa Rica, I recommend going with SimCorner's 12 GB Costa Rica Travel SIM card for 30 days. Consider SimCorner's South America Travel SIM card, also with 12 GB, valid for 30 days in Costa Rica and (Central+) South America, including Nicaragua and Panama.

SimCorner's South America SIM card can, in addition to the aforementioned countries, also be used in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru, Puerto Rico & Uruguay.

You can also get the SimCorner International Travel SIM card (new: also available as an eSIM) 6 GB of data valid for 15 days to be used in Costa Rica and 100+ countries, including the ones mentioned above and Panama, Paraguay & Puerto Rico.

You can use the Simcorner International Travel SIM card in the following countries:

SimCorner International SIM Card Banner
© SimCorner
International Travel eSIM SimCorner
© SimCorner
  • Åland Islands
  • Albania
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bangladesh
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • Chad
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Congo, the Republic of (Brazzaville)
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Estonia
  • Faroe Islands
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • France
  • Gabon
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Greece
  • Guam
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kenya
  • Kuwait
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macau
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Myanmar
  • Nauru
  • Nepal
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • North Macedonia
  • Northern Cyprus
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • San Marino
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Svalbard and Jan Mayen
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Tonga
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Uruguay
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vatican City
  • Vietnam

Instead of spending between 5 USD to 15 USD for SIM cards in each country, get a SimCorner travel SIM card covering numerous countries for just one price!

Use discount code PHONETRAVELWIZ for extra savings!

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.

  • Find out which countries have SIM card registration regulations and what is required from you (lookup tool)
SIM Card Registration Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

In addition to registering your SIM card with the mobile operator, you have to register it with the national regulator SUTEL (Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones).

In most cases, the mobile operator will do this on your behalf.

If not, you have to do it yourself online (in Spanish only).

Costa Rica Mobile Speeds, Mobile Internet Prices & Insights

Flag of Costa Rica

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Currency in Costa Rica

1000 Costa Rican Colón Bank Note
© Central Bank of Costa Rica/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:your currency (let's say USD) exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.

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 Australian Dollars and Euros, my main currencies, when using Wise abroad when traveling compared to my debit and credit cards.

Open a Wise account for FREE!

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Costa Rican Prepaid SIM Cards

Below, I will guide you through Kölbi Costa Rica by Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), 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 Costa Rica by Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE)

Kölbi Costa Rica Logo
© Kölbi

Kölbi Costa Rica, just Kölbi, is the largest mobile operator in Costa Rica.

It is also the fastest mobile operator in the country.

Kölbi is the mobile brand by Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) – a government-run electricity and telecommunications company.

The mobile brand had a monopoly until 2011.

Since then, it has faced competition from Movistar Costa Rica and Claro Costa Rica.

To this day, 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)
  • VoLTE: No
  • VoWiFi: No

This is what you will learn about Kölbi:

* Coverage
* How to Get a Kölbi SIM Card & SIM Card Price
* Topping Up Options & Methods + Balance Check
* Plans & Packages
* APN/Internet Settings

Coverage – Kölbi Costa Rica

Kölbi has the best coverage throughout Costa Rica.

Below is Kölbi's coverage map produced by Speedtest:

However, click here to see Kölbi's official coverage map.

SIM Card Price – Kölbi Costa Rica

You can buy a Kölbi SIM card for 1000 CRC with 6000 CRC in credit (2000 CRC/month over three months – valid for seven days each month) and unlimited WhatsApp data for 12 months if you recharge at least 3000 CRC in Kölbi stores. Kölbi SIM cards are not sold at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC).

Kölbi Costa Rica SIM Card Price
  • Find out how much SIM cards cost in every country, including data-only SIM cards and tourist SIM cards, offered by each mobile operator + information about starter benefits (lookup tool)
SIM Card Prices Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

Kölbi has no eSIMs – not even for postpaid customers.

Note that the Costa Rican mobile operators require your identification (passport) for (future) eSIMs and physical SIM cards.

Therefore, if you wish to use an eSIM for Costa Rica (without personal detail capturing), you can get the Costa Rica (Hot Telecom) eSIMs from Airalo (1 GB/7 daysvery popular with PTW readers, 3 GB/30 days & 5 GB/30 daysmost popular with PTW readers).

Costa Rica Hot Telecom eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

The Airalo links will automatically get you the available Phone Travel Wiz exclusive offers – a code is unnecessary.

Or you can get Costa Rica eSIMs from Holafly.

Phone Travel Wiz x Holafly Banner
No unlimited data for Costa Rica (yet)

Use code PHONETRAVELWIZ for exclusive deals when getting Holafly eSIMs, AND get an additional 5% off!

Finally, you also get Costa Rica eSIMs from Nomad.

Costa Rica eSIMs Nomad

The 5 GB Costa Rica Nomad eSIM for 30 days is the most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers.

Use code ADU123 for the best deals available when getting Nomad eSIMs (on the site or their apps), such as getting 3 USD off!

Airalo introduced an eSIM for Latin America (Central- and South America): Latamlink. The Latamlink is following the popular Eurolink eSIM for 39 European countries and the fairly new Asialink eSIM for 14 Asian countries.

Latamlink Latin America eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

The Latamlink eSIM comes in four variants: 1 GB/7 days, 2 GB/15 days, 3 GB/30 daysmost popular with PTW readers & 5 GB/30 daysmost popular with PTW readers, to be used in Costa Rica and 18 other Latin American countries:

  • Argentina
  • Belize
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • French Guiana
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

With the Latamlink eSIM, you can save a lot of money by skipping the initial SIM card costs per country you visit in Latin America!

TIP: check out my Best Costa Rica eSIMs Compared guide for an in-depth comparison of several eSIMs for Costa Rica, including ones not mentioned above.

  • Find out about the best local eSIMs, local travel eSIMs & regional travel eSIMs for every country (lookup tool)
Best Local & Travel eSIMs Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

Be aware that there is no VoLTE or VoWiFi with Kölbi.

Dial *888# to access the Kölbi menu.

Kölbi Costa Rica SIM Card
© Kölbi
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Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – Kölbi Costa Rica

Kölbi top-up vouchers are sold in Kölbi stores and top-up partners (Puntos de Recarga), grocery stores, corner shops & electronics shops throughout Costa Rica.

The following top-up options are available:

Top-UpValidity
1000 CRC30 days
2000 CRC45 days
5000 CRC60 days
10 USD (6500 CRC)60 days
20 USD (13 000 CRC)60 days
Kölbi Costa Rica Top Ups

To top up your Kölbi SIM card, dial *888# 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 *888# to check your Kölbi balance.

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

Kölbi Costa Rica App
© Kölbi

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – Kölbi Costa Rica

Kölbi has four data-featured plans:

All plans can be activated by texting the Activation Code to 8888 or dialing *888#.

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

Planes Dominio Prepago (Prepaid Domain Plans) – Kölbi Costa Rica

The Planes Dominio Prepago (Prepaid Domain Plans) are combo bundles with data, minutes & SMS.

The following Planes Dominio Prepago are available, which can be activated by dialing *888#:

PricePlanDataSocial DataLocal MinutesLocal SMSValidity
5040 CRCDominio Prepago 12 GB3 GB 135 minutes30 SMS30 days 
8065 CRCDominio Prepago 24 GB3 GB 150 minutes30 SMS30 days 
12 095 CRCDominio Prepago 35 GB5 GB 2100 minutes30 SMS30 days 

1 for WhatsApp
2 for Facebook, Instagram, Waze & WhatsApp

Kölbi Costa Rica Planes Dominio Prepage Prepaid Domain Plans
Paquetes en Todas (All in Packages) – Kölbi Costa Rica

The Paquetes en Todas (All in Packages) plans are data bundles.

Paquetes en Todas can be activated by texting the Activation Code to 8888 or by dialing *888# and selecting option 3:

PricePlanDataSocial Media DataValidityActivation Code
200 CRCEn Todas 150 MB40 MB 11 day ET1
600 CRCEn Todas 3200 MB100 MB 13 daysET3
1300 CRCEn Todas 5300 MB200 MB 25 days ETP5
2500 CRCEn Todas 10500 MB400 MB 210 days ETP10

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

Paquetes en Todas auto-renew. To disable auto-renewal, text Salir Internet to 8888.

Kölbi Costa Rica Paquetes en Todas
Paquetes Internet Prepago (Prepaid Internet Packages) – Kölbi Costa Rica

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

Paquetes Internet Prepago can be activated by texting the Activation Code to 8888 or by dialing *888# and selecting option 3:

PricePlanDataValidityActivation Code
2500 CRCPaquete 1 GIGA1 GB15 days 1GIGA
4000 CRCPaquete 2 GIGAS2 GB30 days 2GIGAS
Kölbi Costa Rica Paquetes Internet Prepago Prepaid Internet Packages
Paquetes de Internet para Entretenimiento (Internet Packages for Entertainment) – Kölbi Costa Rica

The Paquetes de Internet para Entretenimiento (Internet Packages for Entertainment) are data plans for games, music streaming, social media & video streaming apps for Planes Dominio Prepago. They cannot be purchased as standalone plans.

Paquetes De Internet Para Entretenimiento can be activated by texting the Activation Code to 8888 or by dialing *888# and selecting option 3:

PricePlanSocial DataValidityActivation CodeDeactivation Code
1000 CRCPaquete JuegoUnlimited7 days JUEGOSalir JUEGO
1500 CRCPaquete SocialUnlimited7 days SOCIALSalir SOCIAL
4000 CRCPaquete MúsicaUnlimited30 days MUSICASalir MUSICA
4000 CRCPaquete Video10 GB30 days VIDEOSalir VIDEO

Paquetes De Internet Para Entretenimiento auto-renew. To disable auto-renewal, text the Deactivation Code to 8888.

Kölbi Costa Rica Paquetes De Internet Para Entretenimiento Internet Packages For Entertainment

APN/Internet Settings – Kölbi Costa Rica

  • Name: Kolbi 4G Internet
  • APN: kolbi4g

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

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Movistar Costa Rica

Movistar Logo New
© Movistar

Movistar Costa Rica, just Movistar, is the second-largest mobile operator in Costa Rica.

Movistar, as a brand, is active in Central America, South America & Spain.

Movistar uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: 1800 MHz
  • 3G: 850 MHz & 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 1800 MHz (Band 3)
  • VoLTE: No
  • VoWiFi: No

This is what you will learn about Movistar:

* Coverage
* How to Get a Movistar SIM Card & SIM Card Price
* Topping Up Options & Methods + Balance Check
* Plans & Packages
* APN/Internet Settings

Coverage – Movistar Costa Rica

Movistar has extensive coverage throughout Costa Rica.

Below is Movistar's coverage map produced by Speedtest:

However, click here to see Movistar's official coverage map.

SIM Card Price – Movistar Costa Rica

You can buy a Movistar SIM card for 1500 CRC in Movistar stores.

  • Find out how much SIM cards cost in every country, including data-only SIM cards and tourist SIM cards, offered by each mobile operator + information about starter benefits (lookup tool)
SIM Card Prices Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

Movistar has no eSIMs – not even for postpaid customers.

Note that the Costa Rican mobile operators require your identification (passport) for (future) eSIMs and physical SIM cards.

Therefore, if you wish to use an eSIM for Costa Rica (without personal detail capturing), you can get the Costa Rica (Hot Telecom) eSIMs from Airalo (1 GB/7 daysvery popular with PTW readers, 3 GB/30 days & 5 GB/30 daysmost popular with PTW readers).

Costa Rica Hot Telecom eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

The Airalo links will automatically get you the available Phone Travel Wiz exclusive offers – a code is unnecessary.

Or you can get Costa Rica eSIMs from Holafly.

Phone Travel Wiz x Holafly Banner
No unlimited data for Costa Rica (yet)

Use code PHONETRAVELWIZ for exclusive deals when getting Holafly eSIMs, AND get an additional 5% off!

Finally, you also get Costa Rica eSIMs from Nomad.

Costa Rica eSIMs Nomad

The 5 GB Costa Rica Nomad eSIM for 30 days is the most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers.

Use code ADU123 for the best deals available when getting Nomad eSIMs (on the site or their apps), such as getting 3 USD off!

Airalo introduced an eSIM for Latin America (Central- and South America): Latamlink. The Latamlink is following the popular Eurolink eSIM for 39 European countries and the fairly new Asialink eSIM for 14 Asian countries.

Latamlink Latin America eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

The Latamlink eSIM comes in four variants: 1 GB/7 days, 2 GB/15 days, 3 GB/30 daysmost popular with PTW readers & 5 GB/30 daysmost popular with PTW readers, to be used in Costa Rica and 18 other Latin American countries:

  • Argentina
  • Belize
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • French Guiana
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

With the Latamlink eSIM, you can save a lot of money by skipping the initial SIM card costs per country you visit in Latin America!

TIP: check out my Best Costa Rica eSIMs Compared guide for an in-depth comparison of several eSIMs for Costa Rica, including ones not mentioned above.

  • Find out about the best local eSIMs, local travel eSIMs & regional travel eSIMs for every country (lookup tool)
Best Local & Travel eSIMs Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

Be aware that there is no VoLTE or VoWiFi with Movistar.

Dial *686# or text MINUMERO to 606 to see your Movistar phone number.

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Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – Movistar Costa Rica

Movistar top-up vouchers are sold in Movistar stores, grocery stores, corner shops & electronics shops throughout Costa Rica.

The following top-ups are available:

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

To top up 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.

Text SALDO to 606 to check your Movistar balance.

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

Movistar Costa Rica App
© Movistar Costa Rica

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – Movistar Costa Rica

Movistar has three data-featured plans:

All Movistar plans can be activated by texting the Activation Code to 606.

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

Paquetes de Internet Prepago (Prepaid Internet Packages) – Movistar Costa Rica

The Paquetes de Internet Prepago (Prepaid Internet Packages) are, as the name implies, data plans.

Text the Activation Code to 606 to activate Paquetes de Internet Prepago:

PricePlanDataValidityActivation Code
80 CRCPaquete Hora25 MB1 hourHORA
200 CRCPaquete Básico 30 MB30 MB1 day 1BASICO
300 CRCPaquete Día 100 MB100 MB1 dayDIA
300 CRCPaquete Diario 100 MB100 MB1 day 1DIARIO
600 CRCPaquete Nocturno Ilimitado 100 MB100 MB 21 day 1NOCTURNO
600 CRCPaquetes 2 Días 400 MB400 MB2 days 12DIAS
1300 CRCPaquete 4 Días 600 MB600 MB4 days 4DIAS
2500 CRCPaquete Semana 1 GB1 GB7 days SEMANA

1 auto-renews
2 100 MB between 7:00 – 23:00, unlimited between 23:00 – 7:00

Movistar Costa Rica Paquetes de Internet Prepago Prepaid Internet Packages
Super Recarga (Super Recharge) Plans – Movistar Costa Rica

The Super Recarga (Super Recharge) are data plans.

The following Super Recarga are available:

PriceCreditDataSocial DataLocal MinutesValidity
1000 CRC1000 CRC300 MBUnlimited 110 minutes4 days 
2000 CRC2000 CRC1 GBUnlimited 215 minutes6 days 
2500 CRC2500 CRC1.2 GBUnlimited 220 minutes7 days
4500 CRC4500 CRC2 GBUnlimited 245 minutes15 days

1 for WhatsApp
2 for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Waze & WhatsApp

Movistar Costa Rica Super Recarga Recharges
Entretenimiento (Entertainment) Plans – Movistar Costa Rica

The Entretenimiento (Entertainment) are data plans for chat, music streaming & video streaming apps.

Text the Activation Code to 606 to activate Entretenimiento:

PricePlanDataValidityActivation Code
2000 CRCMúsica Ilimitada5 GB 130 days MUSICA
2000 CRCConectados 10 GB10 GB 230 days CONECTADOS
3000 CRCVideo 25 GB 25 GB 330 days VIDEO

1 for Amazon Music, Apple Music, Deezer, Google Music (read: YouTube Music), Spotify, SoundCloud
2 for BlueJeans, Google Hangout, Microsoft Teams, Skype, WebEx & Zoom
3 for Amazon Video, Disney+, HBO Max & Netflix

Movistar Costa Rica Entretenimiento Entertainment Plans

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.

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Claro Costa Rica

Claro Logo New
© Claro

Claro Costa Rica, just Claro, is the smallest mobile operator in Costa Rica.

However, it has the best overall network experience.

Claro, as a company, is active in Central America and South America.

Claro uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: 1800 MHz
  • 3G: 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 1800 MHz (Band 3)
  • VoLTE: No
  • VoWiFi: No

This is what you will learn about Claro:

* Coverage
* How to Get a Claro SIM Card & SIM Card Price
* Topping Up Options & Methods + Balance Check
* Plans & Packages
* APN/Internet Settings

Coverage – Claro Costa Rica

Claro has the best 4G/LTE coverage experience in Costa Rica.

While Kölbi has the best overall coverage, Claro is the best option in various rural areas.

If you are staying in villages or towns, be sure to ask your host of the hotel staff what the best option is in your town – Claro may be a better option than Kölbi Costa Rica.

Here is Claro's coverage map produced by Speedtest:

However, click here to see Claro's official coverage map.

SIM Card Price – Claro Costa Rica

You can buy a Claro SIM card for 790 CRC with 50 MB of data, unlimited WhatsApp data, 20 local minutes & 10 local SMS, or 1500 CRC with 1500 CRC credit in Claro stores. Claro SIM cards are also sold at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC).

  • Find out how much SIM cards cost in every country, including data-only SIM cards and tourist SIM cards, offered by each mobile operator + information about starter benefits (lookup tool)
SIM Card Prices Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

Claro has no eSIMs – not even for postpaid customers.

Note that the Costa Rican mobile operators require your identification (passport) for (future) eSIMs and physical SIM cards.

Therefore, if you wish to use an eSIM for Costa Rica (without personal detail capturing), you can get the Costa Rica (Hot Telecom) eSIMs from Airalo (1 GB/7 daysvery popular with PTW readers, 3 GB/30 days & 5 GB/30 daysmost popular with PTW readers).

Costa Rica Hot Telecom eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

The Airalo links will automatically get you the available Phone Travel Wiz exclusive offers – a code is unnecessary.

Or you can get Costa Rica eSIMs from Holafly.

Phone Travel Wiz x Holafly Banner
No unlimited data for Costa Rica (yet)

Use code PHONETRAVELWIZ for exclusive deals when getting Holafly eSIMs, AND get an additional 5% off!

Finally, you also get Costa Rica eSIMs from Nomad.

Costa Rica eSIMs Nomad

The 5 GB Costa Rica Nomad eSIM for 30 days is the most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers.

Use code ADU123 for the best deals available when getting Nomad eSIMs (on the site or their apps), such as getting 3 USD off!

Airalo introduced an eSIM for Latin America (Central- and South America): Latamlink. The Latamlink is following the popular Eurolink eSIM for 39 European countries and the fairly new Asialink eSIM for 14 Asian countries.

Latamlink Latin America eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

The Latamlink eSIM comes in four variants: 1 GB/7 days, 2 GB/15 days, 3 GB/30 daysmost popular with PTW readers & 5 GB/30 daysmost popular with PTW readers, to be used in Costa Rica and 18 other Latin American countries:

  • Argentina
  • Belize
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • French Guiana
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

With the Latamlink eSIM, you can save a lot of money by skipping the initial SIM card costs per country you visit in Latin America!

TIP: check out my Best Costa Rica eSIMs Compared guide for an in-depth comparison of several eSIMs for Costa Rica, including ones not mentioned above.

  • Find out about the best local eSIMs, local travel eSIMs & regional travel eSIMs for every country (lookup tool)
Best Local & Travel eSIMs Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

Be aware that there is no VoLTE or VoWiFi with Claro.

You may have to dial *25276 to activate your Claro SIM card.

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Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – Claro Costa Rica

Claro top-up vouchers are sold in Claro stores, grocery stores, corner shops & electronics shops throughout Costa Rica.

To top up your Claro 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 Mi Claro Centroamérica (Mi Claro Central America) app (Android/iOS).

Claro Costa Rica El Salvador Honduras Guatemala Nicaragua App
© Claro

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – Claro Costa Rica

Claro has two data-featured plans: Paquetes Prepago M@s/Prepaid M@s Packages (combo) & 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 & SMS.

You can activate Paquetes Prepago M@s by texting the Activation Code to 111 or by dialing *555#:

PricePlanDataSocial Data 1Local/International Minutes 2Local SMSValidityActivation CodeDeactivation Code
1000 CRCPaquete M@s 3300 MB500 MB10 minutes20 SMS3 days planmas3finplanmas3
2000 CRCPaquete M@s 71 GB500 MB20 minutes50 SMS7 days planmas7finplanmas7
3000 CRCPaquete M@s 102 GB500 MB30 minutes100 SMS10 days planmas10finplanmas10
4500 CRCPaquete M@s 153 GB700 MB45 minutes200 SMS15 days planmas15finplanmas15
6000 CRCPaquete M@s 15+4 GB700 MB70 minutes200 SMS15 days planmas15pfinplanmas15p
10 000 CRCPaquete M@s 305 GB 700 MB85 minutes300 SMS30 days planmas30finplanmas30

1 for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter & Waze – WhatsApp data is unlimited
2 to Canada, Central America, Panama & the United States

Paquetes Prepago M@s auto-renew. To disable auto-renewal, text the Deactivation Code to 111. The plans can also be deactivated on the app.

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

The Paquetes Internet (Internet Packages) are, as the name suggests, data plans.

You can activate Paquetes Internet by texting the Activation Code to 444 or by dialing *555#:

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
Claro Costa Rica Paquetes Prepago Internet M@s Navego Plans

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.

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The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Costa Rica

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


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

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Every Ko-Fi donation, one-time or monthly, helps me to spend more time creating local SIM card buying guides.

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If I can start a business about something I am passionate about (phone travel), then you can do it too!

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Each of these options has its pros and cons. Learn more about them, and find the best option for you.

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