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2 Best Prepaid SIM Cards in Guatemala: Buying Guide

Guatemala – known for its incredible volcanic landscape, the Mayan culture & stunning lakes.

While some countries lack green nature (such as forests), the name Guatemala means the place of many trees.

Guatemala lives up to that definition.

But what can you do in this country? A lot.

There are plenty of cool hiking trails to and around volcanoes.

You can also chill and swim in plenty of lakes, such as the Natural Monument Semuc Champey.

Or explore Ancient Mayan cities, like Tikal, and explore pyramid rules.

Being bored in Guatemala? No way!

But before you start bombarding your social media following with all your Guatemala experiences, be aware that international roaming can be expensive.

That is why many travelers simply hate this feature.

Luckily, there is still a way to stay connected throughout the day while exploring Guatemala – by using a Guatemalan local SIM card.

That way, you can enjoy local rates.

So, how expensive are SIM cards in Guatemala?

You can get a Guatemalan SIM card for 10 GTQ (1.30 USD) in Claro and Tigo stores. But resellers, like phone stores, sell them too. Guatemala City-La Aurora International Airport sells Claro SIM cards too, but no Tigo SIM cards.

Cannot see the video above? Watch it on YouTube.

Those are low prices for SIM cards, huh?

But that is not all – the cost of mobile data is low in Guatemala too!

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

Buying a SIM Card in Guatemala Guide (logos of Claro & Tigo)

Original publication: 10th of January 2020. Last updated: 22nd of September 2021.


Table of Contents

Can You Buy a SIM Card in Guatemala?

Anyone living in or visiting Guatemala can buy a Guatemalan SIM card from Claro (including Movistar & Tuenti) and Tigo in their stores or from resellers without any restrictions.

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

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 Guatemala).

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

Where Can You Buy a SIM Card in Guatemala?

You can get a Guatemalan SIM card in Claro and Tigo stores or from many other retailers, including phone shops. It is also possible to buy SIM cards at Guatemala City-La Aurora International Airport (from a convenience store).

Cannot see the video above? Watch it on YouTube.

You can expect to pay the following for Guatemalan SIM cards:

  • Claro Guatemala (including Movistar & Tuenti Guatemala): 10 GTQ or 199 GTQ
  • Tigo Guatemala: 10 GTQ
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Can You Use Your Phone in Guatemala?

Guatemala 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 Guatemala, but there is about a 99% chance you have a GSM phone anyway.

You also need to be aware of the ITU regions to determine whether your phone will work in other parts of the world.

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

Guatemala uses American Frequencies, which are used in the Americas (North-, Central, and South America + the Caribbean – ITU Region 2). Phones sold in the Americas typically have no issues when using their phone in other ITU Region 2 countries.

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

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

If you purchased your phone in the Americas (ITU Region 2), you should not experience any issues with using your phone in Guatemala.

If you bought 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, then there is a possibility you cannot use your phone when in Guatemala or can only use slower networks (3G or 2G).

If you have a medium/high-end device with Tri-Band or Quad-Band support, you can go with any operator because your phone will support both American and European frequencies – also on 4G/LTE.

Mobile Operators, Networks & Frequencies in Guatemala

Guatemala has two mobile network operators:

  • Claro Guatemala (including Movistar & Tuenti Guatemala)
  • Tigo Guatemala

The following frequencies are used in Guatemala:

  • 2G: 850 MHz, 900 MHz & 1900 MHz
  • 3G: 850 MHz & 1900 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 850 MHz (Band 5) & 1900 MHz (Band 2)

You can learn more about frequencies in the video below.

Cannot see the video above? Watch it on YouTube.

To check whether your phone will work in Guatemala, 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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A Note About Movistar Guatemala & Tuenti Guatemala

Movistar Logo New
© Movistar

In late 2018, Telefónica, which owns the Movistar brand, indicated that it wanted to sell its assets in several Central American countries, including Guatemala.

In January 2019, Claro Guatemala (by América Móvil) decided to purchase Movistar Guatemala.

Later that year, the sale was finalized, and the Movistar brand was phased out.

Movistar Guatemala had a sub-brand, or MVNO, called Tuenti Guatemala, offering cheaper services.

Tuenti Logo
© Tuenti

After the sale of Movistar Guatemala, the Tuenti Guatemala customers got transferred to Claro Guatemala. The Tuenti brand was also phased out.

As a result, there are only two mobile operators in Guatemala: Claro Guatemala and Tigo Guatemala.

5G NR in Guatemala

5G NR is not available in Guatemala as of 2021, and the Guatemalan government has not made any indications of when it will auction 5G licenses.

Best SIM Card in Guatemala

If you want to buy the best SIM card in Guatemala, I recommend going with Tigo. It has the best coverage and the fastest speeds in the country.

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SIM Card Registration in Guatemala

SIM card registration with your passport information is mandatory in Guatemala. It will be done at the point of sale.

Although you can buy SIM cards from unofficial stores, such as phone shops, you should still visit Claro or Tigo stores and get SIM cards there because of the SIM card registration requirements.

Third-party stores cannot (properly) register SIM cards for foreigners.

Guatemala Mobile Speeds, Mobile Internet Prices & Insights

Flag of Guatemala

Mobile data in Central America is quite cheap.

While the region is not known for being extremely expensive, it is nice to be able to stay connected at reasonable prices.

The average price for 1 GB of data in Guatemala is 1.94 USD, around the Central American average of 2.40 USD. The world average is 4.07 USD.

See, I was not joking when I said the prices are low!

At least from a global perspective – the locals will say it is still expensive ;)

So, what about mobile data speeds? Are they fast in Guatemala?

Not quite.

Guatemala's average mobile download speed is 30 Mbps, about half the global average.

But before you get upset, only Costa Rica, with an average download speed of 34 Mbps, has faster mobile speeds in Central America.

So Guatemala is doing just fine.

With cheap SIM cards, low mobile data rates, decent mobile internet speeds, and extensive nationwide coverage, you should have a smooth network experience in Guatemala.

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Currency in Guatemala

50 Guatamalan Quetzal Bank Note
© Bank of Guatemala/Banco de Guatemala

Guatemala uses the Guatemalan Quetzal with the symbol GTQ (which will be used throughout this guide).

However, prices are often listed in Q. For example, 25 GTQ = Q25 .

For reference, below are some exchange rates between GTQ and USD (US Dollars):

  • 1 GTQ = 0.15 USD
  • 10 GTQ = 1.30 USD
  • 100 GTQ = 13 USD

For up-to-date GTQ:USD exchange rates, search GTQ 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 Transferwise Borderless Account and Debit Card.

Their fees are MUCH lower than banks, and credit card companies charge you (and Transferwise is transparent about their fees, unlike banks).

I have saved literal THOUSANDS of Euros, my main currency, when using Transferwise abroad when traveling compared to my debit and credit cards. Open a Transferwise account FREE!

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Guatemalan Prepaid SIM Cards

Below, I will guide you through Claro Guatemala & Tigo Guatemala, 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 Guatemala to offer to us.


Claro Guatemala (Including Movistar & Tuenti Guatemala)

Claro Logo
© Claro

Claro Guatemala, just Claro, is probably the largest mobile operator in Guatemala.

I say probably because only outdated subscriber numbers are available.

And adding old Movistar Guatemala and Tuenti Guatemala numbers to Claro's numbers, which got transferred to Claro after its acquisition, makes Claro the largest in the country.

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

Claro uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: 900 MHz & 1900 MHz
  • 3G: 1900 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 1900 MHz (Band 2)

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 Guatemala (Including Movistar & Tuenti Guatemala)

Claro has extensive coverage throughout Guatemala.

4G/LTE is widely available in populated areas (in the South). However, high-speed reception is lacking up north.

Below is Claro's coverage map:

SIM Card Price – Claro Guatemala (Including Movistar & Tuenti Guatemala)

You can buy a Claro SIM card for 10 GTQ (Kit Gama Smartphones 4G LTE and Kit Gama Básica) or 199 GTQ in Claro stores or from resellers, including phone stores, convenience stores & pharmacies. SIM cards are also available at Guatemala City-La Aurora International Airport from a convenience store.

Claro Chip SIM Card
© Claro

These three Claro starter packs are available:

  • Kit Gama Básica: 10 GTQ with 150 GTQ in credit for 7 days + 250 MB and 300 SMS for 30 days
  • Kit Gama Smartphones 4G LTE: 10 GTQ with 10 GTQ in credit for 7 data, 8 GB of data and unlimited Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram & WhatsApp data for 15 days
  • 15 GB Llamadas Ilimitadas: 199 GTQ with 15 GB + unlimited social media (Deezer, Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, Uber, Waze & WhatsApp) unlimited local minutes & unlimited SMS for 30 days
Claro Guatemala SIM Card Prices

Send a blank SMS to 5888 to see your Claro phone number.

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Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – Claro Guatemala (Including Movistar & Tuenti Guatemala)

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

To top up your Claro SIM card, you would dial *333 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.

You can also recharge online with (international) debit and credit cards.

Dial *5 or *264 to check your Claro balance.

However, each balance inquiry will cost you 1 GTQ.

You can also use the Mi Claro (My Claro) app (Android/iOS) to check your balance for free.

© Claro

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – Claro Guatemala (Including Movistar & Tuenti Guatemala)

Claro has three data-featured plans:

All Claro plans can be activated by dialing *555#.

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

Superpack Todo Includio (Superpack All Inclusive) – Claro Guatemala (Including Movistar & Tuenti Guatemala)

The Superpack Todo Includio (Superpack All Inclusive) are combo plans with data, minutes & SMS.

Superpack Todo Includio can be activated by dialing *555#:

PricePlanDataSocial Media Data 1Local/USA MinutesValidityDeactivation Code
10 GTQSuperpack Todo Includio 1 Dia600 MBUnlimited 1Unlimited1 dayFINILIMI1
15 GTQSuperpack Todo Includio 2 Dias1.5 GBUnlimited 1Unlimited2 daysFINILIMI2
20 GTQSuperpack Todo Includio 3 Dias2 GBUnlimitedUnlimited3 daysFINILIMI3
30 GTQSuperpack Todo Includio 7 Dias4 GBUnlimitedUnlimited7 daysFINILIMI7
50 GTQSuperpack Todo Includio 15 Dias6 GBUnlimitedUnlimited15 daysFINILIMI15
100 GTQSuperpack Todo Includio 30 Dias10 GBUnlimitedUnlimited30 daysFINILIMI30

1 Facebook, Facebook Messenger & WhatsApp
2 WhatsApp Only

Claro Guatemala Superpack Todo Includio Superpack All Inclusive Plans
Superpack Internet – Claro Guatemala (Including Movistar & Tuenti Guatemala)

The Superpack Internet plans are data-only bundles.

Superpack Internet can be activated by dialing *555# or texting the Activation Code to 313:

PricePlanDataSocial Media DataValidityActivation Code
5 GTQSuperpack 300 MB300 NBUnlimited 11 dayNAVEGA1
10 GTQSuperpack 1 GB1 GB Unlimited 22 daysNAVEGA2
10 GTQSuperpack 3 GB3 GBUnlimited 11 day1DIA
15 GTQSuperpack 2 GB2 GBUnlimited 23 daysNAVEGA3
30 GTQSuperpack 6 GB6 GBUnlimited 37 daysNAVEGA7
50 GTQSuperpack Intecap Light8 GBUnlimited 315 daysNAVEGA15
100 GTQSuperpack 12 GB12 GBUnlimited 330 daysNAVEGA30

1 WhatsApp
2 Facebook & WhatsApp
3 Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Twitter & WhatsApp

Superpack Internet auto-renew. To disable auto-renewal, text FIN to 313.

Claro Guatemala Superpack Internet Plans
Redes Sociales Ilimitadas (Unlimited Social Media) – Claro Guatemala (Including Movistar & Tuenti Guatemala)

The Redes Sociales Ilimitadas (Unlimited Social Media) are, as the name suggests, unlimited data plans for select social media apps (Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, Waze & WhatsApp).

Redes Sociales Ilimitadas can be activated by dialing *555#:

PricePlanSocial Media DataAppsValidityDeactivation Code
10 GTQSuperpack Redes Sociales Ilimitadas Q10UnlimitedFacebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, Waze & WhatsApp2 daysFINR2
15 GTQSuperpack Redes Sociales Ilimitadas Q15UnlimitedFacebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, Waze & WhatsApp3 daysFINR3
30 GTQSuperpack Redes Sociales Ilimitadas Q30UnlimitedFacebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, Waze & WhatsApp7 daysFINR3

Superpack Redes Sociales auto-renew. To disable auto-renewal, text the Deactivation Code to 313.

The deactivation code for the 15 GTQ and 30 GTQ is, somehow, indeed the same – that was not a typo from my end.

Claro Guatemala Superpack Redes Sociales Social Media Plans

APN/Internet Settings – Claro Guatemala (Including Movistar & Tuenti Guatemala)

  • Name: Internet Claro
  • APN: internet.ideasclaro

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

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Tigo Guatemala

Tigo Logo
© Tigo

Tigo Guatemala, just Tigo, is one of the mobile operators in Guatemala.

It is the most expensive option in the country. However, the quality of the network is substantially better than Claro Guatemala's.

Tigo, as a company, is active in various countries in Latin America and in Tanzania.

Tigo uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: 850 MHz
  • 3G: 850 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 850 MHz

This is what you will learn about Tigo:

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

Coverage – Tigo Guatemala

Tigo has the best coverage in Guatemala.

Its 4G/LTE reception is also more extensive than Claro Guatemala's.

Below is Tigo's coverage map:

SIM Card Price – Tigo Guatemala

You can buy a Tigo SIM card for 10 GTQ in Tigo stores and from resellers, like grocery stores, phone shops, and kiosks. Tigo does not sell SIM cards at Guatemala City-La Aurora International Airport.

Tigo Store
© Tigo

You may have to text Tigo to 101 to activate your SIM card. Activation can take up to 15 minutes and requires a phone reboot.

If you top-up at least 25 GTQ, you will get 100 GTQ in credit, 200 MB & unlimited WhatsApp data for 3 days.

Tigo SIM cards get deactivated if there has been no activity for 60 days (no top-up for 60 days or no activity for 60 days).

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Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – Tigo Guatemala

Tigo top-up vouchers are sold in denominations of 5 GTQ to 300 GTQ in Tigo stores, grocery stores, corner shops, and electronics shops throughout Guatemala.

The following top-up options are available:

  • 5 GTQ
  • 10 GTQ
  • 15 GTQ
  • 25 GTQ
  • 50 GTQ
  • 100 GTQ
  • 200 GTQ
  • 300 GTQ

To top up your Tigo SIM card, dial *333VoucherCode.

For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *333123456.

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.

Dial *256# or text SALDO to 256 your Tigo balance.

You can also top up and check your balance on the Tigo en Línea (antes Tigo Shop y Mi Tigo)/Tigo online app (Android/iOS/Huawei AppGallery).

Tigo Guatemala Tigo en Línea (antes Tigo Shop y Mi Tigo) App
© Tigo Guatemala

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – Tigo Guatemala

Tigo has two data-featured plans: Paquetigos Ilimitados/Unlimited Packs (combo) & Paquetigos de Internet/Internet Packages (data).

Paquetigos Ilimitados (Unlimited Packs) – Tigo Guatemala

The Paquetigos Ilimitados (Unlimited Packs) are combo plans with data, minutes & SMS.

Paquetigos Ilimitados can be activated on the Tigo en Línea (antes Tigo Shop y Mi Tigo) app:

PriceDataOn-Net MinutesLocal/USA MinutesLocal SMSValidity
10 GTQ300 MB 1UnlimitedUnlimitedN/A1 day
10 GTQ350 MB 1UnlimitedUnlimitedN/A1 day
20 GTQ1.5 GB 1Unlimited30 minutes500 SMS2 days
25 GTQ2 GB 1Unlimited30 minutes500 SMS3 days
40 GTQ4 GB 2Unlimited40 minutes500 SMS7 days
60 GTQ6 GB 3Unlimited60 minutes500 SMS15 days
120 GTQ12 GB 3Unlimited120 minutes500 SMS1 month
150 GTQ10 GB 3Unlimited1000 minutes500 SMS1 month

1 +unlimited WhatsApp data
2 +unlimited Facebook & WhatsApp data
3 +unlimited Facebook, Instagram & WhatsApp data

Tigo Guatemala Paquetigos Ilimitados Unlimited Packages
Paquetigos de Internet (Internet Packages) – Tigo Guatemala

The Paquetigos de Internet (Internet Packages) are data-only plans.

Paquetigos de Internet can be activated on the Tigo en Línea (antes Tigo Shop y Mi Tigo) app:

PriceDataLocal/USA MinutesValidity
5 GTQ200 MB 1N/A1 day
10 GTQ650 MB 1N/A2 days
10 GTQ1.5 GB 1, 2N/A1 day
15 GTQ1.35 GB 1N/A3 days
30 GTQ2.4 GB 160 minutes7 days
33 GTQ2.4 GB 150 minutes7 days
40 GTQ2.4 GB 2N/A7 days
50 GTQ4 GB 3100 minutes15 days
99 GTQ8 GB 3200 minutes1 month
120 GTQ8 GB 4N/A1 month
199 GTQ19 GB 3N/A1 month
499 GTQ45 GB 3N/A1 month

1 +unlimited Facebook & WhatsApp data
2 +unlimited Call of Duty, Candy Crush Saga, Clash of Clans, Free Fire, Pokemon Go & Roblox data
3 +unlimited Facebook, Instagram & WhatsApp data
4 +unlimited Deezer, Facebook, Instagram & WhatsApp data

APN/Internet Settings – Tigo Guatemala

  • Name: Tigo Guatemala
  • APN: broadband.tigo.gt

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

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Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Guatemala

The cheapest way to get online in Guatemala is to get a SIM card from one of the mobile operators. However, that is not your only method of staying online.

Below are some other options to consider.

International Roaming

Roaming is the most convenient way to stay connected.

You do not have to buy a new SIM card, and people at home can easily reach you on your current phone number.

However, roaming has many downsides as well. It can be insanely expensive.

Learn more about roaming.

International/Travel SIM Cards

International SIM cards or travel SIM cards are SIM cards made for travelers.

The rates charged are often lower than international roaming, but they are almost always higher than what local operators will charge you.

Get to know more about international and travel SIM cards.

Mobile Hotspots (Pocket WIFI)

Mobile hotspots, or pocket WIFI, are small devices that connect to the local mobile 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.

Free WIFI Networks

Nothing beats free, right? Paying nothing to stay connected may be the best option. Until you remember that free hotspots are not available everywhere (especially when on the move) and that free connections are often extremely slow.

Just make sure to protect your internet traffic with a VPN when connected to open WIFI connections. It is worth it.


The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Guatemala

Getting a SIM card from Tigo would do you well when considering a Guatemalan 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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It takes a lot of time to analyze, translate, and review the SIM card options worldwide (especially to test them out).

Your support helps me keep producing impartial content by eliminating the need to recommend international SIM cards as the best local SIM card (but some of them CAN be useful)

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Check Out My Resource Page

Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my travel resources page for the best companies to use when you travel!

Save money with international SIM cards, on plane tickets, bus rides, cruises, and accommodation.

Besides that, I also list services and items I use to make my life easier – and I believe they will help you too!

Start Your Own Online Business – Make Money While Traveling

Do you want to learn how I started an online business that allows me to generate income while traveling?

In my starting an online business guide, I tell you which tools, services, and products I have for this site and my YouTube channel.

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

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.

Phone Travel Tips, Tricks & Hacks

I have written many articles with tips and hacks to save money on mobile costs while abroad. You surely want to check them out!

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