Costa Rica SIM cards: Everything You Need To Know

Visiting Costa Rica soon? Make sure to know what to expect when it comes to purchasing a Costa Rica SIM card.

Fortunately, South America is a relatively easy place to buy a SIM card. You should be able to find a cheap SIM card pretty much anywhere in South America. In fact, most data packages are affordable, which makes the whole thing easier!

In this guide, we’ll explain where to buy a SIM card in Costa Rica in person and online. We’ll also discuss prepaid SIM cards and eSIMs if your mobile supports them.

Before you read this guide, you may wonder if you actually need a SIM card in Costa Rica. If you don’t mind not having Internet, you’ll likely find free Wifi in restaurants, shopping malls, and hotels.

That said, if you need data to get around, call a cab, or translate Spanish – you may want to get a SIM card for your travels in Costa Rica.

Volcano in Costa Rica

Best SIM Cards In Costa Rica

If you’re traveling in Costa Rica, we recommend using a SIM card from Claro, Kolbi, Liberty, or Airalo. (I’ll get back to Airalo later on, so keep reading to learn more!)

That said, if you’re planning on visiting other countries during your trip to South America, you might want to make sure to pick an option that offers coverage in other South American countries.

How To Buy A SIM Card In Costa Rica

You can either buy a Costa Rica prepaid SIM card in person in some international airports, mobile provider stores, convenience stores, or online.

Usually, you can expect higher costs and low data offers at the airport, so we don’t recommend buying a SIM card at the airport.

That said, you won’t necessarily find SIM card shops in every airport, so it’s essential to keep this in mind. And, when you see a shop, you might also have limited options.

For this reason, I’d recommend buying a SIM card directly from the mobile provider store. Note that you may need your passport to buy one.

Although, this means you won’t get data right upon your arrival. So, if you prefer to be connected at all times, you could use an eSIM or purchase a South American prepaid SIM card online.

Now, let’s take a look at the data plans offered by Claro, Kolbi, and Liberty.

Tourist in Costa Rica

Claro SIM Cards

Claro offers several types of prepaid packages, here are the four most relevant for tourists:

  • 2 GB, valid for 7 days for USD 7
  • 4 GB, valid for 16 days for USD 15
  • 4 GB, valid for 10 days for USD 15
  • 6 GB, valid for 15 days for USD 15

Kolbi SIM Cards

Kolbi has three different prepaid plans available:

  • 2 GB + unlimited Whatsapp valid for 30 days USD 8.22
  • 4 GB + unlimited Whatsapp valid for 30 days USD 13.15
  • 5 GB + unlimited Whatsapp valid for 30 days USD 19.72

Liberty (Previously Movistar) SIM Cards

Liberty offers three main prepaid plans for tourists:

  • 1 GB valid for 24 hours USD 1.14
  • 1 GB + unlimited social networks valid for 6 days USD 3.26
  • 1.2 GB + unlimited social networks valid for 7 days USD 4.08

Overall, we think Kolbi is the best option if you plan to buy your SIM card in person. That said, any would do if you can’t find their store!

How To Buy A Costa Rica Prepaid SIM Card Online

If you wish to have your SIM card ready for your arrival, you could purchase it online or on websites like Amazon.

You’ll find different plans on Amazon. For example, the Prepaid South and Central America SIM Card works in 9 countries and gives you 12 GB of data for 30 days. Costa Rica is included.

But there are many other options worth considering, so have a look and make sure the countries you plan on visiting are listed.

Another option is to purchase a prepaid South American SIM card on Simify. This works if you live in the United States or Australia. They currently offer 2 different packages that cover Costa Rica:

  • 12 GB, valid for 30 days for $26 – works in 13 countries
  • 12 GB, valid for 365 days for $65 – works in 71 countries

Finally, the last option is to buy an eSIM card for Costa Rica or, if you’re traveling to multiple countries, an eSIM plan for South America.

How To Buy An eSIM Card For Costa Rica

eSIM is a new concept allowing you to have a virtual SIM card inside your phone. If your mobile phone supports eSIM cards – it’s definitely one of the best options to get data in Costa Rica.

Curious? Learn more about eSIMs for travelers on eSIM Roamers.

I started using eSIM as soon as my mobile phone supported it. And I first tried it when visiting my family in Canada. To buy eSIMs, I usually use Airalo. Keep reading to learn more about the best eSIMs for Costa Rica.

Airalo Costa Rica

If you want to buy an eSIM for Costa Rica, you could purchase one on Airalo. This website offers many eSIM cards worldwide and special plans for Central America and Costa Rica. I’ve been using Airalo for several months, and it works fine.

Here are the options available:

  • Hot Telecom: 1 GB, valid for 7 days for $8
  • Hot Telecom: 3 GB, valid for 30 days for $20
  • Hot Telecom: 5 GB, valid for 30 days for $31

Costa Rica Airalo eSIM plans

Here’s an overview of the options available for South America:

  • 1 GB, valid for 7 days for $15
  • 2 GB, valid for 15 days for $28
  • 3 GB, valid for 30 days for $39
  • 5 GB, valid for 30 days for $60

The options mentioned above are part of Latamlink and offer coverage in 19 countries, including Costa Rica.

Now, one important thing to note about Airalo is that you’ll need to keep an eye out for the provider in each country.

Suppose you ever have trouble connecting to the Internet during your trip. In that case, it might be because you’re connecting automatically to networks and need to select a network manually instead.

When you purchase the eSIM, you’ll get access to the list of networks supported in each country.

Holafly Costa Rica

Alternatively, you could look at your options on Holafly. You can read our Holafly review to learn more about this eSIM store.

Here’s an overview of their plans for Costa Rica:

  • 6 GB data for 15 days for $47

Their South America eSIM work in 13 countries (including Costa Rica), and they offer the following plan:

  • 6 GB data for 15 days for $44

Nomad Costa Rica

Finally, Nomad is also a great eSIM provider. Here’s an overview of the plans available for Costa Rica:

  • 1GB, valid for 7 days for $20
  • 3GB, valid for 30 days for $48
  • 5GB, valid for 30 days for $54

Nomad also has Global, an eSIM plan for several countries worldwide. This plan offers coverage in Costa Rica. Here’s an overview:

  • 1GB, valid for 7 days for $20
  • 3GB, valid for 30 days for $48
  • 5GB, valid for 30 days for $54

Final Thoughts On SIM Cards In Costa Rica

As you can see, getting a prepaid SIM card in Costa Rica or even an eSIM for your travels in Costa Rica is pretty straightforward.

You’ll even be able to stay connected wherever you go in South America without changing your SIM card, especially if you purchase a South American plan.

I believe the eSIM card is the most convenient way to get data in Costa Rica if you wish to have data upon your arrival. This way, you won’t need to go to a store to buy a SIM card.

Obviously, you need to make sure your mobile phone supports eSIM first.

Traveling to Costa Rica soon? Read one of the following blog posts:

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