Cel Service/Sim Cards in Costa Rica
March 9, 2013 9:28 AM   Subscribe

I'm travelling to Costa Rica for two weeks. I want to buy a prepaid sim card for my unlocked Samsung Google Nexus. The phone will be primarily used for navigation via Google Maps. Voice would only be used in case of emergency. I understand I can buy a sim card at the Liberia airport, but the providers website is exclusively in Spanish. Can anyone look and see what my options are for a prepaid data service? Anyone else have any experience with cel service in Costa Rica? We are trying to decide which is more economical, buying the Costa Rica map-pack for a Garmin GPS or using Google Maps.
posted by Keith Talent to Travel & Transportation around Costa Rica (3 answers total)
Google Translate seems do a decent job with their mobile internet page.
posted by zippy at 9:46 AM on March 9, 2013

I'd get the garmin pack, personally. You dont want to find yourself with bad cell reception if you're depending on it for maps and you're driving around. The roads aren't particularly well marked. There's also free wifi everywhere if you also want to use your phone.
posted by empath at 11:35 AM on March 9, 2013

Nine bucks for two weeks of internet at up to 1Mbps (blech, but no obvious data transfer caps), four dollars for the sim chip, which gets you four dollars worth of credit.

Apparently you buy the sim, load enough credit, and send an sms to 6060 with dia, semana, quince or mes as the only content, depending on which length of plan you want to buy. Pretty simple.

Your other option is to buy the sim and do nothing and pay what appears to be about four cents an hour for somewhat slower access. Yes, it's pay by the minute, not the kilobyte, if you don't sign up for the unlimited plan.

International SMS is pretty expensive relative to the rest of the service at 8 cents US a message (about 40 colones). In-country SMS only about 3.5c US.

So that's the cheaper option, by far.

Personally? I'd do both. I wouldn't want to rely on data service anywhere that's the least bit rural, but I also hate being without data on my phone.

FWIW, there are two other wireless providers there, Claro and Movistar. (links to coverage maps) Claro would be my last choice based on 3G coverage unless you know you're going to be in the covered areas most of the time.
posted by wierdo at 1:23 PM on March 10, 2013

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