The communication conundrum while traveling Costa Rica; it’s easier than you think!
Making phone calls, using apps like Waze, and posting on Instagram can quickly become out-of-control expensive while traveling Costa Rica, if you use your home carrier’s international plan or roaming feature. However, it’s easier and cheaper than ever to stay connected while in Costa Rica since the country’s mobile network providers offer both 3G and 4G GSM networks.
If your device is locked, it is possible to “jailbreak” it by using a software code, if you can find the IMEI number. Once unlocked, you can then use any local data network or calling plan.
If you don’t want to mess around with your phone’s programming, you can always pick up a decent unlocked, quad-band smart phone on Amazon for as little as $60; I know, I know: you love your IPhone or Galaxy. And, an inexpensive smart phone will serve you well for your Costa Rica trip. Consider this, and you’ll feel better already: should anything happen to your device, such as a drop in the river or a thieving monkey (yes, really!) on the beach in Manuel Antonio National Park, you’ll be a much happier camper.
On arrival at the airport, you can easily buy a pre-paid SIM card that you can recharge just about anywhere. In baggage claim of either Juan Santamaria International Airport or Liberia International, you’ll find a Kölbi kiosk where you can purchase your SIM card and have it installed. The SIM card will cost about $1.50; then, you can add as much data (saldo) as you please. For about $20, you’ll have all the data you need, which will be good for a month.
Now, I recommend having a working phone with an Internet connection. It can come in handy if you’re looking for a place to stay while on the road, feel like uploading your photos to Facebook, or get lost and need to Waze your way along.
And, if you just can’t because your phone is locked, do keep in mind that Costa Rica has hot spots everywhere. It’s rare that you’ll find a restaurant, bar, hotel, or coffee shop that doesn’t have free WiFi; all you have to do is ask and they’ll be happy to give you the password (clave).
Of course, with WiFi, you can make calls back home or around the area using any VOI application such as Skype, Whatsapp, or even Facebook Messenger.
When traveling Costa Rica, there is no reason to be incommunicado or without the creature comforts of web access. Bring your unlocked device along or grab one here and you’ll be able to get around easily, talk to your loved ones, and post pics on social media just like you do at home.