Mexico & Central America Forums

Post New Topic

Recent Activity

View all Mexico & Central America activity »
  1. 1 Trip Report Two weeks in Panama, a new adventure...
  2. 2 Entertaining young children in Tulum/Akumal
  3. 3 Wanna be Expats!!! Can we move to Mexico sooner? Work? Elsewhere?
  4. 4 Trip Report A WHALE Of A TALE
  5. 5 Trip Report Panama made us Panamaniacs, Trip Report Dec/Jan 2015-16
  6. 6 Fonda Vela
  7. 7 Need help w/mother/daughter 3 day side excursion
  8. 8 Belize, Rotaan, Cozumel - WHAT TO DO?? HELP!!
  9. 9 mexico vs dominican republic vacation
  10. 10 Privat Tour Options for Chichen itza + Tulum
  11. 11 Trip Report Glover's ongoing report on Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua
  12. 12 Mosquitoes and the Zika virus
  13. 13 Cancun 7 day trip advice needed
  14. 14 Driver needed for Panama City
  15. 15 Trip Report Costa Rica Cruise - Part 3
  16. 16 Warm Temp for Snorkling
  17. 17 Trip Report Cruise to Costa Rica 2016
  18. 18 Trip Report Costa Rica Cruise - Details
  19. 19 Nicaragua, the new Costa Rica ?
  20. 20 Help us plan a Mayan Ruins plus Wildlife trip
  21. 21 Planning ~$1000/person AI vacation from DC
  22. 22 Help with excursions from Black Rock Lodge
  23. 23 Visit to Xela, Antigua, Atitlan
  24. 24 Christmas 2016 (budget)
  25. 25 Tour/Excursion operators Arenal & Manuel Antonio
View next 25 » Back to the top

Cell phones for visitors to Costa Rica

Jump to last reply

Hey all,

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. We have been swamped during high season. So it has been hard to find the time.

Just got back last night from Costa Rica. It was a work trip. The annual Costa Rica Travel Mart, and then hotel inspections in the Manuel Antonio area. But I did find time to spend a whole hour on the beach this past Sunday!

But I wanted to let you all know the latest news on cell phones in Costa Rica. Many of my customers ask me if their US cell phones will work there. My answer is an unqualified "maybe". It depends on the carrier. The government owned phone company finally has some competition, and the game seems to be changing weekly. But even if your US phone does work, it will be expensive.

However, I found something pretty cool. I was able to purchase a prepaid cell phone in the San Jose airport for twenty bucks, and it came with 300 minutes of local calls. Actually, the phone was free and I just bought the time. This is a kinda big deal. Until lately, non residents were not allowed to own phones. We were there in December, and heard that this was now possible. We spent half a day driving around Liberia, and couldn't find anything. But the San Jose airport kiosk was fairly new.

The phone is able to accept international calls. This is really great for a tourist that needs to be available if there is an emergency at home. It is also handy if you get lost in your rental car. You can call your hotel for directions.

I was able to take it a little further. Since I spend so much time in Costa Rica, I have always needed a way to keep in touch with my office and family.

For several years, I have had an 800 number that can be forwarded to any phone in the world. It is only nine cents a minute to Costa Rica from the US. When we are at our house in Costa Rica, I forward the number there. I also forward it to hotels I am staying at. Anyone with the number knows the drill, and will ask for my room.

I also have a callback service. I use my laptop to trigger a "callback" to whatever number I have available. The phone rings, and I have a US line. I can then call anywhere in the US for fifteen cents a minute. This works great at my house, but it is a little tricky at a hotel.

So I set up both services to be used with my new cell phone. It worked like a charm. My wife and assistant were able to call me on my 800 number whenever necessary, and I was able to call home without any issues. Came in handy on Mother's Day! These calling services cost almost nothing to set up, and you can do everything online. But most folks probably won't bother with that.

But these phones could come in very handy. So I just thought I would share! It is also important to note that these are SIM card phones. So you can use them while traveling in other countries. You just need to buy a new card when you arrive in the country.

But even if you only used it for only one trip to Costa Rica, I think the peace of mind is worth the small cost.

Hope this helps! Let me know if I can offer any more advice.

Warm Regards,
Pat Hewitt
Travel Professional

7 Replies |Back to top

Sign in to comment.

Advertisement