Cell Phones in Costa Rica?

Jan 5th, 2005, 08:55 AM
  #1  
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Cell Phones in Costa Rica?

Can anyone provide info on how well their cell phone worked and how much it costs to use your cell phone in Costa Rica? I think you must have a GSM phone but don't know what charges I may run up if I use mine.
RBCal is offline  
Jan 5th, 2005, 10:12 AM
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You might want to check with your carrier. I have AT&T/Cingular, and when I called, they said that they don't have service in CR.
Does anyone have recommendations for calling cards? I know I read one in another thread, but now I can't find it!
tina_p is offline  
Jan 5th, 2005, 05:24 PM
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Same here--no service to CR. I was told by one company that you can arrange it, but it is quite expensive. If you must have a cell phone, you might want to rent one down there. The car rental places have them. At least Tricolor does. We prefer to use our phone cards. We always buy a 199 local card for calls we want to make in the country. We take an AT&T card for calling home.
shillmac is offline  
Jan 5th, 2005, 08:27 PM
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What is a 199 card? Do we buy it there? I'm really a novice at calling cards - too dependent on my cell phone, I'm realizing!
Along another vein - I'm not familiar with Tricolor car rental. We did the traditional Avis thing - I hope it'll work out. If I've made a mistake there, please let me know!
tina_p is offline  
Jan 5th, 2005, 11:01 PM
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You can possibly try www.nobelcom.com and buy a card on-line to use for calls FROM Costa Rica back to the States. Call their customer service number--the folks are very helpful as to the best one to pick for your requirements. My son called home using this method from CR and it worked just fine, no problems at all. He used it from hotels, didn't try it from public phones. Don't worry Tina--he too relies on the convenience of his cell phone, but he didn't miss it! Good luck, and happy trails!
CaliNurse is offline  
Jan 6th, 2005, 03:46 AM
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A 199 card is what the locals use at the MANY pay phones stationed on every corner in every town! The cards replace the coin system that we use.

You can buy them almost anywhere--supermarkets, little mini-supers. Very common. They come in various prices (colones) rather than minutes.

I usually buy the 3000 colones card which gives something like 5000 minutes of call time! It costs about $7 or $8, but that particular one can even be used to call the U.S. It will get you about one 10 minute phone call home. Not a bad price, really.

We have friends who live around the country, so we use it to call them as well as hotels etc. I always have tons of minutes left when we leave, so I either bring my card home and take it next time or leave it with a Costa Rican to use.

To use one, you simply dial 199, then a pin number on the back (much like an AT&T card), then the number you are calling.

I do plan to check into the card Calinurse is talking about. Our AT&T cards get the job done for about 50 cents per minute. I'm wondering how the online card she mentions compares in price. It's worth checking into!
shillmac is offline  
Jan 6th, 2005, 07:08 AM
  #7  
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Thanks for the advice, but phone cards are not much use in an emergency, if you need a tow or the police etc in the middle of nowhere.
According to the Costa Rica for Retiring and Investing web site ATT/Cingular has roaming agreements in Costa Rica, as long as you have a GSM 1900MHz phone (which I do). However, I was wondering what the roaming charges are and if I will end up paying a lot if I have to make an international call.
RBCal is offline  
Jan 6th, 2005, 07:32 AM
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I checked my carrier and in case anyone else is interested:

Your cell phone will work in Costa Rica as long as it is GSM 1800 MHz capable. The roaming chargers through ATT/Cingular are $2.29/ minute. Their coverage map indicates cellular service is available on both coasts, San Jose and most major roads. You have to activate international roaming before you leave the states.
RBCal is offline  
Jan 6th, 2005, 12:41 PM
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Lots of the internet cafes have long distance calls service, look for one.

Also much cheaper to buy a calling card than pay roaming charges.
miguelgcuadra is offline  
Jan 6th, 2005, 12:49 PM
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RBCCal,
As I mentioned earlier, cell phones can be rented from the car rental agencies for use during the types of emergencies you are concerned about. Also, as mentioned, you CAN purchase a cell phone here in the states that works in CR, but the roaming is fairly expensive. Thank you for the research. The information you have provided is good to know! When I said "no service to CR", I was speaking of my own cell phone that I currently own! Sorry if I misled!
shillmac is offline  
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