How to Get Mobile Internet in Costa Rica for Travelers: What Option to Choose?

Learn about ways to connect to mobile Internet in Costa Rica. Speed, coverage, cost, and data connection are things you need to keep in mind when traveling to Costa Rica.


Nowadays mobile Internet plays an important role in every trip to Costa Rica. Connectivity in Costa Rica allows travelers to connect with navigation apps, translation services, and social networks, keeping in touch with relatives and friends back home. Check out this travel guide to choose the best option for your trip to Costa Rica.

I. Mobile Internet in Costa Rica – Coverage and Speed

In Costa Rica, three (3) major mobile network providers cover most areas: Kölbi, Movistar, and Claro. Let’s take a look at the network coverage and speed of these three providers.

1. Costa Rica Mobile Internet Coverage

The coverage map of major mobile operator in Costa Rica (Source: nPerf)

To choose the best mobile service provider for your vacation, let’s dive into the data coverage of these major carriers:


  • Coverage: Most comprehensive, covering nearly all populated areas with 3G, 4G, and 5G (limited deployment). Still expanding 4G to more rural zones.
  • Pros: Good coverage in rural areas and Kölbi offers the cheapest prepaid plans.
  • Cons: Not as many features as some other operators.


  • Coverage: 4G LTE reaches about 95% of the population. 3G fills most remaining gaps. Reliable service across cities and major routes.
  • Pros: This brand has fast 4G service across Costa Rica.
  • Cons: Less coverage than Claro and Kölbi


  • Coverage: 4G LTE reaches 90% of the population. Reliable service in both urban and rural areas thanks to an extensive network.
  • Pros: Good coverage in rural areas and Kölbi offers the cheapest prepaid plans.
  • Cons: More features than some other operators.

Based on the map above, you can see that Claro has the largest coverage in Costa Rica. They have a wide coverage from urban to rural areas. However, Kölbi’s coverage experience meets your higher needs even though their coverage is mainly in rural areas.

2. Costa Rica Mobile Internet Speed

Mobile Speed of Providers in Costa Rica by SpeedTest

Based on the charts above, we have compiled information about the speed of network providers in the table below:

OperatorDownload SpeedUpload Speed
Claro37.77 Mbps11.45 Mbps
Kölbi28.89 Mbps10.05 Mbps
Movistar22.44 Mbps8.72 Mbps

And you’ll also find that Claro is the fastest mobile network provider in Costa Rica, with good coverage in most areas. However, if you want to save more on your budget, Movistar offers more affordable mobile data plans although speeds may be slower than Claro.

Ultimately, all three major mobile operators in Costa Rica have their pros and cons. Consider your needs and research plan to find the best fit. 

Our Recommendation: Claro is the recommended operator in Costa Rica. However, for specific regions or budget needs, compare data plans and user reviews of Movistar and Kölbi as well.

II. What are Connectivity Options for Tourists to Costa Rica?

Many connectivity options for travelers

When choosing to use a mobile connection from the 3 major carriers in Costa Rica, you usually have 3 common ways to connect: roaming, using an international SIM card, or Free WiFi. Each connection method has advantages and disadvantages. Let’s consider the connectivity options for your tourists to Costa Rica:

OptionRoamingCosta Rica SIM cardFree WiFi
How it worksUses your existing cell phone plan to connect to a local networkA physical SIM card that you insert into your phone to connect to a local networkConnects to a wireless network without using cellular data
Where to buyOnline, the airportOnline or at airports and convenience storesNo need to be purchased
CostExtremely expensive Typical cheaper roamingFree
ProsConvenient, no need to change SIM cardsVarious plans, affordable priceNo needed budget
ConsCan be slow and unreliable, high roaming feesEasy to lose, can only use 1 SIM cardSlow speed, limited operating area

For tourists visiting Costa Rica, the best option for internet access will depend on your individual needs and budget. A Costa Rica SIM card is a suitable option for most of your trips based on a variety of mobile plans at affordable prices.

If your phone is eSIM compatible, this is a great option for you. You can check out eSIMs from Gigago to get the best mobile Internet in Costa Rica with various plans and validities.

Box Tips: 

  • Before buying a SIM card for Costa Rica, you need to check if the phone is unlocked.
  • If you use eSIM, check if your phone is on your list of eSIM-compatible devices. Let’s put an internal link to this checklist here

III. Internet Rates in Costa Rica

Good to know: 10 CRC = $0.02, $1 = 501 CRC (APR 2024)

Here is the comparison table of the 3 main mobile operators in Costa Rica:

OperatorSIM cardeSIMRoamingPocket WiFi

These rates can be changed, and it is recommended to check with each operator for the most updated prices. As you can see, most Costa Rica SIM cards typically offer the highest prepaid data speeds when compared to roaming speeds. For travelers with eSIM-compatible devices, purchasing an eSIM before your trip will give you quick internet access once you arrive in Costa Rica.


  • Public WiFi is often slow, unreliable, and may have security risks.
  • Pocket WiFi offers convenient portable internet access but can be bulky and require battery charging.

IV. Data SIM Card for Mobile Internet in Costa Rica

When you travel to Costa Rica, a local SIM card is the choice for every tourist. SIM card data provides users with affordable options for accessing mobile Internet in Costa Rica. It covers most of the right aspects, from convenience and flexibility to affordability with a variety of data plans.

Below are some popular prepaid data plans for travelers in Costa Rica:

OperatorDataValidationPrice ($)Price (CRC)
Claro1 GB15 days$9.985000
2 GB30 days$17.969000
Kölbi1 GB15 days$10.984500
2 GB30 days$19.968500
Liberty1 GB15 days$8.985500
2 GB30 days$16.9610000

The above prices are for reference only. For the latest specific information, contact your network provider.

V. Data eSIM for Costa Rica – Best Option to Get Mobile Internet for Tourists

Box tips:

  • The option only works if the client’s phone is eSIM compatible.
  • Buy directly from the operator that provides the country’s eSIM or from eSIM providers. You can buy and check your phone from Gigago which provides a lot of affordable plans for tourists.

1. Buy eSIM from Costa Rica Operators

Main mobile network operators in Costa Rica like Claro and Kölbi, provide prepaid eSIM packages for tourists. eSIM is very convenient but availability depends on your device. 

eSIM is always the best choice while traveling to Costa Rica  because of these benefits:

  • Convenience: No needed physical SIM card. 
  • Flexibility: Choose data plans tailored to your needs, with no locked contracts.
  • Cost-effective: Often cheaper than roaming charges or local SIM cards.
  • Connectivity: Stay online anywhere, avoiding WiFi dead zones.

2. Buy eSIM from Gigago

Costa Rica eSIM by Gigago

Gigago offers multiple data plan options for Costa Rica, with prices ranging from $37.80$108.00 . Their minimum 1 GB/7 days starts at just $37.80 . With this range of affordable plans, Gigago can accommodate any type of user and trip length in Costa Rica. Whether you only need occasional internet access or plan to stream extensively, Gigago has a Costa Rica eSIM plan to fit your needs and budget. The flexibility of their pricing makes Gigago a great eSIM solution for travel to Costa Rica.


1. Do I need to show ID to buy a Costa Rica SIM card?

Yes, you’ll need to provide your passport as identification when purchasing a SIM card.

2. Can I get a SIM card at Costa Rica airport?

Yes, there are SIM card desks in the arrivals area of the airports. Major providers like Kölbi and Movistar are available.

3. What prepaid data package options are available from each operator?

All operators offer various data packages ranging from a few hundred MB for 1-2 days to multi-GB packages valid for weeks or months. Package prices typically range from 200-5500 colones.

VII. Conclusion

In short, travelers have many options for staying connected to mobile Internet in Costa Rica. With convenience and affordable prices that meet many purposes and needs during travel, eSIM or SIM cards are great options for you. Hope you have an enjoyable and conveniently connected travel experience in Costa Rica.