Use Cell Phone in Costa Rica for Travelers 2024: How to Do It?

Are you prepared to travel to Costa Rica soon? Learn how to use your cell phone in Costa Rica the most effective way for travelers.

When traveling, people need to stay connected, so using a cell phone in Costa Rica is essential. With just a few simple steps, you can set up and connect right away. Let us help you how to do it.


I. Highlights of Phone Compatibility, Frequencies, and Networks in Costa Rica

There are some highlights to look out for in terms of phone compatibility, network frequencies, and network operators when visiting Costa Rica:

Phone Compatibility

Once you arrive in Costa Rica, unlocked phones from other carriers may work if compatible with the bands supported here. However, some phones may require reconfiguration or software updates to operate in Costa Rica. You can rent a cell phone or buy a prepaid SIM card at the airport or local stores to solve this problem.


Frequencies used in Costa Rica:

  • GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • 3G: 850/900/1700/1900/2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 700/850/1700/1900/2600 MHz
  • 5G: 1800/2500/3500 MHz

Network Operators

Here are the top network operators in Costa Rica:

  • Kölbi: Kölbi is the most popular mobile carrier in Costa Rica and offers extensive coverage, reliable service, and competitive network plans.
  • Claro: Claro offers good coverage and has a significant customer base in the country.
  • Liberty: Liberty provides mobile services, including voice, data and messaging

II. Will My Cell Phone Work In Costa Rica?


Yes, almost modern phones can work in Costa Rica. However, it is essential to check whether your smartphone is unlocked. Having your phone unlocked avoids limiting your device’s use to specific networks. Visitors can check this through current mobile carriers in Costa Rica.

Next, visitors also need to note the operating frequency of their phones. Each phone operates using signals within its frequency range. But don’t worry, in Costa Rica most cell phones today can connect.

Tip: If you want to use your mobile phone with your carrier's SIM card, you may be charged roaming fees. Remember to check with your service carrier before you travel to Costa Rica to avoid any additional fees.

III. Do I Need An International Plan In Costa Rica?


Yes, using an international plan in Costa Rica is highly recommended. Although Free WiFi seems economical and convenient, using it also has limitations such as not all restaurants or public areas provide WiFi, causing you to lose connection, and your personal information can be stolen by hackers when using Free WiFi.

International packages will bring more great benefits to travelers:

  • Convenience: International plans allow you to use your phone as home easily without worrying about finding and connecting to WiFi.
  • Security: International plans use a secure network to protect your personal information more than Free WiFi.
  • Cost: International plans can be more cost-effective than paying roaming fees, especially if you want to travel to Costa Rica for a long trip.

So, an international plan in Costa Rica is a solution to help travelers avoid high roaming fees. 

IV. What Are Options To Use Cellphones In Costa Rica For Tourists?

When you visit Costa Rica, there are many ways to conveniently connect your cell phone. Here are some of the most common ways:

1. eSIM Plan for Costa Rica

eSIM is a convenient and economical choice for you when traveling. They are perfect for a compatible phone with:

  • Suitable for: Travelers with eSIM-enabled cell phones. 
  • Where to buy eSIM: Online retailers travel eSIM like GIGAGO.
  • Pros: Easy set-up, multiple data plan available, no physical SIM card required.
  • Cons: Limit data usage, may not be compatible with all cell phones. 

2. International SIM card for Costa Rica

International SIM cards provide fast connectivity in Costa Rica. They are:

  • Suitable for: All the unlocked cell phones.
  • Where to buy SIM card: Airports, online retailers, local stores.
  • Pros: More affordable than eSIM, various high data limits available.
  • Cons: Require physical SIM card, risk of physical loss.

3. Pocket WiFi

Pocket WiFi is a suitable choice for cases where multiple devices need to be connected. Great for:

  • Suitable for: Traveling with your family or in a group.
  • Where to buy Pocket WiFi: Local stores, rental shops, or airports.
  • Pros: Connected with multiple devices, high data limits, portable. 
  • Cons: Require charging, can be more expensive, and may not be available everywhere. 

V. Will My Local Network Work In Costa Rica?

Most like possible. 

If you have a local service provider, it’s important to note that your phone will work in Costa Rica due to compatibility with most networks. However, roaming fees can be extremely high. Roaming refers to using your phone on a foreign network, and the costs related to it can quickly add up, making it the most expensive option for staying connected in Costa Rica.

Advice box: Check with your carrier before traveling to see their specific roaming rates for Costa Rica. This will help you decide and avoid additional costs.

VI. Gigago eSIM – An Alternative To Get Internet In Costa Rica With Your Cell Phone


eSIM is the main alternative to get Internet for you while traveling in Costa Rica. If you are looking for a Costa Rica eSIM provider with a variety of packages and reasonable prices, refer to Gigago. This is a reliable eSIM provider on the market. You will have nice deals below: 

  • Flexible options: Gigago offers different data plans to suit your needs and trip length. Whether you’re a simple person or someone who needs a lot of data to explore, there’s a data plan for you.
  • Buy with ease: Buy eSIM online instantly. No need to wait at the airport or kiosk.
  • Easy setup: All you need is an unlocked eSIM-compatible cell phone can be used. Scan a QR code and activate your eSIM in minutes. No technical expertise is required. 

Which Costa Rica eSIM plan should you choose for your trip?

For Costa Rica, Gigago offers multiple data plan options, starting from 1 GB for 7 days with $37.80 . What is great about Gigago’s Costa Rica eSIM is that its plans’ costs are diversifying, varying between $37.80$108.00 . Thus, it does not matter how Internet users you are and how long your trip is in Costa Rica, there is always an option for you with Gigago. 

VII. Extra Tips To Use Cell Phone in Costa Rica

There are some extra tips to use cell phones in Costa Rica below:

  • Check compatibility: Before traveling to Costa Rica, make sure that your cell phone is compatible with the local network frequencies used here. 
  • Unlock your phone: If your cell phone is locked to a specific network, consider unlocking it before your trip.
  • Use Free WiFi whenever possible: Connect to WiFi at restaurants, hotels, or other public places to save your data.
  • Download necessary apps: Navigation apps, language translation apps, or booking apps can enhance your experience in Costa Rica. 
  • Be respectful of local customs: Avoid using your phone in inappropriate places, such as during religious ceremonies or in quiet areas.

VIII. FAQs about Use Cell Phone in Costa Rica

1. How can I avoid roaming charges?

You can purchase a local SIM card or use an eSIM instead. You can also connect to Free WiFi whenever possible.

2. Where can I buy a local SIM card in Costa Rica?

You can purchase a SIM card at the airport, local mobile phone stores such as Kölbi, Liberty, or authorized retailers.

3. Can I use my cell phone to make international calls from Costa Rica? 

Yes, but international call fees can be expensive. You can consider using a calling app like WhatsApp or Skype instead.

IX. Conclusion

Are you prepared to explore Costa Rica without worrying about how to use your cell phone here? Gigago eSIM will make that happen. Avoid expensive roaming charges and enjoy seamless Internet access with flexible data plans to suit your every trip.