IT’S EASIER THAN EVER TO KEEP IN TOUCH USING YOUR US-BASED CELL PHONE AND PLAN IN COSTA RICA.
In the last few years, cell phone service in Costa Rica has become a lot more accessible and a lot less expensive. You can expect to find free Wi-Fi, and high-speed service, at most major hotels. Coverage is also good throughout the country, except in remote areas where it can be sketchy at times. So, you can always stayed connected
Check with your service provider before you leave home for information about its international plan. Everyone except Sprint charges extra, as much as $10 per phone, per day in the case of Verizon. That can add up, and it’s difficult to know what sort of data usage you’re racking up. If you choose an international plan to stay connected, keep your phone in airplane mode unless you need to use it. You’ll avoid additional expense that way.
Another option is to get a local SIM card when you arrive in Costa Rica. Kolbi is the leading provider—Movistar, Claro, and TiGo are the others—in the country. Kolbi has a kiosk at the airports in San José and Liberia where you can get your prepaid card. If you need to top up, mini-marts and grocery stores everywhere make it super easy. Note: You must have an unlocked, quad band smartphone that uses a SIM card.
To stay connected with family or friends at home, your cheapest option is to use the hotel’s Wi-Fi to use Skype, WhatsApp, or Facebook Messenger. Applications like these are free to use with others who use these online apps, regardless of where in the world they live. You can also tweet, post to Instagram, and connect through Waze and WhatsApp.
Coverage in Costa Rica is mostly 4G throughout the country, and 5G is beginning to appear in some areas. Again, coverage in remote mountain areas can be spotty. Some car rental agencies, like Adobe, offer hot-spot devices that allow you to connect up to five phones, tablets or computers; still, the device depends on the area cell service to function.
Staying connected in Costa Rica is easier and more reliable than in the past. You can keep in touch with friends and family—let them know what a fabulous time you’re having living the pura vida dream.