Costa Rica beach, internet in costa rica

How to Get Internet in Costa Rica Without Roaming Fees

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While vacations are mostly about disconnecting from the world, it’s good to have internet in Costa Rica so you can search for last-minute information, work remotely, or stay in touch with your loved ones while traveling. However, activating the roaming service on your phone is usually quite expensive. In this guide, I’ll share some cheaper alternatives to have internet during your trip.

Tropical bird in Costa Rica, internet access in costa rica

How to get internet in Costa Rica without roaming fees

While many places today offer free Wi-Fi, you might be visiting rural areas or national parks in Costa Rica where there is limited service. This can make it difficult or impossible to look up information, access online maps, or get in touch with friends during your trip.

In our case, we opted for an Holafly card for our trip to Costa Rica. This digital SIM card is super easy to activate, as it arrives via email instantly and provides us with good coverage everywhere. Additionally, it offers unlimited data, and you can get your Holafly card with a discount here.

Holafly logo

5% OFF your international eSIM card

Of course, Holafly is not the only option, nor the cheapest way to have internet access in Costa Rica. So, before deciding, I recommend reading this article to find out which option makes more sense for you. Holafly has many advantages, but if you are looking for other ways to access the internet in Costa Rica without spending too much, you’re in the right place! Below, I provide you with all the available options, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your trip to one of the most interesting Central American countries to visit.

Roaming in Costa Rica

Roaming is a service that enables you to use your mobile phone abroad as if you were in your home country. This allows you to enjoy your mobile data and surf the internet in Costa Rica with your current plan. The service operates through agreements between your mobile phone company and the local telephone companies in the country you are visiting.

Waterfall in the rainforest, roaming in costa rica

Roaming in Costa Rica

Usually, this option is activated by default on your device, so I recommend turning it off before traveling if you decide not to use it. Keep in mind that the cost of roaming in Costa Rica is generally high. If you wish to avoid surprises on your bill upon return, you can call your company’s customer service to inquire about the rates and disable it if you choose a more economical option.

We personally decided not to use roaming in Costa Rica due to its high cost. I encourage you to explore other alternatives to have internet in Costa Rica at more affordable prices, which I will explain below.

Best ways to access the internet in Costa Rica

My preferred method of staying connected is through the Holafly eSIM, but there are other ways to access the internet in Costa Rica that you might consider, especially if you need to connect both from your mobile phone and your laptop. Below, I will provide details on the best solutions for internet access in Costa Rica and explain how each option works.

1. Holafly eSIM card, the best way to access the internet in Costa Rica

The Holafly eSIM is a digital SIM card designed for internet access in Costa Rica. Its activation process is fairly straightforward– simply scan the QR code received in your email upon purchase. This option is an excellent choice for those with a single SIM slot in their phone.

Holafly eSIM, mobile wifi costa rica

1. Holafly eSIM card, the best way to access the internet in Costa Rica

What I liked most about this eSIM was that I had it ready on my device before arriving in Costa Rica, allowing me to connect to the internet as soon as I landed. This eSIM doesn’t support data sharing with other devices, but if you want unlimited data on your phone, this is the perfect option.

While it might not be the most budget-friendly choice, it comes with 24/7 technical support, providing peace of mind during your travels. So, if you want to opt for this solution, first ensure your device’s compatibility through this link, and start browsing the internet in Costa Rica with your chosen 5 to 20-day plan.

DAYS

GB

PRICE

5 days

Unlimited

$27

7 days

Unlimited

$34

10 days

Unlimited

$37

15 days

Unlimited

$47

20 days

Unlimited

$57

HOLAFLY ESIM FOR COSTA RICA

As I mentioned earlier, this is the card we used when we visited Costa Rica, and we’ve used Holafly on all our other trips, too. Additionally, if you opt for this choice, there’s an Holafly discount code.

Holafly logo

5% OFF your international eSIM card

2. SimOptions SIM card, another great alternative to have internet in Costa Rica

If you prefer a physical SIM card but still want to have internet while traveling in Costa Rica, I recommend choosing the SimOptions SIM card. You can purchase this SIM card on their website, and it will be delivered to your home within 72 business hours, making the process extremely simple.

SimOptions, internet in Costa Rica

One significant advantage of SimOptions is that it offers a more budget-friendly plan with data that lasts for a month. This makes it particularly suitable for longer vacations, allowing you to explore the best attractions in Costa Rica without worrying about frequent recharges. However, you should keep in mind that the data is limited, so if you have high data consumption, consider opting for an unlimited data option like the one offered by Holafly.

In any case, this method ensures that you can easily access the internet in Costa Rica. You can configure it before starting your trip, and all you need to do is insert the international SIM card into your device to start using your data. Just keep in mind that if your phone doesn’t have a dual-slot, you’ll need to leave your local SIM card at home.

DAYS

GB

PRICE

14 days

5 GB

$25

30 days

10 GB

$50

SIMOPTIONS SIM CARD

3. Local SIM card, a cheap way to have internet in Costa Rica

If you don’t mind waiting until reaching your destination, you can choose a local SIM card in Costa Rica as a cost-effective alternative. There are several internet providers in the country, such as Kolbi, Claro, and Liberty, which offer a variety of plans catering to all budgets.

While this option allows you to save money, it’s not my first choice. Generally, local SIM cards come with limited data, and for shorter trips, investing time during your journey to obtain a SIM card may not be the most efficient choice. Additionally, you’ll need to stay informed about offers, plans, and complete registration forms, whether you buy it at the airport or in one of the stores in the capital.

CARD

4 DAYS

6 DAYS

7 DAYS

10 DAYS

15 DAYS

30 DAYS

Kolbi

5 GB/$23

Claro

500 MB/$2

1 GB/$3.50

2 GB/$5

3 GB/$8
4 GB/$10

5 GB/$17

Liberty

300 MB/$1.50

1 GB/$3.50

1.2 GB/$4.50

2 GB/$4

BEST SIM CARDS FOR COSTA RICA

 

If you decide to go with a local SIM card, always ensure you buy from official points of sale in shopping centers, or legitimate stores, as there are unauthorized sellers offering seemingly cheaper rates. However, these SIM cards may get deactivated prematurely or may not contain the amount of data advertised.

On the upside, local SIM cards offer a variety of plans, each with different durations. This flexibility allows you to choose a plan that aligns with the specific days of your travel without committing to a plan you won’t fully utilize. For further details, check out our guide on Costa Rica SIM cards, and for a quick summary, consult the table above.

4. Pocket Wifi, the best way to enjoy portable Wi-Fi in Costa Rica

If none of the previous options seem suitable, you always have the alternative of purchasing a portable Wi-Fi device to have internet access in Costa Rica. We personally use this mini router, and it has consistently provided excellent service. For me, it’s the most convenient way to enjoy unlimited mobile internet in Costa Rica, enabling me to work from anywhere across the country. Moreover, the router supports up to 5 devices, allowing us to connect both laptops and mobile phones. There are various data plans you can use with your pocket Wi-Fi in Costa Rica, ensuring that what you pay aligns perfectly with your data consumption.

Solis Wi-Fi router, pocket wifi costa rica

4. Pocket Wifi, the best way to enjoy portable Wi-Fi in Costa Rica

This Wi-Fi router in Costa Rica is an excellent choice for those who work with sensitive data or prioritize a secure connection as it operates with encrypted data. While it may not be the cheapest option, its benefits are exceptional, especially if you need reliable internet in Costa Rica or any country worldwide.

5. Public Wifi Network, the best way to access free internet in Costa Rica

Lastly, if you’re looking to have internet access in Costa Rica without spending money, you can opt for public Wi-Fi networks. This option is suitable if your needs are minimal, such as replying to messages or checking emails sporadically.

Public Wi-Fi network, how to get internet in costa rica

5. Public Wifi Network, the best way to access free internet in Costa Rica

However, it’s important to note that the public Wi-Fi in Costa Rica typically has low security, exposing you to the risk of information theft. So, you must exercise caution, especially when accessing sensitive data like banking details or other important information. Additionally, the speed of these networks is usually not very fast, but it remains the only free way to access the internet in Costa Rica.

How much does roaming cost in Costa Rica?

The cost of roaming in Costa Rica varies depending on your home country’s telecommunications provider. For instance, if you reside in the U.S., the average price typically hovers around $10 to $15 per megabyte. However, I strongly recommend reaching out to your provider’s customer service before your trip to confirm the current prices and explore any available offers. The customer service team will also provide you with instructions on how to activate and use the roaming service properly.

Coastline in Costa Rica, wifi in costa rica

How much does roaming cost in Costa Rica?

Despite these options, I always suggest considering one of the alternatives mentioned before in order to avoid any surprises on your phone bill. Opting for a fixed-rate plan has the advantage of cost predictability, allowing you to access the internet in Costa Rica without concerns about unexpected charges.

How to prevent your phone from roaming in Costa Rica

If you prefer not to use roaming in Costa Rica, I recommend checking your phone’s status before embarking on your trip. Many phones have this option activated by default, potentially incurring charges as soon as you get off the plane.

To verify whether roaming is activated, go to the Data Roaming settings on your device and ensure it is deactivated. If you want to be 100% sure, you can always call customer service to receive professional guidance and ensure your roaming is disabled.

Similarly, if you intend to use roaming in Costa Rica, I recommend contacting customer service directly. They can explain the pricing details and inform you about any special offers that may be available.

How to make calls from Costa Rica

If you’re using a SIM card from your home country, you can make calls with your local number using the roaming service in Costa Rica. However, be mindful that the rates for this service are generally high, so exercise caution if you don’t want to spend a fortune.

Crater lake in Costa Rica, how to get internet in costa rica

How to make calls from Costa Rica

On the other hand, if you’re using a Costa Rica SIM card, you can make calls, but with the number on your new card. This means that if you call phones outside of Costa Rica, they will be considered international calls, and the prices will increase considerably. For instance, with the Holafly eSIM, which offers unlimited mobile data, you have the option to make calls through applications such as Skype or WhatsApp without worrying about additional charges.

What is the best way to have internet in Costa Rica?

In conclusion, when it comes to having internet in Costa Rica, I recommend two options: the Holafly eSIM for phones with eSIM compatibility or the SimOptions SIM for devices that only accept physical SIM cards.

Both cards offer affordable data plans, with Holafly standing out for providing unlimited data. Additionally, you can set them up at home, ensuring you don’t waste any time during your trip figuring out how to get internet in Costa Rica. Don’t forget to take advantage of our Holafly discount to save some money on your journey.

Holafly logo

5% OFF your international eSIM card

However, if you have low data consumption and you are looking for the most economical option, I’d suggest waiting until you reach Costa Rica to choose a local internet company. Local providers offer various SIM card options for travelers. Of course, you will have to spend your vacation time comparing options and configuring the card with your phone, but it will be a more budget-friendly alternative.

And that concludes our guide on how to have internet in Costa Rica. I hope this information helps you decide which option best suits your needs for staying connected while traveling. If you have any questions or would like to share your experiences, feel free to leave a comment below.

Enjoy your trip!

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CHIEF ADVENTURER, TRAVEL GURU, AND MASTER PLANNER AT CAPTURE THE ATLAS
Hey there, I'm Ascen, your personal trip planner on a mission to help you craft the most incredible adventure of your life. While I'm based in Las Vegas, you won't find me there often. As a full-time traveler, I'm always on the go, exploring new destinations and capturing the world through my lens. From the enchanting shores of Almeria, Spain, where I grew up, to the far reaches of the globe, I'm here to provide you with detailed travel guides and practical tips to make your trip planning a breeze. Find out more about me here.
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