• All calls within Costa Rica are local calls. They’re cheap!
  • There are pay phones at parks and corners throughout the country towns.
  • Please notice that our phone system requires 8 digits instead of seven.
  • There’s also internet cafés you can use. I recommend you stick to more expensive cafés ($1/hr. or more!), because the cheaper ones might have old computers that don’t work well.
  • You can also buy a traveler’s card (Tarjeta viajera) 1199 service, for about $20. It works for all calls, national and international.
  • Forget about 3G! If you bring your own phone, make sure you don’t use the roaming function (you may end up paying a fortune per call!).
  • Just get a phone that isn’t locked (you can open it), and it works with GSM.
  • At the airport before you go down the steps, there is a phone store where you can buy a chip.
  • Pre-payment cards are popular. They’re called Kölbi Sim cards and are sold everywhere.
  • Costa Rica is presently undergoing aperture in telecommunications, with CLARO and MOVISTAR companies stepping in. Due to the novelty of this service, however, I cannot recommend it yet since I don’t know much about it.
  • The problem with renting a phone is that not every place you visit will have reception. I have also met people who paid a fortune, but the phone they got didn’t work once!
  • Most Hotels have a special “tourist” phone which can only be used for international calls with a credit card. Expensive per minute. Not the same as the above phone card which is a regular phoneline direct dial and can be used from pay phones and home phones.

I do not recommend you exchange money at the airport, and PLEASE don’t make the mistake of buying colones outside Costa Rica. Many banks abroad charge incredibly high commissions, or don’t honor today’s exchange rates.


Have a great trip!