Costa Rica


Central America is a paradise that offers incredible beaches, attractions, and weather. If you’re a digital nomad planning to visit this side of the world, you must know all about getting the correct SIM Card, which is why we gathered all the details about the topic in this ultimate Central America phone guide. Let’s check it out! 

Zahn looking at her cell phone, probably reading about getting a SIM card at the next destination!
Getting a SIM card in every new country is always high on our list of things to do on arrival

Getting a SIM Card in Guatemala

Cell phone data is essential in Guatemala to share all your photos and stay in touch.

Where to buy a SIM Card in Guatemala

You can purchase a SIM card in Claro and Tigo shops and at the Guatemala City-La Aurora International Airport (GUA).

Prices in Guatemala

  • Claro (this includes Movistar & Tuenti Guatemala):  10 GTQ ($1.30 USD) and 199 QTG ($26 USD)
  • Tigo: 10 GTQ ($1.30 USD)

Recharging and Checking Your Balance

You’ll be able to recharge your phone credit in grocery stores, corner shops, and electronic shops throughout Guatemala, either by buying vouchers or recharging with your credit at a sales point. 


Claro offers the option to recharge your phone credit by calling *333 or online. Dial *5 or use the Mi Claro app to check your balance.


To top up your Tigo SIM card with a voucher, dial *333VoucherCode. To know your balance, dial *256# or text SALDO to 256

Getting a SIM Card in Honduras

Having cell phone data in Honduras will allow you to stay connected 24/7.

Where to buy a SIM Card in Honduras:

You can obtain a SIM card in Tigo and Claro stores. They can also be bought at the Toncontín International Airport (TGU). 

Prices in Honduras

  • Tigo: 50 NHL ($2.04 USD)
  • Claro: 25 NHL ($1.02 USD)

Recharging and Checking Your Balance

You can buy Tigo and Claro top-up vouchers at their respective outlets, grocery shops, kiosks, and many other stores, or recharge your balance at sales points or online.


To top up your Tigo SIM card with a voucher, you only need to dial *777*TheVoucherCode#. To check your balance, call *123#


To top up your Claro SIM card with a voucher, dial *100#TheVoucherCode#. Call *120# to check your balance.

Getting a SIM Card in Nicaragua

Getting cell phone data in Nicaragua is as easy as in any other country in Central America.

Where to Buy a SIM Card in Nicaragua 

Both Claro and Tigo (formerly Movistar) SIM cards can be bought in their stores or at resale points like grocery stores, newsstands, and post offices. They may be sold at the Augusto C. Sandino International Airport (MGA) in Managua. 

Prices in Nicaragua

  • Claro: 50 NIO ($1.40 USD)
  • Tigo Nicaragua (formerly Movistar): 50 NIO ($1.40 USD)

Recharging and Checking your Balance

You can get Tigo and Claro top-up vouchers at their respective stores, grocery shop kiosks, and many other outlets. Recharging your balance at sales points or online is also an option. 


To top up your Claro balance, dial *555# and follow the instructions. Call *55# or text SALDO to 8100 to check your balance. 


To top up your Tigo SIM card, dial *123# and follow the instructions. Dial *72536# or text SALDO to 611 to check your balance.

Getting a SIM Card in El Salvador

Sharing photos of volcanoes and nature sounds fantastic, so here’s how you can get cell phone data in El Salvador.

Where to Buy a SIM Card in El Salvador

SIM cards from Claro, Movistar, Tigo, and Digicel are available at their stores, authorized dealers, and at the San Salvador International Airport (SAL).

Prices in El Salvador

  • Claro El Salvador: $1 USD
  • Movistar El Salvador: $ 1 USD 
  • Tigo El Salvador: $1 – 5 USD

Recharging and Checking your Balance

Claro, Movistar, and Tigo top-up vouchers are available at their respective stores and grocery, corner, and electronic shops throughout El Salvador. It’s also possible to recharge your balance at sales points or online.


To top up your Claro SIM card with a voucher, dial *106*VoucherCode#. To check your balance, text SALDO to 72536


To recharge your Movistar SIM card with a voucher, dial *701*VoucherCode*1#. To check your balance, call *555 or text SALDO to 700.


Tigo top-up vouchers can be redeemed by texting the voucher code to 4040. To check your balance, dial *725#

Getting a SIM Card in Costa Rica

Having cell phone data in Costa Rica to share your adventures and stay in touch is essential. 

Where To Buy a SIM Card in Costa Rica

Kölbi, Movistar, and Claro SIM cards are available in their stores and sold at the Normal Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC).

Prices in Costa Rica:

  •  Kölbi: 1000 CRC ($1.51USD)
  • Movistar: 1000 CRC ($1.51USD) & 1500 CRC ($2.27 USD)
  • Claro: 790 CRC ($1.20 USD) & 1500 CRC ($2.27 USD)

Recharging and Checking your Balance

Kölbi, Movistar and Claro top-up vouchers are sold in their respective stores and grocery, electronic, and corner shops. You can also top up your SIM card online and at the grocery, convenience, or electronic stores. 


To check your Kölbi balance or top up your line, dial *888# or use the Mi Kölbi app. 


For Movistar, dial *650*VoucherCode# to redeem your voucher and text SALDO to 606 to check your balance or use the Mi Movistar app.


Claro SIM cards can also be recharged by dialling *10 and following the instructions. If you dial *30, you’ll be able to check your balance.

Getting a SIM Card in Panama

If you want to avoid a bad experience with international roaming, we suggest the following mobile carriers for cell phone data in Panama. 

Where To Buy a SIM Card in Panama

+móvil, Claro, and Tigo SIM cards can be acquired in their stores and at newsstands, grocery, electronic, and convenience stores, and at the Panama City-Tocumen Intl. 

Prices in Panama

  • +móvil: 5 PAB ($5 USD) & 15 PAB ($15 USD)
  • Claro: free when purchased with a plan; or up to 3 PAB (USD 3)
  • Tigo: free when purchased with a plan; or up to 3 PAB (USD 3)

+móvil, Claro, and Tigo vouchers are sold at their respective stores and retail shops such as gas stations, grocery stores, and corner shops. You can also recharge your balance at sales points and online.

Recharging and Checking your Balance


To top up your SIM card with a voucher, dial *166VoucherCode#. To check your balance, dial *165#


As with móvil+, you can redeem your voucher by calling *166VoucherCode#. To get your balance, dial *103# or *123# 


You may need to dial *312 to activate your Tigo SIM card. To use your voucher, dial *312 and enter the Voucher Code. To check your balance, dial *312 and select option 1.

Useful Info

To purchase a SIM Card in Central America, your passport is the only document you’ll need to present. 

All mobile carriers in Central America offer prepaid cell phone plans that you can check and get online or at their respective stores or points of sale. 

Final Thoughts

Getting local SIM cards in Central America is super easy and cheaper than getting an international cell phone plan. We hope that this Central America phone helps you out on future trips. Thanks for reading! 

Read more about Central America here

Tortuguero is a National Park on Costa Rica’s northern Caribbean Coast. It is named after the sea turtles that come to nest here.

Tortuguero is a maze of winding canals flanked by dense jungle, as you float down these brown waters to get to the small town of Tortuguero you’ll likely hear the howling of monkeys and screeching of exotic birds along the way. We even spotted a few small crocodiles.

You can explore the canals further by canoe and the jungle by land to observe the abundant wildlife, like the:

🦜 442 species of birds including: kingfisher, toucan, tiger heron, and macaws
🐆 138 species of mammals including: jaguar, manatee, monkeys, among others
🐢 118 species of reptiles including: leatherback turtle, green turtle, alligator, turtles, basilisk, and iguanas

Turtles in Tortuguero

The most reason people come to Tortuguero however is for the turtles! An we can understand why.

Watching giant turtles lay eggs at Tortuguero was an absolutely insane experience that I can’t get out of my mind.

There are four different species of sea turtles come to Tortuguero annually for the “arribada” or mass sea turtle nesting. Green, Leatherback, Hawksbill, and Loggerhead sea turtles return home to where they hatched in order to lay the next generation of eggs.

Nesting times vary depending on the turtle species but are mainly between early March and mid-October. The most common of the four turtle species is the Green Turtle which is famous for its massive annual nesting from June to the middle of October. 

We took a turtle nesting walk, led out at night without cameras or lights to witness some huge Green Tutrles laying their eggs. 

They typically lay 90 – 120 at a time and the same turtle will repeat the process 4 – 6 times per season, and it was an incredible thing to witness.

The mother to-be travels out of the water, and up to the beach to find a good spot and then starts digging her nest. This typically takes 30 mins to an hour – she’s huge, roughly 1 meter (3.4 feet) tall so it’s a pretty big hole (nest), and then she’ll start laying – this will also take roughly 30mins, and finally she’ll cover her eggs with the sand before making her way back to the ocean.

The eggs will stay there covered in sand for 45 – 55 days. They do not protect or move the eggs in Tortuguero, in fact they do not interfere with nature at all. It’s their philosophy that everything in nature works together. If you remove a turtle egg you’re potentially robbing another animal of its food – every action has a ripple effect. 

What they do encourage, and educate their visitors on to protect the turtles is – reduce your plastic use: the mojority of trash that’s floating in the oceans or washing up on the beaches is plastic. Turtles often mistake this for food.

It’s also important to take steps to reduce your environmental impact, and reduce global warming. The sex of the turtles depends on the temperature – if it’s too hot the turtles will hatch female – perhaps creating an imbalance that will eventually lead to the extinction of turtles.

Watching turtle nesting

Important things to note:

  • You can easily book a turtle nesting tour once you are in town and it costs about $30 each
  • It’s impossible to do this on your own, you must be with a tour guide and they will limit your time spent looking at the turtle to no more than 5 minutes, so that the animal isn’t stressed.
  • You can not take a camera, cellphone or any light source to the actual turtle nesting and it’s recommended you wear dark clothing and covered shoes
  • There are two departures. The first departs at 8 PM, and the second departs at 10 PM. Each tour lasts 3 hours in total.
  • The tour starts with a walk through the forest (hence the covered shoes), you’ll then wait at a holding area until a turtle arrives in the beach – there are multiple turtles spawning at once but the guides ensure the turtles are not disturbed by controlling the traffic of tourists onto the beach and limiting the groups.
  • There was quite a lot of waiting around and then when we were called it was a rush to the beach to watch the turtle do her thing but it was totally worth it!

Getting to Tortuguero

To get to Tortuguero you will either need to take a boat or a plane.

Take a plane is the fastest option but of course most expensive option. The most common way, is to take the boat. There’s two boats: the La Pavona and Moin docks. It depends on where you’re coming from for which one you’ll take. If you’re coming from La Fortuna or San Jose, La Pavona is the best option for you. However, if you’re coming from Puerto Viejo, Cahuita or Limon, then Moin is your best bet.

We recommend booking a package, it actually worked out cheaper for us than booking everything independently.

We booked with Gecko Trail Costa Rica and it was $234 each and included:

  • Transport from Puerto Viejo to Tortuguero including shuttle and boat
  • 2 nights accomodation 
  • 3 x breakfasts 
  • Village tour
  • Canoe tour 
  • Guided hike
  • Then back transport to where you can from or San Jose

You be surprised to find out that Costa Rica isn’t as cheap as you might think!

Costa Rica is an incredible country in Central America known for its natural beauty, amazing outdoor activities, safety, friendly locals, and well-established expat community but cheap it is now!. For that reason it’s not uncommon for budget travellers to actually skip visiting Costa Rica due to its rising prices. That’s a pity!

Here’s a quick guide to some common costs in Costa Rica to help you plan your trip. You can also check out our guide to FREE accomodation here.

We managed to get over two months free accomodation in Costa Rica making it much more affordable to visit.


  • Groceries for 2 people for 1 week $140
  • Breakfast for two at a Soda (a traditional Tico style diner) $5
  • Lunch for two at a beachside stand $18
  • Dinner for two at a nice restaurant (with wine) $95
  • Six pack of the local beer $8 at the supermarket 


  • Intercity bus (6 hour ride) $11/person (the shuttle option was $55/person)
  • Renting a car (a popular way to travel Costa Rica) seems like a pretty cheap way to do it when you see prices advertised online for $10 – $20 per day but keep in mind there are extra costs such as mandatory insurance at $13-25 USD a day, gas, cleaning fees etc.


  • This varies a lot depending on your standards and needs. One month in a studio or cabin will set you back between $400 – $600. This is of course the price for long-term accomodation. If you are going for a vacation and booking shorter stays you can expect to pay $30 – $60 for a decent room in a hostel or budget hotel.


  • Mandatory insurance for entry $2.80/day per person (booked with INS for 90 days). See entry requirements for Costa Rica here.

Note this is in by no means an extensive guide and prices vary widely across the country, this is just our experience.

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