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

The town of San Pedro La Laguna is located in the southwest of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala

San Pedro is the second most popular destination after Panajachel. Tourists from all over the world come here to climb San Pedro Volcano, ride horses and in non-Covid times, party! 

There are also a lot of language schools here with great rates for learning Spanish!

Best time to visit San Pedro La Laguna:

The best time of year to visit San Pedro La Laguna for warm-weather activities is from late January to mid April.

Great for:

San Pedro has a pretty good nightlife – there are several lively bars on the lake where you can eat, drink, have fun and even do some good things. 

Things to do:

  1. Take in your the view from ‘Indian Nose’
  2. Learn Spanish
  3. Kayak on Lake Atitlan
  4. Take a dip in the thermal pools
  5. Visit a local market
  6. Hike San Pedro volcano
  7. Day trip to the surrounding villages

Where to eat in :San Pedro La Laguna

San Pedro has plenty of restaurants and cafes that serve a variety of cuisines, including international, Israeli, Asian and more. 

When you come out of the Panajachel dock turn right and you’ll see a row of good options including Sababa, La Teraza, Sublime and Shanti Shanti or for some more local options turn left.

Getting to San Pedro La Laguna:

From Panajachel, lanchas (boats) run throughout the day and cost Q25 to San Pedro. Once in town you can get a Tuk Tuk for Q5 pretty much anywhere.

Any fan of LoTR knows or has heard of Hobbiton in New Zealand. But did you know Guatemala has its own Hobbiton? About 20 minutes drive out of Antigua, Guatemala, high in the mountainside sits Hobbitenango and Altamira, Antigua.

It had the iconic round doors and grass-covered roofs but the real magic is the view and the feeling of being on the clouds at 7,800 feet (2,400m) above sea level. 

It was a Friday afternoon and not at all busy so we were able to have lunch in a private Hobbit-hole. If you’re going, I’d suggest you make a reservation ahead of time.

Here’s how to get to Hobbitenango and Altamira, Antigua and how much it costs.

We took an Uber from Antigua Q68 / USD$8.80 return.

Entry tickets for Hobbitenango (this includes transport from the parking lot up the hill and access to games and activities there) Q50 / USD$6.50 each.

Lunch and drinks for two Q221 / USD$28.70. 

Note: if you go on the weekend there is a breakfast buffet.


Altamira is a seperate attraction to Hobbitenango but it is the same location so we’d definitely checkout seeing both. 

Altamira has not one but two hands that you can walk out and take a photo on with the most spectacular view behind you. It also has minigolf, sculptures and its own restaurant to check out. 

Entrance for Altamira Q25 / $3.30 each. 

All up for the day we spent $53.80 for two.

What is Chichicastenango market?

Chichicastenango (or Chichi for short) is a town in the highlands of Guatemala. Surrounded by valleys and small Pueblos (towns), Chichi comes alive every Thursday and Sunday to host Guatemala’s largest outdoor market.

The market is configured around a 400-year-old church, Santo Tomás which was built atop a Pre-Columbian temple platform. The steps originally led to a temple of the pre-Hispanic Maya civilization and K’iche’.

Maya priests still use the church for their rituals, burning incense and candles.

Fun fact: K’iche’ is one of the largest Mayan linguistic groups. Read more about K’iche’ here.

What can you buy at Chichicastenango Market?

Watch the video here ↓

At the market you’ll find all kinds of handicrafts, food, flowers, pottery, medicinal plants, candles, copal (traditional incense) like that burning in front of the church as well as pigs and chickens all for sale.

Chichi is well known for its handicrafts, mainly textiles such as women’s blouses or huipils (pronounced wee-peels). Here you can buy new and vintage huipils. You even buy huipils that have been recycled into quilts (spoiler alert we couldn’t resist and bought one despite only going to “look”).

Interesting facts

We expected to see plenty of textiles and were grateful for it – they are so colourful and beautiful but what we didn’t expect was the abundance of masks. We visited a mask maker in Chichicastenango. A lot of the masks are used by dancers in traditional dances, such as the ‘Dance of the Conquest’, during the Santo Tomás festival in December.

The ‘Dance of the Conquest’ is a traditional folkloric dance from Guatemala. During the dance participants adorned by elaborate costumes and masks reenact the invasion led by Spanish conquistador Pedro de Alvarado and his confrontation with Tecun Uman, ruler of K’iche’ kingdom of Q’umarkaj. 

The festival is a blending of K’iche’ Mayan and Christian traditions. The entire K’iche’ tribe is long since Christian, yet Mayan ceremonies and many of its ancient rites and beliefs persist in daily life.

Pretty cool right?! We love making these unexpected discoveries and learning as much as we can everywhere we go.  If you’re the same make sure you stop into a mask manufacturer if you visit Chichi to see these beautiful costumes, masks and hear their story.

Getting to Chichicastenango Market

Getting to Chichicastenango Market from Lake Atitlan is easy. We took a tourist shuttle from San Pedro La Laguna, it cost the equivalent of $20USD hours and took 1.5hours.

You can also take the shuttle from Panajachel.

Or for the brave, the slightly longer, cheaper way to do it is to take a chicken bus from Panajachel. We took the shuttle for convenience but if you want to do as the locals do and make it more of an adventure we found this guide here really informative.

Have you been to Chichi market? Tell us what you loved most! 

The cross into Guatemala from San Cris was relatively easy and a well trekked route but there are a few extra precautions to take due to Covid. Save this post if you plan on taking this trip yourself.

Here’s how to do it:

🎫 Purchase a shuttle ticket in San Cristobal de Las Casas and be sure to do this in advance – they are currently doing limited trips.

🦠 Get a PCR or Antigen test for Covid-19 no more than 72 hours before you are due to cross the border. Make sure you have TWO printed copies of the test with you.

The journey:

  1. You’ll be picked up from your accomodation in San Cris between 8 – 9am depending on how many people they have to pick up before you. Make sure you are ready to go at 8am, they won’t wait!
  2. You’ll drive for two hours then make a stop at an Oxxo for food and the bathroom if you need it.
  3. Next stop is Mexican immigration. Here they’ll check you haven’t overstayed your visa, if you’re a tourist, and they’ll stamp you out of Mexico. If you have overstayed they’ll charge you a fee.
  4. Now you’ll drive 10 – 15 minutes to the Guatemalan border. You’re going to change shuttles here so you’ll need to carry your bags from the parking lot across the border to the immigration office in Guatemala – it’s only about 300 meters.
  5. At immigration in Guatemala first you’ll enter a temporary building and hand over your Covid test results. They’ll also take your temperature and ask a few questions. Once this is done they’ll give you a note to take to the official immigration office.
  6. The immigration officer will take a copy of your test results, the note from the Covid checker person and issue your visa. We are kiwi and American and both got 90 day visas, free.
  7. Once you’re all cleared by immigration it’s time to get into your new shuttle and drive the rest of the way to your destination in Guatemala. We went to Panajachel, and after clearing customs, it was roughly a 6 hour drive with one stop for food. We arrived in Panajachel at 8pm, exactly 12 hours after we left San Cris
  8. That’s it, you did it!
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