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Calling US from Costa Rica

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Los Angeles...
posts: 4
Calling US from Costa Rica

I am traveling to Costa Rica next week and wondered what the best option for calling to US would be. I have a Skype app but don't know how to use it.

20 replies to this topic
Costa Rica
posts: 20,734
reviews: 24
11. Re: Calling US from Costa Rica

Gary - I think you will find that there is a place in Montezuma that sells the SIM cards. It's not a cellphone or ICE store, as such -- it's just that many many little "tiendas" and supermarkets sell them

And really, you don't need to know ANYTHING about the system. You bring your unlocked cell phone that takes a SIM card and just hand it over. The clerk will put in your new SIM card, take your money and you're good to go. And yes, it should be a GSM phone.

In a way, you are wanting to make something that is pretty simple into something complicated. Maybe it's from experiencing having a cell phone plan in the US -- which, to me, are way overly complicated and kind of like making your way through a maze.

Dearborn, Michigan
posts: 474
reviews: 9
12. Re: Calling US from Costa Rica

Since a lot of people in the US don't know about swapping SIM cards, don't know if their phone will work internationally, don't know if their phone is unlocked or how to unlock it, it can be pretty complicated for some people.

That's a lot of "IFs" but IF you've got all the parts and it works, it's easy (but if you're missing any of the parts it can seem kind of confusing). You even said when you wanted to get a new SIM while traveling, it took you 3 tries and the process should have been a breeze (and you knew exactly what to do).

To be clear, I understand the process: You need an unlocked phone that's GSM, and takes a SIM (and supports the frequencies in the country you're traveling to).

I've seen the Kolbi signs, they're all over the place in the larger towns, I'm pretty sure I've seen them in Cobano too. I know the few times when I wanted to try I asked at the stores in Montezuma (where I've bought pay phone cards in the past) they didn't have any (I'm not saying they didn't carry them, just that they said no at the time). I haven't asked in YEARS (2010 or 11). Since AT&T dropped international data prices (and they've even dropped prices again) the data plan takes care of my needs (and when somewhere with WiFi, I use that).

Gary

13. Re: Calling US from Costa Rica

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Costa Rica
posts: 20,734
reviews: 24
14. Re: Calling US from Costa Rica

"...Using a local Sim card is an option but it isn't flexible because then you might not be able to use all your credit there...." What "credit" are you referring to, Elias?

Almost every hotel has WiFi as well as many restaurants in tourist areas and some towns have even provided WiFi in the Central Park!

SIM cards in Costa Rica are available through three companies: ICE (the telecommunications and electric company whose cellphone products are marketed under the "Kolbi" name), Movistar and Claro. I usually recommend ICE because their coverage is more widespread and there are more places to buy or recharge a SIM card.

15. Re: Calling US from Costa Rica

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Removed on: 7:19 am, July 15, 2014
 
Costa Rica
posts: 20,734
reviews: 24
16. Re: Calling US from Costa Rica

Well, each person has to figure out just how and how much they would like to use their phone. Different people have different requirements.

And considering that you can get 80 minutes of time for about $10, it's not really a big deal if you leave the country with 12 minutes left on your card. Plus.... there are so many places to "recharge" your card that you don't have to buy a lot of minutes to begin with and then recharge as necessary.

Some people think they have to "go big" and buy $20 worth of minutes only to find they don't use them all. "Go small" and then refill as necessary is the best way to avoid leaving unused minutes behind.

Dearborn, Michigan
posts: 474
reviews: 9
17. Re: Calling US from Costa Rica

Elias / Jef,

Costa Rica and Montezuma is SO amazing, you'll want to come back over and over and you'll be able to use the rest of your credits then :)

And WiFi is everywhere. Couldn't remember the last time I saw a hotel without it, many restaurants and lots of internet cafes in the country. I think Montezuma might only have 1 (or 2?) internet cafes left (there were at least 4) but since cheap high-speed Internet came in a few years ago (previously it was satellite or phone lines back to San Jose was how they did it!) more and more places have it and the cafes have disappeared but only because you can access it other places.

The same goes for when I buy international data for my iPhone, I might not use it all depending on the size of the package I get and I can't save that for next trip. But buying more data is is a better gamble then going over.

The phone cards appear to be money based and not minute based, so buying in quantity isn't a concern and you could start with the smallest dollar amount (for example: in the US if you get a US calling card a $10 card might have 200 minutes but a $20 card might have 600 minutes so it's worth it to go bigger [I'm totally guessing at these numbers]).

Gary

Los Angeles...
posts: 4
18. Re: Calling US from Costa Rica

Thanks everyone. I a here in CR and skype is working great. I goy the one month free trial. Made several calls already and it worked with no problem.

Thanks again!

Dearborn, Michigan
posts: 474
reviews: 9
19. Re: Calling US from Costa Rica

Excellent! Glad it's working for you :)

Gary

Playa del Rey, CA
posts: 201
reviews: 5
20. Re: Calling US from Costa Rica

If you have an iPad you can call the US for free.

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