Costa Rica Pro-tips

Costa Rica Pro-tips

Communication

SIM Card

Use Costa Rican Cell Service
For 500 Colones ($1) you can buy a SIM Card to use in your own Mobile Phone. The requirements are that your phone is unlocked; which is the default condition for Verizon phones when out of the county. Check with your provider before you leave to be sure or have your phone unlocked. If not, they should be able to unlock your phone for no additional charge. The next step is to purchase some air/data time to use. We purchased 2.5 Gigs on a 15-day plan for 4500 Colones ($9)…this was more than enough for constant Waze use while traveling, uploading photos to Social Media and the occasional call back to the states. Coverage was pretty good though many people have recommended Kolbi. There is a Kolbi at the airport near the baggage claim, but their system was down, so we had to use the City Mall Claro shop to purchase data. Note: You’ll need to provide your Passport # when registering the card to your phone. Work with a shop so they can communicate the details as the person on the other end of the phone may not speak English.

Navigation

Use Waze for navigation
Waze is the go-to nav choice while driving in Costa Rica. Gone are the days of renting or bringing a GPS device. Waze will help you navigate as well as offer suggestions on alternate routes if there are impediments on your expected route. Also, Waze is a community of users (Wazers) that can update conditions on your route. For instance, cars pulled over or Police hiding around the next corner.

Some of the car rentals now provide Mobile Phones for you to rent along with the car. National Car Rental was going to charge us $15 per day for a phone to use Waze. Vamos Car Rental gave a phone for no extra charge. I was able to negotiate the phone from National down to $7 per day but I have wanted it for $5 and was happy to have gotten a SIM Card in my own personal phone.