Mobile Telephones in Costa Rica

Find out how to get yourself a mobile cellular phone in Costa Rica...

Many domestic and foreign telecommunications companies are present in Costa Rica, resulting in a wider variety of services which include:

  • Contracts (planes) or monthly tariffs (post-pago)
  • Pre-paid services (pre-pago)

Companies offer different contract types with various call, text and multimedia message bundles, as well as mobile Internet data packages. There are also deals for smartphones, tablets and dongles. In all cases, an identity card (cedula de identidad/cedula de residencia) or a passport is required for contract or prep-paid services. A credit check is also done for customers signing up for a mobile contract.

Mobile providers

Kölbi is controlled by ICE and offers mobile contracts, which are approved subject to net monthly earnings. A Kölbi bill (factura) can be paid online.

  • Kölbi
    Tel: 1193 (from a Kölbi phone)
    email
  • For further information about contract services: Click here

There is also a pre-paid service. Credit (recarga) can be bought in the following ways:

  • Online
  • As a scratchcard (tarjeta de recargar): call 1150, select option 1 and enter the number on the card
  • Electronically at participating retailers
  • For further information about Kölbi recharge and sale points (puntos de recarga) in Costa Rica: Click here
  • Find a list of Kölbi stores and agents

Movistar is Spanish operator Telefónica's offering in Costa Rica, and they have both pre-paid and contract services. Customers who choose a contract service get discounted or free telephones, depending on the tariff they choose on a contract plan.

A Movistar bill (factura) is issued on the tenth of the month and payment must be made within 20 days. It can be paid in a variety of ways:

  • Dial 1693 from a Movistar phone and pay by credit or debit card at a call center
  • Online by logging into the payment portal
  • In person at a Movistar customer service center (Centros de Atención) in Costa Rica
  • By direct debit which must be set up at a customer service center
  • In selected banks. Find participating banks

There is also a pre-paid service. Credit (recarga) can be bought in the following ways:

  • As a scratchcard (tarjeta de recargar): dial 650, select option 2 and enter the number on the card
  • Electronically at participating retailers
  • By calling 1693 and paying by credit or debit card
  • For further information about Movistar pre-paid services

Tuyo provides pre-paid services as well as mobile television with coverage of Canal 7.

  • Tuyo
    Tel: 800 8896 6684 5 (800-TUYOMOVIL)
    email

For the pre-paid service, credit (recarga) can be bought in the following ways:

  • As a scratchcard (tarjeta de recargar): dial 1700 and enter the number on the card
  • Electronically at participating retailers
  • For further information about Tuyo recharge and sale points (puntos de recarga) in Costa Rica: Click here

Claro is a telecommunications company which operates throughout South and Central America and is part of the América Móvil group. Claro offers both pre-paid and monthly contracts. Customers who select a contract tariff are eligible for free or discounted mobile telephone and smartphones. Claro also provides tablets and mobile 3G Internet through TurboNett for both pre-paid and contract customers.

  • Claro
    Tel: 7002 7002 or *10 from a Claro phone
    email

Claro has two types of contract (planes de pospago):

  1. Planes Todo Destino - user has a free minute and SMS allowance depending on the monthly payment.
  2. Planes Cuenta Controlada - user pays a monthly fee with a limited amount of free minutes and SMS allowance, but can top up as with the pre-paid service when they exceed the limits

For the pre-paid service, credit (recarga) can be bought in the following ways:

  • Online
  • At authorized retail points. For a list: Click here
  • By calling *10
  • As top-up cards called tarjeta raspable
  • For a list of Claro distributors: Click here

Fullmóvil uses the Kölbi network so it has the same coverage as Kölbi mobile telephones, and customers can choose their own telephone number.

SIM cards can be purchased from over 500 locations in Costa Rica. It is possible to purchase credit (recarga) at over 10,000 points in Costa Rica.