Costa Rica Phones
Navigating the phone system can be a little bit nerve-wracking for visitors. Many of our guests here touring Guanacaste or staying longer and doing business internationally need to stay in touch. The phone system is probably the most reliable of all of the utilities in the country, and the recent break of the ICE monopoly has opened up the cell phone market, spurring modernization.
All calls within Costa Rica are local and are dialed with 8 digits except the service providers themselves. 1113 is information. 911 is emergencies. To receive a call internationally, the caller should dial 011 506 and then the number. For example, CPM's fax number internationally is 011 506 2653-4608.
As in other countries, land lines are becoming less and less popular but many of our rental properties have them. They have international calling blocked, but you can purchase a calling card at any of the local grocery stores and make cheap international calls on these lines.
Cell phone functionality of lines from other countries is hit or miss. Some North American phones work, others do not. International roaming is very expensive.
Getting a cell phone in Costa Rica used to be a bureaucratic nightmare requiring a person to own a corporation in Costa Rica if not a national. That has finally changed thanks to the break up of the ICE monopoly. Now you can purchase prepaid SIM cards at the ICE offices, in the airports, and at various retail locations. These cards can be recharged by visiting the Kolbi website or through Banco Nacional or at cash registers at grocery stores and at banks.
For handsets, you can bring an unlocked phone from your own country that accepts SIM cards or purchase various types. The ICE itself sells some units but does not maintain proper inventory. You will find options as cheap as $40 at some of the appliance vendors in the area such as Gollo and Importadora Monge in Villareal, the next town outside of Tamarindo.
All of our units have wireless internet so you may make free calls to users of services like Skype and Google Voice. You wil need to sign up for an account with either service and use your laptop to communicate.