Phones and Internet in Costa Rica
Updated 2018-10-10 13:17

Fortunately for expats living in Costa Rica, the country boasts one of the best communications infrastructures in Central America. You are likely to be able to remain as connected as you are in your home country by mobile phone, landline, internet, fax and post. Read this article to find out how to stay in touch when you're in the country or who to contact in the case of an emergency.

Expatriation often means having to start all over again in a foreign country about which you don't know much. But this definitely does not mean leaving everything and everyone behind. Indeed, you will want to keep in touch with your family and friends back in your home country, and even communicate locally. You can easily access various telecommunication services including landlines, mobile phones and Internet in Costa Rica.

The country hosts many telecommunications service providers that offer a range of services at attractive prices. However, make sure to choose according to your needs and budget.


Unlike in many other countries worldwide, the land line is still very present in Costa Rica. In fact, more than half of local households have a landline phone number. The land line service is generally provided by ICE, which is the country's official service provider. But you can also turn to other service providers such as Claro and Movistar.

If you have queries, you can visit their website, one of their branches in person or call their customer service on 1115. Note that your legal representative can also take care of formalities on your behalf.

To apply for a landline, the following documents have to be produced:

  • proof of address
  • a complete and updated identity document
  • documents justifying your legal residence in Costa Rica
  • your electricity meter's number and the supplying company's name
  • proof of income (if it applies)
  • proof that you are creditworthy (possibly)

You will also be required to pay an application fee and a security deposit.


You will be eligible to an Internet line with ICE if you already have a landline, you can justify that you are a legal resident in the country and no arrears are due on your behalf.

You can also choose among 3G and 4G networks (IDNet), cable networks (CABLETICA, Amnet), ADSL (Kolbi hogar) and WiMax (IDNet). Finally, Wi-Fi is also available (Costa Rica Wi-Fi companies, RACSA).

Mobile phones

Costa Rica hosts several mobile phone companies, namely Fullmóvil, Claro, Tuyo, Movistar and Kolbi (ICE), all offering efficient services. Therefore, take the time to compare offers before choosing your preferred service provider. You also have to choose between prepaid services and monthly plans.

You can easily get a local SIM card while you're in Costa Rica, but in the event that this gets lost or stolen, you should be able to find coin-operated public telephones, as well as those that accept magnetic or chip cards. If you find yourself without cash or card when you need to get in touch with someone, you can even make a collect call by simply dialling 1175.

When phoning friends in Costa Rica, it's helpful to be aware that mobile phone numbers start with an 8, while landlines have a 2 before the 7-digit phone number. You should also let your family and friends back home know that the country code for Costa Rica is 506.

You are advised to inquire on documents to be produced with the chosen service provider as these often vary from one to another. In general, you are required to produce a valid and current identity card or a passport.

Postal Services

Costa Rica does have a postal service, and you can find a selection of courier services in big cities, so you can send and receive letters and packages with relative confidence. Post offices are located in nearly every city and town across the country, and the central post office in San Jose is open from Monday to Friday from 7 am to 6 pm, as well as on Saturdays from 7 am to midday.

Useful numbers

If you need to report an emergency while in Costa Rica, you can dial 911, as is done in America. In the event of a traffic accident, you should leave your vehicle where it is, as both the traffic police and the insurance investigator will need to file an accident report before it can be moved.

Below is a list of emergency numbers that may come in useful during your time in Costa Rica (do note that toll-free numbers in Costa Rica start with 0800 or 800)

  • Emergency: 911
  • Judicial police (non-emergency): 2222 1365 or 2221 5337
  • Ambulance: 128
  • Fire: 118
  • Directory assistance: 1113
  • International directory assistance: 1024
  • Operator assistance: 1116
  • Traffic police: 222 9330 or 2222 9245
  • Insurance Investigator (INS): 800 800 8000
  • Tourist Police: 506 2286 1473
  • Juan Santamaria International Airport: 506 2437 2400
  • Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport: 506 2666 9600
  • British Embassy: 506 2258 2025
  • US Embassy: 506 2519 2000
  • Canadian Embassy: 506 2242 4400
  • Australian Consulate: 506 47006400
  • Hospital CIMA in Escazu: 506 2208 1000
  • Hospital Clinica Biblica in San Jose: 506 2522 1000 and 506 2522 1030 (emergencies)
  • Hospital Clinica La Catolica in San Jose: 506 2246 3000
  • Hospital Nacional de Ninos: 506 2523 3600

Useful Links: ' Telecommunications in Costa Rica Forum
Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (regulations authority)
Amnet (Tigo Star)
Kolbi hogarölbi
Tuyo Movil

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.