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Sim Card in Guatemala

Syracuse, New York
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2 posts
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Sim Card in Guatemala

I'm travelling to Guatemala for USA and was wondering about putting a sim card into my old iphone 4 that is unlocked. I saw that Tigo and Claro are good providers in Guatemala and was wondering if there is a place at Guatemala City Airport to purchase one of these sim cards. I would like to be able to use it for GPS and navigation mainly for when I go to Antigua (1st), Rio Dulce (2nd) and Flores (3rd), so I need a data plan. Where can I get a sim card? Thanks!

9 replies to this topic
Madison, Wisconsin
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314 posts
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1. Re: Sim Card in Guatemala

Lonely Planet's Thorntree forum has addressed this in-depth a couple of times recently. That may be why us forum regulars haven't bothered to answer this same question. Basically, yes, you can get a sim phone at the airport, but you might as well wait until you get to Antigua because it will be cheaper. See this search result on the thorntree forum:

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forums/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&search%5Bquery%5D=sim+card&search%5Buser%5D=&search%5Btype%5D=posts&search%5Bforum_id%5D=12&search%5Bcountry_id%5D%5B%5D=222&search%5Btimeframe%5D=&search%5Bfrom%5D=&search%5Bto%5D=&search%5Breplies_count%5D=&expand=&redefined=redefined

As far as GPS navigation, if you download the either the MapsMe or Google Maps app to your IPhone, you can download an entire region or country to your phone to use it offline. This helps with your data usage significantly.

See this thread: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g29200…

Syracuse, New York
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2. Re: Sim Card in Guatemala

Great, thank you so much.

Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: Sim Card in Guatemala

Agree with the above response, but I'm curious why you would use your old iPhone 4 instead of just swapping out the SIM in your current phone when you get to Guatemala and then popping it back in when you return to the States.

Crowsnest Pass...
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4. Re: Sim Card in Guatemala

"but I'm curious why you would use your old iPhone 4 instead of just swapping out the SIM in your current phone when you get to Guatemala and then popping it back in when you return to the States."

Don't know about the original poster, but I do the same for a few reasons. An older phone isn't as expensive so I don't worry so much about something happening to it - lost or stolen. Why tempt people who have a lot less money than I do. Also, I have spent a lot of time getting my phone set up the way I want with apps, etc. When I get home I want that available. The last reason is privacy issues. I don't have anything sensitive or illegal but at every border that you cross, the officials have the right to look at your phone. With less to look at, it will take less time to get through should that become an issue. If lost or stolen, my personal information may also be compromised.

I used a Claro sim on my last trip for data only. I went to a kiosk in a mall (I was in Flores at the time), and it took about 10 - 15 minutes to get set up. I told them what I wanted, entered the password on my phone and they did the rest. I used Skype for calls back home.

Seattle, Washington
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5. Re: Sim Card in Guatemala

Those all sound like good reasons, but please explain the need to set up your phone again after you return. Our iPhones seem to work exactly as before when we put our Verizon SIMs back in after travel, and we've done this many times. Perhaps we operate at a lower level of technical complexity.

Crowsnest Pass...
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6. Re: Sim Card in Guatemala

"please explain the need to set up your phone again after you return. "

The need would arise if something happened to the phone and I get home without a phone. I would have to purchase a new phone and then set it up. I would rather just turn on my phone and be back in contact with everyone. My cell phone is my only phone (I have no land line) and I am on-call at work so need a phone once I arrive back home.

For me, if I had an expensive phone with me, I would constantly be worried about it. I tend to stay in hostels or lower priced hotels and travel by public transportation (including "chicken buses" at times). I usually travel with a small netbook as well. Same thing as a phone. Its an inexpensive model and nothing is on it that can't easily be replaced.

Madison, Wisconsin
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7. Re: Sim Card in Guatemala

Monteverde there are a couple of reasons why I would also use an older phone:

--Our cell phone carrier wouldn't unlock our newer phones yet because they weren't paid off yet through our contract

--It costs more money to unlock a newer phone in Guatemala (see my post in Thorntree forum--it cost Q150, which is 3x the cost of the prepaid SIM plan I bought

--When returning to the states, when I re-inserted my US sim card, I couldn't use mobile data. It took a couple days for me to figure out how to reset the mobile data settings so that I would get internet on my phone.

Seattle, Washington
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8. Re: Sim Card in Guatemala

I guess it depends some on your carrier. We've not had those issues with VZ, but maybe we're also paying a higher price for our service as well.

When traveling in past I would just bring a rugged, black, waterproof, quadband, Samsung dumb phone, and I doubt that anyone ever thought of stealing it. Guatemalan friends dismissively referred to it as a "frijolito".

9. Re: Sim Card in Guatemala

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