Last updated on November 26th, 2023 at 07:17 pm
Looking to travel to Cartagena soon and need to get a SIM card Cartagena airport? This guide will dive into all the details you will need to choose the best Cartagena SIM card that fits your budget and data needs!
If you’re heading off to the historic and vibrant city of Cartagena in Colombia, having the right SIM card is essential to stay connected during your travels.
Arriving at Rafael Núñez International Airport in Cartagena, you’ll be eager to explore the Caribbean coastline and the rich cultural heritage of the city. To ensure you remain connected, here’s what you need to know about mobile connectivity options at the airport.
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Navigating Rafael Núñez International Airport – Guide to Getting the Best SIM Card
Upon landing, if you’re looking to purchase a SIM card directly at Rafael Núñez International Airport, you’ll need to exit the airport after passing through customs. Turn left onto the departure side, then exit onto the road opposite and take it to the next block. Turn right, and on the right-hand side, you’ll find an internet place where you can get a SIM card. This is about a 4-minute walk from the airport.
Mobile Internet Providers in Colombia – Cartagena SIM Card
The main mobile internet providers in Colombia are Movistar, Tigo, and Claro. Claro is recommended for having the best mobile data network, fastest data speed, and a good deal offering 9 GB data for 30 days at approximately $6.4 USD.
Buying a SIM Card Outside the Airport
In Cartagena, similar to other big cities, you can purchase prepaid SIM cards from street vendors, especially in popular tourist areas. These vendors often offer competitive deals, such as 9 GB of data for 20 days at around $10 USD. However, it’s important to note that purchasing from street vendors means your SIM card won’t be registered in your name, which could pose issues if you encounter any problems with the service.
Purchasing a SIM Card at Cartagena Airport
At the Airport:
- Availability Inside the Airport: SIM Card kiosks are the ones easily found in international airports like Cartagena so Claro should be available. If their kiosk for some reason is not available, find the stores nearest the airport or opt for an eSIM (for eSIM compatible devices).
- Wi-Fi Connectivity: In case you need internet connectivity immediately upon arrival, Cartagena Airport offers free Wi-Fi, which could serve as a temporary solution until you obtain a local SIM card
Near the Airport to Purthcase Your Cartagena SIM Card – Recommended
- Purchasing Outside the Airport: There’s a location near the airport where you can purchase a SIM card. After exiting the airport, you would turn left into the departures side, then exit onto the road opposite, proceed to the next block, turn right, and you’ll find an internet place on the right-hand side where they sell SIM cards. It’s estimated to be a 4-minute walk from the airport
- In-City Options: If you are unable to obtain a SIM card at or near the airport, there are telecom shops in the city of Cartagena where you can purchase one. You can go to the large Éxito grocery store in the San Diego neighborhood, which has a branded mobile service on the TIGO network offering plans from 1GB to 4GB of data.
- It might be more convenient to plan on purchasing a SIM card in the city of Cartagena if you’re staying there, given the lack of clear options at the airport.
- Utilizing the free Wi-Fi at the airport can provide you with the necessary connectivity to navigate to a telecom shop in the city or to communicate until you’re able to purchase a SIM card.
- Checking with your airline could also be beneficial, as some flights might offer SIM cards for sale onboard, as suggested by travelers on Viva Colombia flights. However, this would be a very expensive way to get your SIM. SIM Card and eSIM prices are explained next.
Top SIM Card Options for Your Cartagena SIM Card
In Cartagena, Colombia, prominent mobile network providers include Claro, Movistar, Tigo, Avantel, WOM, ETB, Éxito (for Móvil Éxito), Justo y Bueno (for Buenofon), and Virgin Mobile, among which Claro and Tigo are highly recommended for reliable 4G connectivity. Here’s a breakdown of some options.
Claro – Cartagena SIM Card
Claro is one of the largest telecom companies in Colombia, known for its extensive coverage and reliable service. They offer a range of prepaid and postpaid plans. Some of the postpaid plans offered by Claro are:
- 60 GB plan for 55,900 COP/month (approx. $14.80 USD)
- 70 GB plan for 59,900 COP/month (approx. $15.86 USD)
- 80 GB plan for 69,900 COP/month (approx. $18.50 USD)
- 100 GB plan for 75,900 COP/month (approx. $20.09 USD)
Another large telecom provider with good coverage across Cartagena and other parts of Colombia. They offer various prepaid and postpaid plans catering to different needs.
Movistar offers various prepaid packages which include full browsing, minutes for talking, text messages, and specific browsing for social media and other apps. They also have combo packages which include browsing, minutes, SMS, and social media. The exact prices and additional details of these packages can be found on the Movistar website, the Mi Movistar app, or by dialing *611# from your mobile phone
Tigo is praised for its performance in terms of network reliability and speed. They offer various prepaid plans which are well-suited for travelers.
Tigo provides a simple prepaid plan offering for tourists:
- 5 GB data for 7 days + unlimited calls/text for 10,000 COP (approx. $2.65 USD)
- A notable provider with reasonable coverage and plan options.
Avantel offers prepaid plans such as:
- 5 GB for 30 days at 20,000 COP
- 6 GB for 30 days x 3 months at 60,000 COP (approx. $15.86 USD for 3 months)
WOM and ETB
- Newer entrants in the market offering competitive pricing and plan options.
WOM offers four main SIM-only plans for tourists:
- 1.5 GB, valid for 7 days for 5,000 COP (approx. $1.32 USD)
- 4 GB, valid for 15 days for 10,000 COP (approx. $2.65 USD)
- 9 GB, valid for 30 days for 20,000 COP (approx. $5.30 USD)
- 30 GB, valid for 90 days for 60,000 COP (approx. $15.86 USD)
ETB’s prepaid mobile rates are as follows:
- Call rate to other ETB mobile numbers: 192 COP/min
- Call rate to other mobile operators in Colombia: 192 COP/min
- Special rates for inseparable numbers: 62 COP/min with the service of 6,200 COP for 100 minutes or 52 COP/min with the service of 16,500 COP for 320 minutes
- National landline call rate: 192 COP/min
- International long-distance call rates vary depending on the zone
- SMS rate to other ETB mobile numbers and other mobile operators in Colombia: 110 COP
- Internet usage rate: The Internet can be accessed by buying packages with your recharge balance, which includes browsing data
It’s advisable to compare the plans offered by these providers based on your data, call, and text needs, and select one that aligns with your requirements and budget.
eSIM Options (Holafly, Airalo, and Maya Mobile)
eSIMs (embedded SIMs) are a modern alternative to traditional SIM cards, allowing for a more flexible and convenient connectivity solution, especially for travelers. Here are the eSIM providers as per your preference:
Holafly – Recommended Cartagena SIM Card for eSIM Phones
Holafly offers unlimited data plans for Colombia starting at $19 for 5 days, with options for 7, 10, 15, and 20 days as well, priced at $27, $34, $47, and $54 respectively. The plans provide 3G/4G/LTE speed, and activation is automatic upon connecting to a cellular network in Colombia.
Airalo provides various eSIM data plans for Colombia under the brand name Hartonet:
1 GB for 7 days at $8
2 GB for 15 days at $15
3 GB for 30 days at $21
5 GB for 30 days at $32.50
- 1GB for $7 valid for 5 Days
- 3GB for $17 valid for 5 Days
- 5GB for $24 valid for 5 Days
- 10G for $42 valid for 5 Days
- Unlimited Data in Colombia for $29 valid for 5 Days
- South America+ Unlimited Plan $29 valid for 5 Days
These eSIM options provide a hassle-free activation process and varying data packages to cater to travelers’ connectivity needs in Colombia, especially in Cartagena. They offer a flexible and potentially cost-effective solution for staying connected without the need to purchase a physical SIM card.
Our Conclusions and Final Recommendations on The Best SIM Card Cartagena Airport and Best Cartagena SIM Card
In conclusion, travelers to Cartagena have a variety of SIM card options to choose from, each offering different advantages in terms of price, data packages, and convenience.
Claro stands out for its extensive coverage and high-speed data, offering a 100 GB plan for around $20.09 USD per month, which is ideal for heavy data users.
Tigo is a great choice for travelers looking for a short-term solution, with a cost-effective plan of 5 GB data plus unlimited calls and texts for approximately $2.65 USD for 7 days.
Avantel and WOM provide competitive mid-range plans, with Avantel offering 6 GB over three months for about $15.86 USD, and WOM offering a variety of plans, such as 9 GB for 30 days at approximately $5.30 USD.
ETB caters to those who prioritize call rates and SMS, with affordable rates for calls within Colombia and special rates for selected numbers.
For those preferring the convenience of eSIMs, Holafly offers unlimited data for 5 days starting at $19, while Airalo provides flexible plans starting from $8 for 1 GB for 7 days. Maya Mobile also offers varied plans, including an unlimited data option for $29 valid for 5 days.
Considering these options, Claro and Tigo are highly recommended for their reliable 4G connectivity and value for money, however for convenience in Cartagena, we recommend Holafly and Airalo.