As usual, as soon as we land in Nicaragua, we start looking for a local SIM card to be able to have internet on our smartphone.
Note that if you travel to several Central American countries, your SIM card will work in all countries: Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras and El Salvador.
Buying a SIM card at the Managua airport
We arrived one Sunday evening in the evening (20h), a small Claro kiosk was open at the exit (I forgot to take a picture).
Two employees were present to answer questions and sell SIM cards.
The rates offered are more or less the same as in town, they aren’t overpriced tourist offers. No reason to wait.
Small difference, the naked SIM card sold at the rate of $100C$ instead of $70C$ (the SIM rate isn’t indicated anywhere and since there is no receipt, the employee may have made a small tip).
In addition to the SIM card, you must choose a “pack”. I chose the C$110 pack that allows you to use 3GB of internet for 7 days (+ WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook unlimited).
These packs do not include call minutes, you have to buy credit elsewhere if you want some (ex: 50 minutes for 50 C$).
As everywhere in Nicaragua, you can pay in cordobas or US dollars, cash only. If you pay in dollars, pay attention to the conversion. The tourist who was next to us had a surprising exchange rate… surprising.
The employee will install the SIM card for you, the operation will only take about ten minutes and you will be able to enjoy the internet instantly. This can be convenient to call a driver given the fares charged by cabs on the spot…
Note that a Movistar store is also available a little further away but it was closed this Sunday evening.
Buy a SIM card in town
As in most countries in South America, it is very easy to buy a SIM card and credit in phone stores or even grocery stores. Look for such displays.
We were going to buy a Movistar SIM card to be able to compare it with the Claro offer, but Movistar only offers packs with a maximum duration of 7 days, compared to 15 days for Claro.
The Claro SIM card is sold to us at the rate of 70C$ (compared to 100 at the airport). Contrary to the SIM card bought at the airport, this one already contained 50C$ of credit, allowing me to call (but for how many minutes, I don’t know). Then you have to choose a pack, you can see the different options on the picture below. For this, the seller will ask you for your Nicaraguan phone number. If you don’t know it, just try the phone, he will be able to find it.
Please note that when you purchase credit in a store, you will be charged an additional 10% as a reseller commission.
To avoid these 10%, find a small official Claro stand or go to the counter of a supermarket which often offer refills.
Open your eyes, you will find Claro outlets everywhere, sometimes quite surprising. For example, I once bought credit in the back of this van that was parked.
Speed Test of 4G in Nicaragua
The 4G in Nicaragua is very good. On the test below, performed in Granada on November 1, 2019, I see a downlink connection of 42 MB/s downlink and 5 MB/s uplink. This is more than enough for videoconferencing
Did you like this article? Discover all our articles about Nicaragua here and discover our best addresses in Nicaragua
- Hostal El Albergue sur Léon (link Booking)
- Hotelito Oasis in Las Penitas (link Booking)
- Hostal Real in San Marcos (link Booking)
- El Arca de Noe in Granada (link Booking)
- Hostal y Restaurante Maria in Santa Cruz, Ometepe (link Booking)
- La Bambouseraie (huts in a nice garden) in Ometepe (link Booking)
- Xalli (direct access to the lagoon) in Ometepe : 34$/night(Booking link)
- Hostal Sueno Feliz, Isla Mancarron, Solentiname Archipelago: (Facebook page)
- Hostel Mimundo on Big Corn Island (link Booking)
- Comedor El Desayunazo sur Léon (Facebook page)
- Pan y Paz, French bakery on Léon (website)
- Tourism agency hired Quetzaltrekkers to climb the volcanoes around Leon : website
- Fast, cheap and comfortable shuttle service between Leon (Nicaragua) and Antigua (Guatemala ) Iximche Agency: website
- Lancha “Mario” to cross the Gulf of Fonseca de Potosi (Nicaragua) and La Union (El Salvador): Whatsapp +503 7282 4362
- Project to save the marine turtles Sos Nicaragua,Poneloya beach, isla Los Brasiles: their instagram
- David Arroliga, French-speaking Nicaraguan guide, private driver, specialist in volcanoes and community tourism: http: //picpanzee.com/deas_t_y_f Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DEASfotoyturismo/ and Whatsapp +505 8805 7304 (editor’s note: we took an excursion with David ( see the travel notebook here)and we were more than delighted with his service and the program)