Arrived in El Salvador, we are looking for a SIM card to have Internet
Nothing urgent, the SIM offers work in all Central America whatever the country where you bought it (Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica). So Anh can use her Nicaragua card for a few more days while I (JB) use my international Drimsim card.
There are 4 telephone operators in El Salvador: Tigo, Claro, Movistar and Digicel.
Note that in El Salvador, it is the U.S. dollar that is in circulation.
Buy a SIM card at the airport
Having arrived by land, we couldn’t see the SIM card offers available at the airport. We will try to find out when we leave but if you have any information, please feel free to share it as a comment.
Buy a SIM card in town
In El Salvador, you won’t be able to walk more than 5 minutes without finding stands or small phone stores, open your eyes to spot the logos of operators.
In shopping malls, it will also be very easy to find them.
Finally, you can also buy a SIM card in an official operator’s store.
In all cases, you will need to show proof of identity. My identity card was enough for Claro while Movistar absolutely wanted a passport, a copy is enough
The operation takes about ten minutes, the employee must indeed call to activate your SIM card.
How much does a SIM card cost in El Salvador?
There is a multitude of offers, depending on the duration of use you want, the number of GB for internet, the need or not to phone, …
You will find below several photos listing offers from different operators. There are regular promotions so don’t hesitate to ask the seller for the best offer according to what you need.
In many cases, the use of social networks and messaging applications is unlimited (for text messages only).
We took two different offers:
- A Movistar offer valid for 7 days with unlimited data + phone credit: 5 dollars
- A Claro offer valid for 14 days with 4 GB of data + social networks + phone credit: 6.5 dollars
At Movistar and Claro, the SIM card is free while it will be charged 2 dollars at Tigo.
Once your offer has expired, you can resume a reload on the same SIM card.
SpeedTest of the 4G in El Salvador
If we are well connected in 4G, and while we are in the capital, San Salvador, our first speed tests are rather disappointing. A saleswoman explained to us that there could be big discrepancies depending on where we are.
These tests were carried out in San Salvador in November 2019.
In the old town, right next to the cathedral, the results are very bad.
A few hours later, at the Metrocentro shopping center, the speed is much better without being exceptional.
Several tests show that in San Salvador at least, Movistar always has a better connection than Claro (to be re-tested later in small villages): with his Movistar card, Anh often had between 20Mbps and 30Mbps going down.