Nathan Dugal from The TRVL Blog strives to help his audience with the best tips on traveling on a budget and providing stories that can help shape your traveling experience. Today, Nathan shows us how easy it is to buy a SIM card in Mexico & Guatemala.
Prior to my most recent travels to Mexico and Central America, I had never thought about buying a local SIM. However, having bought a local SIM card in Mexico and Guatemala, I can confidently say it is worth the small investment. You aren’t restricted to using the internet when you are just on wifi (sometimes you are restricted even on wifi, good wifi is sometimes hard to come by) which can be extremely handy.
I’m sure the question on your mind is:
“How do you buy a sim card in Mexico and Guatemala?”
That’s exactly what I will explain to you. Specifically, I bought my respective sim cards in Ensenada, Mexico, and Antigua, Guatemala. However, the process is the same throughout these countries, so the same method can be applied.
-How to Buy a Sim Card in Mexico-
Buying a sim card in a foreign country may seem daunting when you don’t know what you’re doing, especially when you don’t speak the language very well at all, like me.
My Spanish is terrible. I hope that gives you some comfort. If I can manage to buy a sim card in Mexico with my very limited Spanish, then so can you. The process is simple and it couldn’t be easier to purchase your sim card.
After a bit of research,
I discovered that the most recommended network to buy a sim for is Telcel.
After a bit more research, I found that you can purchase a pre-paid Telcel sim card at any Oxxo store (Mexican equivalent of 7-11). Just head into your local Oxxo and ask to purchase a pre-paid Telcel ‘chip’. The sim card itself costs 150 MXN (8.40 USD). The cashier will then ask you how much ‘credit’ you would like on the sim card. This answer to this all depends on how long you’ll be in the country and how much you will use the credit. I opted for credit of 250 MXN (14 USD), which lasted me the month I was in Mexico and I use my data quite regularly.
There you have it, once you’ve paid for the sim card, pop it in your phone and you’re done. There’s no hassle with activating the sim card. Once you put it in your phone, you will have access to 4G.
-How to Buy a Sim Card in Guatemala-
Once again, my limited Spanish did me no favors at all when I was traveling Guatemala.
Again, I researched the best network for coverage across Guatemala and my search came up with the network Tigo.
Guatemala is slightly different to Mexico in terms of sim card sales. The laws are more stringent. What I mean by this, is that a passport is necessary to purchase a sim card.
Of course, I had no idea about the passport law, so I turned up to the Tigo store in Antigua passportless. After being informed of the passport rule, I made the sweaty walk back to my hostel and back to the store. This time with passport in hand. Luckily, the process of purchasing the sim card in the Tigo store was extremely simple and easy. I was sat down with a sales agent, who took a photocopy of my passport. Asked me how much I would like to top up the sim card. I opted for 1.5GB of data which lasts for 30 days, costing 60 GTQ (8.20 USD). A bargain if you ask me!
I paid for the sim card at the counter. The sales agent then asked for my phone and did the difficult bit for me, activating the sim. I would definitely recommend asking the sales agent to do the activation process for you if they don’t do it voluntarily. It makes the process a hell of a lot easier. Once the sim card is active, you will have access to 4G. Easy!
I hope this post has shown you how easy it is to purchase a sim card in either Mexico or Guatemala. Not only that, I hope it’s now clear that you that you don’t have to be fluent in Spanish to go through the process of buying and activating a sim card. Along with the fact that you can go to a brand new country, walk into a store, purchase a sim card and be online within a matter of minutes.