Telephones & the Internet
Well, if I called the wrong number, why did you pick up?
~ caption in a New Yorker cartoon, James Thurber, 1894-1961
The telephone service in Costa Rica is very good. Even so, cell phones
are ubiquitous. You’ll see them attached to the belts of men and
women everywhere, probably because the phone company (ICE) takes
such a long time to install land lines.
. Phone Calls
Early in your stay it is a good idea to get a phone card that will
enable you to make calls from public telephones. You’ll find it especially
handy in case of an emergency. Cards – called tarjetas
telefonicas – are sold in units of 500, 1,000, or 3,000 colones at lots of little
stores known as pulperías. There’s a computer chip inside them that
keeps track of your monetary credit. In very rural areas, where there are
no public phones, you can often phone within Costa Rica from a store or
hotel and they’ll charge you (not a lot) by the connection time.
To reach the US or Canada directly, dial 001, then the area code and number.
To charge with a calling card, dial: AT&T, . 0800/011-4114, MCI,
. 0800/012/2222, or Sprint, . 0800/013-0123. For international collect
calls, dial 175; local directory assistance, 113; or international directory
If you plan to call home a lot, consider buying a “Servicio 199” card from
the local telephone company office as it has lower international rates
than your American phone service.With these you can dial home directly.
To call Costa Rica from the US, dial 011, plus the 10-digit number (all
Costa Rica numbers begin with 506). This is an international call.
. Getting On-Line
Internet connections are available (but often slow) at a fair
number of San José area Internet cafés and in a few hotels. Outside
of San José you’ll find cybercafé connections in tourist areas,
college towns or larger cities. However, in every post office, large or
small, there is always at least one computer hooked up to the Internet.
Pay in advance for a card with a set amount of time from the postal counter
and sign on using the code on the card. It’s a way many students in
poorer rural areas are able to be a part of the cyberspace generation.