Getting a SIM card in Guatemala for your phone is fairly easy. The two main providers for SIM cards are Tigo and Claro. There is Movistar as well, which is convenient if you are often traveling between Guatemala and Mexico (since Movistar works well there).
Since we moved to Guatemala as digital nomads, having data on our phones was really important. So within the first few days of our arrival in Panajachel, the biggest town on the amazing Lake Atítlan, we went and purchased a Tigo SIM card.
As per usual as globetrotting digital nomads, we often change our mobile phone SIM cards with each country we live in. This way, we always have access to the fastest 3G/4G internet which is super useful for having GPS, WhatsApp, and social media whenever we are not connected to the wifi in our apartment or in cafes and co-working spaces.
This handy little guide will tell you exactly how to get a Tigo SIM card in Guatemala. Even if you’re visiting for a couple of weeks, the SIM cards are fairly cheap and the whole transaction only takes a couple of minutes.
How to Get a Tigo SIM Card in Guatemala
Where to Get a Tigo (or Claro) SIM Card
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Tigo SIM cards are available all throughout Guatemala. You can easily recognize their stores by their deep-blue color with the white “tigo” logo. These stores are found along popular streets in almost every major town and city.
Note that you cannot buy a SIM card in the little mini supers (markets/tiendas) that have tigo pre-paid signs on them. Those are just for recharging your Tigo SIM once you have it and want to replenish your data.
If you type Tigo into your GPS, you will find the nearest agency and suppliers near you. You can alternatively check this website to find available agencies across the country.
Cost of a Tigo SIM Card + Data Packages
A Tigo 4G LTE chip or SIM card costs 30Q and then to activate it you need to buy a minimum package of 10Q (we chose the cheapest internet package) which lasts only 2 days and comes with 300 MB + WhatsApp. So not a lot.
However, this is the easiest and cheapest way to buy a Tigo SIM in Guatemala. Then, once the two days are up, you can refill online or in-person with a plan that lasts 30 days and comes with 8GB of data (enough for getting around/browsing) + unlimited social networks.
The internet packages don’t come with voice or SMS. For that, check out the Tigo prepaid plans.
How to Activate Your Tigo SIM
If you travel a lot, you might be used to taking out your SIM card and replacing it with another one while in-country. To activate it, simply turn your phone off, do the exchange, and turn it back on. Navigate to your Settings > Connections > Mobile Networks > Network Operators and select TIGO.
If you are at a Tigo Agency, the agent will do this for you. It should only take a couple of minutes.
Is Tigo Data/Internet Fast?
So far, we haven’t had any problems connecting to the internet while outside of any wifi zone. We have 4G LTE connectivity which is fast enough for our needs as digital nomads. I mainly use it to do quick searches, upload video/photo straight to social (i.e. Instagram Stories, etc), and connect to Google Maps.
If our wifi in our house is ever out or down, we rely on our Tigo data and simply set up our phones as a mobile hotspot. With that, we can at least connect our computers to the hotspot and continue working and doing small tasks (i.e. blog writing, email, organization, etc).
If you are planning on traveling around Guatemala, I highly recommend that you pick up either a Tigo or Claro SIM card to stay connected to the internet while you wander!
If you have any questions about Tigo or life as a digital nomad in Guatemala, please drop them in the comments below!
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