Preparing for your trip to El Salvador? This blog is to help you find the best El Salvador sim card for tourists. Avoid high roaming costs and buy a sim card in El Salvador on arrival. Good news for you: prepaid sim cards in El Salvador are cheap!
There are also international sim cards that work good, but more about that later.
For many years I have been a big fan of traveling in Central America, lately I traveled around Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador again. Without a doubt this region is amazing for adventure travelers.
I also wrote articles about the best sim card in: Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. On a trip to Central America visiting multiple countries? Check my article about the best international sim cards in 2021 for the best sim card for Central America.
At the end of this blog I will talk about my experience using and buying a sim card in El Salvador, but first I will give you the best prices and network in El Salvador. Although El Salvador is a developing country their mobile internet is pretty ok. There is NO 5G yet in El Salvador.
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Mobile internet operators in Honduras
For a country this small there are surprisingly many mobile internet operators. El Salvador has 4 providers:
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Where to buy an El Salvador sim card
San Salvador City
In San Salvador there are multiple mobile phone shops and official Claro, Tigo, Digicel and Movistar stores. Your best options is to go to any of the big shopping malls like Centro Comercial Galerias.
In the Historic Center in San Salvador you will also find prepaid sim card vendors on the streets. I saw people selling Tigo and Claro.
San Salvador Airport
There is a Digicel kiosk at San Salvador Airport that sells sim cards. But is Digicel a good choice for traveling in El Salvador… keep reading! ;)
Just like in Guatemala or Honduras you can buy prepaid El Salvador sim cards in convenience stores all around the country. Even at gas stations.
Buying a sim card for El Salvador at a convenience store is normal. But first ask if they can activate them on the spot. Don’t walk away before they are activated. Speaking Spanish helps! If you only speak English it will be a bit harder, but Im sure you will manage.
You don’t need your passport when buying an El Salvador sim card.
Prices prepaid El Salvador sim cards
Tigo El Salvador
A prepaid Tigo sim card is free but you will have to top up with one of the available packages. All Tigo packages have unlimited calling to Tigo in El Salvador, USA and Canada and they also come with FREE social media apps.
- $1 = 1 GB for 2 days + 5 minutes to other networks.
- $2 = 2 GB for 4 days + 20 minutes to other networks.
- $4 = 3 GB for 8 days + 50 minutes to other networks.
If you want Youtube to be included as well, you pay $2 extra. For the most up to date prepaid Tigo packages have a look at their website.
Claro El Salvador
A Claro sim card is also free and come with free calls to Claro in El Salvador and free social media. The 3 best prepaid sim card packages for tourists are:
- $4 = 3 GB data for 8 days + 2 GB Youtube/Spotify + 40 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada
- $7 = 4 GB data for 16 days + 1 GB Youtube/Spotify + 50 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada
- $10 = 5 GB data for 30 days + 2 GB Youtube/Spotify + 60 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada
These are the Claro prepaid packages as per January 2021. Click here to see the most up to date prepaid offers from the Claro website.
Movistar El Salvador
Unfortunately Movistar El Salvador does not offer prepaid sim cards for tourists.
Digicel El Salvador
All over the Americas and the Caribbean you will find Digicel, also in El Salvador, however it is fairly small and Digicel stores are limited. Their sim cards are free and come with free calling to Digicel.
The 3 most popular Digicel data packages are:
- $3 = 5 GB data for 7 days + 60 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada
- $5 = 6 GB data for 15 days + 100 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada
- $9 = 8 GB data for 30 days + free social media + 120 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada
You can easily top up online and use Digicel in many other country. Check for more info the Digicel website.
Best mobile netowork in El Salvador
As of January 2021 there is no 5G network in El Salvador available yet. Even the 4G network is not that advanced, therefore for traveling in El Salvador I recommend you to choose you sim card wisely. Have a look at the coverage maps (source nperf.com).
Network Coverage Digicel
Network Coverage Tigo
Network Coverage Claro
As you can see a Digicel sim card in El Salvador is not a good choice for tourists. Their network is simply to weak. Tigo is a good option, but Claro has the best mobile network coverage in El Salvador.
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Best sim card in El Salvador in 2021
I would recommend the following: the best prepaid sim card in El Salvador is Claro!
They have the best network and for $10 you get 5 GB data for surfing the internet, free social media apps + 2 GB Youtube/Spotify and even 60 minutes to USA/Canada.
Buy a sim card for El Salvador online
Looking for an easy way out? Order a sim card online for traveling in El Salvador. The following 2 international sim cards offered by Simoptions are the ones I recommend. They are specialized in selling sim cards for travelers, they offer more options, but these are the best ones.
Three PAYG AIO15 - $29.90
- 10 GB data
- NO calls/NO text in El Slavador
- Valid for 30 days
- 12 GB data
- NO calls/NO text in El Salvador
- Valid for 30 days
Buying a sim card online does saves you the hassle finding one on arrival in El Salvador. The above international sim cards will be shipped to your home address before your trip and is already activated for 14 days from the first day you start using it.
My experience buying a sim card in El Salvador
After 3 weeks in Honduras I took a bus from Tegucigalpa to San Salvador. As soon as we crossed the border by bus I expected to lose signal, but to my surprise it kept on working. My Tigo Honduras sim card apparently also worked in El Salvador.
Well it did, but the data speed was slow, like 3G basically and it drove me nuts. After 2 days I finally bought a Claro sim card for El Salvador at a convenience store in Tunco.
It worked perfectly fine and I had good coverage along the coast, on the Ruta de las Flores (Flower Route), around Santa Ana and in San Salvador.
The last two days of my El Salvador trip my Claro package ran out and coincidentally the first phone store I ran into was Digicel. I had only 1 more day in San Salvador, and decided to buy a Digicel sim card for 2 days with 2 GB for $1. Just couldn’t resist! :)
Digicel worked perfectly fine in the city center, but once I was on a bus from San Salvador to Guatemala City it basically stopped working pretty much as soon as we left the city.
May you have any more questions about traveling or sim cards in El Salvador please leave me a comment below and I am more than happy to help you out!
Enjoy your trip to El Salvador!