Preparing for your trip to El Salvador? This blog is to help you find the best prepaid sim card for El Salvador. Avoid high roaming costs or slow overseas data plans. Find in this article up to date prices as per July 2022, the best 4G/5G network coverage, info about international and e-sim card for El Salvador, my recommendation and my experiences.
I have been a big fan of traveling in Central America for many years and have been around all the countries multiple times. Without a doubt Central America is an amazing place to visit if you are an adventure traveler.
The first thing I do when I get to a new country is buying a prepaid sim card to get connected. As I am also trying to travel to every country in the world I get to a lot of places and therefore on Traveltomtom you can find more than 200 prepaid sim card guides from all over the world: Europe, Germany, France, United Kingdom, USA, New York, Bogota, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Mexico City and many more.
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 4G/5G network in El Salvador. Although El Salvador is a developing country their mobile internet is pretty ok.
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Traveltomtom recommends a Claro sim card for El Salvador. They have the most extensive 4G network and a great sim card deal for just $10 USD.
On a trip to Central America visiting multiple countries? Then you might want to check my article about the best international sim cards in 2022 for the best sim card for Central America. These international sim cards are slightly more expensive but come with many advantages. You can order them online and they get shipped to your home address.
However, the easiest way to stay connected on a trip abroad in 2022 is an e-sim card.
E-sim cards for El Salvador
Order your e-sim card online and arrange everything within just a couple minutes. No more swapping physical sim cards or visiting a store! Get an e-sim card, receive an email with a code, follow the instructions and you are all set. Check out the following El Salvador e-sim card deal:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $9.5 USD
Click here to order an e-sim card for El Salvador directly online. With an e-sim card you keep your own phone number from home.
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 for you 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.
Unlike most other countries in the world you can buy a sim card in El Salvador without showing your passport or id. There is no fingerprint or any form of identification needed. The sim card will not be registered on your name, it will just be activated that is it. The sim card is plug and play, meaning you put it in your phone and it instantly works.
Very important is that your phone is unlocked! Foreign sim cards only work in unlocked phones. If you are unsure about this then contact your provider in your home country before your trip to El Salvador.
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Mobile internet operators in El Salvador
For a country this small there are surprisingly many mobile internet operators. El Salvador has 4 providers:
Movistar does not offer prepaid sim card for tourists in El Salvador, all the other providers do.
Prices prepaid El Salvador sim cards
Good news for you: prepaid sim cards in El Salvador are cheap!
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 and they also come with FREE social media apps. On top of that there are minutes to USA, Canada included as well.
- $1 = 1 GB for 2 days + 10 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada
- $2 = 2 GB for 4 days + 20 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada
- $4 = 3 GB for 8 days + 40 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada
- $7 = 4 GB for 16 days + 50 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada
For more info check the Tigo El Salvador 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:
- $1 = 1 GB data for 2 days + 10 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada
- $2 = 2 GB data for 4 days + 20 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada
- $4 = 3 GB data for 8 days + 40 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada
- $10 = 5 GB data for 30 days + 60 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada
The bigger packages come with extra GB's for YouTube. For more info check the Claro El Salvador website.
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 other Digicel numbers.
The 3 most popular Digicel data packages are:
- $3.5 = 6 GB data for 8 days + 50 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada + free WhatsApp, FB, Instagram & Twitter.
- $5.5 = 6 GB data for 15 days + 70 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada + free WhatsApp, FB, Instagram & Twitter.
- $9 = 8 GB data for 30 days + 90 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada + free WhatsApp, FB, Instagram & Twitter.
You can easily top up online and use Digicel in many other country. Check for more info the Digicel website.
Best 4G/5G network in El Salvador
As of July 2022 there is still no 5G network in El Salvador available yet. Even the 4G network is not that advanced yet, therefore when traveling in El Salvador I recommend you to choose your sim card wisely. Have a look at the El Salvador 4G/5G coverage maps below.
4G/5G Network Coverage Digicel
4G/5G Network Coverage Tigo
4G/5G 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 too weak. Tigo is a good option, but Claro has the best mobile network coverage in El Salvador.
Best sim card in El Salvador in 2022
Looking at the prepaid sim card deals in El Salvador and the 4G/5G network coverage we come to the conclusion that Claro is the best prepaid sim card in El Salvador in 2022.
They have the best mobile network coverage 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 global sim card online for traveling in El Salvador. The following sim cards will be shipped to your home address before your trip to El Salvador and are pre-activated:
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
Click here to order the above sim card deals for El Salvador directly online or find more info and offers in the link
Also last reminder that you can arrange everything directly online by ordering an e-sim card for El Salvador. No more swapping sim cards or visiting a store.
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!
If you like to get fuelled by wanderlust then go check out my Instagram profile @traveltomtom where you can find all my adventures on my journey to visit every country in the world. As of July 2022 I have visited more than 135 countries around the world.
Enjoy your trip to El Salvador!