Nicaragua’s Cell Phone Service

Many wonder what Nicaragua has to offer in cellular phone service options.  For those traveling from the US to Nicaragua, they may have trouble using their cell phones in Nicaragua regardless of the international plans they may have.  Phone companies in the US like AT&T offer international rates but they usually charge enormous rates for usage and there is no guarantee there will be service from the AT&T roaming plan.  Someone traveling to Nicaragua is better off getting a prepaid phone through one of the service providers in Nicaragua.

Nicaragua-Magazine Cell Service Providers

The two main companies providing cell phone service in Nicaragua are Movistar and Claro.  These service providers have different plans ranging from $10 to $100.  For Movistar the $10 plan gets you 112 minutes and the most expensive plan goes to $75 gets you 832 minutes.  The expensive plans usually include unlimited text messages and some data as well.  For Claro their $10 plan includes 73 minutes while the $100 plan includes 846 minutes but also 3 MB of data.  For those who may travel to Nicaragua often and need to keep in contact with work, family, email from back home this is a great option.

One other advantage of getting a local cell phone plan is that the plans include low rates to call the US.  If there is an emergency you do not need to worry about your minutes being used up with a short call to the US or Canada.  However, minutes tend to get used up a little quicker if you are using one service provider and calling someone with the other service provider (which also proves true with a lot of cell providers in the US as well).

There are plenty of stores that have these prepaid plan cards and cell phones are available to you around Managua and most other major cities in the country.  They may even be sold inside the convenience stores of some gas stations.  Even if someone feels they do not need a phone to use while in the country we recommend to pay and get the prepaid phone just as a precaution in case there is an emergency while traveling around Managua and or any other part of the country.

*Comment below and let us know what you think of the magazine and what you would like to see added.


  1. calter says:

    I have been told that my unlocked iphone 5 will work with a local sim card. I have also been told that
    they are sold in the Managua airport. Are you able to specifically say where in the airport that they are

  2. Glennl says:

    We use Movistar for all our employees and guests. We provide a free phone for you to use during your stay but they are only about $25 at the Movistar store. Buy minutes and talk to locals, or other expats you meet. When you run low on minutes go to any store that has the moviestar sign and buy minutes. You can call the USA but it eats up minutes pretty fast. Best to go to an internet cafe for long calls and use Skype or some other Voip.

  3. Ty says:

    This probably is a dumb questions, but I don’t understand cell phones. I guess I’m too old.

    If I call someone’s Nicaraguan cell phone from the United States using my Skype account, will the Nicaraguan who owns the cell phone that I called be charged as well?

    I want to call a friend’s Nica cell using Skype, but I don’t want him to have to pay anything.

    • Michael says:

      Hi Ty,
      Your friend in Nicaragua shouldn’t get charged anything. In Nicaragua the only one charged is the one making the phone.

  4. Vu says:

    I have an unlocked phone from Canada. Is it worthwhile to get a prepaid SIM card when I get to Nicaragua and use it ? Which provider do you recommend ? Movistar of Claro ?
    I do not need a lot of minutes … maybe the $10 plan so I can use it to call my friends here to meet up, or in emergency.


    • michaeltrolese says:

      You could try bringing your unlocked phone and see if they can work with it, if not you may just have to buy a cheap phone with a prepaid card when you get there. As for Claro or Movistar it depends on who you are calling. To call a Movistar from a Claro phone(or vice versa) sucks up minutes faster. Go with whichever service provider kiosk you see first.

  5. Esther says:

    Thank you. Your information gives me peace of mind as I was spending way too much time reading about unlocked phone and country-specific SIM cards. Then reading in BBB and other locations about the nightmares of spending all that money and the phones didn’t work as stated. I’ll take my chances and buy a phone when I get there for emergencies.

    • michaeltrolese says:

      Great, glad we could help. Let us know if there is anything on the website that is missing that may be helpful for people like yourself traveling to Nicaragua

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