Preparing your trip to El Salvador and looking for the best way to stay connected? Avoid high roaming charges or slow overseas data plans! This is the ultimate guide is to help you find the best sim card for traveling to El Salvador in 2024.

Find out everything you need to know about buying a prepaid sim card in El Salvador, up to date prices as per April 2024, the best e-sim cards for El Salvador, the best 4G/5G network coverage, info about international sim card, my recommendation and my experiences and more.

I have been a big fan of traveling in Central America and the last years I 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.

Depending on the length of your trip to El Salvador a prepaid sim card or an e-sim card is the best way to stay connected and save money on high roaming charges. One of the first things I do when planning my next trip abroad is figuring out what is the best way to stay connected and whether to order an e-sim card on the internet or buying a local prepaid sim card on arrival.

Having internet on your phone while traveling makes life so much easier. In the past I always used to buy a prepaid sim card on arrival but nowadays I mostly order an e-sim card on the internet.

E-sim cards are simply so convenient that I happily pay a couple dollar extra to be online as soon as the plane lands and have internet on my phone like at home without paying high roaming charges.

As Traveltomtom is on a mission to travel to every country in the world I get to about 30 - 40 different countries every year and therefore I use about 30 different sim cards per year. As I am already traveling full time since 2012 buying prepaid and e-sim cards became part of life and that is how Traveltomtom became the ultimate specialist in providing info about sim cards for tourists.

Therefore on Traveltomtom you can find more than 200 sim card guides from all over the world: Europe, Spain, Madrid, BarcelonaGermany, France, United Kingdom, USA, New York, Bogota, Colombia, Peru, ArgentinaGuatemala, HondurasMexico, Mexico City, Malaysia, Egypt and many more.

At the end of this guide I will also talk about my experience using and buying a sim card in El Salvador on my last trip, but first I will give you a prepaid sim card comparison, prices for data plans, more about the the best 4G/5G network in El Salvador and of course everything you need to know about e-sim cards for El Salvador.

Although El Salvador is a developing country their mobile internet is pretty ok.

RELATED: 19 Best Places to Visit in El Salvador in 2024.

My recommendation

Traveltomtom recommends a Claro prepaid sim card for El Salvador. They have the best 4G/5G network in El Salvador and a great sim card deal for tourists. For $10 USD you get 5 GB data and unlimited social media for 30 days.

E-sim cards for El Salvador are a little more expensive, but e-sims are a very convenient way to get connected on your trip to El Salvador and you are online as soon as the plane lands. El Salvador e-sim card plans start from $8 USD. Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for El Salvador via SimOptions or Airalo.

On a big trip to Central America and visiting multiple countries? Then you want to check out Traveltomtom's article about the best international sim cards in 2024 and find some amazing sim card plans for Central America.

These international sim cards are slightly more expensive but are valid in all Central American countries and come with a couple other advantages. You can order them online and get them delivered to your home address as a physical prepaid sim card or in your email as an e-sim.

Best e-sim cards for El Salvador

The easiest way to stay connected when traveling to El Salvador in 2024 is an e-sim card. You arrange everything online in just a couple clicks. No more visiting a phone store and swapping physical prepaid sim cards.

You order an e-sim card for El Salvador on the internet, you receive a QR code, scan it, follow the simple steps and within less than 2 minutes you have an El Salvador e-sim card installed on your phone.

Upon arrival in El Salvador it automatically connects you to an available network and you enjoy data on your phone pretty much when the plane lands.

Make sure your phone is e-sim compatible before ordering an e-sim card for El Salvador.

Airalo

airalo esim card plans for el salvador 2024

Airalo is a reliable e-sim provider and Traveltomtom has used Airalo in more than 50 countries around the world and never faced an issue. Here are the Airalo e-sim card plans for El Salvador for 2024:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $8 USD
  • 2 GB data for 15 days = $15 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $21 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $32.5 USD

Click here for more info or to order an e-sim card for El Salvador via Airalo.

The above Cerrocom e-sim cards from Airalo are only valid in El Salvador and are data-only. Incoming and outgoing calls/sms are not supported. The Cerrocom e-sims operate on the Movistar 4G/LTE network in El Salvador.

SimOptions

simoptions esim cards for el salvador 2024

SimOptions is another reliable e-sim provider that sells e-sim cards from pretty much every country in the world. SimOptions is specialized in international e-sim cards which are valid in up to 141 countries, including the USA, Canada, all of Europe, South and Central America and of course El Salvador.

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $8 USD
  • 3 GB data for 15 days = $21 USD
  • 6 GB data for 15 days = $39.90 USD

Click here for more info or to order an e-sim card for El Salvador via SimOptions.

Before buying an e-sim card make sure your phone is e-sim card compatible and unlocked. With an e-sim card you keep your own phone number from your home country.

There is another e-sim provider tested and reviewed by Traveltomtom and although they sometimes have great e-sim card deals it is not Traveltomtom's first recommendation. Personally I have faced some issues with Nomad e-sim cards and unless they are not improving on reliability and performance Traveltomtom is not recommending Nomad e-sim cards over Airalo and SimOptions.

Where to buy a sim card for El Salvador

San Salvador City Center

el salvador sim card 2021

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, see the picture above. These people sell prepaid sim cards for tourists and activate your sim card on the spot!

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... Unfortunately there is no other mobile internet operator shop at San Salvador Airport as my latest update from April 2024.

Convenience stores

Just like in Guatemala, Honduras and other Central American countries you can buy prepaid sim cards for El Salvador in convenience stores all around the country. Even at gas stations and road side shops.

Don't worry, buying a sim card for El Salvador at a convenience store on the side of the road is normal. But very important is to first ask if they can activate the sim card for you on the spot. Don’t walk away or pay before the sim card are activated! Speaking Spanish will help a lot so may be not the best place for tourists to buy a sim card for El Salvador! If you only speak English it will be a bit harder, or ask a local to help you.

Online

You can also buy a sim card for traveling to El Salvador on the internet and especially if you want to arrive prepared for your trip to El Salvador this is a great option.

There are physical prepaid sim cards available via SimOptions. These sim cards will be delivered to your home address before your trip. On arrival in El Salvador it is plug and play.

But as mentioned before the most convenient way to stay connected when traveling to El Salvador is by ordering an e-sim card on the internet. If your phone is e-sim compatible Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for El Salvador via SimOptions or Airalo.

Mobile internet operators in El Salvador

For a country this small there are surprisingly many mobile internet operators. El Salvador has 4 providers:

  • Tigo
  • Claro
  • Movistar
  • Digicel

Movistar El Salvador does not sell prepaid sim cards for tourists, all the other providers do. Note that as per April 2024 there are no e-sim cards for tourists available, only physical prepaid sim cards.

Registration process

Unlike most other countries in the world you can buy a sim card in El Salvador without having to register your passport or ID. There is no fingerprint or any other form of identification needed. When you buy a prepaid sim card in El Salvador it will not be registered on your name, it will just be activated for you and that is it. The sim card is plug and play, meaning you put it in your phone and it instantly works.

That is why it still it is normal practice to buy a sim card for El Salvador on the side of the road or from a street vendor in the middle of a square in San Salvador.

However, 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.

Prices prepaid El Salvador sim cards

Good news for you: prepaid sim cards in El Salvador are cheap and for a couple dollars you can get a lot of data on your phone. In El Salvador they use the USD as their official currency as well as Bitcoin. No joke, you can buy a sim card in El Salvador with Bitcoins.

Tigo El Salvador

tigo el salvador prepaid sim card plans 2024

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, see the above plans for 2024. On top of that there are minutes to USA, Canada included as well.

  • 1 GB for 2 days + 10 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada = $1 USD
  • 2 GB for 4 days + 20 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada = $2 USD
  • 4 GB for 8 days + 40 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada = $4 USD
  • 4 GB for 16 days + 50 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada = $7 USD

For more info check the Tigo El Salvador website.

Claro El Salvador

claro el salvador prepaid sim card plans 2024

A Claro sim card is also free and come with free calls to Claro in El Salvador and unlimited social media. These are the prepaid sim card packages for tourists:

  • 1 GB data for 2 days = $1 USD
  • 2 GB data for 4 days + 500 MB YouTube + 20 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada = $2 USD
  • 4 GB data for 8 days + 2 GB YouTube & TikTok + 40 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada = $4 USD
  • 5 GB data + 2 GB YouTube & TikTok for 30 days = $10 USD

Big plus about Claro prepaid sim cards you buy in El Salvador is that they are valid in all of Central America. I have not tried it myself, so I can not give you my personal review about it. But apparently it works.

The bigger data packages come with extra GB's for YouTube and TikTok. For more info check the Claro El Salvador website.

Digicel El Salvador

digicel el salvador prepaid sim card plans 2024

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:

  • 6 GB data for 8 days + 50 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada + free WhatsApp, FB, Instagram & Twitter = $3.5 USD
  • 6 GB data for 16 days + 70 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada + free WhatsApp, FB, Instagram & Twitter = $6 USD
  • 8 GB data for 30 days + 90 minutes to other networks and USA/Canada + free WhatsApp, FB, Instagram & Twitter = $9 USD

You can easily top up online and use Digicel in many other country as well according to their website but never tried myself. Digicel is not my preferred sim card for El Salvador, see below. Check for more info the Digicel website.

Best 4G/5G network in El Salvador

As of April 2024 there is still no 5G network in El Salvador available yet. Even though the 4G/LTE network is not that advanced yet, there is a 4G/LTE signal is pretty much all tourist destinations in El Salvador.

But before you buy a prepaid sim card in El Salvador have a look at the El Salvador 4G/5G coverage maps below and pick your provider wisely.

Digicel 4G/5G network coverage map

digicel 4g 5g network coverage map el salvador 2024

Tigo 4G/5G network coverage map

tigo 4g 5g network coverage map el salvador 2024

Claro 4G/5G network coverage map

claro 4g 5g network coverage map el salvador 2024

Although the above mobile data network coverage maps are updated for 2024 they are not 100% accurate. However, they are a great reference to compare the 4G/5G networks of the mobile internet providers in El Salvador in 2024.

As you can see a Digicel prepaid sim card is based on my comparison of the mobile network in El Salvador not a good choice for tourists. The Digicel network is much weaker than Claro and Tigo. Digicel does not even offer 4G+ what is also often talked about as the 4.5G network.

A Tigo sim card is a good option, but Claro has the best 4G/LTE mobile network coverage in El Salvador in 2024.

Best sim card for El Salvador in 2024

Looking at the El Salvador prepaid sim cards for tourists and the 4G/5G network coverage Traveltomtom comes to the conclusion that Claro is the best prepaid sim card in El Salvador in 2024.

Claro has the best mobile network coverage and for $10 USD you get 5 GB data for surfing the internet, free social media apps + 2 GB Youtube/Spotify and even 60 minutes to USA/Canada.

Traveltomtom is an advocate for using e-sim cards when traveling abroad. They are very convenient and simple to use. However, fact is that e-sim cards for El Salvador are more expensive than local prepaid sim cards.

That said, e-sim cards are so easy to get that I often happily pay the higher price. Plus you are online as soon as the plane touches the ground and you don't need to buy a sim card on arrival in El Salvador.

Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for El Salvador via SimOptions or Airalo.

Order a prepaid sim card for El Salvador online

international prepaid sim cards for el salvador 2024

If your phone is not e-sim compatible but you would like to order a sim card for traveling to El Salvador online before your trip then check out the following.

Arrive prepared in El Salvador with an international prepaid sim card. You order them online and a physical prepaid sim card will be delivered to your home address. You put this sim card in your phone and it automatically connects to an available network upon arrival in El Salvador, basically when the plane lands you are instantly online.

SimOptions is the only sim card provider that sells physical prepaid sim cards for El Salvador:

  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $24.90 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $49.90 USD

Click here for more info or to order an international physical sim card for El Salvador via SimOptions.

Traveltomtom has used both the Three as well as the Orange physical prepaid sim cards in the past and I was always satisfied. However, nowadays it is no secret that I rather use e-sim cards for traveling abroad instead of physical prepaid sim cards. 

If your phone is e-sim compatible then here is a last reminder that you can arrange everything online in just a couple clicks. Order an e-sim card for El Salvador on the internet and arrive prepared. More expensive, but very convenient!

Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for El Salvador via SimOptions or Airalo.

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 my Tigo sim card from Honduras kept on working. Some prepaid sim cards you buy around Central America they claim to work in all neighboring countries.

Well it did, but the data speed was very 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 the surf town of 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 just $1 USD. Just couldn’t resist! :)

Digicel worked perfectly fine in the city center of San Salvador, 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. Obviously I would not recommend a Digicel prepaid sim card for tourists traveling in El Salvador.

If you have any more questions about traveling or using prepaid or e-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 April 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries around the world.

Enjoy your trip to El Salvador!

Some links in this article about the best prepaid sim cards for traveling to El Salvador are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using an affiliate link I earn a small commission. Don’t worry this is at absolutely no extra cost to you.