Planning a trip to Guatemala and looking for the best way to stay connected? Don't waste money on high roaming charges and slow overseas data plans. This is a complete guide for finding the best way to stay connected when traveling to Guatemala in 2023. Find out everything you need to know about buying a prepaid sim card in Guatemala, the best e-sim cards for Guatemala, where to buy a sim card for Guatemala, up to date prices as per August 2023, the best 4G/5G network in Guatemala, my recommendation and information about international sim cards.
Guatemala is a gorgeous country with a ton of adventurous things to do. It is my favorite country in Central America. I have been 3 times and fall in love more and more with the people, the food, the volcanos and the black sand beaches every time I go back.
For you it is reassuring to hear that wherever you travel in Guatemala you will find a pretty good 4G connection in all the tourist destinations in Guatemala. But only if you choose the right sim card. More good news... there is 5G in Guatemala. More about the best network and data speed in Guatemala later.
Traveling in Central America and Mexico? Check out my articles for buying a sim card in Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador. In my article about the best world travel sim cards I also mention sim cards for Central America when visiting several countries on one trip.
On Traveltomtom you can find more than 200 sim card guides from all over the world: Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Aruba, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Brazil, USA, Miami, New York, Europe, Spain, Madrid, Barcelona, France, United Kingdom and many more.
So next time you are traveling abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid and e-sim card advice for your destination. Bookmark me!
Traveltomtom recommends a Claro prepaid sim card as they have the most extensive 4G/5G network and the fastest data speed in 2023. Prices for prepaid sim cards are the pretty much the same.
For $13 you get 8 GB data + free social media apps for 30 days.
A great alternative for local prepaid sim cards are world travel sim cards with data. These prepaid international sim cards work in multiple countries. You can order them on the internet before your trip and will be delivered to your home address. Have a look at my comparison of the best international sim cards for traveling in 2023 and pick the one that suits your trip the best.
Be aware that your phone needs to be unlocked if you want to use an international prepaid sim card, a local prepaid sim card or an e-sim card. If you are unsure if your phone is locked or unlocked then ask your internet provider in your home country about it and get it unlocked before your trip to Guatemala.
Best e-sim cards for Guatemala
The easiest way to get connected when traveling to Guatemala in 2023 is an e-sim card. No more visiting a sim card store or swapping physical sim cards. You arrange everything on the internet. Order an e-sim card online, receive a QR code, scan it, follow the instructions and in just a few steps you are connected.
Check out the following e-sim card plans for Guatemala:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $7.5 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $21 USD
Click here to order an e-sim card for Guatemala directly online.
The above data-only e-sim cards for Guatemala are from Tikal Mobile. Data is only valid in Guatemala and Tikal Mobile operates on the 4G/LTE network of Claro and Tigo.
There is also an international e-sim card for Guatemala. This e-sim card is much more expensive but is valid in more than 130 countries:
- 6 GB data for 15 days = $39.90 USD
Click here to order an international e-sim card for Guatemala.
Before ordering an e-sim card for Guatemala make sure your phone is unlocked and your smartphone is e-sim compatible.
Mobile internet operators
It is pretty straight forward when looking to buy a prepaid sim card in Guatemala because there are only 2 mobile internet providers: Tigo and Claro.
As of 2019 Movistar Guatemala was bought by American Movil which is of the same holding as Claro, therefore Movistar Guatemala merged with Claro.
Where to buy a Guatemala sim card
You can basically buy a prepaid sim card for Guatemala in every phone shop, pharmacies as well as convenience stores. Though I recommend tourists to get their sim card for Guatemala in an official Claro or Tigo store. That is where you get the best service and information.
Guatemala City Airport
There are no official Claro or Tigo stores at Guatemala City Airport, but you can buy a Guatemala sim card from one of the convenience stores. They are only offering Claro sim cards. The prices for sim cards for tourists at Guatemala Airport are much higher than in the city center.
They charge you 150 GTQ ($19) for 2 GB data and 100 minutes calling/texting for 7 days. Not worth it! So I would not recommend buying a sim card at Guatemala Airport.
If you go straight to Antigua from Guatemala City Airport then don’t worry. There are multiple shops all over Antigua to get your sim card for Guatemala. The official stores of Tigo and Claro are both within 2 blocks from the main square.
If you want to get connected as soon as you land, you can always opt for an e-sim card for Guatemala with 1 GB data so you are set for the first hours/day.
Many tourists skip Guatemala City, but I like it a lot! Hang out in Zona 4 or visit Cayala. If you want to buy a local prepaid sim card in Guatemala city center then head to any of the modern shopping malls. Here you will also find phone shops and official Tigo and Claro stores. Buying a sim card in Guatemala City is easy and it is where you will find the best prepaid sim card deals for tourists.
You can also buy a sim card for traveling in Guatemala on the internet. Get your sim card online and arrive prepared in Guatemala. As mentioned before the easiest way to stay connected is an e-sim card for traveling to Guatemala. However, not all smartphones are e-sim compatible. IF you prefer or need a physical sim card then you can order an international prepaid sim card for Guatemala.
For buying a prepaid sim card in Guatemala you need a form of ID. For tourists that is a passport. A copy of your passport will be taken in the sim card shop and you receive a new prepaid sim card which is registered on your name and passport number. You will get a new phone number that starts with: +502.
Don't worry, your WhatsApp number stays the same! If you want to avoid changing phone numbers or register with a passport than order an e-sim card for Guatemala.
Prices sim cards in Guatemala in 2023
All prices and information is updated as per August 2023. Prices below are in Guatemala Quetzales: $1 USD = 7.82 GTQ and 100 GTQ = $12.8 USD.
Claro Guatemala sim card
You can buy a Claro sim card anywhere and they cost 25 GTQ = $3. You will have to top up with on of the following packages:
- 4 GB data + free social media apps for 7 days = 30 GTQ - $4 USD
- 6 GB data + free social media apps for 15 days = 50 GTQ - $6 USD
- 10 GB data + free social media apps for 30 days = 100 GTQ - $13 USD
All Claro prepaid sim card plans include unlimited calling/texting in Guatemala and the USA.
In the official Claro phone stores you can buy more data packages that also come with a free prepaid sim card. I would recommend tourist the following Claro Guatemala sim card package:
- 199 GTQ ($25) = 15 GB data + free social media apps for 30 days.
This packages contains unlimited calling/texting in Guatemala and all over the Americas from Canada to Argentina. As well as free roaming!
There are even bigger Claro prepaid packages available, see below.
For more info see the Claro website.
Tigo Guatemala sim card
A Tigo prepaid sim card costs 50 GTQ ($6) and I recommend tourists to top up with the following package:
- 10 GB data + free social media apps + 200 minutes & sms for 30 days = 99 GTQ ($13)
Unlimited calling and texting in Guatemala is included. For more info see the Tigo website.
Best 4G/5G network in Guatemala in 2023
The below Guatemala network coverage maps show the collected data from users around the country. A great indication for us to determine the best 4G/5G network in Guatemala. Best news is that in 2023 5G arrived in Guatemala and both Tigo and Claro now offer 5G data speed.
Claro 4G/5G network coverage
Tigo 4G/5G network coverage
From the network coverage maps above we can see that Tigo has a more extensive network than Claro, especially when we zoom in on the Southern areas and far up north. However, Claro has a much more advanced 4.5G and 5G mobile network compared to Tigo.
Claro has the best 4G/5G network in Guatemala in Guatemala in 2023.
If you travel off the beaten path in Guatemala then a Tigo sim card is a good option but if you stick to the main tourist destinations in Guatemala then a Claro prepaid sim card will give you faster data speed.
Best sim card for Guatemala in 2023
Prices for prepaid sim cards in Guatemala are pretty much the same, but the 4G/5G network coverage of Claro and Tigo are different. Claro has a much better 5G network than Tigo.
Unfortunately there are not that many e-sim cards for Guatemala available yet, the choice is limited. I hope in the future there will be more Guatemala e-sim card available.
If you combine a trip to Guatemala with visiting Honduras and El Salvador then I would recommend you getting a Claro sim card as they have free roaming included. I tried it out myself but ended up buying a sim card in Honduras and El Salvador as well.
Is buying a sim card in Guatemala too much hassle, you can always buy an international prepaid sim card on the internet.
Buy a sim card for Guatemala online
Get an international prepaid sim card for traveling in Guatemala delivered to your home address. How? You simply order online and a pre-activated sim card for Guatemala. You only have to put them in your phone on arrival and it is plug and play. These travel sim cards are valid in up to 70 countries around the world.
Check out the following international prepaid sim cards for Guatemala:
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $24.90 USD
- 12 GB data for 1 year = $59.90 USD
- 24 GB data for 2 years = $79.90 USD
Click here to order an international prepaid sim card for Guatemala.
My experience buying a Guatemala sim card
Over the last years I visited Guatemala multiple times. I even crossed the La Mesilla border on foot once from Chiapas, Mexico. Within 1 minute walk from the border there was a Claro store and Tigo store. Buying a sim card in either Guatemala City, Antigua or wherever you arrive in the country is pretty easy.
In the past Tigo used to have the best 4G network in Guatemala so I have almost always gotten a Tigo sim card for traveling in Guatemala. But on my last trip I bought a Claro prepaid sim card because of its extensive 4G/5G network and faster data speed compared to Tigo.
When crossing the border on foot at La Mesilla, the sim card prices were a little more expensive as they basically rip you off a little. For the sim card I paid 50 GTQ ($6.5 USD), the package for 30 days with unlimited social media, calling and texting + 8 GB data was 99 GTQ ($13 USD). A total price of $19.
In total I traveled in Guatemala for a couple months combined over several trips. Even if I traveled off the beaten path I still found a phone signal everywhere I went. The internet speed has always been good and pretty reliable. I definitely recommend tourists buying a prepaid sim card in Guatemala. Whenever there are good e-sim card deals for Guatemala coming I would also recommend those.
A month later after my trip to Honduras and El Salvador I arrived back in Guatemala for another 2 weeks. Just because I wanted to experience how it was to buy a Claro sim card in Guatemala I went to the mall in Guatemala City and got myself a Claro prepaid sim card this time.
To my surprise I found out that a Claro prepaid sim card was valid all over the Americas. That means from Canada to Argentina! Since I was traveling to the USA next this seemed perfect. While in Guatemala I visited Quetzaltenango (Xela), Antigua and Guatemala City only. The data speed was very good, reliable and I had signal at any time. Therefore when you stick to the tourist destinations in Guatemala I would also recommend a Claro sim card for traveling to these places.
Also when traveling to the USA for the first 2 weeks I had no problem using my Claro Guatemala sim card in the USA. But after 2 weeks it suddenly stopped working. Contacting Claro in Guatemala they said this was due to fair use policy and I was cut off for another 2 weeks.
Anyway after 2 weeks I could not connect to my Claro sim card anymore and it became useless. When traveling abroad for a short term it is a great feature, but when traveling all over the Americas I still recommend tourists to buy a new prepaid sim card in the country you arrive or get an e-sim card.
I hope all the above tips for buying a sim card for Guatemala were helpful. If you have any more questions I am more than happy to help you out.
Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom for a ton of cool places to visit in Guatemala and get some wanderlust inspiration from my journey to visit every country in the world as of August 2023 I have been to more than 155 countries.
Enjoy your trip to Guatemala!
Some links in this article about buying a sim card for Guatemala are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using an affiliate link I will earn a small commission. Don’t worry this is at no extra cost to you.