Planning your trip to Colombia and wondering what is the best way to stay connected? Avoid high roaming charges and slow overseas data roaming plans, this is a complete guide for finding the best sim card for your trip to Colombia.

In this guide you find everything you need to know about buying a prepaid sim card in Colombia, the best 4G/5G network in Colombia, where to buy a sim card, the best e-sim cards for Colombia, up to date prices per April 2024, info about international sim cards, my recommendation, a vlog about my experiences and more.

Having internet on your phone while traveling makes life so much easier and therefore one of the first things I do when planning my next trip abroad is looking for the best sim card. 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.

On Traveltomtom you can find already more than 200 sim card guides from all over the world: Brazil, Argentina, PeruPanama, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Dominican RepublicNew York, USA, Mexico, Canada, Spain, Europe, Paris, London, Madrid, Barcelona, Israel, Istanbul, Dubai, Australia, Thailand and many more. 

So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid and e-sim card advice for your next holiday destination. Bookmark me and let me help you save money!

Why buying a sim card for Colombia

Traveling with internet on your phone is just so much easier. Think about using taxi apps, getting directions from Google Maps, use WhatsApp to find your friends, search for nearby restaurants, check your banking apps, emergencies, etc.

Especially when traveling around Colombia in busses it is recommended to have a Colombia sim card. I am sure you want to be connected to the internet on your 9 hour bus ride.

Public WiFi in big cities in Colombia is actually pretty good and most coffee shops, shopping malls and of course hotels offer free public WiFi. However, there is no guarantee and especially when traveling away from the cities, free WiFi becomes scares. Also another reminder that public WiFi is through an UNSECURED network. The use of a VPN is recommended when using public WiFi.

It is no secret that the cheapest way to stay connected when traveling to Colombia is a local prepaid sim card. These Colombia sim cards for tourists beat every price of international and e-sim cards. Prepaid sim cards with data plans are cheap in Colombia. With a local prepaid sim card you are guaranteed the best network connection and the fastest data speed. More about the best 4G/5G network in Colombia later.

My recommendation

Traveltomtom recommends a Claro sim card for Colombia. Claro has the best mobile data network in Colombia, fastest data speed and for $6.4 USD you get 9 GB data for 30 days.

Traveltomtom definitely recommends e-sim cards for traveling to Colombia. It is super easy to order one on the internet and to use them, but it is no secret that they are significantly more expensive than local prepaid sim cards. Traveltomtom always recommends getting an e-sim with at least 1 GB data to start with so that when you land in Colombia you instantly have internet on your phone.

Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for Colombia via either SimOptions or Airalo.

We also recommend looking into travel sim cards with global coverage. These international sim cards are valid in up to 124 countries and also in Colombia. In fact, these international sim cards are a great deal and for $24.90 USD you can get 10 GB data, which is only $2.49 USD per Gigabyte.

Check out Traveltomtom's comparison of the best international sim cards for traveling in 2024.

Best e-sim cards for Colombia

The easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Colombia 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 Colombia on the internet, you receive a QR code, scan it, follow the simple steps and within less than 2 minutes you have a Colombia e-sim card installed on your phone.

Upon arrival in Colombia 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 Colombia.

Airalo

airalo esim card plans for colombia 2024

Airalo is a trusted e-sim provider and Traveltomtom has been using Airalo e-sim cards ever since the beginning days of e-sims. Here are the Airalo e-sim card plans for Colombia 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 = $32.50 USD

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

The above e-sim cards from Hartonet are data-only and phone calls are not supported. They operate on the 4G/LTE network of Movistar.

SimOptions

simoptions esim cards for colombia 2024

SimOptions is another reliable e-sim provider and Traveltomtom has used SimOptions in more than 50 countries around the world and never faced an issue. SimOptions sells so called international e-sim cards valid in up to 141 countries around the world:

  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $24.90 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $34.90 USD
  • 6 GB data for 15 days = $39.90 USD

Click here for more info or to order an international e-sim card for traveling to Colombia via SimOptions.

With an e-sim card you keep your own phone number from home, but make sure your phone is unlocked and is e-sim card compatible before you order an e-sim card for Colombia.

There is a third e-sim provider tested and reviewed by Traveltomtom, but before Nomad makes it to Traveltomtom's top recommendation they will need to improve their product. Traveltomtom has faced some performance and reliability issues with Nomad e-sim cards and although they sometimes have some great e-sim card deals for Colombia it is not my first recommendation.

Mobile internet operators Colombia

There are 3 main mobile internet providers in Colombia: Movistar, Tigo and Claro. All of them sell prepaid sim cards for tourists in stores around Colombia and you can also find them on International Airports. Find more info below including more about the 4G/5G network coverage and the prepaid sim card prices per provider. 

Where to buy a sim card for Colombia

Street vendors

In the bigger cities in popular tourist areas you can buy a prepaid sim card for Colombia from a street vendor. These street vendors mostly sell Claro prepaid sim cards. The advantage is that you don't need your passport and the sim card will not be registered on your name.

claro sim card colombia deal streetvendor

At the time of research in April 2024 the street vendors offered double data and actually had really good prepaid sim card deals for Colombia: 9 GB data for 20 days including unlimited social media for 40,000 COP, which is about $10 USD.

The disadvantage is that this is not an official retail or sim card store and your new sim card is not getting registered the official way. So if you would run into problems things could get a little tricky. Traveltomtom does not particularly recommend buying a sim card on the streets in Colombia. If you run into a problem your sim card is not registered and you will end up buying another sim card.

International Airport on arrival

Are you arriving in Colombia on an international flight then the most convenient place to buy a prepaid sim card for Colombia is at the airport on arrival. Be aware that buying a sim card at the airport in Colombia is more expensive than when buying a prepaid sim card in the city center.

Just don't buy the tourist sim cards that are quoted in USD!

Bogota Airport

From my own experience I can tell you everything about buying a sim card at Bogota Airport as that is where I mostly land on my trips to Colombia. Check out the link for my complete guide including a vlog with my experiences.

Cartagena Airport

According to my research you can buy a sim card at Cartagena Airport. There is a convenience store in the departure hall that sells Colombia prepaid sim cards for tourists, but no official tourist sim card shop from Claro or Movistar.

Medellin Airport

Lately I flew directly to Medellin and found it difficult to buy a Colombia prepaid sim card on arrival. However, there is a phone store in the departure hall on the second floor of Medellin International Airport. This phone shop sells accessories and phone cases, but it also sells prepaid sim cards for tourists. Here you can buy a Claro sim card for 85,000 Pesos ($17.5 USD) with 12 GB data for 30 days.

Unfortunately there is no sim card shop in the arrival hall at Medellin Airport that sells Colombia sim cards for tourists. 

Official retail stores

The most recommended place to buy a prepaid sim card for your trip to Colombia is in one of the official retail stores of the mobile internet providers. Here you will get the best service and information and the staff can help you to apply the right settings. When you walk out of a retail store with a new sim card for Colombia you are 100% sure everything is working properly and your data plan and voice package are activated.

Online

Those who want to arrive prepared can already buy an international sim card online for their trip to Colombia. These travel sim cards are physical prepaid sim cards and will be delivered to your home address and automatically activate from the moment they connect the first time with a network in Colombia. Meaning when the plane touches the ground you are online.

For those who have an e-sim compatible phone things are much easier as you can order e-sim cards for Colombia on the internet. Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for Colombia via either SimOptions or Airalo.

Registration process prepaid sim cards

By Colombian law, every tourist that buys a prepaid sim card in Colombia will have to be registered by their name and passport number. So when buying a sim card in Colombia you need to bring your passport. A copy of your passport will be taken in the store and you receive a sim card that comes with a phone number that starts with +57.

If you want to avoid this registration process you can look for a street vendor that sells prepaid sim cards or buy an international sim card for Colombia on the internet or an e-sim card for Colombia as these sim cards do not require an ID verification.

Prices prepaid sim cards in Colombia

All mobile internet operators in Colombia sell prepaid sim card for tourists. The prices below are updated per April 2024. $1 USD = 3,900 COP and 10,000 COP = $2.56 USD.

Unfortunately as of April 2024 the mobile internet providers in Colombia still do not provide e-sim cards for tourists, only physical prepaid sim cards are available.

Movistar

movistar colombia prepaid sim card plans 2024

A Movistar prepaid sim card costs 6,000 COP ($1.5 USD) for the registration and then you can top up with a prepaid data plan that include unlimited calling and texting in Colombia:

  • 4 GB data + free apps* for 7 days = 3,500 COP - $0.7 USD
  • 12 GB data + free apps* for 15 days = 16,000 COP - $3.3 USD

As you can see prepaid sim cards with data in Colombia is very cheap. For more info check the Movistar website.

Tigo

tigo colombia prepaid sim card plans 2024

A Tigo prepaid sim card is free and to keep it really simple they only have two Colombia prepaid sim card plans for tourists:

  • 5 GB data for 7 days + unlimited calls/text = 10,000 COP - $2.1 USD
  • 10 GB data for 15 days + unlimited calls/text = 20,000 COP - $4.2 USD

For more info check the Tigo Colombia website.

Claro

claro colombia prepaid sim card plans 2024

Getting a Claro Sim card costs 3,000 COP. The Claro sim card deals come with free Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter:

  • 1.5 GB data + unlimited calls/text for 7 days = 7,500 COP - $1.6 USD
  • 2.5 GB data + unlimited calls/text for 10 days = 11,000 COP - $2.3 USD
  • 9 GB data* + unlimited calls/text for 30 days = 31,000 COP - $6.4 USD

For more info see the Claro website.

Best 4G/5G network in Colombia

Even more important than the price is the 4G/5G network coverage when buying a prepaid sim card. Luckily all providers cover most of the tourist destinations in Colombia very well. However, there is definitely a difference in the 4G/5G network strength between the mobile internet providers in Colombia. Traveltomtom compared the mobile data network coverage maps of Tigo, Claro and Movistar to find out which provider has the best 4G/5G network in Colombia as of 2024.

Is there 5G in Colombia?

Yes there is 5G in Colombia, but as of April 2024 it is only available in the big cities: Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Cartagena and some popular tourist destinations in Colombia.

Tigo 4G/5G network coverage map

tigo 4g 5g network coverage map colombia 2024

Movistar 4G/5G network coverage map

movistar 4g 5g network coverage map colombia 2024

Claro 4G/5G network coverage map

claro 4g 5g network coverage map colombia 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 Colombia in 2024.

From the above 4G/5G network coverage maps for Colombia we can clearly see that Claro has the best 4G/5G mobile network in Colombia in 2024.

Best sim card for Colombia in 2024

Traveltomtom comes to the very easy conclusion that Claro is the most expensive mobile internet provider in Colombia. Compared to Tigo and Movistar the prepaid sim card plans of Claro are more expensive. However, we are talking about just a couple dollars.

The cheapest Colombia prepaid sim card is a Tigo prepaid sim card and costs a little over $5 for 10 GB data. Claro has the best and most extensive 4G/5G network coverage in Colombia.

Taking into consideration the prices and the 4G/5G network coverage Traveltomtom rates Claro as the best prepaid sim card for Colombia and therefore Traveltomtom recommends buying a Claro prepaid sim card in Colombia.

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 Colombia 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 have the hassle of buying a sim card on arrival in Colombia.

Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for Colombia via either SimOptions or Airalo.

Order a prepaid sim card for Colombia online

international prepaid sim cards for colombia 2024

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

Arrive prepared in Colombia 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 Colombia, basically when the plane lands you are instantly online.

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

  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $24.90 USD
  • 10 GB data for 14 days = $49.90 USD

Click here for more info or to order a physical sim cards for traveling in Colombia 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 Colombia on the internet and arrive prepared. More expensive, but very convenient!

Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for Colombia via either SimOptions or Airalo.

My experience buying a sim card in Colombia

In 2022 I visited Colombia for the 5th time and on this trip I only stayed in Bogota. I really like the city and it offers high living standards for very affordable prices. As said before when staying in the city center of one of the big cities in Colombia it does not matter so much which prepaid sim card you buy.

Personally, I mostly go with the provider that has the strongest 4G/5G network and therefore I bought a Claro prepaid sim card. However, even if I would have wanted to buy a Movistar or Tigo prepaid sim card it wasn’t possible as only Claro was still open at the time I was in the city center.

After I did my research at Bogota Airport I decided not to buy a prepaid sim card at Bogota Airport but patiently waited until I got to the city center. The prices for prepaid sim cards in Bogota city center are cheaper than at El Dorado International Airport.

I had no issues using Claro 4G in Bogota city center and at the airport! Since I had 12 GB data for just 2 days I also used my Claro prepaid sim card as a hotspot for my Macbook and it worked perfectly fine.

In 2023 I traveled to Colombia again and this time I went on a road trip in Antioquia. I flew into Medellin and could not find a proper prepaid sim card for Colombia at Medellin Airport. Therefore I was extra happy with my Airalo e-sim card for Colombia with 1 GB data for $8 USD.

The next day in the city center of Medellin I got myself a Claro prepaid sim card and traveled all around the state of Antioquia. I had no problem whatsoever to stay connected. Data speed could have been a bit better away from the city, but it is what it is.

Here is my YouTube video about my experiences buying a prepaid sim card in Colombia.

As you can guess I love traveling in Colombia and that said in October 2024 I will be back again hosting another Traveltomtom Group Trip. So if you want to travel with me to Colombia this is your chance…

If you are interested what it looks like traveling to every country in the world then check out my Instagram profile @traveltomtom for some serious wanderlust. As of April 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries around the world.

Enjoy your trip to Colombia!

Some links in this article about the best prepaid sim cards for traveling to Colombia 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.