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Calling from Costa Rica to the United States

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Jacksonville...
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Calling from Costa Rica to the United States

My cell phone plan is with AT&T and their charges for phone calls and texts to and from Costa Rica are horrible. What is the least expensive way for me to call the US from Costa Rica, specifically from Playas del Coco. Does it cost anything to send e-mails?

San Jose, Costa Rica
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1. Re: Calling from Costa Rica to the United States

You can buy some prepaid calling cards that cost approx. $5, 10 and $20 or just use one of the many internet cafes they offer cheap calls.

Punta Arenas, Costa...
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2. Re: Calling from Costa Rica to the United States

OP, perhaps if you have a laptop that you are bringing along, you may want to load up a Google gmail account, and subscribe to Google talk. I pay .01 cents per minute to call Canada/US with an internet connection, and a headset/mic and speakers. Skype is a similar service, but not one I use.

If the phone is the way you want to go, then there are calling cards available at mercados and pulperias with reduced rates.

Have a great holiday.

Uvita, Costa Rica
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for Uvita, Ojochal
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3. Re: Calling from Costa Rica to the United States

Cheapest is using Skype or symilar service on your lap top. Another interesting product is magic jack www.magicjack.com you can by a version that plugs into the lan cable without the need of laptop (but you need internet) offers free calls to the USA and Canada for a small anual fee. You can also use skype if you have an Iphone or other similar cell that gets wi-fi (again need internet).

You can also get pre-pay phone scratch cards from any supermarket, follow instruction on the back (you get option of English when you call). You can use them in public phones or many hotels.

And of course buying a sim card for your phone in CR from ICT desk at the airport. You will need a unlocked phone that accepts GSM sim cards.

Hope this helps!

Jacksonville...
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4. Re: Calling from Costa Rica to the United States

Thanks everyone.

I will have both my laptop and iPhone so it looks like I have some options. Would I use Skype or Google for texting as well?

Canada
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5. Re: Calling from Costa Rica to the United States

I don't know why you would pay for Google when Skype is free. There is a chat option on Skype If you laptop has a camera - even better.If you phone is unlocked buy a pre-paid card from ICE - there is a booth at Juan Santamaria - dirt cheep calls within CR and not much more to Canada or the US

San Jose, Costa Rica
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6. Re: Calling from Costa Rica to the United States

I used SKYPE and Magic jack...they work perfect and are 100% FREE!

roadadvisor

Playa Guiones...
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for Nosara
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7. Re: Calling from Costa Rica to the United States

When you're traveling around Coco, look for signs that say 'free calls to the US and Canada". That would mean they probably have a magic jack and just want you to come in, maybe buy a cup of coffee, then use the phone. Don't know for sure that Coco has someplace like this, but we have a cafe in Nosara that has one, so maybe someone there does too.

La Fortuna de San...
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8. Re: Calling from Costa Rica to the United States

I live here and use SKYPE all the time to call back to the US...you can't beat that it's FREE! What you need to do is sign up for a free account and then the main number/people that you will be calling will also need to sign up for the FREE account. The Cyber Cafes in Fortuna have headphones AND cameras so you can video call. It's easy...all you need is a computer anywhere! :-) Enjoy your time in Costa Rica!

Wendy, La Fortuna, CR

Jacksonville...
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9. Re: Calling from Costa Rica to the United States

Well, that settles it. Skype it is!! Thanks everyone. I appreciate you taking the time to help me out.

San Francisco, CA
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10. Re: Calling from Costa Rica to the United States

The Skype app for iPhone is great. It will work whenever you have freewifi, which it sounds like is often in Costa Rica.

I bought $10 in Skype credits a year ago, so I could call overseas hotels from my desktop computer, and after many calls, used less than $1. This credit is useful when you want to use the Skype app over wifi to call a phone rather than talk to another Skype user. I'd recommend buying a credit from home; apparently there's a lot of fraudulent Skype authorizations and my credit card company flagged the charge.

The key to not running up AT&T bills while out of the country is to put your phone into Airplane mode and then override to turn on wifi. Otherwise your phone will be passively checking into AT&T servers, updating maps and locations and checking for voice mail, even if you never make a single call.

I have a free Google Voice account that I use to forward my iPhone voicemail when I'm out of the US; it transcribes my voicemails and sends a (sometimes comical) email so I know who's called.

You'll want some voicemail solution, whether through Skype or Google, or you won't receive messages from people try to call you but you're not in a wireless network.

There are other useful options with the new iOS5, including free texting among Apple devices (iMessage is an extension of FaceTime/iChat). Very handy.