Sunday, January 3, 2010

How to Use the Costa Rica Public Phone System

 Blog content by:
Spanish for Success
Study Spanish in Costa Rica

When you arrive to Costa Rica, and would like to use the public phone system, keep an eye out for phones that look like the one below. These blue public phones are the newer versions they have around the country. In order to use this phone, you would need to buy pre-paid phone cards, which you can purchase at the airport, markets, and small convenient stores.

The national telecommunications company is called ICE, and places that sell the phone cards, will have signs on the entrance or near the cash register. The phone cards which you can buy are $5, $6, $10, or $20. Aside from the airport, you will most likely pay with Colones, the Costa Rican currency.

These phone cards are very easy to use, and they have two types of phone cards with different directions to key in the digits. The normal key in is 197 and 199. For travelers that don’t speak Spanish, make sure to purchase the 199, this has the English option for instructions. 199 are ideal for using when you would like to call outside of the country. If you plan to make longer calls or multiple ones, make sure to purchase phone cards that are $10 or more.

Sample instructions on how to use the phone
•Pick up the handset and wait for the tone
•Dial 199
•Listen to the instructions and key in for English option
•In the back of the phone card is the code numbers which you will also need to key in.
•Once you have keyed in the code, you will then key in the phone number you are trying to call. (Please be advised on the new additional number they had added. For land lines you have to key in additional 2 + the seven digit number. When dialing cell phones, 8 + the seven digit number.)
•Finally, the automated system will inform you of how many minutes you can talk for.

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