Staying Connected in Guatemala: A Traveler's Guide to Buying SIM Cards


Exploring Guatemala provides an opportunity to delve into the history of the Mayan civilization, lush green scenery, and colourful local traditions. When you come from the ruins of Tikal in Flores or on your way to the vibrant streets of Guatemala City, it’s essential to stay connected to get around, share your adventures, and keep in contact with family and friends. This helpful guide offers in-depth information on buying a SIM card at airports in Guatemala, helping you arrive fully informed and ready for your trip.

Where can I buy SIM cards at Guatemala City and Flores airports?

Upon reaching the Guatemala City airport, visitors mentioned spotting SIM card kiosks conveniently placed between the immigration and baggage claim sections. The stalls, which provide services from providers like Tigo and Claro, are easily noticeable when passing by the currency exchange booths. It’s important to mention that these kiosks usually follow the hours of operation at airports. However, a few travellers have noted that the Guatemala City (GUA) SIM card booth could close by 8 PM. So, in case your flight gets delayed, it’s an idea to buy a SIM card from another place.

When travelling to or from Flores, things may seem different. Travellers who recently visited the Flores airport in January 2024 should have mentioned spotting any SIM card booths. However, you might find what you’re looking for at a shopping center opposite the airport. Considering the space and amenities available at Flores Airport, planning or exploring other options within the town might be helpful.

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Consider purchasing your SIM. If it suits your plans, let’s meet in Flores town or at the mall near the airport. It’s essential to take this step to ensure you stay connected, especially if you arrive when the SIM card booths at GUA are closed, or Flores airport doesn’t have them all.

Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a SIM Card Upon Arriving

Those arriving on international flights might have been able to avoid customs and immigration and enter the airport through international gates — before the new terminal construction, it was possible to purchase a SIM at the airport.

For anyone wondering where precisely within the airport you can buy a SIM card upon international arrival, recent visitors have shared that the money changing and SIM card booths are immediately after you clear immigration before you get to the baggage claim area. These should generally be open to cater to arriving passengers — including on Sundays — with a standard opening time of around 12:30 PM to accommodate midday arrivals.

When the booths are out of service, Guatemala City airport provides WiFi. You can use this service as a fix until you buy a SIM card. It lets you access communication apps such as WhatsApp, which is popular in Guatemala for messaging even if you don’t have a voice plan yet.

Deciding Between Buying at the Airport or Locally; Comparing Your Choices

While purchasing a SIM card at the airport can ensure your phone has immediate connectivity, some travellers might wonder whether it’s more budget-friendly to buy one at a local storefront or tienda near where they’re staying. It’s not exactly a bad point, given that airport stores often charge a premium for the goods and services they sell, thanks to their convenient purchasing location.

Local sites, such as tiendas in most towns and local cell phone stores, also sell SIM cards and can often assist with activating a data plan. Hotel staff can generally provide directions to the nearest reputable store. Carrying your passport is also advisable when purchasing a SIM card in this manner; a form of government ID is typically required, though enforcement varies.

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Deciding whether to buy a SIM card at the airport or in town hinges on when you arrive how urgently you need to stay connected. Your comfort level with exploring local shops. Both Tigo and Claro provide promotional bonuses for those who top up their credit — sometimes, you’ll get extra credit for voice or text use. It’s common for these promotions to significantly increase the value of your top-up, which is good if you’re using your phone to navigate, communicate or figure out where to explore Guatemala’s many rich landscapes and cultural experiences.

So, it’s simple to stay connected while journeying through Guatemala. Just be sure that while SIM cards are available at both Guatemala City and Flores airports, minor considerations for availability, speed, and convenience will help you get the best value. Wherever you get your SIM card, travel through Guatemala is easy. And with all the wonders you discover here, you’ll want to share your experiences with friends and family in real-time.Source: Expert Vagabond

For more detailed information on travelling to and staying connected in Guatemala, visit the official websites of Tigo Guatemala, Claro Guatemala, and Visit Guatemala.


How do I purchase a SIM card at the airport in Guatemala City?

You’ll spot SIM card kiosks situated between the immigration area and baggage claim. These are where you can purchase network services from providers like Tigo and Claro.

Where is the SIM card booth in Flores airport?

In January 2024, I tried looking for information about a SIM card booth at Flores Airport. You can get one at the mall across the street.

What will occur if the SIM card kiosk is shut when I get there?

At Guatemala City airport, you can enjoy WiFi access, which enables you to stay connected using messaging apps, like WhatsApp, before getting a SIM card.

When do the SIM card booths at Guatemala City airport shut down for the day?

Please remember that the SIM card booth in Guatemala City (GUA) could close at 8 PM, so if you’ll be arriving late, it’s best to plan your visit accordingly.

What should I do if I reach the booth when it is closed to get a SIM card?

Considerconsider buying a SIM card in Flores town or from stores or shops close to your stay.

Is purchasing a SIM card at the airport or from a store preferable?

The cost of airport convenience may vary depending on how much connectivity you need and how willing you are to explore local stores.

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