If you are traveling to Mexico and you are planning to travel around, go out and visit places the first recommendation I am going to give you is to buy a local SIM card for your phone.
Especially if you are a solo female traveler, it will add extra safety to your trip besides being able to stay connected with family and friends. But that’s not it.
In this post, I am going to share all the reasons why you should buy a prepaid sim card in Mexico, what’s the best Mexico Sim Card provider, and where to buy it and top it up.
Read on to know more.
Obviously, if you are planning to enjoy your gorgeous all-inclusive resort on Cancun beach and the spectacular beaches of the Riviera Maya, or if you join an organized tour you probably won’t need a local sim card, unless you just want to be connected with your social media or your family all the time.
There are many reasons why it’s always convenient to buy a local sim card, especially in Mexico and here below I will tell you all about it.
➢ Do I need travel insurance in Mexico? Yes, you do! I can never stress enough what a lifesaver it can be in unexpected situations. Although I hope I never need it, it gives me peace of mind to know that whatever happens, I am covered. I have been using Safety Wing, and I find it quite fair, covering a lot for its pricing level. Depending on your needs or you can compare different insurance companies on this useful site, TRAVEL INSURANCE MASTER. Make sure you read carefully what’s included before making the purchase. If you are undecided yet, you can read my post on the best travel insurance for Mexico for more clarity.
Can you use your phone in Mexico?
Most US cell phones will work in Mexico as long as they are set up for International dialing. You should always check with your provider first.
However using a US sim card, even if they have an international plan would be extremely costly.
In order to change your sim card, and therefore your phone provider, with a Mexican one, you must have your phone unlocked!
Also, getting a prepaid Mexico SIM Card instead can cost you as low as 10 USD a month, with data usage. Of course, it will depend on how much data you will be using, but just to give you an idea.
Keep reading to learn more.
Where to buy a Sim Card in Mexico
You can buy a sim card in Mexico pretty much everywhere, even at supermarkets, and to top it up is even easier.
When my parents came to visit me they were laughing when I told them I was going to the Pharmacy to top up my phone. We don’t have such a thing in Italy. In Mexico, you can basically top up everywhere, even at the gas station.
Can I buy a Sim Card at a Mexican International airport?
I didn’t see any places to buy a Sim Card at Cancun Airport, however, you can definitely find it in Benito Juarez international airport in Mexico City. There are OXXO, Telcel, or MOBO shops where to buy your Telcel sim card for as cheap as 10 USD + the top up.
Browse through international and local car rentals and find the best deal.
Official retail stores
In the main cities but also relatively big towns and in tourist areas you will find there is a wide range of Telcel, AT&T, and Movistar retailers both on the main streets and in a shopping center in Mexico.
Authorized shops and shopping centers
Supermarkets such as Walmart, Chedraui, Soriana, Oxxo almost always have Telcel or AT&T and Movistar boots where you can find a prepaid Mexico SIM card.
Buy your Telcel SIM card online
With Telcel, you can buy and activate your Mexico sim card online. Just check on their website and follow the instruction. It’s very easy.
Where is the best place to buy a prepaid sim card in Mexico then?
As you have seen there are many places where to buy prepaid sim cards in Mexico.
However, if you are not techy or just don’t feel comfortable changing your sim card from your phone, the best way to get a Mexico sim card is in an official retailer store, where a customer service agent will be happy to change your sim card and activate the Mexico prepaid sim card for you.
Which provider should I choose? Movistar vs Telcel vs AT&T
I personally used Movistar when I arrived in Mexico and then I moved to Telcel and I definitely prefer Telcel for the great plans and most of all the most extensive coverage.
Here below I am going to share some screenshots of coverage maps for each one of the three providers.
Movistar Coverage Map
At&T Coverage Map
Telcel Coverage Map
How much does a SIM card cost in Mexico?
SIM Card prices vary, but they should not exceed 10 USD. What makes the difference is how much data you need for your use.
I found Telcel 30 days package the most convenient and I noticed that I consume the DATA before the end of the 30 days only when I navigate and google information and open webpages and youtube.
But if you stick to Whatsapp and social media, it’s basically illimited use. And it’s only 10 USD a month.
Mexican sim card data cost
Since we have established that Telcel is the best option here is some info on the best package.
On Telcel Mexico sim card website, make sure you choose Paquete Amigo sin limite and pick one of the options according to your length of stay.
I love the 30 days package that costs 200 MXN ( 10 USD)
Each package that is above 20 mxn (1 USD) offers the following features:
- the included megabytes can be used in Mexico, the US, and Canada
- Unlimited calls and messages on top-ups starting at $20
- Automatic activation of the Voice, Text Messages (SMS), and Data service according to the exact recharge made.
- Free incoming calls in Mexico, E.U.A., and Canada.
- Unlimited data for Facebook, Twitter, Messenger, Snapchat, and Instagram (in Mexico).
- Whatsapp in Mexico, the United States, and Canada.
Where can I top up my prepaid sim card in Mexico?
You can top up pretty much anywhere, supermarkets, small grocery shops, Oxxo and other convenience stores, most pharmacies, and even online on the Telcel page . When you open the Telcel page you will find a lot of different options.
5 reasons why I need a Mexico SIM Card when I travel to the Country
Internet access will make your life so simple and your trip more amazing while traveling around Mexico and enjoying all the Mexican natural wonders, and Pueblos Magicos going off the beaten path and exploring new places worry-free.
You can even book a uber or another car through app or check out where you are going on Google Map (this last one is my saver all the time) so that you can always find your way around.
Here below I will explain more reasons why you need a Mexican Sim card when you are traveling in Mexico.
Access to travel apps
If you have a sim card with data you can easily use travel applications and get around more easily. Think about google translate or any other apps when you need to communicate, or if you want to check out restaurant reviews or book a hotel.
If you haven’t rented a car, you will need to call a UBER or similar anywhere you are. Some city also has a bus transportation schedule connected to google so that you can find the quickest and cheaper itinerary for your trip.
It’s safer to have a SIM CARD
Although sometimes we travel to disconnect and we’d rather leave the phone behind and the boring unconscious routine to check our phone screen every fraction of a second, it is also true that sometimes a phone is a lifesaver.
Being able to check on google Maps where you are or where you are going and avoid getting lost or call transportation to take you where you need, especially at night, o just call for help when you are in trouble.
Having said that, still make sure you follow some common sense rules about safety in Mexico, including the fact that if you are going to isolated places like on a hike for example, or dark unfrequented streets, you should never go alone.
I am sure you will love to share those amazing waterfalls, the Mexican Cenotes, the spectacular Mayan Archeological sites, such as Coba Ruins or Chichen Itza for example on your social media in real-time, without waiting to get to the nearest WIFI hotspot.
Or if not, I am sure your family and friends will be happy to be able to reach you at any time of the day and make sure you are fine or just check on you and live vicariously through your beautiful Mexican adventures.
Last but not least, it’s so cheap that, why not? right? I am sure that even if you have a limited budget spending 30 USD a month to stay connected, be safe and enjoy practical comforts makes it totally worth it.