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Best Tourist Sim Cards in Ecuador in 2024

Choosing a sim card is hard. We've analysed the best tourist sim cards in Ecuador across pricing, coverage and data. Find out the best pick!

If you’re planning a trip to Ecuador, having a reliable source of internet connectivity is crucial. Whether you need to navigate unfamiliar streets, find great places to eat, book transportation, or share your adventures with loved ones, having internet access on the go can make your travel experience much smoother.

While roaming is an option, the costs of international data can quickly add up. That’s why we recommend either an eSIM or a local SIM card to take advantage of local phone rates. The good news is that obtaining either option in Ecuador is incredibly simple, but it’s important to make an informed decision.

This comprehensive guide provides all the information you need to know about purchasing a SIM card in Ecuador, including updated pricing and the best SIM card options available.

Table of Contents

Best Sim Card in Ecuador for Tourists

The best sim card in Ecuador is the Claro prepaid sim card for $12 USD. Claro offers a variety of packages so it is best to ask in store which one is best for you, but for the majority of travellers I recommend the $12 USD plan which includes 12GB of data valid for 30 days. This will work perfectly for almost anyone.

Claro also has the best network coverage in Ecuador, however, Movistar’s network is also very extensive so you can’t really go wrong with either.

If you value convenience over price, the Airalo Ecuador eSim is a good option to consider. I can’t recommend it to budget-conscious travellers as it costs a lot more for the same amount of data than the local sim cards. However, the convenience of an eSim far outweighs the additional cost of a local sim card.

Ecuador Sim Card Prices

A Tourist Sim Card in Ecuador costs $12 USD in February 2024, however, the exact price will often depend on the store you visit and the plan you choose.

Alternatively, an eSim in Ecuador will cost between $8 USD and $32.50 USD. This, again, depends on how much data you require and which eSim provider you choose.

I generally recommend this Airalo plan for most tourists visiting Ecuador which includes 3GB of data which is valid for 30 days and costs $21 USD.

Ecuador Sim Card Providers

In Ecuador, the main SIM card providers are Claro, CNT, and Movistar. Claro is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the country and offers a wide range of services, including mobile phone plans, internet, and television packages. With a strong network coverage, Claro is known for its reliable connection and affordable prices.

CNT, the state-owned company, is another popular choice, particularly for those looking for competitive prices and reliable service. CNT provides mobile phone plans, internet, and television services. They also offer bundled packages that include all three services for added convenience.

Movistar, owned by the Spanish telecommunications giant Telefonica, is another major player in Ecuador’s mobile market. With a strong network and a variety of mobile plans to choose from, Movistar caters to a wide range of customers’ needs. They provide competitive rates and offer additional services such as international roaming and data sharing.

Overall, these three providers dominate the telecommunications industry in Ecuador, offering a range of options to meet customer demands for connectivity and communication.

Claro Tourist Sim

Claro is a leading telecommunications company in Ecuador that offers prepaid tourist sim cards for travelers. These sim cards provide excellent coverage and reliable data connectivity, making it easy for tourists to stay connected while exploring the beautiful country. With affordable rates and various data packages, Claro ensures that tourists can access the internet, make calls, and send texts conveniently. Their user-friendly sim cards are available at airports, Claro stores, and authorized retailers throughout Ecuador.

Claro Ecuador Tourist Sim Price

The price of a Claro tourist sim card in Ecuador is $12 USD.

The plan offered by Claro stores includes 12GB data valid for 30 days.

CNT Tourist Sim

CNT is the state-owned telecommunications company in Ecuador. They offer tourist SIM cards that provide seamless connectivity for travelers in the country. With coverage across Ecuador, tourists can enjoy reliable and high-speed internet access, make local and international calls, and use various mobile services. CNT’s tourist SIM cards also offer affordable data packages, allowing travelers to stay connected and explore the beautiful destinations of Ecuador without any communication hurdles.

CNT Ecuador Tourist Sim Price

The price of a CNT tourist sim card in Ecuador is $5 USD.

The plan offered by CNT stores offers 5GB data valid for 5 days.

Movistar Tourist Sim

Movistar is a leading telecommunications company in Ecuador, offering convenient tourist sim cards for travelers. With Movistar’s sim cards, tourists can enjoy seamless connectivity across the country, making it easier to stay connected with loved ones and access essential travel information. These sim cards offer affordable data plans, allowing travelers to surf the internet, use social media, and navigate with ease. Movistar’s tourist sim cards are a reliable and convenient choice for tourists visiting Ecuador.

Movistar Ecuador Tourist Sim Price

The price of a Movistar tourist sim card in Ecuador is $10 USD.

The plan offered by Movistar stores includes 10GB data valid for 30 days.

How to Get a Sim Card in Ecuador

Identify mobile providers: Claro, CNT and Movistar are your best options in Ecuador.

Find your nearest store: Locate a store or retailer by searching on Google Maps for your nearest store or asking at your hotel reception. I’ve never had issues finding a store as they can usually be found in major cities, shopping centers, or tourist areas. If possible, I always recommend to to avoid airports and head in to an official store in the city.

Bring the necessary documents: It is always a good idea to carry your passport or identification documents for sim card registration purposes. We’ve found most providers will need to confirm your identity to provide a sim card and it can be a major hassle to head to a store only to have to come back again later with your passport.

Choose your plan: Either request the plan you are after or consult with the staff in the store to select the right plan for you. My recommendations at the beginning of this guide are a good starting point, but the staff will usually be able to suggest the best option.

Pay and activate your card: Pay for the SIM card and plan, and the staff will activate it for you.

Test: It’s always a good idea to check that you can access the internet before you leave the store. I always search for something on Google then refresh my Instagram feed to check it’s working fine.

Where to Get a Sim Card in Ecuador

At the Airport

Buying a prepaid sim card for Ecuador at the airport is usually considered the most convenient option for travellers arriving by plane.

However, airport stores selling sim cards are almost guaranteed to charge inflated prices, so if you are a cost-conscious traveller then you should definitely buy your sim card from a store in the city center.

In addition to this, we would argue that buying physical sim cards at all aren’t particularly convenient now that most people use esim compatible phones. If you are looking for the most convenient option, then buying an esim before you arrive or with the airport wifi is much easier and will save you having to queue up or communicate with staff.

If you must purchase a sim card at the airport in Ecuador then you will be in luck. All major international airports in Ecuador have stores selling sim cards. Despite the prices being higher than normal, the staff are knowledgable and will be able to get you set up with the correct sim card relatively quickly.

In Stores

If you want to avoid the inflated sim card prices you’ll find at the airport and your phone isn’t esim compatible, then you’re going to need to head in to a store to buy your sim card.

I recommend visiting one of the official retail stores of the mobile internet operators such as Claro, CNT and Movistar. Your best option is to enter their names into Google Maps and find the branch closest to your hotel or accommodation. Typically the staff in the official stores in Ecuador are knowledgable and helpful which means you can ensure you’ll walk away with a functioning sim card.

Despite this, it’s always a good idea to check your internet is working before you leave the store by loading a Google search results page and your preferred social media app. You should also ensure you always bring your passport with you when purchasing a sim card in case they need to register it.

Online

If you like to be prepared and would prefer to arrive in Ecuador with your sim card all sorted and your phone ready to connect to the internet immediately then you should look into purchasing a sim card online.

The first option is to buy your sim card in advance via SimOptions, which is a company that will prepare and ship a sim card directly to your door. It’s a reliable and effective service, but with the invention of eSims it’s becoming obsolete.

The better option is to purchase an eSim online. We’ve written more on that below!

Ecuador eSim

An eSim is a digital version of a traditional sim card and is most likely the future of connectivity for mobile devices. The convenience of no longer visiting a store, handing over your passport and purchasing a physical sim card is quickly making physical sim cards obsolete in favour of eSims.

We recommend Airalo’s eSim when travelling to Ecuador. The Airalo Ecuador eSim offers fast internet speeds, wide coverage and extremely competitive prices making it a far more compelling option than purchasing a physical sim card from any of the local sim card providers.

In order to get set up with an Airalo eSim, all you need to do is visit Airalo here and purchase the eSim online (the $21 USD plan is suitable for most travellers). Once you’ve purchased the sim card Airalo will email you instructions and a QR code. Following these instructions should take just a couple of minutes, then you’ll have a sim card in Ecuador without having to venture outside.

Airalo Ecuador

Our preferred eSim provider in Ecuador is Airalo. We used them, alongside a local sim card on another device, for our most recent trip to Ecuador and found the service to be equal to the local sim card but without the hassle of acquiring a sim card in a store.

Airalo’s Ecuador eSim uses the Movistar network to provide data and connect users to the internet. You can expect very good coverage and reliability with the Movistar networknetwork as they are amongst the best mobile internet operators in Ecuador.

Here are the plans and prices for Airalo’s Ecuador eSim:

1GB data valid for 7 days – Price: $8 USD
2GB data valid for 15 days – Price: $15 USD
3GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $21 USD
5GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $32.50 USD

For most travellers we recommend the 3GB data plan for $21 USD which is valid for 30 days. Some travellers may prefer a larger plan, whilst travellers visiting for just a couple of days may be fine with a smaller plan.

Holafly Ecuador

An alternative eSim provider we can recommend is Holafly.

Holafly’s eSim is a suitable option for travellers who require large amounts of data, such as digital nomads and people who work online while they travel. All of Holafly’s Ecuador eSims offer unlimited data.

Holafly’s Ecuador eSim uses the Otecel Sociedad Anonimanetwork to provide data and connect users to the internet. This network will provide reliable speeds and coverage while in Ecuador

Here are the plans and prices for Holafly’s Ecuador eSim:

6GB data valid for 15 days – Price: $44 USD

What is an eSim?

An eSIM, also known as an embedded SIM, is a SIM card that is digitally integrated into a device, such as a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch. Unlike traditional SIM cards, eSIMs do not need to be physically inserted or removed from the device.

Instead, eSIMs are built into the device’s hardware and can be remotely activated and programmed by a mobile network operator. This allows users to switch between different mobile networks or plans without the hassle of physically changing SIM cards.

The use of eSIM technology offers convenience, flexibility, and simplicity, particularly for frequent travelers or individuals who switch between different mobile networks or travel internationally. It eliminates the need to purchase and insert physical SIM cards, making it easier to manage multiple mobile connections on a single device.

To activate an eSIM, users can either scan a QR code given by their mobile network operator or manually enter the activation details. Once activated, the device can connect to the selected mobile network and access voice calling, data, and messaging services just as it would with a traditional SIM card.

Why Use an eSim?

There are several reasons why using an eSIM can be beneficial. One of the main advantages is the convenience it offers. With an eSIM, you don’t have to insert or remove a physical SIM card when switching between mobile networks or plans. This convenience is especially helpful for frequent travelers who need to switch networks or use local SIM cards in different countries.

Another advantage of eSIM technology is that it allows for dual SIM functionality. This means you can have two active mobile numbers on the same device. This feature can be useful for separating personal and work numbers or managing multiple phone lines.

Additionally, eSIMs save space because they are embedded within the device. This eliminates the need for a physical SIM card slot and frees up space for other components or allows manufacturers to make devices smaller.

Activation and management of mobile plans can be done remotely over the air with eSIMs. This means you can activate or switch to a new mobile plan without needing a physical SIM card or visiting a store. This feature offers greater flexibility and convenience for managing your mobile connectivity.

Furthermore, eSIM technology is considered future-proof because more mobile networks and service providers are offering support for eSIMs. By using an eSIM-compatible device, you can ensure that you are able to take advantage of new services and offerings as they become available.

In conclusion, eSIM technology provides flexibility, convenience, and future-proofing for mobile connectivity, making it a compelling choice for many users.

eSim Supported Phones

eSIM technology is becoming increasingly popular and is supported by a growing number of smartphones and other devices. Here are some examples of eSIM-compatible phones:

Apple iPhone series (iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, etc.): Apple was one of the early adopters of eSIM technology and offers support for eSIM on various iPhone models.

Google Pixel series (Pixel 3, Pixel 4, Pixel 5, etc.): Google’s Pixel smartphones also support eSIM functionality, allowing users to activate and use eSIMs.

Samsung Galaxy series (Galaxy S22, Galaxy Note 20, etc.): Many of Samsung’s flagship devices now come with eSIM support, enabling users to utilize eSIM technology.

OnePlus devices (OnePlus 7, OnePlus 8, etc.): OnePlus has included eSIM support in some of its smartphone models, offering users the flexibility of using eSIMs.

Motorola Razr (2020): The latest iteration of the iconic Motorola Razr features eSIM compatibility, enabling users to use eSIMs for cellular connectivity.

These are just a few examples, and the list of eSIM-compatible phones continues to expand as more manufacturers embrace this technology. There’s a very strong chance your phone supports eSims so if you’re unsure we recommend looking it up on our list of eSim supported phones.

How to Use an eSim

Using an eSim is new for many travellers, however, the good news is it’s surprisingly easy to get set up – even for the technologically challenged!

Here’s a general guide on how to use an eSIM:

Check eSIM Compatibility: Ensure that your device supports eSIM functionality. Many newer smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, and other devices are eSIM compatible including all iPhones produced since 2018.

Obtain an eSIM: There are multiple ways to acquire an eSIM. You can purchase an eSIM online from a provider like Airalo (which we recommend) or directly from a mobile network operator. Some devices also allow you to scan a QR code provided by your carrier to download the eSIM profile.

Activate the eSIM: Your eSim provider will send you instructions to activate the sim. This will usually involve scanning a QR code, entering an activation code, or downloading the eSIM profile directly onto your device.

Set up the eSIM: Once activated, your device will guide you through the eSIM setup process. This typically involves selecting the eSIM as your preferred mobile plan, configuring settings like data roaming, and entering any necessary authentication details.

Enjoy the Connection: Once the eSIM is set up, you can use it as you would with a physical SIM card. Make calls, send messages, browse the internet, and use data services as needed. You can also switch between eSIM profiles if you have multiple eSIMs installed on your device.

Mitchell

Mitchell

Hi, I’m Mitchell. I’m a full-time traveller, explorer and travel blogger. I've travelled all around the world, using and testing countless travel sim cards along the way. I'm the founder of and writer for Travel Sim Expert where I write guides to help travellers stay connected all around the world.

Hi, I’m Mitchell. I’m a full-time traveller, explorer and travel blogger. Travel Sim Expert is a blog dedicated to helping you find the best sim card for you, no matter where you are or what your budget is. 

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