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Best Tourist Sim Cards in Panama in 2024

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

If you’re planning a trip to Panama, having a sim card is crucial for easy navigation and staying connected while exploring new cities. With internet access, you can find top-notch restaurants, get directions to your accommodation, book a taxi, and share memorable moments with your family on the go.

While roaming is an option, it can quickly become costly, so we highly recommend either an eSIM or a local sim card to enjoy affordable local phone rates. Luckily, obtaining an eSIM or local sim card in Panama is hassle-free, but it’s essential to know which option suits you best.

This comprehensive guide provides you with all the necessary information, including the latest pricing, to help you make an informed decision when purchasing a sim card in Panama.

Table of Contents

Best Sim Card in Panama for Tourists

The best sim card in Panama is the Mas Movil (+Movil) prepaid sim card which costs 7 PAB ($7 USD) and comes with unlimited internet valid for 10 days.

Mas Movil has the best network coverage in Panama and very competitively priced plans. That said, Digicel and Claro also have extensive coverage.

If you are staying longer than 10 days but less than 15 then I recommend the Claro prepaid sim card which costs 10 PAB and comes with unlimited data for 15 days. Alternatively, you can top up every 10 days and buy the same Mas Movil plan above as required.

The Airalo Panama eSim is another fantastic option which I can recommend to anyone who values convenience over saving a few dollars. For $9 USD you will get 1GB valid for 7 days which is a good option for short stays, or for $18 USD you will get 3GB valid for 30 days.

With the eSim option you won’t need to worry about wasting time visiting a store, topping up, buying a plan or installing a sim card.

Panama Sim Card Prices

A Tourist Sim Card in Panama costs 7 PAB in June 2024, however, the exact price will often depend on the store you visit and the plan you choose.

Alternatively, an eSim in Panama will cost between $9 USD and $18 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 Panama which includes 3GB of data which is valid for 30 days and costs $18 USD.

Panama Sim Card Providers

In Panama, there are three main sim card providers that cater to the diverse needs of mobile users.
+Movil, commonly known as Mas Movil, is a prominent player in the market, offering competitive prepaid and postpaid plans, cost-effective international calling rates, and reliable coverage across the country.
Digicel is another leading sim card provider, known for its extensive network coverage and attractive data packages. They also offer innovative services, such as Digicel App and Digicel Play, to enhance the user experience.
Claro, operated by América Móvil, is a popular choice for mobile users in Panama. With its reliable network coverage and affordable voice and data plans, Claro is a preferred option for both individuals and businesses. These three providers ensure a wide range of options for mobile users in Panama.

+Movil (Mas Movil) Tourist Sim

+Movil, also known as Mas Movil, is a leading mobile network operator in Panama. They offer convenient and affordable tourist sim cards for travelers visiting the country. These sim cards provide unlimited data, local and international calls, and messaging services. With +Movil’s tourist sim cards, tourists can easily stay connected, navigate their way around the country, and share their travel experiences with friends and family.

+Movil (Mas Movil) Panama Tourist Sim Price

The price of a +Movil (Mas Movil) tourist sim card in Panama is 7 PAB.

The plan offered by +Movil (Mas Movil) stores includes Unlimited data & minutes valid for 10 days.

Digicel Tourist Sim

Digicel is a leading telecommunication provider in Panama offering tourist sim cards that cater specifically to travelers. With extensive coverage and reliable network quality, Digicel ensures seamless communication and internet access throughout the country. These sim cards provide generous data allowances, affordable call and text rates, and the convenience of easy top-ups. Digicel’s tourist sim cards are a must-have for visitors to Panama, ensuring a hassle-free and well-connected travel experience.

Digicel Panama Tourist Sim Price

The price of a Digicel tourist sim card in Panama is 8 PAB.

The plan offered by Digicel stores offers Unlimited data valid for 15 days.

Claro Tourist Sim

Claro, a leading telecommunications company in Panama, offers reliable and affordable tourist sim cards for travelers. With extensive coverage across the country, Claro ensures seamless connectivity for tourists. Their sim cards provide high-speed internet, allowing travelers to stay connected, access maps, social media, and make calls. Claro’s tourist sim cards are easily available at their stores, airports, and various authorized resellers, making it a convenient choice for all visitors to Panama.

Claro Panama Tourist Sim Price

The price of a Claro tourist sim card in Panama is 7 PAB.

The plan offered by Claro stores includes Unlimited data & minutes valid for 10 days.

How to Get a Sim Card in Panama

Identify mobile providers: +Movil (Mas Movil), Digicel and Claro are your best options in Panama.

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 Panama

At the Airport

Buying a prepaid sim card for Panama 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 Panama then you will be in luck. All major international airports in Panama 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 +Movil (Mas Movil), Digicel and Claro. 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 Panama 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 Panama 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!

Panama 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 Panama. The Airalo Panama 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 $18 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 Panama without having to venture outside.

Airalo Panama

Our preferred eSim provider in Panama is Airalo. We used them, alongside a local sim card on another device, for our most recent trip to Panama 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 Panama eSim uses the Tigo (Milicom) network to provide data and connect users to the internet. You can expect very good coverage and reliability with the Tigo (Milicom) networknetwork as they are amongst the best mobile internet operators in Panama.

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

1GB data valid for 7 days – Price: $9 USD
3GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $18 USD

For most travellers we recommend the 3GB data plan for $18 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 Panama

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 Panama eSims offer unlimited data.

Holafly’s Panama eSim uses the Digicelnetwork to provide data and connect users to the internet. This network will provide reliable speeds and coverage while in Panama

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

Unfortunately, the Holafly esim packages for Panama are temporarily unavailable on the Holafly website. We’ll add the prices back in here once they are available again.

What is an eSim?

The eSIM, or embedded SIM, is a digital SIM card that is permanently built into a device, such as a smartphone or tablet. Unlike traditional SIM cards, the eSIM does not require physical insertion or removal.

Instead, the eSIM is an integral part of the device’s hardware and can be remotely activated and programmed by a mobile network operator. This feature allows users to easily switch between different mobile networks or plans without the hassle of physically changing SIM cards.

The eSIM technology offers convenience, flexibility, and user-friendliness, especially for frequent travelers or individuals who regularly switch between mobile networks or travel internationally. It eliminates the need to purchase and insert physical SIM cards, simplifying the management of multiple mobile connections on one device.

To activate an eSIM, users can either scan a QR code provided by their mobile network operator or enter the activation details manually. Once activated, the device can connect to the chosen mobile network and enjoy voice, data, and messaging services, just like with a traditional SIM card.

Why Use an eSim?

Using an eSIM can be beneficial for several reasons. Firstly, it offers convenience as you don’t have to physically insert or remove a SIM card when switching networks or plans. This is especially useful for travelers who need to use different SIM cards in different countries.

Secondly, eSIM allows for dual SIM functionality, meaning you can have two active mobile numbers on one device. This is great for separating personal and work numbers or managing multiple phone lines.

Additionally, eSIMs are embedded within the device, saving space by eliminating the need for a physical SIM card slot. This allows manufacturers to make smaller devices or use the extra space for other components.

eSIMs also offer remote provisioning, allowing you to activate or switch mobile plans without a physical SIM card or store visit. This provides greater flexibility and convenience for managing your mobile connectivity.

Furthermore, using an eSIM-compatible device ensures that you can take advantage of new services and offerings as eSIM technology becomes more widely supported by mobile networks and service providers.

Overall, 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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