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Availability of Internet Services in Costa Rica

If you are interested in finding affordable and convenient Internet access in Costa Rica, know that there are quite a few attractive offers to choose from these days. At present, all Internet traffic in the country is administered by Grupo ICE, which is a major state-owned communications trust that holds monopoly over the entire Costa Rican respective market. A wide majority of Internet services in Costa Rica require signing a written agreement and placing a (usually small) refundable deposit.

Here is a list with the various Internet services and Costa Rica ISPs currently available, followed by a short description of prices and specific advantages.

Dialup Connection
This allows for a phone line-dependant Internet connection, offering a peak download speed of 56 kbps. While dialup Internet service Costa Rica may be perfect for occasional activities like checking your email or writing a few words on your blog, if you want to use this option for more than just that, chances are you will find the slow speed to be a serious drawback. The main Costa Rica ISP for broadband Internet is RACSA, which offers several different specialized service formats:

• Economy Plan – A monthly program with fees around $4.95/month and 4.10 colones per minute for on times.
• 900-en-linea – Starting at 11.10 colones per minute (a fee that includes the phone call rate), this option is delivered in a pay-as-you-go format.
• Prepaid internet access cards – The offer for these devices starts at 1,800 colones for 5h, and goes up to 5,500 colones for 15h of use.

ADSL
This high speed Internet Costa Rica option stands out as one of the most popular choices of phone line-dependant Internet access. Besides higher speeds, the advantage of ADSL over regular dialup lies in it leaving the phone line open while surfing the Internet, so that you can still give or receive calls with a running Internet connection. The Costa Rica ISP offering this option is ICE, and the costs of using the service begin at $19 per month with an added one-time fee of 21,000 colones for installation.

Cable Modem
This option is available exclusively for Internet users who benefit from CableTica or Amnet cable service, which means it is generally restricted to the country’s larger cities. Cable modem Internet comes with fees starting at $17/month for 256/64 kbps, and up to $169 for a maximum speed of 4Mb/1Mb plus a negligible fee for modem rental.

WiMax
This is a type of broadband Internet service Costa Rica service that allows for widely accessible Internet using a wireless antenna. WiMax is available starting at $29 per month for 512/256 kbps, and requires an additional monthly fee perceived for modem rental. At present, WiMax connections are exclusively available in major cities like San Jose, Heredia, Escazú, Cartago and Santa Ana, with Alajuela and other surrounding cities soon to follow.

Internet Cafés
Such venues are nowadays ubiquitous all over the country, which means you can find them in even the smallest towns. The most convenient rates for this type of Internet service Costa Rica are in San Jose, where you can expect to spend around 300 colones per hour. However, rates can go up to 1,500 colones per hour in popular tourist areas or in localities around the coast.

Free WiFi Locations
In several places, the major Costa Rica ISP RACSA is offering Wireless Internet access completely free of charge. The list with free WiFi locations includes:

Juan Santamaría International Airport, Alajuela
Multiplaza, Escazú and Este
Paseo de las Flores Mall, Heredia
Plaza Real Cariari, San Antonio de Belén, Heredia
Terramall, Trés Ríos/Cartago
Metrocentro Mall, Cartago

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