While you are in Peru, you will probably want to be able to stay in contact with your friends and family. The best way to do this is by investing in a Peruvian SIM card. As it is both cheap and accessible, it is perfect for travelers. While purchasing SIM cards in Peru is a relatively similar process to doing so in most parts of the world, it doesn’t hurt to know exactly how to go about obtaining your own SIM as soon as you arrive in Peru.
Your phone must first be unlocked before a Peruvian SIM card will work in it. Be sure to check that your phone is unlocked before making the trip to Peru in order to avoid dealing with the hassle when you land.
Throughout the world, two phone networks are used. These are GSM (Global system for Mobiles) and CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access). The majority of countries in South America are connected through the use of GSM (including Peru). Phones that are connected using CDMA (most American phones) may not be compatible with the Peruvian network and therefore this should be checked before traveling. Luckily, lots of new-model phones now operate with both networks.
Purchasing a Peruvian SIM Card
In regards to SIM cards and communication services in Peru, Movistar and Claro are the two market leaders. The most popular option amongst backpackers and travelers is buying a prepaid SIM without a contract. These SIMs allow the backpacker to make and receive calls and to top up credit whenever they are running low. Many Movistar and Claro stores can be found in Peru. Upon purchasing your SIM, the store clerk will assist you in setting it up with your phone. The clerks sometimes require photo identification, so we recommend bringing your passport in order to avoid wasting any time.
SIM cards in Peru are usually priced around S/.15 (about $5). After you buy your Peruvian SIM card, also purchase phone credit so that you are instantaneously ready to start communicating. Approximately S./30 (about $10) should cover what you need to get you off the ground and calling friends. Individual carrier pricing determines the exact amount that it will cost to both make and receive calls. As a general rule of thumb, texting is usually substantially cheaper than making calls.
An alternative option for a SIM card in Peru is the Super Chip Turista. This operator has identified the specific needs of tourists and has manufactured a SIM based around these needs. This Peruvian SIM card is provided by Entel. It costs S/.69 (around $21) is available for purchase in Lima, Cusco and Arequipa. S/.69 gets you unlimited time on Facebook and Whatsapp for 15 days, 20 minutes of domestic calls and 2 GB of data.
There you have it! You should be all set to purchase your own Peruvian SIM card and communicate openly and freely during your time in Peru.