Electric / Phone / Internet

Electricity: ICE (pronounced: “E-say”) is the government owned/operated electric and phone company in the Nosara area. The ICE office is located in Arenales neighborhood about 150 meters west of Super Vida market. While short power outages and power surges are frequent, service is generally reliable. It makes sense to have candles/flashlights in your home… just-in-case. It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED you use surge protectors for any valuable appliance (TV, refrigerator, computers, etc). Electricity is fairly expensive in Costa Rica overall, especially if your home uses 220 volt appliances regularly (dryer, pool pump, etc). We save money by switching to LED lights, hang drying laundry, not using AC and recently upgraded our pool pump. You can expect your energy bill to be as little as $100/month and I’ve seen it has high as $800/month (guess which one blasted the AC day and night…). For residences, there are two different tariffs whether you are over/under 3000 KWH.

For the latest rates: http://costarica.com/business/electricity-rates/

The below chart lists costs in Costa Rica Colones.

Charges on consumption under 3,000 kWh
Description ICE
First 200 kWh 67 CRC/kWh
From 201 to 300 kWh 124 CRC/kWh
Each KWh over 300KWh 139 CRC/kWh
Charges on consumption over 3,000 kWh
Description ICE
First 3,000 kWh or less 106 CRC/kWh
Charge per additional kWh 64 CRC
Charge per KW 9,793 CRC
Charge for first 8 KW ???

Cell Phones: There is good cell phone coverage for both 3G and 4G all over the Nosara area. The two main providers are ICE and Movistar. Your options include getting a pre-paid card for your phone. The card can be renewed as your minutes run out by purchasing a card with more minutes in convenient stores. Or, you can go the more traditional route and get a monthly plan. If you are not a citizen/legal resident you can get a monthly plan by using a Costa Rica Corporation (S.A.). You will need to bring with you your passport and the ‘Personaria Juridica’ of the corporation which can be obtained from your attorney or any public bank for about $6. You can get the latest phones with those plans or simply the chip to put into a phone you already own.

Internet: The fastest Internet in Nosara is provided by ICE. Their speeds range from 8MB to 20MB. A lot of that depends on whether it is ADSL or DSL. Here is how Daniel Shields, our tech guru explained it to me:

“Residential internet is ADSL+2 (asynchronous digital subscriber line) which means the download is faster than the upload and the top speed offered at the present time is 10MB/1MB in Nosara. To attain this speed you have to live within 1 kilometer or so from the ICE servers in Playa Guiones or Esperanza. A 10MB line in actuality gets you about 8.7 MB. In Esperanza they offer triple play which is phone, TV and Internet all on the same line.

In Las Huacas there is also a brand new triple play service also and due to upgrades on the trunk lines it is conceivable to get a higher speed up there, up to 20MB. All other areas in the project are supplied by the ICE tower by the Subibaja River (next to the gas station).

Although many telephone lines in the area are qualified for greater speeds, up to 20MB, ICE’s equipment is not unfortunately, but they are constantly upgrading their equipment so in the not so near future we may see speeds on ADSL+2 or even fiber optics up to 100MB. At the present time Coope-Guanacaste is going to lease fiber optic lines from ICE and start offering that service around the end of 2016.

Business class internet is DSL (digital subscriber line) and used at Offices By the Beach have and the upload and download speeds are the same 2MB/2MB or 4MB/4MB.

Some business have available multiple 6MB lines on an aggregate router that combines those lines for a throughput around 15MB/3MB. Before the end of the year I think we can see Internet speed in excess of 20MB or more and fiber optics are on the way.”

You can also get Internet from Cable Tica cable TV.

Television: The two primary TV providers in Nosara are SkyTV (www.skycostarica.net) which comes via satellite and Cable Tica (www.cabletica.com) which is cable TV. Both have a ton of channels I wouldn’t watch. Sky TV tends to have more programming in English and you can get things like: NFL, MLB and NBA packages. Many Nosara residents will also watch TV over the Internet on devices like USTVNOW and AppleTV.