I (Vicki Skinner - aka "THE Sarong Goddess") created this blog in 2007 to share DETAILED Finds•Lists•Info•Events•Experiences to help bring more EASE to people living in, visiting or thinking of moving to Costa Rica since DETAILS are NOT easy to find!
I’m NOT an expert (an "expert" 2 ME knows 101%-NOT me). I believe in sharin info•helping where I can! And with over 2,200 entries, so some things might be out of date, so if you find old info PLEASE help each other by getting the updated info & sharing it with me to revise. At least you have some basic info to get you started.
Better yet - do you have extra time on your hands & looking for a volunteer project? Since this blog is a labor of love & RARELY does anyone share a donation (even though MANY have said how much it's helped them), I could REALLY use help updating info. Spanish speakers ESPECIALLY welcome since my VicLish can be somewhat limited at times!!

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(see below other ways to show your appreciation)
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• APPLE LAPTOP - Do you have a Laptop you're not using? Mine recently broke so I'm using a lender. Must be new enough to run current Skypes & have an SDCard slot.
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Sunday, January 27, 2008

LISTS - PHONE CODES in Costa Rica & HOW TO USE VARIOUS ICE•Kolbi PHONE COMPANY SERVICES•DEPARTMENTS. Including Voicemail, Call Forwarding, Caller ID

This schpiel is a list of information related to the Phone Company/ICE (pronounced Long EEEE – say) in Costa Rica - everything from how to do Call Waiting, Call Forwarding, Voice Mail, Wake-Up Calls, etc.!!!

(if you find any changes, etc., PLEASE let me know as my Spanish is quite limited so I may have made some mistakes!)

  911  -  EMERGENCY  (Police • Fire Department • Ambulance)

1110  -  COLLECT CALLS (to make)

1112  -  Time

1113  -  Information-  Residential  (like 411).

             Information -  Yellow Pages/Business  -  Online - http://1155.cr/racsa-yp

1115  -  Customer Service (Land Lines) - Phone - Changes - including Call Waiting, Call Forward, Voice Mail - The initial recording is in Spanish.
             CODES: 1-general/promotions (automatic), 2-Billing, 3-Verify Changes, 4-Other, 5-Operator, 6-Things involved when you use your password.

1116  -  International Calls – For assistance to MAKE international calls & charge to your credit card or collect, etc. (I THINK this can be quite expensive [ERICK – HOW MUCH TO CALL THE U.S. WITH THIS???])

1119  -  Technical Problems - Phone - This is automated where they ask you to punch in your number - BUT - if you do NOT put your number in, a LIVE person will come on.

1124  -  International Calls - for Information on International Calls

1126  -  Technical Problems - Electricity

1128  -  Red Cross / Cruz Roja (AMBULANCE)

1129  -  International Breakdowns????

1134  -  Internet Access – RACSA (ERICK - is this the same as Technical Problems – RACSA??)

1136  -  Traffic Police (who you call if you have an accident [NOTE – do NOT NOT NOT move your car!!  It does NOT matter if it’s blocking traffic - & it MAY for HOURS!!])

1138  -  Internet Access – ICE  (ERICK - is this the same as Technical Problems – ICE??)

1146  -  WAKE UP CALLS  (an automated voice calls you to wake you at a set hour you request)

1150  -  Pre-Pay Refills Info – Kolbi

1175  -  Collect Calls

1187  -  Hear the Balance of Your Bill (automated)

1190  -  Voicemail access  (for the phone you are calling on)

1191  -  Voicemail access (to check voicemail calling in from a different phone/cell line)

1193  -  Customer Service - Cell Phones (including reporting lost/stolen phones!!)

NOT POSITIVE ON THESE (since there aren't many pay phones left in Costa Rica):
1197 - Public Telephone for Prepaid National Card

1199 - Public Telephone for Prepaid International Card

The automated calls are of course in Spanish but often, when I've called departments where I had to speak with a live person, they usually had SOMEONE that spoke English (& I'd throw my Spanglish in & we all laughed!!!) so don't get all nervous if your Spanish is limited. You CAN do it!!!

Calling a Landline in Costa Rica is SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than calling a Cell Phone & time of day makes a difference as well.  Calling to a Costa Rica Cell phone from other countries is LOTS more expensive as well.  It's a bit harder now that the monopoly has been broken & new companies have come in - so how can you know what type of phone you're calling?

ICE•Kolbi Land Lands start with a "2".
MovieStar Land Lines phones start with a "4"

ICE•Kolbi Cell Phones start with a "3" or an "8" or "9"
MovieStar Cell phones start with a "6"

Claro Cell phones start with a "5"

One of the MANY WONDERFUL things in Costa Rica is with your phone service you get LOTS of FREE services that you pay LOTS of $$$ for in the States like:
Other than Voicemail, I was able to activate Call Waiting & Call Forward by just calling 115 - Customer Service. I'm SHOCKED at how few even Tico's know about this!!

NOTE: On Land Lines, the prompts are in Spanish so here are the instructions in English.
EXCITING NEWS!!! You can get your CELL PHONE (ONLY) set up so ALL the prompts are in ENGLISH - even the voicemail prompts your callers get!! To do that, go into ICE & ask them to do it (you can do it for yourself on your cell but that won't set the voicemail message prompts). The prompts are basically the same as Land Line Phones.

You know you have a voice mail message when you pick up your phone & there is a lady's recorded voice. YES - you CAN STILL dial out - just start pressing the number & she'll stop talking. I sure wish someone had explained that to me in the beginning as this one only took me over a month to figure out of complaining the phone was not working and them not understanding me).
First - Dial "190" (you can check your cell phone or your home phone from another phone simply by dialing "191")
Then, punch in your Password & Press #(pound key) (standard, the password is often the last 4 digits of your phone number unless you or someone else have done something else. When you are moving out - PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE call ICE & change it back to the last 4 digits of the phone - otherwise it can be a royal pain!!)

Then: Press 1-to listen to your Messages
2-to Send a message
3-for Personal Settings/Change Personal Greeting (like to record your message)

3-Change Personal Options

Listen to message then:
2-Save (saves only for 3 days)
11-Here Envelope (not sure what this is about)

3-Change Personal Options
1-Personal Greeting/Name. 2-Change Password
1-Record new greeting, 2-Standard/generic message, 3-change recorded name, *(star) -return to personal profile menu
It then plays your current message
1-to keep it, 2-to re-record,
Record your message & press #(the pound key)
1-listen to what you have just recorded, 2-Save it (I often have to press 2 twice), 3-Re-Record, *(star)-Cancel the new recording (keep what you originally had)
The codes are basically the same for cell phones and land lines.

To get to the incoming call: Press Flash on your phone plus 2
To go back to your original caller: Press Flash on your phone plus 2

To Activate Call Forward: * (star) 21 *(star). Dial the number you want to transfer your line to & hit the #(pound) key (when done properly - it gives this weird beeping tone musical number)
To DE-Activate Call Forward: press the #(pound) key, 21 and the # (pound) key again

CALLER ID - Also free but you must have a phone that has that feature (showing the number) and you set that up. This one also requires the same proceedure as setting up International Access/Block.

WAKE-UP CALL - *55*, number & “#” - Activate. Verify it’s set - *#55* your number & “#”. Cancel the time given: “#55* number & “#”. Deactivate it all “#55#”

You can either call "187" for an automated reply OR
Go to ICE's website (www.GrupoICE.com/av-ejb/login.jsp) and punch in your phone number OR
Go to Bill Pay on your Costa Rican bank account (ANOTHER reason I LOVE banking with Banco Cuscatlan is you can do their site in English) and put in your phone number and within seconds it gives me the amount due and I'm DONE!! No more standing in lines!! WARNING!! MAKE SURE TO MAKE A COPY OF IT - JUST IN CASE!! OR

Go to the bills office OR your CR bank (where you can pay most of your bills) though that usually means standing in LONG lines (unless you bank with Banco Cuscatlan where I've NEVER been more than 5 people deep in a line!!) OR

Go to a ServiMas (where you can pay your bills, receive/get money wired & also get your U.S. dollars converted into Colones [but you can NOT buy Dollars with Colones} for NO extra fee [most banks charge a fee to convert money if you don't bank with them - like in the States often]) which are located at Mas x Menos, Perimercado, Pali, Hipermas (all now partially owned by WalMart). You can also pay them at Fischel Farmacia/Pharmacy.

FORGOT TO PAY YOUR BILL and you were Shut Off? http://www.EscazuNews.com Daniel said do NOT go to ICE but go to Banco de Costa Rica & as SOON as you have paid - call 115 & tell them it is paid. NOTE - if you have TWO bills past due - they can take your phone number away!

Don't want your employees or guests to ring up your bill? You can put a Block/restriction on your phone so no one can MAKE International Calls AND you can put a Block so you can NOT RECEIVE International Calls (Patrick helped me understand why one would have this - that is to block outsiders [like staff] from receiving EXPENSIVE collect calls - ahhhhhhh!!!!).

To permanently restrict international calls - the person who's name is on the phone bill (ONLY) must fax a letter to 283-2121 along with a copy of their id (cedula or passport) requesting the action (or bring it into an ICE office). WARNING: The person who's name is on one of my bills has "left this planet" & I was told it would entail some sort of legal/courts type of change.

You CAN restrict it Temporarily by: To Activate: Press */star, 33 and */star, then your four digit password and “#”/the pound key.
To Verify it's active - *#33#.
De-activate - #33*, password & “#”.

DRAWBACK: Not only can Collect International Calls not come in but nor can your family/friends calling you from outside of CR (they'll get a recording [I can't remember if it's in Spanish or English]).

1 comment:

Eric said...

Thank you! I just got a cell phone here and your article was very helpful for me to get everything set up.