If you know you will be visiting more then once a year or maybe you are planning to live down in Haiti then here is some good options:
- You can buy cell phones for very cheap. Some $5. I would recommend one that is a standard brand you recognize like Nokia or otherwise. You will pay a bit more but it will be worth it.
- When you buy the cell phone you will also purchase the SIM card that goes with it (only $1-2 for the SIM)
Unlock Your Phone
- If you have a phone that is not on contract or you are canceling your current contract because you are moving down to Haiti then I would recommend taking the extra step to get it unlocked with the carrier. All carriers should give you an unlock code for your phone if you are outside of contract.
- Once you have your phone unlocked you will just need to buy a SIM card upon arriving in Haiti (only $1-2 for the SIM).
- Most Haitians buy phone minutes on the street. They will give you cards in the amount of HGT (Goudes). You can buy a 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000… Goude cards. A fee of 10% is added onto what you buy. Just to give you an idea. For most people, 500 HGT will be more then enough for a whole month of talking. Total one would pay 550 HGT to the person selling the cards.
- Digicel and Viola allow you to buy minutes from logging into their website. This is good option.
- Internet. All providers offer internet plans. Personally I am using Natcom. I pay 400 HGT ($10)/month for 500mb. There are unlimited plans available with all carriers as well. NOTE: I would recommend something else if you are looking for internet for your home computer.
- To activate internet for Natcom you can follow this setup.
- The internet is usually paid at the beginning of the month. You would just need enough money on your account before the month begins and then that money would be deducted and used for paying the internet. Any money left over after that would go to pay for talking phone-to-phone.
Moving to Haiti
- If you feel brave and you are tech savvy. I took the extra step of transferring my current cell phone number to Google Voice. I did this so that I could keep my old phone number. I can also use Google’s app to still text friends in the state with my old phone number for free.
- What phone should I bring/buy? I would recommend a smart phone with GPS! Doesn’t even matter which smart phone. If you are moving to Haiti one of the hardest things is not knowing where you are or where you are trying to go. I use the GPS capability of my Android phone much more then I thought I would. It doesn’t matter if you have an iPhone or Android – I would highly recommend it if you will be driving. I even brought down a GPS and no realized quickly that I wasn’t going to use it. In my opinion, I want to leave as little technology visible in the car as much as possible and a GPS just sits so obviously in the car. Also, I have found that the “directions” the GPS give you are not very accurate. It is easier to just see the map view of where I currently am located on the smart phone. I could honestly give you a hundred more reasons why a smart phone is soooo incredibly useful down in Haiti but I will save them 😀