Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cabletica vs. Claro - The Best of Costa Rica TV and Internet

When we first moved to Atenas, Costa Rica from Texas, our goal, as with many, was to not watch as much TV. We envisioned ourselves living outside, constantly traveling and exploring our beautiful new country and watching our children play in nature with all the neighborhood kids. So when we got here just over 1 year ago, we landed at a beach house rental and both of the kids got sick. So, guess what? We sat inside and watched TV and DVD's for over a week until they got over the "airport moving sickies", or so we called it. Matt and I drank margaritas in the rancho by the pool on the beach and fought off the mosquitoes while Max and Sara stayed inside watching movies for the first week in Costa Rica. Not quite what we planned, but neither was getting pregnant our first week here, thanks to the margaritas and sleepy kids. So now that we are settled in our home and have lived here and added a new baby to our family, we changed our minds a little bit about TV. Yes, we wanted to spend more time in nature and we do. Yes, we wanted to travel more, and considering we were pregnant most of the first year, we traveled quite a bit, even with the baby bump. But since I was sick the first three months, traveling the second three months, and just fat and tired the last three months, TV definitely was watched. Face it, we are gringos and we can't stay in the sun for more than a few hours without being completely burned, no matter how much sunscreen is applied. With that being said, the beach only lasts so long. Living in the mountains of Atenas, playing outside and walking the neighborhood parks only lasts so long. Eventually you have to come inside and eat, shower, and just relax. We read books, but at the end of the day, we always turn on the TV. My point is, even in paradise, it is nice to relax and cuddle up with the kids and a DVD or flip the tube to see what is going on in the rest of the world. Even with all the wildlife and nature outside our windows, we missed watching the wonders of NatGeo, Animal Planet, Discovery and sports. We also enjoy the occasional reality shows like Wipeout and American Ninja. And who would our kids be without watching morning cartoons? 
Max and Sara having a breakfast picnic while watching cartoons:)
In addition, internet is a must in the world we live in. We use Skype to keep up with our family: Mom in Texas, Sister in Dubai and friend in Italy. We knew we wanted to start this business of blogging and website development plus our new Beef Jerky company needed a website. Good internet service is very important for our survival in Costa Rica. So I have decided to rate the 2 local cable/internet companies that we have experienced. 
Our first experience was with Cabletica. Since we had the plan to not watch TV, we only bought the basic service of cable & internet. For 3MB/S and basic television we paid about $30 US per month for the first 3 months promotion, after which it doubled to $70 US. The service probably would have been better if we opted to sign up for the expanded cable; nevertheless, it was ok. We had about 6 English speaking channels and no Discovery or NatGeo. The Animal Planet was in Spanish, so we watched it occasionally, but basically we watched Netflix and DVDs or movies on Amazon through our web TVs, of which the internet wireless signal was always excellent, even with concrete walls. There were about 10 sports channels, but most of them were futbol (soccer) and the kids got bored with that pretty quickly. Matt and I often challenged ourselves to watch Spanish News channels, but we usually relied on Netflix, rarely watching actual cable. Our year contract was up and we moved from Atenas to Grecia. Cancelling the service to Cabletica was not as simple as signing up with them. Matt had to drive the equipment to Palmares, the closest office, which is the opposite direction of Grecia, but much better than San Jose. If you do not return the equipment, there is a $50 US charge. 

Moving on to the next company, Claro. We are unaware of the exact charges because our new landlord included the internet and cable in addition to our monthly rent, but it approximately comes to $75 US per month. In our location, cable TV and internet is not available, so we are on satellite with Claro. I know I am supposed to be practicing my Spanish and, living in a Spanish speaking country, I should spend all my time learning Spanish, but I really like my new TV options. With Claro, we get all the channels we missed with the basic service with Cabletica, like NatGeoWild, National Geographic and Discovery. Plus, there is an audio button on the remote which allows us to change from English to Spanish with one push of the button. WOW! We are loving the new TV settings. We are still waiting for our internet to go from 2 MB/S up to 4 MB/S as agreed upon by our landlord, but we seem to be having no troubles yet, even with the slower download speeds. All the TVs are playing the Netflix and Amazon movies without delays or interruptions and the internet is working fine. In some remote areas of Costa Rica, where these services are not available, if you have a landline telephone, you are able to get internet services. Technology has caught up here, and you can have internet. 

So when the rainy season arrives in a few weeks, we are happy to know we have a plethora of options for watching TV, movies, and internet in both Spanish and English. So if the weather does not permit, we can always visit the beach on our TV or computer. Pura Vida!

1 comment:

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