Croatian SIM card: a bargain and a caveat

The trans-Atlantic cruise that launched our Balkan adventure stopped in Dubrovnik before dropping us off in Venice. I’d been to Dubrovnik before and we knew we’d return, so our priority on the cruise stop was to buy a visitor SIM card so we’d be ready to roll when we came back to Croatia 2.5 weeks later. I’d done some research and knew there were no phone stores selling SIM cards in Old Town Dubrovnik, but they are sold at the post office.

Browsing our options at the old town post office, I chose the “Vipme internet,” a fantastic bargain at 20 kuna ($3), including tax. For that price, I got a data SIM card with 2G worth of data at 1G/day (ie., two days’ worth of Internet). The system is set up perfectly for travelers: your gig allotment is in 24 hour increments that begin when you actually access the internet with your card. So, if you don’t need the card for a day, you don’t get charged. I figured we’d use the card that day and then on our first day back in Croatia later in the trip. After that, we could buy charge up slips at any phone store, post office or most convenience stores at a rate of about $1.50/day. What a deal!

The lady who sold me the card at the post office knew very little about them, but did agree to help me with activation since the instructions were in Croatian (a major downside) until you reached a certain web page with English. Unfortunately (and here comes the caveat), she mistakenly exited the page where we were to confirm the plan and activate. I saw what she was doing, but couldn’t stop her in time. I did not realize that a different plan was chosen by default. The result was that she mistakenly registered me for a plan which included other features (calls, texts, etc.) and charged at a much higher usage rate which quickly burned up my 2G credit. I didn’t realize her mistake until after we’d left and I had lost all access to the Internet.

When I did get wi-fi and tried to choose a different plan, I was never sure I’d done things correctly. This meant that when we returned to Dubrovnik we had to catch a short bus ride out of the Old Town to a phone shop and get the whole mess sorted out. The good news is that they did sort it out, and also credited me back for my lost $3; not much compensation for the hassle, but nice of them nonetheless. Thereafter, the SIM card worked perfectly and we had cheap, reliable internet virtually everywhere we went in Croatia at $1.50/day.

Vipme is now offering weekly packages for 80 kuna ($12) with a cheap daily rate option. If you activate correctly, the price and product are excellent.

[The post office in Old Town Dubrovnik is a block off the main avenue, Stradun, on the corner of Široka ulica and ulica od Puča. The VIP store is at Vukovarska ul. 7, 20000, Dubrovnik in an old bank building. The bus stop at the Tommy shopping center is the closest. You can ask a bus driver to alert you to the stop.]



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