For the new dialing instructions from the United States to Mexico, as well
as the new Mexico area codes you can call AT&T at (800) 869-1707 or drop by
their Mexico dialing instructions web site at MEXICO DIALING INFO.
For discounted telephone rates for Cancun drop by the web site of ASTRU SERVICES.
For information on satellite telephone service for regular travelers to Mexico visit the web sites of SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS or GLOBALSTAR.
There are 5 different ways to phone home from Cancun. Almost without fail
the cost involved is relative to the ease in which you can make the call.
MAFIA ~ Let's get the worst of these 4 choices out of the way so we can
move on to your more viable choices. Whatever you do, do NOT try to use
the telephones scattered throughout Cancun that have signs next to
them stating "To Call the U.S. Simply Dial "0". To say that these gangsters
charged rates like the Mafia would be an understatement. These telephone
companies can charge rates as much as $5.00 U.S. per minute, and sometimes
more. There is no question that in case of an emergency these telephones
might be worth their insane cost, but only if no other options are
available. If you have a choice, you are much better off with one of the
following telephone options.
TELEPHONE STATIONS ~ Several areas in downtown Cancun have telephone stations
with affordable rates. They have to be affordable because the local people
use these phones too, and they usually haven't got a whole lot of money.
When in downtown Cancun look for the sign that says "Larga
Distancia" or "Long Distance". These signs are usually in front of small stores,
often farmacies. There are usually 2 or 3 phone "booths" inside the store,
which the girl behind the counter will point you to after she dials the number
you give her.
#1. Give the girl behind the counter the number you want to reach. If this is
a number you are planning on dialing often it is not a bad idea to write it down
on a business-sized card so you can just hand it to her.
#2. She will dial the number from her telephone center phone. When the phone
service connects, she will usually point you to the phone booth that your phone
call can be picked up at. As an example, if she says "numero dos" that means your
phone call has gone through and you can pick up the receiver at telephone
"number 2". Note that she starts her stopwatch to time your call once it becomes
#3. When you are done talking hang up and walk back over to the counter where
you started. If she is sharp she will have probably beat you to the punch and
shut down the stopwatch or timer. If she doesn't see you get off the phone because
she is busy selling perfume to someone, try to politely get her attention. She can
always back out the extra time on the timer before she adds up your bill if she
needs to. These phone calls run about $1.40 per minute. Most places will initially
charge you in pesos, but they will almost always accept U.S. dollars in payment,
as long as you have small bills.
#4. That's it, your done. Now be a nice tourist and say "Muchas Gracias"!
PUBLIC TELEPHONES ~ Public telephones have proliferated in the last few years
in Cancun. And they are pretty easy to use, one you have obtained a phone card
which can be obtained for about $5 at most small markets. This phone card is your
"access" to use the telephone to contact AT&T, and the credit on the card itself
will not be diminished if you just use it to dial the AT&T toll free number. So here
are the steps to use your AT&T account from a phone booth in Mexico:
#1. Contact AT&T before you leave home if you haven't already established a long
distance calling card account.
#2. Bring the AT&T access number and your calling card number with you on your
vacation (writing these two numbers down on a business card and keeping it with
your money is a good idea). The AT&T access number is usually (800) 462-4240.
#3. Buy a Mexican telephone card at any small market once you get to Mexico.
They come in several different denominations, but since you will only be using
it to access the toll-free AT&T number, buy the smallest denomination you can,
usually $50 pesos (under $6.00 U.S.).
#4. Stick the calling card into the telephone. Most Mexican telephones will not
work without money or a telephone card.
#5. Dial the AT&T access number. This number is usually (800) 462-4240.
#6. You will be prompted by that pretty girl behind the switchboard at AT&T
(actually it's a recording) to dial the number you wish to contact.
#7. Dial the number you wish to contact, including the area code.
#8. After you dial the number you want to contact, you will hear that "boing"
sound followed by "Please Dial Your Calling Card Number or Credit Card Number
Now". The pretty voice at AT&T will thank you and the number you dialed will
start ringing. Congratulations!
#9. When you are done phoning home and you hang up, don't forget to remove your
telephone card from the telephone. That puppy can be used again the next time you
need to make a call. If you hear a "beep...beep" after you hang up that is the
telephone trying to tell you not to forget your telephone card!
HOTEL TELEPHONES ~ Most larger hotels in Cancun have telephones in the
rooms. And just like the hotels in other parts of the world, they charge you
a service fee each time you make a call. It's usually a good idea to ask at
the front desk how much they charge to access the hotel telephone system. For
the convenience and quiet environment, it might be worth it. Based on the cost
they charge you per call you can either make the call or go downstairs to the
nearest public telephone to use that new telephone card you bought. If you do
decide that the cost and convenience of the in-room phone is reasonable, be sure
to use the AT&T card to charge the call. If you dial direct from the room telephone
and charge it to your room bill be prepared for a surprise at check out time.
CELL PHONES ~ Each year more US based cell phones work in Cancun.
The most recent to work seamlessly in Cancun is ATT / Cingular. After attempting the first call
the phone somehow tunes in with the local carrier and the rest of the calls are easy.
Roaming charges do kick in for using US based cell phones in Cancun, and you can expect to pay as much as $1.25 per minute
for the convenience of this easy access. Ask the front desk of your hotel about renting a Mexico cell phone/