pay-phones are rare in Cabo. While there are many public
phones, most phones use a pre-paid phone card, like a
credit card with a small microchip in it. You can buy
them in nearly any 'convenience'-type store or neighborhood
store...just ask for a TELMEX or LADATEL card.
The smallest amount available is 30 pesos, and a local
phone call is just a couple pesos, depending on the time
of the call. Pick up the handset, insert the card chip-side
up, and dial your call. The phone has an LED display telling
you how much value remains on your card. If the phone
'beeps' at you after you've hung up, it means you've left
your card inserted into the phone!
Dialing a local number is 7 digits.
Dialing a long-distance (within Mexico) number requires
12 digits (“01” plus 3-digit area-code, plus
the 7-digit phone number).
Simple enough, right? Well, here’s where it gets
If the number you are calling is a local CELL phone (and
there are a LOT of cell phones here…if you get somebody’s
phone number, be sure to ask them if it is a cell number),
you must dial 13 digits: ‘044’ (this is the
cell-phone ‘code’) + the area code (here in
both Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo it is likely
‘624’), plus the 7-digit phone number.
IMPORTANT: Long distance telephone calls,
and especially international calls, have been grossy expensive
from Los Cabos (and all of Mexico) UNTIL NOW. Telmex,
the national phone company, has begun to bow to competitive
pressures. Calls to the USA and Canada are only 5 pesos
per minute using the card-phones. While that may sound
expensive compared to back home, phones advertising foreign
calls using your credit card will charge OUTRAGEOUS sums
(example: ten U.S. Dollars connection fee and five dollars
per minute)...AVOID THESE PHONES unless your life depends
on it or you have more money than you know how to spend.
Your hotel will likely stiff you for ridiculous rates
as well, so stick to the card-phones. To call the USA
or Canada, dial 001, followed by the area code and phone
number. Don’t worry if the number you are calling
is a cell phone or not, it all gets dialed the same.
If you are going to be living here a while, you might
want a phone line, or you might do as many locals in Cabo
do and just use a cell phone. (See CELL
PHONES for more info.) If you’ve got
a computer and want to connect to the internet, you’ll
either need a phone line or internet connection from the
Cable TV company. Telmex, the Mexican phone company, offers
high-speed DSL connections (called ‘Infinitum’)
that allow you to use one line for both phone and internet
simultaneously. It’s very reliable, and as a plus,
it’s a priority for Telmex, so if you order this
you’ll likely get installed within a week, whereas
a normal phone line may have you waiting 2, 3, or more
weeks for installation.
get phone service, go to the Telmex office, and bring
your passport and proof of residency (a power bill, lease
agreement, deed or title, etc.). Take a number, wait in
line forever (bring a book, and better yet, arrive EARLY
before the doors open), and chat with a friendly Telmex
representative who will usually speak English as well
as my cat. (Well, you're in MEXICO, if you're gonna live
here, you better start learning some Español.)
Not to worry, they know why you’re there, through
scribbles and hand gestures they’ll get you set
Here’s a great phrase to get you started: “Necesito
un linea telephono en mi casa, por favor” means
“I need a telephone line in my house, please”.
Of course if you say it too well, they’ll assume
you are fluent in Spanish, which will lead to even more
confusion. Take it for what it’s worth.
Telmex offers several long-distance calling plans if
you talk a lot with the folks back up-north…some
of these plans bring the cost of a call to ‘the
States’ or Canada down as low as a respectable 1-peso
Phone bills arrive monthly, if they arrive. It’s
your responsibility to know when your bill is due and
to pay it before the date…if you are late, you’ll
get cut off within a day or two. This will only prevent
you from making calls, not receiving them, but still it’s
a hassle. The phone company computer will typically call
you a few days before the due date with a recorded phone
message that says, (very) roughly, “Esteemed Telmex
client, please prepare your phone bill payment because
we’ll cut your phone lines faster than you can say
‘Speedy Gonzalez’ if you’re late”.
Or something like that, but it’s nice of them to
Easiest way to pay is at the bank, the
checkout of most supermarkets, or at any SIX or OXXO store
(there are dozens of them all over Cabo, see BEER
for more details)…this costs you an extra 5 pesos
(roughly 50 cents), but it’s worth it to avoid lines.
You can also pay at most large supermarket checkout counters
and at the bank, again for a small additional fee. You
can ONLY pay at non-Telmex locations (like grocery stores)
through the next-to-last-day before the actual due date,
so again, don’t wait. If you wait ‘till the
day it’s due, go to the Telmex office and wait in