Communications in Cancun
Everyone needs to stay in touch while on vacation. If only to let everyone know what a great time you’re having! VisitCancun.com has looked into the easiest ways to get your message home. Now it’s up to you to write the postcards.
Courier companies are quite reliable and secure in Cancun. They are the quickest way to receive or send letters, documents and small packages. Rates start at $15 and go up according to weight. The larger companies will also pick up (for a small fee) and deliver if they have the correct address. Otherwise you can drop off or receive at their offices. Major courier companies include:
E-mail is by far the quickest, easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch with your loved ones. Mexico has embraced the Internet with a passion that couldn’t be predicted and there are e-mail cafés all over Cancun where you can pick up your messages for as little as $3 per hour. (The more expensive places are found in the Hotel Zone.) Many hotels offer complimentary e-mail service for guests but if your hotel hasn’t plugged in yet, check out some of the following Internet cafés:
All of the caseta de larga distancia (long distance office) and some of the e-mail cafés have fax machines. Rates to US and Canada start between $2.50 to $5.00 per page.
Letters and Postcards
If you’re not in a hurry and don’t mind getting home before your postcards then use the post office. It really does live up to its name – snail mail. Don’t send anything valuable through the Mexican mails (that includes parcels, checks, money orders or anything with a credit card number on it) since it will get stolen, lost or arrive too late to be of any help. You can receive mail there if it’s marked with your name and "Lista de Correos, Cancún, 77500, Quintana Roo, Mexico" but you may be gone before the letter gets to you. In the post office building there is also a Western Union office (Tel: (9) 884-1529) and a fairly decent courier service. Located at the corner of Av. Xel-há and Sunyaxchén, SM 28. Tel: (9) 884-1418. Open weekdays: 8 AM – 5 PM.
If you have an American Express card, you can have mail sent to you at the American Express Cancún Office. Av. Tulum 208, in front of the Hospital Americana. Tel: (9) 884-1999 or (9) 884-4243. Open weekdays 9 AM – 6 PM, Saturdays 9 AM –1 PM.
Telephones are very reliable especially since TelMex (the Mexican Ma Bell) started using fiber optics and began installing high tech phones on every corner in Cancun.. TelMex phones are recognizable for their white booths and LADATEL logo. LADATEL are the electronic phone cards used in the phones and are sold at corner stores and pharmacies in blocks of $30 Pesos, $50 Pesos, $100 Pesos, and $200 Pesos ($3, $5, $10, $20 respectively). Some are quite beautiful little works of art and have become collector’s items.
The phones are easy to use. When you pick up the handset, instructions show up on the telephone screen. To change them to English, push the ABC button on the left hand side of the dial pad. When instructed, slide your card in, wait until it asks you to dial your number. After you dial and are connected, the dollar amount on your card and time left will appear underneath the displayed number. If your card runs out before your conversation, press the button with the card picture, wait one second and slide in the new card. Using a phone card is the cheapest way to phone home aside from calling collect. You may be tempted to use the red phones around town that are so simple to use (just dial 0) but avoid the temptation as they charge exorbitant rates. They are also subject to heavy scamming since they accept credit cards numbers with no other identification. Calling from your hotel room can also cost as hotel add a hefty surcharge: between 50 cents and $1 for each local call and much, much more for long-distance calls. It adds up quickly.
To call long distance anywhere in Mexico, dial 01 + area code + local number. To call the US or Canada, dial 001 + area code + local number. To call Cancun from the US or Canada dial 011 (int'l access code) + 52 (Mexico's country code) + 98 (Cancun’s area code) + the local number. For local calls in Cancun, just dial the local phone number.
If you have a phone card from home, be sure to ask for their special 800 number that works in Mexico—the usual number won’t function outside of the States or Canada. Many of the long distance cards you buy at home will not operate in Mexico even if advertised that they do, so check with your long distance server before you leave home. Using your phone card may get you cheaper rates depending on your arrangement with your long distance server. Long distance rates in Mexico are one flat fee not based on distance so it means it costs the same to Hong Kong as it does New York. The rates are still pretty high: international phone calls are taxed 60%. Rates are reduced 50 % after 8 PM from Monday to Saturday and all day Sunday until 8 PM. The international lines on Sundays are sometimes busy all day.
To phone collect dial 09 and you will be connected to the international operator who speaks English. This is the cheapest way for you to call home – it will cost one peso to be connected. However, it won’t be cheap for the person who accepts the charge.
For information dial 040 – these operators don’t speak English so you must speak slowly. For the correct time dial 030 – this too will be in Spanish.
If you would like to make your phone call more private and comfortable, try a caseta de larga distancia (long distance office). You take your call in a telephone booth after the clerk has dialed your number. The rates are a bit higher that the telephones but you have the benefit of silence and a place to sit down. In the Hotel Zone there are offices in Plaza Kukulcán, Plaza Mayafair, and Plaza Caracol. Downtown there is a caseta de larga distancia directly across from the bus station on Av. Tulum. There is a service fee between $3.50 and $5 on top of the large long-distance charges.
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