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Freaking out about difficulty staying in touch from Mexico to US

Freaking out about difficulty staying in touch from Mexico to US

Old Dec 2nd, 2007, 07:48 PM
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Freaking out about difficulty staying in touch from Mexico to US

We are scheduled to spend a week in PV, leaving this weekend. When we booked the trip back in the early summer my husband wasn't aware of how essential it was going to be for him to be in touch back home for business. We also didn't think cell phone usage would be so expensive.
We can cancel the trip and we would lose $100 change fees each on flights and lose a chunk of money for our timeshare exchange fee. We want to go but in order to go, he needs to figure out a system for being able to stay in touch by phone. He is planning on paying either at hotel or internet cafe for internet usage but still will need to conduct business on the phone.

Finding good information has been very difficult about calling cards, rates, etc. I also don't know what to believe and what method is trustworthy, in other words, which system we can be sure is going to really work. It looks like it could be .99/minute for calls back to the U.S. either with Verizon roaming or phone card. At .99/mimute, this could add up to a small fortune. We don't know what to do and it has put a real damper on our excitiment for the trip.

Neither of us speak Spanish so we are concerned the language barrier is going to make it difficult to understand the rates, which pay phones we can use for what type of phone card, can we use a phone card from a phone in a hotel?

If anyone has had the experience in PV of placing calls to the U.S. that you think can help us feel less stressed we would be very grateful.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2007, 08:31 PM
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Many internet cafes also offer long distance telephone service.

At least some if not all of the staff at internet cafes downtown speak fluent English.

What part of town is your hotel located? If it is in or near downtown finding the above will be easy.



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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 02:12 AM
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Can he find an Internet cafe set up with Skype? Could he take his laptop, set up with Skype, and either use it with the hotel's Internet access, or at an Internet cafe?

Here is what I do in Europe, but I don't know if this is possible in Mexico. I buy a cheap phone card from a corner store (or similar sort of establishment). Then I go to a payphone and use it to phone home (Canada).

Another possibility - if the work people phone your hotel, they can use a cheap phone card in the US to phone Mexico, or a cheap long-distance calling plan. It should only cost a few cents per minute. So if your husband tells them to phone your hotel, then you won't have any expense at all (other than for the few dollars for which you might want to reimburse your callers).

You can generally send text messages for a cheap price. On my plan, it's 40 cents per overseas text message. But find out what it is on your plan. You could easily send a text message like - phone me at hotel in 30 minutes. Or the work people can send him text messages asking him to call.

Suze's suggestion of making long-distance calls from Internet cafes is good too.

So long as your husband does not need to be on his cell phone for many hours per day (and this seems unlikely), you should be fine with so many different contact options.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 04:03 AM
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http://www.virtualvallarta.com/valla...es/cybercafes/

Search the internet for cyber cafes or internet cafes in PV ... you'll probably find more lists.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 04:50 AM
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Thanks for the replies. We are staying on the grounds of the Sheraton in the timeshare and I read there is an internet cafe across the street which is the plan for internet use. I would like to know ahead of time what the perminute charge is for telephone but can't find that information out. I have found the internet use charges though.

WillTravel - we will plan to look for a phone card but I don't think there are any cheap ones. Again, I think like .99/minute. I guess there have been some major phone regulations between Mexico and U.S. that has cause all telphone service to be very expensive. In the not too distant past(maybe 1 yr. ago) that wasn't the case and with Verizon wireless you used to be able to do a switch on yor plan for no roaming. It is all different now since the types of networks they use are now different. I don't believe you can text any longer. He is going to check into Skype - his company made him take it off his computer recently but if it works from Mexico he can put it back on while we ae away.

If there are no real problems that arise with work while away then the phone usage may be just a couple of hours total but if issues arise that need to be dealt with it could be many hours, multiple times throughout the week.

We read somewhere that T- Mobile since they use SIM cards, can work in Mexico. You get a phone "unlocked" and then buy a Mexcio SIM card so we are trying to find out if there is any savings on a Mexico SIM card per minute and then we can consider talking my sister - in law into switching phones with us for a week. The problem with this option is I was told you can't count on cell coverage - don't know where you will have it and where you won't.

Does anyone know the best, cheapest and most reliable calling card in Mexico for calling the U.S.?
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 05:12 AM
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no tsure how it works but my friends just went to cabo and used vonage. they were able to make unlimited calls to states for a flat rate (which i do not know).
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 07:28 AM
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One alternative is to go to a bar that provides FREE phone calls to the US (Vonage). Two of these are Cafe Roma and Que?Pasa.
PVNet across the road from your hotel will, I'm sure, have an internet phone service.
LADATEL phone cards, for any public phone, are 5 pesos a min. to the US.
If you do the cell phone route, you'll be paying 14-18 pesos a min.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 07:49 AM
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Phone cards are OK and can easily be bought. The problem with phone cards is then you are out using a public telephone somewhere, often on the street, which hardly seems appropriate for doing business. You can't use them from a hotel (as far as I know) and using the hotel telephones directly can be VERY expensive.

While I can't tell you the exact cost, I think long distance service from an internet cafe will be a cost-effective way to take care of this.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 08:21 AM
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As others have said, using the phone service from an internet cafe is probably your best bet. I'm not sure of the exact charges, but they are affordable, and most cafes offer private booths for phone calls. Ladatel cards are very cheap, but need to be used on pay phones, often in very noisy locations. As far as I know, you cannot use phone cards from your hotel room, and calling from your hotel room leads to ruinous charges.

My husband has unlocked his T-mobile phone for use in Mexico with varying results. Service was not always available, and as far as I remember it was pretty expensive--not as expensive as using the hotel phone, but more than an internet cafe, but it was the most convenient option.

You are right to be concerned if your phone usage might be "many hours, multiple times a week."
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 06:48 PM
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I am currently at Los Cuartro Vientos, a tiny Inn (12 rooms) high in the PV hills on my computer with FREE wireless. At many phone Casitas you can call the states for as little as 3 pesos per minute OR by a $30 dollar International calling card at Costco that will allow you 480 minutes from PV to any where in the US. Mexico is NOT the third world but a modern technologically smart country.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 08:01 PM
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I want to thank everyone for their comments. My husband and I decided tonight to cancel our trip. Going with the amount of stress he would have about staying in touch would not make for a relaxing vacation and the risks were too large from a business perspective. He learned the lesson that he cannot take time off, particulary out of the country weeks leading up to a holiday.

I am very dissapointed but we are looking forward to future travel plans. I spent a great deal of the evening dealing with the airlines and RCI regarding refunds and it has been worked out to my satisfaction.

After all of my research about PV, I hope to make it their some day. Again, thank you all for taking the time to answer my post.
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Old Dec 4th, 2007, 07:31 AM
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Skype as above is the way to go assuming you are going to bring a Laptop. Get it set up at home, buy some Skype credit so you can connect with phones as well as computers and you will be ready to go. I use this to conduct meetings with people in Oxaaca regularily. The best phone card for ease of use, I think, is Ladatel. But it still is around .40 per minute to the U.S. There are much cheaper ones, .5 per minute but your need to be able to speak Spanish to get their operator to dial the call for you. You can probably count on your hotels phone rate being very high.
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Old Dec 4th, 2007, 11:38 AM
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I'm sorry you felt you had to cancel your trip. When you eventually (hopefully) make it to Puerto Vallarta, you'll see it most likely would not have been a problem at all. You would simply find the closest internet cafe and set up shop as a regular there each day.


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Old Dec 4th, 2007, 06:05 PM
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Thanks suze. As it turns out my 82 yr. old mother was admitted to the hospital and my sister and I are faced with some very difficult decisions regarding her ability to move back to the assisted living facility with my almost 90 yr. old Dad. I tend to trust things happen for a reason; I can't imagine how difficult it would have been to leave with this medical crisis going on.

Thanks for all of your great suggestions. Your love and enthusiasm for PV was a huge contribution to my excitement about going.
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