Communications

Internet

DSL high-speed Internet (though not always the "high speed" you may be accustomed to) is available in most populated areas, and cable Internet is offered in Belize City, Placencia, San Pedro, and elsewhere. Relatively high-speed cell Internet is becoming popular around the country. In more remote areas, there's the option of satellite Internet. Most offices of the main phone company, Belize Telemedia Ltd., have computers with DSL Internet connections (BZ$10 per half hour). BTL also has Wi-Fi hotspots at the international airport (free) and elsewhere. Most hotels, lodges, and inns now offer free Wi-Fi access for guests.

Cybercafes and Internet Cafés

Cybercafes are now common in Belize City and in most towns and resort areas all over Belize. The problem is that these lightly capitalized businesses frequently are here today and gone tomorrow. Your best bet is just to scout the area where you're staying for an open Internet café.

Internet at Accommodations

Nearly all mid-level and upscale hotels, and many budget ones, now provide Internet access, typically Wi-Fi, for your laptop, tablet computer, or Internet-enabled smartphone, and also a computer or two in the office or lobby, at no charge. In towns and resort areas this is usually DSL, but with speeds of only 2 to 4 Mbps down or less. At jungle lodges and other remote properties, the access is usually via a satellite system, with very limited bandwidth. At these lodges you’re usually asked to use the Internet for email only and not to upload or download large files. If you're traveling with a laptop in Belize, be aware that the power supply may be uneven, and most hotels don't have built-in current stabilizers. At remote lodges power is often from fluctuating generators. Bring a surge protector and your own memory sticks to save your work.

Phones

Calling Within Belize

All Belizean telephone numbers are seven digits. (Guatemalan numbers, with a few exceptions, are eight digits.) The first digit in Belize is the district area code (2 for Belize District, 3 Orange Walk, 4 Corozal, 5 Stann Creek, 6 for mobile phones, 7 Toledo, and 8 Cayo). The second indicates the type of service (0 for prepaid services, 1 for mobile, 2 for regular landline). The final five digits are the phone number. Thus, a number such as 22x/xxxx means that it's a landline phone in Belize District.

To dial any number in Belize, local or long distance, you must dial all seven digits. When dialing from outside Belize, dial the international access code (011), the country code for Belize (501), and all seven digits. When calling from the United States, for example, dial 011/501–xxx–xxxx.

Belize has a good nationwide phone system. The largest telcom company in Belize is Belize Telemedia Ltd., which offers the only landline service in Belize and is dominant in mobile. There are BTL pay phones on the street in the main towns, but they only take prepaid phone cards, not coins. Phone cards are available in shops at BTL offices. Dial 113 for directory assistance and 115 for operator assistance. You can get phone numbers in Belize on the website of BTL.

Calling Outside Belize

To call the United States, dial 001 or 10–10–199 plus the area code and number. BTL blocks many foreign calling cards and also attempts to block even computer-to-computer calls on Skype and similar services.

Resources

Belize Telemedia Ltd.. 800/225–5285; 223/2368; www.belizetelemedia.net.

Mobile Phones

If you have a multiband cell or smartphone and your service provider uses the GSM 850/1900 digital system (like AT&T) you can use your phone in Belize on the DigiCell system of Belize Telemedia Ltd. You'll need a new SIM card (your provider may have to unlock your phone for you to use a different SIM card), and a prepaid phone card to pay for outgoing calls (incoming cell calls are free). Both items and also rental cell phones are available at the BTL office at the international airport (near the rental car kiosks), at some BTL offices, and at a number of private shops and stores around Belize that are DigiCell distributors.

Another option is a BTL competitor, Smart!, which operates a nationwide cell-phone system that uses CDMA technology (like Verizon in the United States). At one of its offices—in Belize City, Corozal Town, Orange Walk Town, Belmopan City, San Ignacio, San Pedro, or Benque Viejo—you can reprogram your unlocked 800 MHz or 850 MHz CDMA phone for use in Belize. There's an activation fee, and you'll need to purchase a prepaid plan with per-minute rates for outgoing calls; incoming calls, text messages, and voice mail are free.

You may also be able to activate your own cellular smartphone for use in Belize. Check with your service provider, but be aware that international roaming charges are high.

Contacts

BTL International Airport Office. The BTL office at the international airport rents cell phones and sells phone cards and SIM chips for GSM cell phones to use in Belize. Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport, Ladyville, Belize District. 225/4162; 800/225–5285; www.belizetelemedia.net.

Smart!. Besides this Belize City location, Smart! also has other offices around Belize where you can purchase a cell phone or have your CDMA phone activated to work with a local number in Belize. Mile 2.5 Goldson Hwy., formerly Northern Hwy., Northern Suburbs, Belize City, Belize District. 280/1000; www.smart-bz.com.

Verizon Wireless. 800/922-0204; www.verizonwireless.com.

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