Reading and Writing Telephone Numbers
Since the number of personal phone lines was limited until relatively recently, fewer digits were required for predominantly pay phones. Ex: 5 23 45. As the number of subscribers increased, Telmex would just add another digit to enable the creation of thousand of new numbers. Since this all happened relatively recently, you will see numbers written many different ways, reflecting the gradual increase in the number of digits required for that phone. Ex:22 6 23 45 Take care: Many locals will give you this number saying only: 6 23 45 assuming you know both the area code (322) and that the preceding two numbers will be 22 i.e.: (322) 226-2345
So this explains why public telephones are found on almost every corner and, for security reasons, do not accept money. Nor do they accept foreign phone cards. or credit cards. Instead, you must purchase a Ladatel phone card, in whatever denomination you chose (30 peso, 50 peso, or with a 100 peso you get 20 bonus pesos worth of calls) As such, relatively few people have a home computer or internet connection. Internet cafes are numerous and sprouting up everywhere.
Enter the Cell Phone
With the advent of cell phones, Telmex could now drop any expensive plans for expanding home, land-line service. Instead, with their monopoly status, they installed cell phone transmitter towers EVERYWHERE providing coverage that would make AT&T envious. To make this new technology more accessible to Mexicans of modest income, the telephones are relatively cheap, and the cost of a call is borne by the person who places the call. Also, to place a call to a cell phone in Mexico, you must first dial 044, and then the area code, then the cell phone number, and YOU will pay for the call even if you are calling from your home phone. To activate your own or Mexican cell phone, simply purchase a card with a preset value of telephone services. The card vendor will program you cell phone to access the preset value of services you purchased. When the card runs out, so does your service, until you buy another card and have it reactivated. If you wait too long you will lose the use of that particular telephone number as your personal cell phone number.
Making Local Telephone Calls
There are basically two ways to make a local call - from your hotel room, or from a phone booth. Be aware that many hotels charge a hefty service charge for use of the telephone. You may also be required to make a deposit or leave a credit card voucher with the cashier to be able to make calls from your room.
The alternative is to purchase a Ladatel phone card for local calls. They are prepaid, smart cards and are available in a number of denominations up to 100 pesos. You insert the card into the slot in the phone and follow the directions on the screen. For your convenience, there is a button on the phone that will change the language of the instructions from Spanish to English or French or one of several other languages. While you are talking, the screen will display the amount of time and money left on your card. Telephones that take Ladatel phone cards are all over Vallarta and by purchasing a 50 peso phone card, you needn't worry about making local/long distance phone calls or carrying around pockets full of change.
Making Telephone Calls to USA & Canada and Elsewhere
To call the USA or Canada, simply dial 001 – wait for the dial tone, then the area code and number.
To call elsewhere in the world, dial 00 - wait for the dial tone, then the country code, then the city code and the number.
To call Puerto Vallarta from the United States dial 011 wait for the dial tone, then 52 then the area code (322) and then 7-digit telephone number.