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A Guide to Making Phone Calls & Dialing For Help in Mexico
When you are new to a country the first thing that can seem impossible is making phone calls. Even local calls can seem daunting because you are just not used to the phone system. Mexico is no different and can be tricky if you are new here and are not quite sure how to dial the phone to make a local or international call or what to do when you need help.
This guide will give you the basic information you need to be able to use the phone system in Mexico.
Mexico Country Code
In order for friends and family outside of Mexico to be able to reach you, it is important to know the country code. Mexico’s country code is 52. So when calling a Mexican phone number from outside Mexico, the caller should dial 011 + 52 + area code + phone number. If they are trying to reach a cell phone, they will need to add a 1 after the country code.
In Mexico, the three largest cities (Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey) have two digit area codes. Their phone numbers are eight digits. In the rest of the country, area codes are three digit and phone numbers are seven. It is important to know your city’s area code. In Merida, the area code is 999.
Area codes for Mexico’s three largest cities:
Mexico City 55
Long-distance calls from within Mexico
For national long-distance calls within Mexico, the code is 01 plus the area code and phone number. For international long-distance calls originating in Mexico, first dial 00, then the country code (for the U.S. and Canada the country code is 1, so you would dial 00 + 1 + area code + 7 digit number, for example). It is important if you are residing in Mexico to know the country codes you will be calling the most.
Calling Cell Phones
If you are within the area code of the Mexican cell phone number you wish to call, you should dial 044, then the area code, then the phone number. Keep in mind that calls to cell phones within Mexico cost more than making calls to landline phone numbers.
Outside of the area code that you’re dialing (but still within Mexico), you would first dial 045 and then the 10-digit phone number. To call a Mexican cell phone from outside the country you would dial as if to a landline but adding the 1 after the country code: 011-52-1 and then the area code and number.
Pay Phones and Phone Cards
Although pay phones are less common in Mexico, and elsewhere, you will still be able to find them if you look around. They offer an inexpensive way to contact home in an emergency. Many large stores will often have a pay phone near the public restrooms. Know where a few are because you never know when you may need one.
Phone cards, or tarjetas telefonicas, can be used at pay phones and can be bought at newsstands and in pharmacies in denominations of 30, 50 and 100 pesos. Public telephones in Mexico do not accept coins. Once again, having a phone card on hand may be a good idea.
Calling from a pay phone is the cheapest way to make a phone call though long-distance phone calls are more expensive from Mexico than from most other countries. Other options include calling from a business that has a telephone and fax service or from a hotel. Hotels will add a surcharge for these calls so they aren’t necessarily the best option.
Emergency and Useful Phone Numbers
Knowing what to do in an emergency in any country is crucial. You don’t need a phone card to dial a 3-digit emergency number from a pay phone. Mexico’s emergency number is the same as the United States and Canada, 911.
Other important numbers to know are:
- Directory assistance 040
- Tourist protection and information 01 800 903 9200 or 01 800 987 8224, from the U.S. and Canada 1 800 482 9232 or 1 800 401 3880
Knowing how to navigate the phone system in Mexico is an important way to stay connected. Knowing all options available to you in the event of an emergency is dire so take the time to learn how to make phone calls no matter where you are traveling.
- Replace 1-800 with 001-880.
- Replace 1-888 with 001-881.
- Replace 1-877 with 001-882.
- Replace 1-866 with 001-883.
- Replace 1-855 with 001-884.