Wanna Talk in the Caribbean?

Even cellular telephones work on many Caribbean islands

Photo credit: © Uros Kovandzic | Dreamstime.com

As a general rule, the islands of the Caribbean provide modern, high-quality telephone services. While this standard does not apply to more remote, underdeveloped islands, virtually all popular Caribbean destinations are equipped with state-of-the-art telephone services.

If you are traveling for business, you'll find many convenient business calling options--from hotel services to business service centers. There are a variety of ways to connect in the Caribbean, but you may find the easiest way to make phone calls is with a prepaid phone card. Most hotels and souvenir shops sell phone cards in various denominations.

Long-Distance Calling

Most hotels in the Caribbean provide direct-dial phones in their guest rooms. Normally, it is possible to connect using a calling card provided by a long-distance service provider such as AT&T, IDT, or Verizon, but some hotels block these sorts of calls -- or they may impose a substantial surcharge on your room bill. If you find that you cannot connect simply by dialing from your room, ask the hotel operator to connect you -- but ask what they will charge you for this service. If the hotel operator cannot do this, ask to be connected to an international operator. Note that overseas calls from hotel phones may cost quite a bit more than usual, particularly if you use the hotel's long distance service. Even if you use a phone card provider, if you place your calls from your hotel room your hotel may still charge you for making the connection. Sometimes the surcharge is rather steep, and other times it is quite reasonable, and well worth the convenience of calling directly from your room. In general, the least costly option is to place your overseas long-distance calls using a prepaid calling card that was specifically purchased for this purpose -- and to place your calls at a pay phone.

Pay Phones

The Caribbean has pay phones dispersed conveniently throughout the islands, but some islands operate independent pay phone systems that do not accept coins. For instance, on the French islands, individuals who wish to use a payphone must first attain a télécarte. Other pay phones only function through the use of a prepaid phone card.

Calling Codes

Each island has in the Caribbean has its own area code. When calling outside of the Caribbean, use the following country codes:

Country International Access Code
Australia 61
Canada 1
New Zealand 64
United Kingdom 44
United States 1

Cellular Telephones

There are a number of options now available to the typical cell-phone owner when traveling abroad. Perhaps the most common method of obtaining cellular service in the Caribbean is through an international service plan that most cell phone carriers offer their customers. This will, of course, cost an additional fee, and can be purchased as part of your general cell phone package, or on a month-to-month basis. Contact your provider for more information. Another option is renting a cell phone that is specifically linked to cellular service in the country you are planning to visit. A quick Internet search for cell phone rentals in the country you are visiting will direct you to providers and their rates.

Knowing your options will allow you to stay connected while you are vacationing in the Caribbean.  Plan ahead, and a daily phone call to your loved ones back home will not be out of the question.


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