Telephone, Internet, Mail Services
Local Land Line Telephone Service is a Telmex monopoly in the Ajijic, Lake Chapala area.
It’s usually reliable, but expensive for International calling.
It’s much less expensive to use one of the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services below, or a cell phone (where it can even be free) to call the United States or Canada. Click on the logo to be taken to the Telmex web site.
Long Distance Calling
My clients are welcome to use the Vonage telephone in my office to call home when visiting here in Ajijic.
As in the rest of North America, there exist a vast array of cell phone plans & services here at Lake Chapala. Of course, Telcel (a division of Telmex) is the most popular; however, AT&T recently moved to the area to provide some better competition to Telcel. There are a few other providers–IUSACell, MovieStar, etc.– but the main providers are Telcel and now AT&T.
You have a choice of buying minutes with a card, or having your phone recharged at several convenient locations around the area, or you can purchase one of many different plans where you pay a monthly amount for–in some cases–unlimited minutes, as well as options for calling the US and Canada free of long-distance charges.
Some plans include the rental of the device, but you may also provide your own phone.
The link above will take you to a Telcel site that has been translated into English; though, it may be somewhat difficult to understand because at the time they’re struggling to update their plans to be more competitive due to the entrance of AT&T into their formerly-near-exclusive market. Obviously, the other link goes to the AT&T site.
There are two Internet service providers — Lagunanet and Prodigy/Infinitum through Telmex (of course). Dial-up, DSL High Speed and Wireless are all available options. Click on the logos to be taken to their web sites.
If you want to use the Internet only occasionally (for email, etc.), there are numerous Internet cafes in the area.
Most will help you set up an email address and give you some tutoring on its use.
Public Fax Machines
There are several places (including IShop & Mail) where you can send and receive faxes to the US or Canada at about $1.50 US. I am happy to provide this service for free from my office.
Mexican mail is rather slow and can be unreliable. Typically, mail sent through the Mexican Postal Service (Correos de Mexico) arrives at a US or Canadian address in two weeks to one month, but there are numerous horror stories of four to six month delays … or never. Currently, there is a major effort to upgrade the Mexican postal system, including new uniforms, etc. Click on the photo to be taken to their web site.
Probably the most popular option for sending and receiving mail in the Ajijic, Lake Chapala area is one of the commercial mail services (Handy Mail, IShop/I Box, or Sol y Luna).
They courier the mail from here on a daily or weekly basis to the US and Canada.
For receiving mail, they will set up a US address to which you can have mail sent, and then they ship it here to your private box at their facilities. The prices are reasonable. Click on the logos to be directed to their web sites.
The Lake Chapala Society offers free courier services for members only, in which volunteers heading north take a bag of regular-size letters with postage affixed, and drop them in a mailbox after crossing the border. There are usually one or two volunteers per week.
Most of the major overnight services are available here, too … including FedEx, UPS, and DHL.
Receiving Packages & International Shopping
- Personal or DIY shopping & shipping from dozens of your favorite web sites
- Office services, i.e. computer rental; Internet & Email service; Fax; Document Scanning; Color & BW copies; Office Supplies
- Import all items arriving in your Laredo IBox
- National and International Shipping
- Packaging services & supplies
There are also a few other options for receiving International packages. For example, Amazon.com is now in Mexico. There are “prohibited items” like medications, vitamins, firearms, etc., but otherwise, it seems to be similar to Amazon.com in the U.S., but prices of imported items will reflect the 16% importation tax, and will take longer to receive.
Local providers for importing packages to/from the U.S.
There are also a couple of gentlemen here who provide a free shipping address in Texas, where you can send boxes to be brought down to Lakeside. Hugh Roberts of ZIPP, and Alex Peterson of Rapid Pack.
They make trips to/from Texas on a regular basis; all items
are subject to the 16% IVA (Mexican Importation Tax).
You can contact them for information on their policies, prices & services by clicking on the respective logos. As with Amazon, there are “prohibited items.”
Alex Peterson also offers driving services in the Lake Chapala & Ajijic area for:
•Day Trips •Airport Runs •Excursions