Xcalak Tips: Money, Telephone, Internet

There are no banks or ATM machines in Xcalak. While some merchants will take dollars, you’ll get somewhat less than the official exchange rate. A few of the hotels but none of the merchants will accept credit cards.

As a result, it would be best to plan on changing dollars into pesos before you arrive in Xcalak. There are money changers in the Cancun airport but you won’t get a very good rate there either.

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A better option for those who plan to do your grocery shopping on the drive down at the Chedraui in Playa del Carmen is to change money there or take advantage of the ATM machine located near the entry and withdraw funds from your home bank account.

You will also pass a bank in Tulum and another at the gas station in Felipe Carrillo Puerto on your drive down Highway 307.  This will  be the last ATM machine you will pass on your way to Xcalak.

With only a very few exceptions, most of the few telephones in Xcalak are cellular phones with directional antennas pointed at the nearest tower hooked into service for Chetumal. There used to be an American in town who offered a fax and telephone service but he recently passed away. His wife (who does not speak English) still offers the service but is not always open. If you want to try it anyway, the number there from the U.S. is 011 52 983 831-0062.

Most of the hotels have cell phones and some access to the internet and may be willing to allow guests to make use of it. The only public place we know of where you can check your email in Xcalak is the restaurant/bar Xcalak Caribe. Fortunately, Alan has some pretty mean computer skills and can usually get his connection up and running.

Most local communication among residents and tourists is done via VHF marine radio and most of the rental houses will have one. It should be left tuned to channel 16. Speak in a normal tone, identify yourself and call for whomever you are trying to reach. For example to reach the XTC Dive shop, you might call out: “Joe the Tourist calling XTC. Come in XTC.” You may have to repeat the call several times. Once you make contact, you will agree to switch to another channel so that channel 16 remains available for others to use. Once you’ve finished the conversation, you should switch back to channel 16.