St. Barts is linked to the Guadeloupe telephone system. To call St. Barts from home, dial your country's international access code, then 590 (the country code for Guadeloupe), and then the city code and number. To call home from St. Barts, first dial 00 and then the country code (U.S. or Canada 1, U.K. 44, Ireland 353, Australia 61, New Zealand 64), followed by the area code and number.
The island has a handful of public telephones for making local and international calls that use Têlécartes; these prepaid phone cards are sold at the gas station across from the airport and at post offices in Gustavia and St. Jean. To reach an AT&T operator from anywhere on St. Barts, dial tel. 0800-99-00-11. To reach MCI, dial tel. 0800-99-00-19, and to reach Sprint, dial tel. 0800-99-00-87.
The three letters that define the islands' wireless capabilities are GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications), a big, seamless network that makes for easy cross-border cellphone use. If your cellphone is on a GSM system, and you have a world-capable multiband phone such as many Sony Ericsson, Motorola, or Samsung models, you can make and receive calls across the islands. Just call your wireless operator and ask for "international roaming" to be activated on your account.
For many, renting a phone on one of the islands is a good idea. You can rent a phone from any number of island sites, including kiosks at airports and at car-rental agencies. Mobile phone rentals are available from Friendly Island Cellphone Rentals (tel. 599/553-7368), in Simpson Bay, St. Maarten; they'll even deliver the phone to your resort or villa. On Anguilla, you can arrange a phone rental through your hotel or resort or directly from LIME (formerly Cable & Wireless Ltd.), Wallblake Road, the Valley (tel. 264/497-3100), or Digicel (tel. 264/498-3444), with its main office by the Public Library in the Valley. On St. Barts, Centre @lizés, rue de la République, Gustavia (tel. 590/298-989) is a full-service Internet cafe that also offers cellphone and laptop rentals.
Voice-Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
If you have Web access while traveling, you might consider a broadband-based telephone service (in technical terms, Voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP) such as Skype (www.skype.com) or Vonage (www.vonage.com), which allows you to make free international calls if you use their services from your laptop or in a cybercafe. For all the details on restrictions and availability, check the websites above for details.
Without Your Own Computer -- To find cybercafes on the islands, check www.cybercaptive.com and www.cybercafe.com.
With Your Own Computer -- More and more hotels, resorts, airports, cafes, and retailers are going Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity), becoming "hot spots" that offer free high-speed Wi-Fi access or charge a small fee for usage. Most laptops sold today have built-in wireless capability. To find public Wi-Fi hot spots on the islands, go to www.jiwire.com; its Hotspot Finder holds the world's largest directory of public wireless hotspots.
For dial-up access, most business-class hotels offer dataports for laptop modems.