Tipping in Mexico: When and How Much to Tip?
Tipping always varies depending on your destination. For example, tipping in Spain isn’t mandatory, but is highly appreciated and is a welcoming gesture. Tipping is more common in the US and is usually expected. However, in Japan and Korea, tipping is rare and you may risk insulting your bartender or housekeeper if you leave a tip. Tipping in Mexico is optional, but highly appreciated.
This is why it’s always important to learn more about the tipping etiquette of the place you’ll be visiting. You may not be aware, but your server might end up resenting you for not leaving a tip, or you might offend someone by leaving one at your table.
In Mexico, tipping is almost a standard practice. While tipping is optional, they appreciate small tokens of gratitude in exchange for good service. Most employees earn little and they usually rely on tips and gratuities for additional income.
If you are visiting Cancun, or any Mexican city for vacation, read further to find out how much to tip housekeeping, how much to tip for pedicure, and more.
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Is it Better to Tip in USD or Pesos?
Although there are many casa de cambio (currency exchange shops) around Mexico, it is best to leave your tip in pesos. That way, employees won’t have to make time heading to the bank or money changers. Tipping in USD is also acceptable, but it is more practical and efficient for the recipient to tip in pesos. Other tourists give tips in USD because it is the stronger currency, but it varies for every tourist.
Take note that if you will tip in Spanish Euros, USD, or any other foreign currency, it is better to give bills rather than coins. Non-peso tips in bills should also be free from any tears, markings, and should be in a good condition so it can be exchanged for pesos without hassle.
Guide to Tipping in Mexico
Tipping in Mexico Hotels and Resorts
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Hotel tipping in Mexico is similar to tipping in most countries. There are hotels that will have envelopes for you to place your tip. If there’s none, make sure to leave your tip in an obvious spot, or you may also add a simple “thank you” note. That way, they know that there is something for them to receive.
If you’re not sure how much to tip housekeeping, 20 to 50 pesos per day is the common tip. It is also recommended to give a higher tip if your room is messy. Since hotel housekeepers work on rotation, give your tip on a daily basis instead of giving it on the last day of your stay. You can normally find the name of your housekeeper in a card inside or outside of your room. You can also ask your housekeeper if they are on duty on your last day so you can give your gratuity in person.
You can also tip your bellboy for helping you bring your bags and luggage to your room. About 20 to 50 pesos per bag is the normal tip, but tip higher especially if they had to climb several flights of stairs or if it was raining outside.
Some restaurants in hotels and resorts have a “shared tip” policy where all tips collected are shared among all staff. In some hotels however, a staff keeps all tips collected. If your hotel concierge is friendly and helpful, you can show your appreciation and tip about 50 to 150 pesos. These gratuities are not just additional means of income, but they can motivate them to offer better services.
When tipping at all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, be sure to check if they accept gratuities. Most of these establishments include tips as service charge, while others don’t. There are some hotels which don’t accept tips and offering to give one might put them in an uncomfortable situation. It’s best to confirm an all-inclusive resort’s tipping policy from your travel agent or the staff themselves if they are allowed to accept tips.
Tipping in Mexico Restaurants and Bars
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Tipping in Mexico restaurants usually ranges from 10% to 15% of your total bill, depending on the service and the food. Like waiters and other restaurant staff in the USA, staff in Mexico are paid little, thus they rely on tips and gratuities as an additional source of income.
Tipping etiquette also depends on how many of you are eating. For a party of five guests, the minimum tip given should be at 10%. If you are more than 5 in your group, leave a 15% tip or more depending on the service.
Most restaurants expect tips from 10% to 15% of the total bill. If the service is highly commendable, leave a tip of 15%, or even 20%. Take note that if your bill includes a service charge (locally known as propina), there’s no need to leave a tip. This is automatically included in every bill, so make sure to check this to avoid over tipping.
Fast Food Restaurants
Tipping in Mexico fast-food restaurants isn’t necessary; if a server doesn’t come to your table, you don’t need to leave a tip.
At small eateries (also known as cantinas), a 10% tip is customary. You can also find the best budget meals at cantinas like this so it’s important to leave a tip. Do avoid tipping too much in order to fit in.
It is also not customary to tip at street food stalls in Mexico. However, if the food and service are exceptional, you may opt to leave a few pesos or smaller bills.
Most bars in Mexico charge you either per round or at the end. If you are charged per round, you can leave 20 to 40 pesos as a tip. However. if you are running a tab, leave about 15% to 20% of the total bill as a tip.
If you are at a beach club like Mandala Beach Club or Kool Beach Club, gratuity or service charge may be added to your bill. Make sure to double-check your bill if a service charge has been added. If not, you can just leave a 15% tip.
Before leaving a tip, make sure to check the bill if a service charge has been included. Some high-end restaurants and bars have this included in the bill. This is a common practice in some places in Mexico, Guatemala, and even in the Philippines. People sometimes end up tipping twice because they didn’t notice that a tip has already been charged in their bill.
Tipping for Taxi Drivers in Mexico
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Tipping taxi drivers in Mexico isn’t a common practice. If your driver assists you with your luggage, a 10-peso tip per suitcase is highly appreciated. This applies to airport shuttle operators as well. If your taxi driver speaks a little English and helps you with local recommendations, or waits for you while you shop, you can add an extra 10 pesos on your tip.
Tipping for Tour Guides in Mexico
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Whether you are visiting the Mayan Ruins in Cancun or joining a tour to Puerto Escondido, it is a common practice to tip tour guides in Mexico. Tipping in Mexico depends on the duration of your tour and how helpful your guide is.
For a full-day tour with more than 20 participants, each person should tip at least 90 pesos. For a group with fewer people, a 15% to 20% tip can be given. If you are taking a half-day tour, leave a tip of about 20 to 50 pesos depending on your guide or driver.
It is customary to tip both your guide and driver if you go on a private tour around the best spots in Chiapas, Mexico. If you only have a driver that takes you from one place to another, you can just tip him. You may choose not to tip him if he isn’t the best driver around, of course.
Tipping for Other Services in Mexico
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In grocery stores and supermarkets in Mexico, it is common for teens or seniors to help you bag your purchase. Most of the time, these workers don’t receive payments other than the tips they are given so they end up working only for the tips. You can tip them 5 pesos for helping with packing and another 5 or 10 pesos if they take the bags to your car.
Tourists can come across street musicians or buskers on a day out. These musicians also frequent restaurants and cafes where they play a few songs then return and ask for tips. For these, you can leave 5 to 10 pesos, or whatever amount you feel comfortable with. The same amount applies for buskers; a small donation will be appreciated.
All-inclusive hotels also have in-house musicians who are paid full-time, and can help you relax and unwind as you enjoy the dinner buffet. If you feel generous, you can leave a tip of 90 pesos in the tip jar. Make sure not to leave foreign coins since this cannot be converted to their local currency.
When it comes to tipping in Mexico for hairdressers, tip them as how you would at home. If you like your new style, you can leave a 10% of 15% tip to the stylist.
Spa Service Providers
It is customary to leave a 15% or 20% tip for spa service providers such as massage therapists, aestheticians, and manicurists. You can skip leaving a tip if the service is provided by the owner of the establishment, or a nurse or doctor. If you’re not sure how much to tip for pedicure and manicure services, a 10% tip is considered the minimum amount.
Although some spas automatically charge the service fee, you can normally leave your tip in an envelope at the reception area. Some spas in resorts also include the service charge in the receipt, so it’s important to check your bill before leaving a tip.
Car Park Attendants
Sometimes when you park along the street, there will be people guiding you in parking and heading out. They also offer extra services like washing your car after you have left; normally your windshield wipers will be up as a sign that they have washed your windows. For these types of services, you can tip 10 to 20 pesos. Take note that in Mexico City, people may charge a higher price so it’s better to ask around how much you can tip before leaving your car.
Giving tips is a general form of acknowledgement or appreciation of someone’s good work. Although these forms of gratuities are highly appreciated, these should also be deserved and should be considered as a reward for good service. If the service isn’t up to standard, tip less.
Now that you are aware of the tipping etiquette including hotel tipping and restaurant tipping in Mexico, you don’t have to worry about overtipping, or not giving any tip at all. Since most workers rely on tips to get by, it can serve as a reward of their hard work as well as a motivation to give better service.