17 Mar 2018 A Guide to Tipping In Mexico | Who To Tip & How Much
Understanding when and where to tip in Mexico can sometimes be difficult, especially if it’s your first trip. We are Americans so we are no strangers to tipping but we learned a thing or two about tipping in Mexico after living in Playa del Carmen for 6 months. We’ve put together this guide to tipping in Mexico to help you know who to tip and how much to tip.
Tipping In Mexico Guide
We have tried to cover all case in which visitor may run into while traveling to Mexico and have services that might require a tip. In Mexico, tips are always appreciated and sometimes very much expected. You can tip in major currencies like US Dollars, Euros, and Canadian Dollars. However, it is best to tip in Mexican Pesos or US Dollars. These are the easiest for the service providers to use and exchange.
Tipping at All-Inclusive Resorts in Mexico
If you aren’t staying at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico skip this section as it won’t apply to you. Tipping at all-inclusive resorts varies by resorts. There are some all-inclusive resorts will a no tipping policy, where if you try to tip the employees will not pick it up but there are some resorts there is a no tipping policy but staff will accept them. If you’re staying at a tipping policy you will know and it’s best to have some dollar bills with you as you’ll find yourself getting your drinks faster this way, but this is a prime example of why some resorts don’t allow it they want all guests treated the same. The Riu Resorts you’ll definitely see people tipping but places like Sandals Jamaica it’s a strict no tipping resort. When we stayed at the Grand Palladium we rarely saw tipping at restaurants.
- Restaurants: $1-3 per meal per table
- Bartender: $1 per round of drinks
- Bellmen: $1-3 per bag / 20-50 pesos
- Housekeeper: $1-5 a day, if you have special minibar requests tip extra
- Pool Boys: $5 if they save you prime chairs by the pool
- Concierge: $5 if they get you into a fully booked specialty restaurant
What to tip at a Restaurant in Mexico?
The amount of tip will depend on the type of restaurant. Some places tips are expected, and others you might offend if you leave a tip. Here is how to navigate the tipping customs at restaurants in Mexico.
Sit Down Restaurant
Waiters in Mexico get paid very similar to those in the USA – very little. Waiters on average make $2.13 an hour and depend on tips. We try and tip 10-15% depending on how large the bill was and the quality of service. We would always suggest tipping a minimum of 10% at restaurants in Mexico. Make sure to check the bill and see a service charge for gratuity was included, several higher end restaurants will include this on the bill.
- 150-170 peso bill= $2 or 30 pesos
- 400 peso bill= $3 or 50 pesos
Relate Article: Best Restaurants in Playa del Carmen
Some of the best food you’ll find in Mexico comes from small casual eateries full of local people. At these types of places, a 10% tip is customary. Avoid over tipping in order to fit in.
Suggested Tip: 10% of the total bill
Street Food Vendor
Street tacos in Mexico are some of the best and you’ll get a taste of authentic Mexican tacos. It is not customary to tip a street food vendor in Mexico. Grab a plate of cheap tacos and sit on plastic chairs or the curb and chill with the locals. Make sure to have pesos and smaller bills are best.
Suggested Tip: None or round up and leave a few pesos
Fast Food Restaurants/Coffee Shops
No need to tip at fast food restaurants or coffee shops like McDonald’s, Starbucks, KFC, etc. If a server doesn’t come to your table no need to leave a tip.
Suggested Tip: None
Tipping at Bars in Mexico
How much to tip in Mexico at bars will varies bar to bar. If you’re at a beach club in Playa del Carmen or sit down place, gratuity will most likely be added to your bill and there is no reason to add an additional tip. We always suggest tipping on the first drink around 10 pesos and then see how the service is when you go back. If you find yourself sitting at the bar chatting with the bartender for a few hours and you’ve had a few rounds leave 50 pesos or so.
Suggested Tip: $1 or 10 pesos for 2 beers
What to tip Taxi Drivers in Mexico
We personally try and avoid taking taxis in Mexico, as they are typically a hassle to get a reasonable price. If you think you got a good deal then a small tip is fine, but just a small tip 10-20 pesos for a short ride. If you think you got a terrible price try and have the exact change. Avoid over tipping taxi drivers as this will lead to higher prices.
Suggested Tip: 90 pesos fare= 10 pesos tip
Tipping Bell Boys in Mexico
If you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico or nicer hotel they will most likely send the bags to your room. If you’re there to tip great, if not don’t sweat it. When deciding what to tip we always suggest factor in if there were several flights of stairs the bell boy carried your bag or was it raining out, etc. You
Suggested Tip: $1-3 per bag / 20-50 pesos
Tipping Housekeeping in Mexico Hotels
Tipping housekeepers in Mexico hotels is just like any other place. Some hotels will have an envelope for you to place a tip, if there is one then the housekeepers expect tips. If there is no envelope make sure to leave the money in an obvious spot for them or leave a note saying “Thank You” that way they know the money was left for them to take. You could leave your tip daily or at the beginning of the trip but if you wait to tip to the end you possibly would have gotten better service during your trip had the housekeeper known about the tip.
- 1 night stay: $1-3 or 20-50 pesos
- 7 night stay: $10-15 or 200-300 pesos
Related Article: Why We Love Elements Playa del Carmen
Tipping at the Spa in Mexico
If you just had an amazing massage and left feeling like $1,000,000, wouldn’t you feel guilty not tipping something? I would! If you are staying at resort check the bill and see if gratuity was added, and if it was it’s really up to you to leave extra. I would also tip at least 10% but up to 20% if the massage was amazing and they listened to the areas & pressure I wanted.
Suggested Tip: 500 pesos bill= 50-100 pesos tip
What to tip a Tour Guide in Mexico
If you hire or a guide at Tulum Ruins or go on a cenote snorkeling trip you should always tip the guide and even the driver. If you had an amazing day and your tour guide was full of useful information you should thank him with a tip. If your trip just has someone that drives you from one attraction to another and gives you a ticket, etc. then just tip the driver. Now if the driver drives like a madman and you ask him to slow down and he doesn’t then I wouldn’t tip him.
Suggested Tip Guide: $5-10 per person for a full day tour
Suggested Tip Driver: $1-3 per person
Dining out in Mexico it’s very common for local musicians and mariachi bands to come in and play. After a song or two, they will walk around with a hat/cup for you to place a tip. We typically leave a little something or more if they were really good. The mariachi bands will sometimes come over to your table and you can say no thank you but if you let them play they will expect a tip.
Suggested Tip: 5-20 pesos for playing to the general restaurant
Suggested Tip: 20-50 pesos for a Mariachi band playing a song at your table
Gas Station Attendant
We always head off on some Playa del Carmen day trips and rent our cars so we can explore on our own. Before returning the rental car you’ll need to fill up with gas. In Mexico, gas stations are full service so they’ll pump your gas for you as well as wash the windows. When filling up we always suggest having the exact change and then a few pesos for a tip. It’s another one of those odd places where you tip in Mexico that we haven’t seen other places in the world.
Watch out for scams – Make sure to read this article Renting a car in Mexico so you know about potential gas station scams in Mexico.
Suggested Tip: 10 pesos or leftover coins from your purchase
This is a strange one to get used to. After living in Playa del Carmen for a few weeks we noticed the locals would tip the person who bagged their groceries at Walmart or Mega. We later learned that most of these people were not employees but they worked for tips. Everyone tips them, even the locals who don’t have a lot to spare. We typically gave them whatever small coins we had, it would range from 5 pesos to 20 if we had a bunch of bags.
Suggested Tip: 5-20 pesos per purchase depending on the number of bags
If you’re having a destination wedding in Mexico or living there as an expat you’ll find yourself at the hair salon in Mexico. Salons in Mexico are really reasonably priced, on average leave a 10% tip to the stylist.
Suggested Tip: 200 pesos= 20 pesos tip