Should you tip or not tip? How much do you tip? Tipping in Mexico is similar to that in the USA and much different at the same time.
Understanding when and where to tip in Mexico can sometimes be difficult, especially if it’s your first time in Mexico. 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.
The tipping etiquette in Mexico at restaurants and bars is similar to the USA, as the amount to tip is heavily based on good service.
We’ve put together this guide to tipping in Mexico to help you know who to tip and how much to tip.
Do you tip in Mexico? Yes, a standard tip for most service work in Mexico is 10%.
Tipping In Mexico Guide
We have tried to cover all cases that visitors 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 Dollars. These currencies are the easiest for the service providers to use and exchange. If you are using USD, give bills, not coins.
In most restaurants, bars, and spas where you pay with a credit card, you can add on gratuity to your credit card, or you can tip in cash.
The tip amount in Mexico isn’t always just a straight 15-20% like it is in the USA. If you are an American, like us, you never want to be considered a bad tipper and typically want to leave what is considered the standard tip for that type of service. Hence, you were searching for a gratuities guide. If you follow our below tipping guide, you’ll be totally fine.
Tipping at All-Inclusive Resorts in Mexico
If you aren’t staying at an all-inclusive resort, skip this section, as it won’t apply to you. Tipping at all-inclusive resorts varies by resort. There are some all-inclusive resorts with a no-tipping policy. If you tip, the employees will not pick it up. Some resorts have this policy, but staff will accept them.
If you’re staying at a resort that allows tipping staff, it’s best to have some dollar bills with you as you’ll find yourself getting your drinks faster this way. This is a prime example of why some hotels in Mexico don’t allow it. They want all guests treated the same.
- Restaurants: $1-3 per meal per table
- Bartender: $1 per round of drinks
- Bellmen: $1-3 per bag / 20-50 pesos per bag
- Housekeeper: $1-5 a day. If you have special minibar requests, give a little 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
*When looking for the best price and biggest selection of hotels, check prices on Booking.com. We’ve found they are the best option and have a great cancelation policy.*
Shuttle Bus Driver
If you’re staying at an all-inclusive, you’ll most likely have an arranged shuttle bus from the airport to the resort. If you’re flying into Cancun and looking at how to get to Tulum, a private shuttle is the easiest, fastest, and often the cheapest option.
To get the best price book online here. You won’t get the same price at the airport. They offer shuttles from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cancun hotel zone, Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, Akumal, Holbox, Puerto Moreles, and Puerto Aventuras.
Suggested Tip: 50-100 pesos= $2.50 -$5 per person
What to Tip at a Restaurant in Mexico?
The amount will depend on the type of restaurant. In some places, tips are expected; in others, you might offend if you leave a tip. Here is how to navigate the Mexico tipping standards at restaurants.
Sit Down Restaurant
Waiters in Mexico get paid very little, similar to those in the USA. Waiters, on average, make $2.13 an hour, and they depend on tips. We try and tip 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. Check the bill and see if a service charge for gratuity was included. Several higher-end restaurants will include this on the bill. If you are ever uncertain about a charge on a bill, ask the waiter or cashier.
On our most recent trip to Playa del Carmen in February 2024, at every sit-down restaurant, we could use our credit card (even our favorite restaurant in Playa del Carmen, El Fogon) and add on the tip (propina in Spanish). The waiter will either show you the machine’s screen or ask you how much percent you’d like to add for the tip. They’ll have preset options of 10/15/20%, or you can choose a specific amount. You can also leave dollars or pesos cash instead of adding it to your credit card.
- 150-170 peso bill= $2-3 or 30 pesos
- 400 peso bill= $3-4 or 60-80 pesos
- 1,000 peso bill =$8-10 or 150-200 pesos
- 2,000 peso bill = $15-20 or 250-350 pesos
Relate Article: Best Restaurants in Playa del Carmen
Most beach clubs in Mexico will have waiters who take your order and serve you at your beach chair. You should tip them like sit-down restaurant waiters or even better if they give you a good deal.
Beach clubs typically have a minimum consumption charge per person. For example, at Xpu Ha Beach at Serenity Camp Beach Club, it’s 500 pesos per person, which is easily consumed with a few drinks and lunch. Sometimes, places will say the seats are only for hotel guests because they are busy, and if they give you a chair, make sure to throw them an extra 100-300 pesos for a good tip.
Make sure a mandatory gratuity isn’t automatically charged, and on the bill or ticket price already, beach clubs in Tulum often add it.
- 1,000 pesos bill= $6-8 or 150 pesos
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 to fit in. When we visit the best tacos in Playa del Carmen restaurant El Fogon, we usually tip closer to 20% because we love it there and have come to know the wait staff.
Usually, our bill is around 500 pesos, so we will tip about $5-7 USD (100 pesos), which is still a crazy deal for the food.
Suggested Tip: 10-15% 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, 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 peso coins
Related Article: The Cheapest & Fastest Cozumel Ferry
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 vary from bar to bar. If you’re at a beach club in Playa del Carmen or a sit-down place, gratuity will most likely be added to your bill, and there is no reason to add an additional tip.
Good tipping usually results in faster and good service. We always suggest the first drink leave about 20 pesos and then see how the service is when you return. If you find yourself sitting at the bar chatting with the bartender for a few hours and you’ve had a few rounds leave 60 pesos or so.
Suggested: $1 or 10 pesos for two beers
What to Tip Taxi Drivers in Mexico
We try to avoid taking taxis in Mexico, as they are typically a hassle to get a reasonable price. If you think you got a good deal, a small amount is fine, but just a small tip of 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
They will most likely send the bags to your room if you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico or one of the nicer hotels in Mexico. If you’re there, great. If not, don’t sweat it.
When deciding what to give the bell boys, we always suggest factoring in if there were several flights of stairs, did the bell boy carried your bag, or if it was raining out, etc.
Tipping Housekeeping in Mexico Hotels
Tipping housekeepers in Mexico hotels are just like tipping at hotels anywhere else in the world if you ask me. 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 a tip daily or at the beginning of the trip, but if you wait until the end, you possibly would have gotten better service if the housekeeper had known you were a good tipper.
- 1 night stay: $1-5 or 20-100 pesos
- 7 night stay: $10-20 or 200-400 pesos
Related Article: Bacalar – Mexico’s Hidden Gem
Tipping Customs 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 the 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.
For example, my last spa visit was to Quinto Elemento Spa on CTM & 20, where I had a facial, a 1-hour full body massage, and a 30-minute foot massage. My total was $1,690 pesos, and I rounded up to $2,000 with a tip.
Suggested: 500 pesos bill= 50-100 pesos tip
What to Tip a Tour Guide in Mexico
When hiring a guide at Tulum Ruins or going on a cenote snorkeling trip, you should always tip the guide. For longer trips, the driver as well. 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 who drives you from one attraction to another and gives you a ticket, etc., then 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 give him anything.
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 are 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. On our last visit, we requested a specific song, and they told us a set price. It was way more than we were willing to pay, so we said no thank you.
Related Article: Things to do in Merida Mexico
Suggested: 10-20 pesos for playing to the general restaurant
Suggested: 60-100 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 a car to explore on our own. Before returning the rental car, you’ll need to fill it up with gas. In Mexico, gas stations are full-service stations, so they’ll pump your gas for you and wash your car 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 in 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: 15 pesos or leftover coins from your purchase
This is a strange one to get used to and one we had to include in our tipping guide because most people would never know about this. After living in Playa del Carmen, we noticed the locals tip the person who bagged their groceries at Walmart or Mega.
We later learned that most of these people were not employees but worked for tips. Everyone tips them, even the locals who don’t have much 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: 5-30 pesos per purchase, depending on the number of grocery bags
If you’re having a destination wedding in Mexico or living there as an ex-pat, you’ll find yourself at a hair salon in Mexico. Salons in Mexico are really reasonably priced. On average, leave a 10% tip to the stylist.
Suggested: 200 pesos bill = 20 pesos tip
You won’t see bathroom attendants all the time, but here and there, you’ll find them at attractions, restaurants/clubs, and a few hotels. If there is a tip jar and you can tell that their workstation is the bathroom and they are in there the whole time, I’d tip them.
Can you imagine being in the bathroom for hours? If you frequent the bathroom several times in the night, you don’t need to tip every time. They’ll be super appreciative.
Suggested: 10-20 pesos = $0.50 -$1
Places in Mexico to Visit Before or After Playa del Carmen
If you’ve got more time to explore Mexico, there are some gorgeous places in Mexico nearby you should check out. If you can’t go on this trip, consider them on your next trip. Make sure to check out some of our other Mexico articles to fuel your wanderlust.