Tipping in Mexico. When and how much?
Tipping in Mexico, a question that gets asked all the time. How much do I tip? Is it enough, not enough? And who do I tip? Everyone?
Mexico definitely has a tipping culture. You will find some of the tips are of lesser value, but they can be more frequent. You can easily find yourself tipping all day long.
After 3 years living here in Mexico and married to a Mexican, this is a good guide on how the locals tip. Being on vacations might be a little different. Tip only what you are comfortable with.
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Tipping in Mexico
Restaurants – As a rule, tipping in restaurants is anywhere between 10-20%, depending on the service and food. Make sure you read your bill, because sometimes a % for the tip is already added to the bill.
Hotel staff – There is a big difference if you’re staying at the Hilton, or a budget hotel. If you’re on vacations at a quality hotel or all inclusive, tipping the bell boy who takes your bags and shows you to your room can be around $10-30 pesos per bag. Tipping the maids who clean your room is optional, but can be between $30-50 pesos a night.
Bars / Cantinas – In most bars you will receive table service. You won’t go to the bar to order your drinks or food. Some will charge you per round, but most will bill you at the end. Your tip will be around 10-15% of the bill. Or $5-10 pesos per round. If you are buying your drinks at the bar, a couple pesos per beer is optional.
Taxis – Generally you don’t tip the taxi driver. Mainly because you usually have to negotiate on the price first. ALWAYS ask the price before you get in. Taxi drivers can be very cunning with foreigners. That said, if you have lots of bags and he helps you with them in and out of the trunk (most likely) or into your hotel, you can leave them a tip of $10 pesos. Also, if you can communicate with the driver in Spanish, or he speaks a little English, and he helps you with some local information on where to go, good bars and restaurants, safe areas, unsafe areas, you could also leave a tip of $10 pesos.
Music/Buskers – People may come and play a few songs in front or inside the restaurants and cafes, then come around and ask for tips. For these guys, up to $5-10 pesos or what you feel comfortable with. Same with the buskers. If you stop and watch them perform, a small donation will be grateful.
Porters at Airports and big bus terminals – These guys can be very persistent sometimes, and if you don’t need one, just politely decline. But if you do use these guys, and you have a lot of bags, or it’s a long walk to the taxi rank, then $10 pesos is a good tip.
Tour guides – This will depend on your tour. Half day, full day, multi day, how good and informative your guide was, and also how much the tour cost. Tip what you comfortable with. You can tip nothing if you don’t want to. As a guide, I’d say half day $20-50 pesos, full day $40-70 pesos or 10-15% of the tour price.
Grocery baggers – All the bigger supermarkets will have someone bagging your groceries. Anyone from a 13 year old kid up a 70 year old. Up to $5 pesos is ok. If I have multiple bags I leave them $5 pesos. If you need help to carry your bags out to the car, another $5 pesos on top.
Buying fuel – In Mexico you don’t put your own fuel in the car. There are service people who will do this for you. You just sit in the car and wait. You tip these guys around $5-10 pesos. If you ask for another service like your windscreen washed, tires or oil checked, then you should tip them another $5 pesos on top.
Food deliveries – You can get any type of food delivered to your house/hotel in Mexico. Everything from pizzas to tacos. You normally tip the delivery drivers $10 pesos.
Garbage pickup – If you find yourself living here in Mexico, you will have your trash collected 2 or 3 times a week from a passing by truck ringing a bell. Depending on where you live, the trucks might be a private company. If so, you’ll tip these guys $5 pesos.
Street car park attendant – This only applies if you will be parking on the street. Not always, but sometimes there’s a man looking after the cars in some streets (bigger cities). They will guide you in to park and out again in tight spaces and will guard your car. Be wary that in Mexico City, people may charge up to $20-30 pesos or more in some areas. Other areas/cities maybe $10-20 pesos. It’s best to ask before leave your car there.
Stop light windscreen wash – Around the bigger towns/cities, you can go for a drive and get your windscreen washed 5 times if you let them! haha. Wave your finger sideways in a ‘no’ direction early so they don’t start washing if you don’t want it. Sometimes they will wash it anyway if it’s dirty. You can tip these guys some loose change up to $5 pesos.
Stop light entertainers – Again in the bigger towns/cities, you will find some very good (and sometimes very bad) street entertainers. You will see lots of juggling, unicycles and juggling, acrobats, crystal ball manoeuvres, I’ve even seen three guys standing on top of each other. Something for everyone. Tip these guys loose change up to $5 pesos if you would like to. It’s optional.
This should have you all sorted on tipping in Mexico.
It all comes down to what you are comfortable with. But just remember when tipping in Mexico, that these people are living off your tips. That doesn’t mean you have to give them a lot, but something is appreciated.