It is customary to tip good service in most countries around the world, Mexico included. Besides being good karma, in some countries staff rely heavily on tips to supplement their wages making your voluntary contributions both a necessity as well as a good incentive to offer excellent service. Tipping is a great way of showing your appreciation.
How much is a good tip?
In Mexico, the precise amount you should leave as a tip is left to your discretion, but the standard is generally between 10% and 20% of the check or cost of your ticket when it comes to attractions.
In top tourist destinations such as Cancun, both pesos and dollars are acceptable and you will usually see many prices quoted in both dollars and pesos. While pesos are more convenient for the person receiving the tip, dollars can be favorable depending on the exchange rate. When tipping in dollars, give notes only as coins are not accepted for exchange.
If you are dining in a big group it is likely that a service fee will already be added to the check, so check to see. If the service fee is not on your bill, the standard tip of 10% – 20% is acceptable, though many choose to tip 20% for excellent service.
Hotels and resorts
As a general rule, but by no means limiting, it is customary to give bellhops who assist you with baggage 2 or 3 dollars (20 – 50 pesos). Housekeeping staff generally receive 2 to 3 dollars (20 to 50 pesos) per night. When it comes to housekeeping, try if you can to tip daily rather than at the end of your stay as you may not always have the same maid each day.
Tours, excursions and boat trips
When it comes to tours and excursions, there is a different approach here depending upon whether your tour is a day or multi-day affair. If you are enjoying a single day tour and you’re pleased with your tour guide you should consider a tip of 10% – 20% of the ticket cost. If it’s a multi-day tour in a big group you should tip the guide $3 to $5 US dollars per day, $10 dollars if it is a private tour. The bus driver should be tipped around 2 dollars per day.
It is not usual to tip taxi drivers in Mexico but you might give them 10 pesos per suit case if they help you with your luggage. Rounding up your change is also a nice detail.
Gas stations in Mexico are full service, and so you should tip the attendant between 5 and 10 pesos when you fill up. You may decide to give more if they also clean your windshield, check your tires, or check/top up your oil.
Grocery store packers are usually teens or seniors, and will not earn a basic wage; they rely entirely on tips, and so it’s key that you tip them if they help you. A good rule of thumb is to tip 1 or 2 pesos per shopping bag.