Your Comprehensive Guide on How to Tip in Mexico
When you travel, you naturally want to follow the customs of the place you’re travelling. One of the customs that varies a lot by country is tipping. Use this guide to help you determine how much and when to tip, whether you are at an all-inclusive resort, eating at a street vendor, or getting out of a taxi.
Tip in Pesos
Do your best to tip in pesos, Mexico’s national currency. This is true even if you have been paying for most things in dollars.
The people serving you will have to go to a Casa de Cambio (foreign exchange house) to exchange your dollars into pesos and they will take a hit on the conversion. It also takes time out of their busy days, and some of them only get one day off a week. Tipping in pesos shows consideration for them.
Tip Everyone Providing You a Service
In Mexico, the custom is to tip almost everyone that provides you with a service. The people you normally would tip in your country get tipped as well as many others you may not think of as needing one. That means that you tip wait staff, hairdressers, bell hops, and delivery people. In addition, you should be tipping the baggers at the grocery store, the parking “attendant,” and the gas station attendants (both petrol and propane). Below is your guide on who and what amounts to tip.
Who and How Much to Tip
Mexicans typically tip about 10% of the bill. In expat heavy and northern border areas, though, the standard is closer to 15%-20%.
Restaurants are not allowed to add a mandatory tip to your bill in Mexico, however, it is still done in some tourist areas. Read your bill to determine if a tip has been added.
The typical amount to tip bartenders will, of course, vary somewhat depending on the bar. Generally, for two drinks the peso equivalent of a U.S. dollar is good (around 20 pesos). If you got exceptional service, fifty pesos lets them know they were appreciated.
Food Carts and Self-Serve Restaurants
A tip is not typical at these types of places, but if there is a "propina" jar, the workers will appreciate anything you feel like giving.
Tip the same as the wait staff, 10%, unless you purchased a lot of food. In which case you should tip, 15%.
Usually, the equivalent of a dollar or two per bag, 20-40 pesos.
20-50 pesos per night. The higher amount for the higher end hotels. This applies to all-inclusive hotels as well if they allow tipping (some do not). Tip daily, as the staff can change daily.
If you use the services of the hotel concierge, you should tip them as well. You'll need to judge what their service was worth to you and tip accordingly.
Taxi drivers are generally not tipped unless they help you with your luggage or perform some other service besides simply driving you to your destination. The standard is about 20 pesos per bag.
Shuttle Bus Drivers
Many people often forget that the drivers of shuttle buses are relying on tips to supplement their wages. If they help you with your luggage, tip the equivalent of $1 to $2 USD (20-40 pesos) per bag in addition to another $2 to $3 USD (40-60 pesos) for the drive. If you handle your own luggage, $2 to $3 USD (40-60 pesos) per person is plenty.
The guy on the street that helps you park, valets, the lot attendant, and the guy that watches your car while you're gone – all these people should be tipped. Some are working only for tips. Again, much depends on the situation. A minimum would be around 20 pesos, more for valets at high-end restaurants.
Car Wash Attendants
For the people drying off your car after a wash, 50 pesos is good. If they do more, you'll need to gauge your tip and increase it as much as you think is called for.
If all they do is pump your gas, most people do not tip. But for any other service, such as washing your windows, 20-40 pesos is appropriate.
If you're on a private tour, tip around 15% - 20% of the cost of the tour. If you are in a large group, each person in your party should tip the equivalent of $5 USD (100 pesos).
Fishing Boat Crew
Don't overlook the captain and crew of any fishing trips you may take, whether a party boat or private charter. While the fish may not cooperate, if your captain and crew worked hard to give you a good experience, and they deserve a good tip. The general guideline is 20% of what you paid. Pay it to the captain. He or she will take care of the crew from there.
Mariachis (and other tableside entertainers)
For tableside performers, 50 - 100 pesos is appropriate. It is okay to politely decline their performance if you are not interested.
At traffic lights you may encounter street performers, someone doing a quick act while the light is red. Kindly give these people five to ten pesos for their efforts.
Tip about 15-20%. Don't forget to include the hair washer and, if you get your nails done, the nail tech as well.
Grocery Store Baggers
The people that bag your groceries and the people that help you load them in your car and return the cart should all be tipped. Both groups are working for tips only and, in some cases, they are paying the store to allow them to work there.
For the baggers, a couple of pesos per bag is good, but not less than five pesos. For the helpers in the parking lot, 10 - 20 pesos is plenty, unless you had heavy items to load, like a refrigerator.
This depends on many factors. For furniture delivery, it depends upon what is involved. If it's carrying a refrigerator upstairs or your entire household, you need to tip accordingly.
If you have water delivered, either in bottles or from a truck to fill your water tank, you should tip the delivery person. For bottles, 20-40 pesos is appropriate. For truck delivery, usually around $100-$200 pesos, the higher amount for when you're further away from the source and he/she has burned more fuel to get to you.
As you can see, tipping is a big part of Mexican employment culture. Try to be kind and alert to when a tip may be appropriate. Wages in Mexico are generally low and service workers depend upon tips to support their families.
Follow these “tips” on how to tip in Mexico and be confident that you have helped those who are serving you and know your contribution will be appreciated. And you likely will continue to get better service if you take care of those that are helping you.