Tipping in Mexico is customary in most circumstances that you would tip in the U.S. or Canada. Bear in mind that most people working in the service industry in Mexico earn very humble wages and the tips they earn make up the majority of their income. If you receive good service, show your appreciation by rewarding it with a tip and a heartfelt “gracias!” Above all else, a tip should correspond with the quality of service you have received and the amount is at your discretion.
What currency do you use for tipping?
While the U.S. dollar is widely accepted in most tourist destinations and gladly accepted for tips, bear in mind you will likely receive a poor exchange rate at most businesses, so always keep pesos on hand. During your trip, remember that it is a good idea to hang onto smaller bills and 10 pesos coins so you are ready to tip. Change can be hard to obtain when you need it, so use larger bills when you purchase anything.
Here is a basic rundown of appropriate tipping amounts and percentages in Mexico*:
Generally speaking, taxi drivers taking you around town are not tipped in Mexico, although you can give them a little extra (20-50 pesos depending on the situation) if they have done something extra to help you, such as loading/unloading your bags or groceries or waiting on you for an extended period. Official airport transfer drivers do, however, expect to be tipped, primarily because they will be helping you with your luggage.
Tour and Activity Guides
For larger group tours, aim to tip between 50-100 pesos per person, more if the guide also handles the driving. For small groups or private tours, tip 15-20% of the tour cost.
Restaurant Wait Staff
Much like tipping in the U.S., a 15%-20% tip for good service has become the gold standard in restaurants here, although you can feel free to leave more or less to suit the level of service you received. Many receipts will list IVA which is tax added to your bill, and some may also add a tip (sometimes listed as “propina” or “servicio”) to your bill no matter how small the dining party, so be sure to check. In this case, you do not need to tip on top of the listed amount, unless you wish to do so.
By yourself, tip 10 to 20 pesos per drink, or in a group setting tip 20 to 50 pesos per round of drinks; otherwise, leave 15-20% of your total bar tab.
Tip a bellhop who handles your luggage and delivers you to your room between 30-50 pesos, more if you have many bags or heavy luggage. Your tips for housekeeping should range from 40-100 pesos per day based on occupancy and how messy your room may be.
Plan to tip your massage therapist, aesthetician, hairstylist, manicurist and so on between 15-20% of the cost of your spa treatment.
If you do any grocery shopping, you will notice the bagging clerks are typically teens or seniors who don’t earn any wages, just tips. You should leave them a few pesos per shopping bag, more if they assist you to your car. Just remember, don’t give them foreign coins!
Remember, these are just guidelines and are not meant to be hard and fast rules. Tipping is personal, and each individual will have his or her standards when it comes to great service.
* Please note, that these are guidelines only and tipping in Mexico is always at your own discretion.