In Mexico, it is customary to leave a tip (propina) for good service. How much you should tip depends on a number of factors, including the location, type of service, and the level of service you received.
Understanding tipping is an important part of travel as it can help you learn about the culture of the places you visit (while also making sure you fit in during your trip). Each country has its own tipping customs for when, where, and how much to tip. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into when to tip in Mexico, how much to tip, and when not to tip at all.
Advice for Tipping in Mexico from an Actual Mexican
First, let me tell you a little bit about my experience with tips. I come from a family that works or has worked in a variety of jobs related to tourism and hotels. My parents actually met when they were both working in the same hotel! Neither of my parents currently work at hotels anymore, but my sister still does. One of my closest cousins is the main chef at a restaurant in an all-inclusive resort in the Mayan Riviera as well.
All of this led me to experiment with jobs in the same industry. I worked as a concierge in a five-diamond hotel for a while and I did some waitressing at a couple of restaurants too.
Since my dad worked at hotels all over Mexico, my family and I got to spend lots of time in hotels when I was a kid. We even got to live in a few of them, and when I was around five years old we lived in a hotel for 9 months in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero. Talk about a happy childhood!
I hope my background can help you tip with confidence when you travel to Mexico. So without further ado, here’s our Ultimate Guide on Tipping in Mexico.
Is It Customary to Tip in Mexico?
Much like in the U.S., in Mexico, it is customary to tip service workers in restaurants, hotels, and Ubers. The standard tip is 10% of the bill, but you can give more or less depending on the quality of service. Tipping is not required, but it is appreciated.
I know from first-hand experience how important tips are for those working in the tourism industry in Mexico. Tips represent a huge portion of the salary of many of these people and so it’s very important that we do it right. The customary percentages and situations may not be the same as where you’re from.
One of the biggest ways tipping culture in Mexico differs from the U.S. is the percentage that is expected. While 15-20% at restaurants is standard in the U.S., 10-15% is more common in Mexico.
Tipping what essentially amounts to pennies in Mexico is taboo. Think twice about handing over anything less than five pesos as this might be considered insulting by the person you are tipping.
Do Locals Tip in Mexico?
Yes, Mexicans certainly give gratuities! The usual amount is 10% of the bill, but it could be more or less depending on the service.
Is It Better to Tip in Pesos or Dollars in Mexico?
There is no definitive answer to this question, and it ultimately depends on the location and preferences of the individual. Some people may prefer to tip in pesos because it is the local currency, while others may prefer to tip in dollars because it is a more stable currency.
People in areas of Mexico that see a lot of international tourists tend to be more open to accepting dollars as currency exchange booths are easily accessible. However, the most common way to tip is in pesos, as it is the official national currency and requires no further work on the recipient of the tip to use the money.
In the Riviera Maya, locals are accustomed to receiving US dollars for tips. Many restaurants accept dollars without issue. However, this generally means you’ll pay a convenience fee (sometimes as much as 10%) as the restaurant sets the exchange rate in their favor. But for tips, if you have a lot of smaller dollar bills, it may be easier to tip in US dollars rather than trying to break larger dollar bills into smaller denominations of pesos.
With that said, we always tip in the local currency. It’s generally less of a hassle for the person you’re tipping.
Whatever currency you decide to use when tipping in Mexico, make sure that the amount you tip is appropriate for the service that was provided.
Should You Leave the Tip in Cash or on a Credit Card in Mexico?
When it comes to whether you should tip with cash or on your card in Mexico, no one answer fits all situations. It depends on personal preference and circumstance. Mexico is a largely cash society, so in most situations, the person you’re tipping will likely prefer cash. Others prefer to leave tips via their credit card, as it eliminates the need to carry around large amounts of cash and can be easily tracked for accounting purposes.
If you don’t have to worry about expense tracking, consider tipping in cash. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide which method of payment best suits their needs.
Looking for advice on how to get, use, and exchange pesos? Check out our post All About Mexican Money.
Is 50 Pesos a Good Tip?
In Mexico, a good rule of thumb for tips is to leave 10-15% of the bill. 50 pesos would be a standard tip for a bill that was around 500 pesos.
For example, if you go out for dinner and get drinks, you should expect to spend around 400 MXN. That would mean your tip would be between 40-60 MXN.
How Much Should You Tip in Mexico City?
When traveling to Mexico City, it is important to be aware of the customs around tipping. A lot of people who visit the city wonder if the customs here are different than elsewhere in Mexico.
Fortunately, the tipping situation is the same.
As mentioned previously, tipping is not required in all situations, but it is always appreciated. In general, it is customary to tip 10-15% for good service. For example, you would tip 10-15% at a restaurant, or for a taxi driver who helps with your bags.
If you are staying at a hotel, you can also tip the housekeeper $1-2 USD per day.
How Do You Say “Tip” in Spanish?
To say “tip” in Spanish, you would say “la propina.” Propina is both the word for “tip” and “gratuity,” so it can be used in a variety of situations.
For example, you might leave a propina for your waiter at a restaurant, for the housekeeper when you’re staying at a resort, or for your taxi driver after a ride.
You may also hear your waiter ask if you’d like to add “el servicio” when paying with a credit card, which translates literally as “the service” but it refers to the tip. You can respond with something like “Sí. ¿Puedes agregar 15% de servicio, por favor?” Meaning, “Yes. Could you add a 15% tip, please?”
Another thing waiters at restaurants and bars may say when you’re paying by card is “¿Quiere la cuenta cerrada?” which translates to “Do you want me to close the tab?” If you say “sí, cuenta cerrada, por favor,” it means that you’ll be charged on the card only for the food and drinks you had. When this happens in Mexico, it’s expected for you to tip in cash. But if you answer “no” to the same question (“¿Quiere la cuenta cerrada?”) you then have to ask the waiter to add a tip.
Situations Where It’s Common to Tip in Mexico
Tipping at Restaurants in Mexico
This is the most common place where people tip in Mexico. Most Mexicans tip about 10% of the total bill. However, in parts of the country where international tourism is more common, people often tip 15%. Some people choose to tip more than 15% (or less) depending on the quality of the food, the service from the waitstaff, and their overall experience at that restaurant.
And just like in the U.S., tipping at fast food places (where there are no waiters/waitresses) is not customary, but if you want to tip at a taco stand or any other kind of street food place, make sure you tip at least five pesos. Street food in Mexico tends to be quite inexpensive and it’s common for the total of your bill to be less than $100 pesos (around $5 USD). If this is the case, make sure you give a tip of no less than 10 pesos. It can be considered rude to tip with small coins like the Mexican pennies and dimes. Remember, cash is king in Mexico. When in doubt, tip with cash instead of on your credit card. Your waiter (or anyone on the receiving end) will appreciate it.
Remember, cash is king in Mexico. When in doubt, tip with cash instead of on your credit card. Your waiter (or anyone on the receiving end) will appreciate it.
Tipping at Cafés in Mexico
In Mexico, tipping at cafes when you order something to go is not as common as it is in other countries. However, if you feel that the service was good, leave 5-10 pesos in the tip jar per beverage. If you’re sitting down and enjoying your drink at the café, it is customary in Mexico to follow the same rules and tipping amounts as if you were at a restaurant.
Keep in mind that the wages of cafe workers in Mexico are much lower than they are north of the border, so a small tip goes a long way.
Tipping at Hotels in Mexico
Another situation where tipping is expected both in Mexico and in the U.S. is at hotels. In Mexico, every bellboy, chauffeur/driver, or valet parking person expects a tip of 20-50 pesos. Bartenders, waitresses/waiters, and housekeeping staff expect a tip of 15% of your bill, and housekeepers should be tipped about 50 pesos (or more) per day.
Some hotels have a butler/concierge whose job is to help you with anything you may need during your stay, from buying you a toothbrush, unpacking your luggage, bringing ice cubes to your room, to arranging your tours, getting you tickets for a show, and making dinner reservations in or outside the hotel.
Many people choose to tip concierges around 50 pesos per service provided, while others prefer to leave a bigger tip at the end of their stay. Tipping right after each service is preferred by your concierge. If you wait until the end you might end up with two or more butlers by the time you check out, making it difficult to get the right tip to the right person.
If you still prefer to tip your concierge all at once at the end of your stay, tip him/her around 150 pesos per day when you receive good service from them.
It’s also not uncommon to have more than one person clean your room throughout your stay. That’s why it’s best to tip each day of your stay instead of waiting until your last day. You want to make sure that the person cleaning your room each day is the one getting your money.
Leave a little note that says “Para la camarista. ¡Gracias!” – “For the housekeeper. Thank you!” in a visible place with your tip money before leaving your room for the day or when you know they’ll be coming to do your room.
If you decide to tip your concierge all at once, it is best to leave the money in a sealed envelope at the front desk with their name on it or give the envelope directly to them. Another great way of thanking a concierge is by writing a note to the Chief Concierge or the General Manager complimenting the good service you received from your concierge.
How Much Do You Tip at All-Inclusive Resorts in Mexico?
When staying at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, be sure to tip the staff members who provide you with excellent service. These employees work hard to make your vacation enjoyable and a small tip can go a long way in showing your appreciation. The standard tip for any good food/drink service is 10-15% of the total bill, but feel free to give more if you received exceptional service.
Contrary to the name, “all-inclusive” does not mean that all tips are included. People working in all-inclusive resorts do expect tips from customers just like those working at a regular hotel. Even if you’re not seeing the price of the drinks you’re having at the bar, or a bill at the end of your dinner, leave around 20 pesos per drink at a bar and a minimum of 50 pesos per couple at any restaurant in the resort. You do not need to tip at buffets. Follow the previously suggested tips on tipping at hotels when you stay at an all-inclusive resort.
That said, some resorts have a no-tipping policy. This is generally made explicit upon reserving your stay, so pay close attention. It never hurts to try and tip your bartender or other resort staff just in case. They’ll be sure to let you know if it’s appropriate to tip or not.
Tipping a Tour Guide in Mexico
Tipping a tour guide in Mexico is always appreciated. If you had a great time on your tour and felt that your guide went above and beyond, a tip is a nice way to show your appreciation. 10-20% of the tour cost is a typical range for a tip. In areas that see a lot of foreign tourism you can also tip in U.S. dollars if you don’t want to leave without leaving a tip.
How much to tip also depends on the kind of tour you’re taking. Tip around 50 pesos for a visit to a museum or any other similar attraction where you have already paid a ticket and there is a guide there giving you information about a place. In this kind of tour there aren’t usually any activities included other than walking around the building and looking at the expositions.
For a tour of up to a couple of hours with more information and one or two activities, anything from 100 to 200 pesos per couple or small group will do.
For longer tours that last half or a full day with different activities and quality information, you can tip from 200 to 300 pesos per couple or small family or group of friends.
For tours where you had a blast, felt that you learned a ton, had all your questions answered, and feel that the tour guide went out of his/her way to make sure that you and your group had a great time your tip can be anything between 300 and 500 pesos (or more) per family or group of friends.
There really isn’t any specific rule on how much you should tip a tour guide. These are just guidelines. If you feel compelled to give your tour guide more, do it. It’s always better to err on the side of generosity.
Tipping Baggers at a Grocery Store/Supermarket in Mexico
It is customary to tip baggers at a grocery store in Mexico. The standard tip is 5 pesos per bag, but you can give more if the bags are particularly heavy or if you have a lot of them.
If you’re thinking, “What baggers at the grocery store?” allow me to explain. When you go grocery shopping at bigger stores in Mexico, such as Soriana, Chedraui, Comercial Mexicana, Walmart, etc., there is usually someone there who bags your groceries. Baggers work solely for tips, so it’s customary to tip this person between 5 and 10 pesos per bag, depending on how many groceries they had to bag. If you only had one or two bags of groceries then 5-10 pesos is acceptable. After two bags, 5 pesos per additional bag is a good rule of thumb.
Demystify shopping in Spanish with our extensive article, How to Go Shopping in Spanish.
Tipping at a Gas Station in Mexico
When you go to a gas station in Mexico there’s someone there to pump your gas; you don’t have to get out of your car to fill your tank. There are other services they can help you with as well, such as cleaning your windshield, checking the air in your tires, and other basic car maintenance tasks you may need help with. It is very common to tip them with 5 or 10 pesos for pumping your gas and a little more if they helped you with other services.
Learn all about Mexican money! Preparing for a trip to Mexico? Need to convert your U.S. Dollars to pesos? Do you know the best way to get a great exchange rate? We answer all that and more on this special feature all about Mexican money.
Situations Where It Is Not Always Common to Tip in Mexico
Tipping a Hairstylist in Mexico
A few years ago, tipping a hairstylist or makeup artist in Mexico was not a thing. Nowadays, more and more high-end hair salons and barber shops will politely ask you if you want to leave a tip for the service. This especially happens in touristy areas like Mexico City and the Riviera Maya.
In smaller towns where tourism is not as big as in other areas of the country, hairstylists don’t expect a tip from customers. Although tipping is not expected, if you want to tip your nail or hair person, it’s best to tip no less than 20 pesos per service.
Tipping a Taxi Driver in Mexico
Tipping a taxi driver in Mexico is not very common unless they go out of their way to help you. Did the taxi driver help you with your bags? Did they take a shorter route and helped you get to your appointment in time? Did they give you extra information to make the most of your stay? If so, a tip of 10-15 pesos would be appropriate.
If the driver simply took you from one place to another, then no tip is expected. Here I’m referring to shorter rides within the city you’re in.
Remember to tip the driver a bit more if this was a longer ride (for example, from your hotel to the airport outside the city) or if it’s a ride you booked ahead of time and the driver showed up to pick you up at your accommodation.
While it’s generally not common for locals to tip taxi drivers, I always make a point to tip Uber drivers or any other driver summoned from an app. Usually, these applications take a generous cut of the total bill, leaving the driver to cover the wear and tear of their vehicle. So keep this in mind when it’s time to pay up.
There you have it. Now you know all about tipping and tipping culture in Mexico. We hope this information comes in handy next time you visit. As I said before, these are just guidelines of what most people in Mexico tip in the different situations we covered. If during your time in Mexico you feel like you should leave a bigger or smaller tip, trust your instincts. You should always tip according to what you feel the value of the service was.
Did any of these tipping situations surprise you? Have you ever tipped at a grocery store? Let us know in the comments. We love hearing from you!
Frequently Asked Questions
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