Tipping in Mexico is customary. It is something that you will need to do every day of your trip.
But who should you be tipping in Mexico and how much should you tip them? Understanding the correct etiquette for tipping internationally can be a bit of a minefield.
You don’t want to tip too much that you cause offense and similarly, you don’t want to tip too little! This guide to tipping in Mexico will run through all the service staff that you may interact with within Mexico and how much you ought to tip them.
Tipping in Mexico: How Much to Tip
Tipping in Mexico could be compared to tipping in the United States. You should generally tip anywhere between 10-20% of the final bill price and although tips are not always expected, they are appreciated.
It is important to tip a respectful amount. A 15 or 20% tip is a good standard practice, as people in Mexico work hard and earn very low wages.
If you only have dollars available then you could provide your tip in dollars. However, remember that this is not legal tender in Mexico – only pesos are used here. So, it is better to tip in Mexican pesos where you can.
Tipping in Mexico: Who and How Much
Restaurant, cafe, and coffee shop staff
Tipping 15-20% is a good rule of thumb to follow when you eat out in Mexico. The same is true if you are working remotely and you are spending a fair amount of time at a coffee shop or similar.
If you can, try and tip your waiter/waitress in cash rather than by card. If you want to provide a cash tip and you only have large notes, the staff are always happy to switch it into smaller notes for you so as to make it easier for you to tip. Perhaps the only exception to this is if you are not happy with the service.
Food delivery staff
Mexico has a huge convenience culture and it is incredibly easy to order food to your home/hotel. Although you should absolutely get out and try different restaurants, taquerias, and street food eateries while you are on vacation, if you are staying in Mexico for an extended period, there may be times when you want to order food.
UberEats exists in Mexico. So too, does Didi Food.
The latter actually boasts better deals and lower prices. However, you will need to set your phone region (and Apple ID, if applicable) to Mexico before it will work on international cell phones.
When you place an order via UberEats and Didi, you will be asked if you want to tip your delivery driver. If you are paying by card, it is much easier to tip in cash.
Otherwise, the tip is charged as a separate card transaction to the food purchase which can incur more charges for you if you are using an international card. Plus, when you pay tips by card, you can never be sure who it is really going to.
You can tip anywhere from 5% to 25%. A small tip is still appreciated here.
A lot of the drivers travel long distances by bicycle/moped in scorching hot temperatures. There is also an app called Rappi in Mexico whereby you can order items from local stores, pharmacies, bakeries, malls, etc, and have them delivered to you the same day. Tip these delivery drivers just like you would tip your Uber delivery person.
Cab, Uber and Didi drivers
Tipping cab, Uber, and Didi drivers in Mexico is something that you can do at your discretion. You are generally best advised to use apps like Uber and Didi in Mexico when you want to hire a cab, as opposed to hailing one on the street or finding one at a taxi rank.
This is true for a few reasons. For one thing, express kidnappings do happen in some parts of Mexico.
For another, taxi drivers are often a breed unto themselves the world over and Mexico taxi drivers are no different. When you are a tourist, it is extremely possible that the cab driver will simply invent an inflated price on the spot assuming that you do not know the correct rates.
When you tip taxi, Uber, and Didi drivers, you can simply round up the fare. For example, if it is 37 pesos, round up to 40.
If you have had exceptional service or the driver has taken you a long way/waited for you as part of an agreed tour, you can tip more as you like.
Bag packers at supermarkets
You will often see a lot of elderly locals packing bags at supermarkets in Mexico. This isn’t necessarily the case if you shop at large stores like Walmart or Sam’s Club.
However, when you shop at local, independent markets, you will certainly see a lot of older ladies helping you with your shopping. This is because older people in Mexico often cannot find work.
So, the only thing they find themselves able to do is to pack bags at Walmart. These people work purely for tips and do not have any wage or guaranteed income.
It is very important that you tip them. 2 pesos per bag is a good general rule to follow but if you can give a little extra, great.
If there is a big group of you sitting at a bar and ordering multiple drinks over several hours, it is polite to tip your bartender 10 to 15% of the bill. If it is the case that you just sit somewhere for a quick beer, you can leave 5-10 pesos per drink or so.
Upscale resorts and restaurants
It is always worth checking the small print when you receive a bill or a receipt in Mexico. Some high-end restaurants and hospitality businesses will automatically calculate a tip/service charge and add it to your bill.
Others will specify that the amount shown does not include gratuity. Similarly, you may find that some ultra-luxe or all-inclusive resorts specifically state that you do not need to tip any of the staff.
There are lots of people there to assist you in hotels that you may want to tip if you receive particularly good service. For instance, the bellhops, the concierge, housekeeping, etc.
It is polite to tip 20-30 pesos or so if a bellhop helps you carry your luggage to your room. This is particularly true if they have to carry up multiple flights of stairs which is the case with a lot of Mexican hotels that do not have elevators.
Housekeeping staff in Mexico
When it comes to housekeeping, you can consider leaving a tip in the room at the end of your stay. 10-20 pesos per day is a nice rule of thumb to go by, but whatever you feel comfortable with.
You may not have the same housekeeping person allocated to your room every day of your stay. So, if you find someone particularly helpful, consider tipping them each day rather than at the end of your stay.
If you take an organised tour or excursion in Mexico, it is recommended that you tip your guide 10-15% of the booking price. You will find free or tip-based walking tours in a lot of major towns and cities too.
Most of these tours come with a suggested donation price. It is absolutely imperative that you tip your guide and you do not take the free walking tour as literally meaning, a free walking tour that you do not have to pay for.
If you are short on cash, just try your best to tip what you can. However, keep in mind that these individuals are not salaried and are often young locals and students trying to get work experience and earn some extra money.
Gas Station Workers
If you are renting a car in Mexico, you will need to stop by a gas station at some point. Gas station workers here offer you full-service treatment. In other words, when you pull up to the gas pump, they will ask what you need and fill your car for you.
Typically, they will also wipe your windows for you. Be sure to give them a tip of 20 pesos or so. If you really don’t want them to wipe your windows, you can always say so.
Street food vendors
When you order street food in Mexico, it is customary to stand by the cart that you have ordered it from and eat it there and then. Street food vendors don’t expect tips but since most things here are very cheap, it doesn’t hurt to round up what you pay, or give a few extra pesos as a tip.
Do you have any additional questions about tipping in Mexico or about planning a trip here generally? Feel free to reach out and we will get back to you ASAP.
If you are traveling to Mexico for the first time, you may find this list of Mexico travel tips to know before you go useful. Safe travels in Mexico! Buen Viaje! xo