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General Tipping Guide for Mexico

Posted by Oliver Weickardt on 2015-11-26
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Surprisingly enough, tipping guidelines in Mexico are quite similar to those in the United States and Canada; and you may ask why surprisingly enough? Well, while in the U.S. and Canada service employees earn a decent salary, in Mexico most of them earn lousy salaries or no salaries at all (many waiters receive no salary for their job and rely only on tips). So, you can say that yes, tipping in Mexico is customary. The question isn’t to tip or not to tip, but when and where to tip. It is commonly understood that Mexican workers prefer tips in pesos, as a way to avoid them the trouble of visiting a currency exchange where they will most probably receive the “buy” rate which is always discounted. But, that’s not an accurate asseveration. Most Mexicans service workers love foreign currencies, it doesn’t matter if they are U.S. Dollars, Euros, Sterling Pounds or Canadian Dollars, they are all very welcome options for them.

The common rate for tips in restaurants in Mexico goes from 10% to 15%. Some places add a charge for “service”, in which case you shouldn’t feel obligated to tip, as this is considered an abusive practice that in effect charges for the tip. Good restaurants don’t charge for “service”, that’s taken for granted when you decide to dine out. Tour guides in Mexico’s main tourist destinations are widely coveted jobs, as they are considered “fun jobs” with good tipping money; and that’s exactly the reason why many of these jobs have no base salary. So, if you enjoyed your day out, your tour guide made a good effort to make the most of the excursion and he or she had the good taste to never ask for the tip, an equivalent of $5 to $10 US Dollars per person is considered a good tip.

When shopping on the large WalMart-style grocery stores, you will always receive the help of small children or elderly people to put your products on plastic bags or cardboard boxes. These bagging clerks earn no wage at all. The normal policy for letting children work at the grocery stores is that they have to have the best grades of their school, so a $5 pesos coin will be a well-earn reward for these hard-working and responsible children. If they are elderly people, you can be sure that they don’t receive a pension and that the tips they earn as bagging clerks is their main income. If you have a car or rent one, you will soon find that in Mexico you need to leave your vacation rental villa or hotel with plenty of change in your pocket, as every time you park someone will ask you to wash your car or just keep an eye on it.

If you have a car or rent one, you will soon find that in Mexico you need to leave your house or hotel with plenty of change in your pocket, as every time you park someone will ask you to wash your car or just keep an eye on it. Once you leave the place, they will “assist” you to take your car out of the parking lot. Any coin is good for them, as most of the times they don’t really do anything, but $5 pesos is the normal rate.

Villa Experience founder is German born but loves all thing Mexico! He has lived in the country since 2003 and has experienced Mexico´s premier destinations at first hand. His favorite destinations are the Yucatan Peninsula, Baja California Sur, and Puerto Vallarta.