Similar to the U.S. and Canada, tipping in Mexico is a custom woven into its vibrant culture. As you travel through this beautiful country, remember that almost everyone working in the service industry here receives very modest wages, which means that tips are essential to their livelihood. Tips should match the level of service you have encountered, so amounts can vary depending on your satisfaction. Reward good service with genuine thanks and a tip.
Currency for tips
Although you can tip in U.S. dollars (bills only, never coins) and spend the currency almost anywhere, most businesses do not offer good exchange rates, so it is wise to have pesos whenever you are out and about. As you travel around, try to keep a stash of small bills and 10 pesos coins with you so tipping is easy; hunting down change when you need it can prove difficult sometimes, so break your larger bills when you make purchases.
Below, you will find some basic guidelines for tipping in Mexico*:
Tour and Activity Guides
If you participate in a large group tour, tipping somewhere from 50-100 pesos per person is fair, but add on more if your guide was also your driver. Tip 15-20% of the tour cost for small/private tours.
Restaurant Wait Staff
In Mexican tourist destinations, a 15%-20% tip for pleasant restaurant service is fairly standard, but can obviously be adjusted to each dining situation. While some receipts will list IVA tax on the bill, many have already factored it into the total. It is not uncommon for restaurants to add a tip (which is referred to as “propina” or “servicio”) to the bill regardless of how many people are dining, so always check before leaving an additional tip.
If you’re grabbing one drink on your own, tip 10 to 20 pesos. For groups, tip between 20 and 50 pesos for each round of drinks. If you run a tab, tip 15-20% on the total amount.
If your bellhop guides you to you room with your luggage, tip around 50 pesos, and add to that if your bags are heavy or you have several. Housekeeping tips should be based on how many people are staying in the room as well as how much cleaning up is needed. Between 40-100 pesos per day is fine.
Leave between 15-20% more than the cost of your spa treatment to tip your aesthetician, hairstylist, manicurist, massage therapist, etc.
The bagging clerks at grocery stores are generally teenagers or senior citizens looking for some tips. They do not receive any wages, so make sure you don’t leave them empty handed. A tip of a few pesos per shopping bag is standard, but feel free to be as generous as you like. If they help you out to your vehicle, give them 20 pesos extra. But never leave foreign coins as a tip!
As a general rule, locals do not tip taxi drivers taking them around town. However, if the driver offers some extra service such as loading/unloading luggage or groceries or waiting while you shop, feel free to add a little bit extra (between 10-50 pesos depending on circumstances). On the other hand, official airport transfers do expect a tip, partly because they will be helping you with luggage.
* Please note, that these are guidelines only and tipping in Mexico is always at your own discretion.