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Lost World Adventures Travel Blog

Tipping in Latin America

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Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

When traveling, we always find ourselves experiencing new things daily, getting out of our comfort zones and adjusting to new cultures and traditions. One thing that always varies enormously between one country to the other is the tipping culture. For example, in Japan, leaving a tip is almost seen as an insult, in Egypt a tip is mandatory for anything that’s done for you, and in the US anything less than 20% can be seen as rude and unappreciative.

While there are no hard rules as to what is right and what is wrong, Latin America is incredibly diverse and tipping customs can vary widely from one country to the other. Tipping, in general, is not much a part of the Latin American culture as it is in the United States, it’s still highly appreciated. Due to the varying tipping customs all around Latin America, we’re helping you take a look at the different tipping practices in different countries around Latin America. This way you’ll know what to do when you find yourself in a situation where it’s hard to figure out how much to tip and whether you should!

 

Argentina

Tipping is very common in Argentina. You’re expected to tip everywhere – from restaurants, cafes, and bars, to tours, spas, and salons.

Hotels: It’s normal to tip in hotels, with 25-40 pesos being appropriate for porters and bellhops.

Bars: It’s not mandatory to tip at bars, but if you’re spending the night at a high-end bar and they have top-notch service or great cocktails, a 10% tip is appreciated.

Restaurants: It’s usual to leave tips at restaurants in Argentina. A 10% tip is the norm.

Transportation: you’re not expected to tip taxi drivers. You can simply round up your fare. You are, however, expected to tip the trapitos. The trapitos are the people who will help you find a spot to park your car in, help you park in general or look after your car. The norm is to tip in local currency.

Tour guide: Tipping your tour guide is highly expected and around 10-20% is the norm. if you’re very pleased with the service, you can always tip more. 150-300 pesos is a standard tip, and even tipping in USD will always be appreciated.

 

Peru

Hotels: If you’re staying at an upscale hotel or a chain hotel, the tipping customs will generally be the same in Peru and elsewhere.

  1. Tip around 3-4 soles for both porters and bellhops.
  2. There is no need to tip housekeeping (You could still add anything from 1-4 soles)
  3. If a hotel concierge went out of their way to help you, a 5-10 soles tip is appreciated.

Hostels: If you’re staying at a hostel, then you’re not expected to leave any tips.

Restaurants: It’s not mandatory to tip in restaurants, and restaurant tipping isn’t exactly a part of the Peruvian culture.

  1. For upscale restaurants, you’ll find that the service charge is already included in your bill. If it’s not, a 10-15% tip is a nice gesture.
  2. For smaller restaurants (local or family-run), you are not expected to tip. However, due to the fact that waiters earn very little at those restaurants and tipping isn’t really a major part of the culture there, a 10% tip would be appreciated.

Transportation: You’re not expected to tip taxi drivers as you’ll usually negotiate the fare beforehand. You can, however, leave an extra tip (2-3 soles) if the driver goes out of their way to help.

 

Colombia

Restaurants: Expect to tip around 15-20% of your bill at restaurants in Colombia. A lot of the restaurants usually have 8-10% of that tip already added to your bill.

Hotels: $1 per bag for the porters and $1 for housekeeping is recommended. If you’re staying at a hacienda, a $5-10/per day/per person tip is expected (especially if they’re also cooking and cleaning for you).

Transportation: There is no need to tip taxi drivers, you can always round up the fare instead. For a private guide or driver, a tip of $10 per person is appreciated.

 

Ecuador

The US dollar is the national currency in Ecuador, making tipping quite easy in general.

Restaurants: a 10% tip is included in the bill, but it’s always favorable to pay an extra 5-10% tip for great service.

Hotels: You’re expected to tip porters around $1 per bag, and housekeeping staff $1 per day.

Transportation: You can pay $5 per person per day for private drivers, and around $10 per person for private guides. If you are, however, taking bigger excursions (for example, an excursion to the Galapagos Islands), you’re expected to tip the naturalist guides around $50 and the kitchen staff around $90. Taxi drivers also don’t need to be tipped but appreciate a 10% tip if they’ve been helpful or very friendly.

 

Brazil

Brazilians are usually more discreet when it comes to tipping (and in general business transactions as well). Discreet tips are the general norm there. US Dollars are also accepted (and favored) due to the strong exchange rate.

Restaurants: 10% tips are usually included in the bill (called a service) so you don’t normally need to add more.

Hotels: Pay around $2 per bag for the porter, and $2 for the housekeeper. You are not expected to pay the concierge, however, if they’ve gone out of their way to help, a $2 is appreciated.

Drivers: For cab drivers, you can always round up the fare. If you have a private driver or a private tour guide, anything between $25-$50/day works.

 

Chile

Restaurants: A 10% tip is automatically added to your bill, so you don’t need to tip more. You will also encounter an extra charge called the cubierto (a sit-down charge) that amounts to 5-7% of your bill at upscale restaurants.

Hotels: Porters should be tipped anything between $1-2 per bag, while housekeeping can be tipped $2 per day. It’s expected to tip the concierge if you’re going to be needing their help throughout your trip. Most people tip the concierge $20 upfront for the exchange of top-notch service.

Transportation: You can round up your fare in taxis. If you’re taking a private tour, then $5/day for the driver is acceptable. A tour guide would be tipped $10-20 per person.

 

Mexico

Restaurants: A 10-15% tip is expected at restaurants.

Hotels: Pay 10-20 pesos for the porters (per bag), and 20-50 for the housekeeping (per night). If you’re going to be needing the concierge’s help, then a 100 pesos tip is the minimum amount you should tip.

Transportation: For private guides, expect to pay 100-200 pesos per person per day. For a driving guide, the normal tip is 200-300 pesos per day.

 

As you can tell, the tipping culture is vastly different from one place to the other. In general, always expect to tip - whether it’s your driver, private guide, or waiter, and always be as discreet as possible when tipping in Latin America.

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