When it comes to tipping in Mexico, there is a lot to consider. Who is expecting a tip? How much should you give? And which currency should you use? are questions that come up all the time.
You’ll find the answers here!
I’ve done my best to include everyone I’ve encountered in Mexico who is expecting a tip, a few people you might feel inclined to tip but shouldn’t, and guidelines for figuring out how much to give them.
I know that everyone has their own tipping philosophy. Do what feels right to you. I tip in line with what my local friends and family tell me is standard because that feels good to me. I wrote this guide according to that point of reference.
If the amounts I’ve suggested seem off to you, feel free to tip more (or less), it’s your money!
- Tipping Food Service Providers
- Tipping Transportation Providers
- Tipping Hospitality Workers in Mexico
- Other People To Tip in Mexico
Currency in Mexico
The national currency in Mexico is the Mexican peso, denoted with a dollar sign ($). This undoubtedly leads to a brief moment of panic the first time you withdraw cash in Mexico. Rest assured, the amount you see on the screen is in pesos, not dollars.
There are a lot of opinions out there on the internet about whether it’s better to carry US dollars or pesos in Mexico. As far as I’m concerned, the official currency is pesos, so it makes sense to carry pesos.
It’s easy to withdraw money at ATMs throughout Mexico. Just be sure to use ATMs that are associated with a bank and located in a bank or a supermarket. This way they are monitored and unlikely to have been tampered with.
The word for ATM in Spanish is cajero. If you need to ask where an ATM is, say: Dónde está un cajero?
As you’re about to learn, there are a lot of people in Mexico who will be expecting tips from you. Be sure to carry small bills and change at all times. Seriously. I know it’s annoying to have a bag of change in your purse all the time but trust me, you’ll be glad to have it when the time comes.
Best way to carry money in Mexico
When it comes to carrying money in Mexico, I recommend using an anti-theft purse. Unfortunately, pickpocketing does happen here, especially in large cities and touristy areas.
While it’s not super likely, it will give you peace of mind to take precautions against pickpockets.
With features like protection from RFID scanners, slash-proof fabric, and locking zippers, anti-theft bags are the perfect way to keep your money and valuables safe and sound.
Intrigued? Check out my list of anti-theft purses that are perfect for Mexico.
If you’d rather use something you already have, opt for a crossbody bag with a zipper that you can keep close to your body. A zipper makes it harder for thieves to access your bag without you noticing.
Since you’ll need to have change on hand all the time, bring along a separate change purse for quick and easy access. I use this one, which I picked up on Amazon.
With those basics out of the way, let’s talk about who to tip and how much!
Tipping Food Service Providers
Tipping in Restaurants
It’s customary to tip 10-20% in restaurants in Mexico. Servers in Mexico are typically paid a low wage with the expectation that it will be supplemented with tips.
With this in mind, I like to tip closer to the top of this range when I have great service (which, honestly, is most of the time).
If you are paying your bill with a card the logistics of leaving a tip are slightly different than back home.
The server will ask if you want the bill closed: cuenta cerrada. If you plan to leave a cash tip and pay with your card, say Si, cuenta cerrada, and leave your desired tip in cash on the table.
If you wish to tip with your card, tell the server the tip percentage you wish to leave. For example, if you wish to leave 15%, say quince por ciento de propina. The server will usually then confirm the amount of the tip (in pesos), and then the total of the final bill.
Occasionally, a server will add the gratuity to the bill for you, so always check your bill before you pay. This shouldn’t happen, but in some touristy areas servers will seize the opportunity to skim a few extra pesos in tips off of their tables.
This attitude sucks, but remember, the wages are very low and people have families to support. So, be sure to check your bill. If a gratuity has been added don’t leave an additional tip.
Street Food Stands
It’s not standard to tip street food vendors, though some of them will have a tip jar. If there happens to be a jar I tend to toss a few pesos in, but if not I generally don’t tip.
Plan to tip bartenders a few pesos initially and then a few more periodically throughout the night, say 10 to 20 pesos. If you’re at a sit-down style bar just add the tip to your bill at the end of the night as you would in a restaurant.
Tipping Transportation Providers
It’s not standard to tip taxi drivers in Mexico. But, if they help me with my luggage or do something extra other than simply driving from point A to point B, I will tip them.
I always recommend asking how much the driver will charge for the ride before you agree to get in the taxi. If you don’t, some taxi drivers will try to bump up the price because they know they can probably get away with it.
For instance, recently Héctor and I grabbed a taxi during rush hour without agreeing on a price in advance. We got in an expressed our gratitude to him for stopping because we’d been waiting for so long (foolish). Then when we asked how much he’d charge to get to our destination he gouged us for ⅓ above the usual price because he knew we wouldn’t want to take our chances waiting for another taxi. Don’t be like us!
On the flip side, there are tons of super helpful taxi drivers. Like the one who drove me and a few friends home from a boozy night on the town. After dropping us off he noticed a group of men approaching and rolled the window down and told us to get in again. We did and he drove us around the block until they were gone and we could safely unlock our door and go inside.
Since tipping taxi drivers isn’t customary in Mexico, I don’t tend to tip Uber drivers either unless they go out of their way to help me with something. However, the functionality is built into the app, so you can tip easily if you want to!
It’s standard to tip shuttle drivers in Mexico. The amount should depend on the level of service they provide, but 10 to 50 pesos is reasonable, with 50 being quite generous. If your driver helps you with your bags definitely be sure to tip him toward the higher end of the scale.
Taxi Stand Attendants
If you catch taxis from taxi stands on the street or in shopping malls, there is usually an attendant of some sort there who will help you find a taxi and load your bags into it. It’s customary to tip these people a few pesos for their trouble. I usually give 5 to 10 pesos.
Sometimes the attendants will go out of their way to help you. They might run around and track down a taxi for you, or help you load a ton of luggage or shopping bags into the car. Other times they just point to a taxi for you. I tend not to tip in the latter situation, but if they do anything more it’s definitely good to tip them.
Tipping Hospitality Workers in Mexico
Plan to tip hotel porters who help you with your bags. I suggest 10 to 50 pesos total depending on the distance they have to walk and the number of bags you have, etc.
If you don’t happen to have change on you at the time (it happens!) try to make a point of slipping a tip to the person who helped you after you’ve tracked some down.
It’s normal to tip concierge staff if they’re helping you make the most of your trip. The amount you tip them is totally up to you, and it’s not mandatory or even expected but it’s always appreciated. Tip based on the level of service you are receiving.
Tipping housekeeping staff is a nice gesture. I like to leave the equivalent of about 50 pesos per day at the end of my trip. If you’re a particularly low maintenance guest you may wish to leave less. Anything is appreciated!
Tipping tour guides in Mexico is customary if you’re happy with the service. The amount will vary depending on the price of your tour, but 50 pesos is a decent starting point. I like to tip more if the guide is particularly helpful or engaging.
If your guide isn’t very hands-on or you don’t enjoy the tour don’t feel obligated to leave a tip.
Tipping at All-Inclusive Resorts in Mexico
Tipping is crucial at all-inclusive resorts (unless you happen to be staying at a no-tipping resort). Many different hotel employees are sure to help you out throughout the day so be sure to have some small bills on hand.
In my experience, if you tip the bar servers 100 to 200 pesos at the beginning of each day, they’ll take great care of you. They’ll do everything from find you the best loungers, check on your drink status consistently, and serve you generous pours.
You should also plan to tip your servers at restaurants in all-inclusives. I recommend 20 to 50 pesos per meal, or more if you’re in a big group since they’ll have to make more trips to run the food and drinks.
Other People To Tip in Mexico
Grocery Store Baggers
The baggers in grocery stores in Mexico aren’t employees of the store and don’t receive a wage. They work solely for tips, so don’t overlook them. I usually tip them 5 to 10 pesos, or more if I have a lot of groceries.
If you don’t have any coins the cashier will usually help you break down a larger bill so you can tip the baggers.
Gas Station Attendants
Gas stations in Mexico are full-service and the attendants will expect a tip. Plan to tip 5 to 10 pesos, or more if they go above and beyond for you.
Don’t be afraid to ask them to check your oil levels, wash your windshield, or check your tire pressure. If the attendant does all of those things you can tip them even more, but about 10 pesos seems standard in my experience.
Parking Lot Attendants
In some places, you may encounter parking lot attendants who help you find a free space or help you navigate into a parking space. These people generally aren’t employed by anyone, they just perform the service in hopes of earning tips.
Not everyone tips them, but you can if you find them helpful. About 5 pesos is pretty standard.
You may notice that at some stoplights there are people who will run out and wash car windshields during red lights. They will expect tips. If you don’t want to tip them, or don’t have any change, just wave your hand letting them know that you’re not interested. Sometimes they will insist and wash your windshield anyway.
If you have a dirty windshield this service can come in handy! If you opt for it, it’s standard to tip 5 to 10 pesos.
You’re also likely to encounter street performers at intersections. I’ve seen everything from clowns and mimes to people juggling knives, blowing fire, and walking on stilts.
These people are working hard to entertain you in the hopes of earning tips. It’s standard to give 5 or 10 pesos, but if you don’t have any change don’t feel bad.
A lot of public restrooms in Mexico have a fee — usually 3 to 5 pesos. In some cases the fee is “suggested” and other times it is required.
Sometimes there is no fee but you will encounter women in the restroom handing out toilet paper and paper towels and performing light cleaning. It’s customary to tip these women a few pesos. I usually give them about 5.
If you happen to need a bathroom but don’t have change handy I’ve found that the attendants are pretty forgiving about waiving the fee if you ask nicely. I’ve also found that other women in the bathroom line are happy to spot me in these instances, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Just like back home, it’s standard to tip hair stylists. I usually tip 10-20% of the service cost, but of course, it’s up to your discretion
Tipping in Spas
Tipping in spas is standard as well. If you go for a manicure, a massage, etc, a 10-20% tip is standard.
I hope you find this advice about tipping in Mexico helpful. I always find it handy to have a point of reference for tipping so I don’t accidentally offend anyone!
Is there anything you think I missed? Let me know in the comments.