tipping 101
January 12, 2024 3:57 PM   Subscribe

How on earth do I tip? Difficulty level: Mexico

I am not from the US and have never lived there or anywhere in the Americas. I mostly hate and don't understand tipping culture. (In European countries we just pay service people decently, and it's certainly never expected that tipping occurs at any point beyond paying for the hotel at the front desk). My partner and I are going to Mexico (various small hotels in Mexico City, Oaxaca, and a bit more of a luxe all-inclusive resort in Huatulco) for a rare holiday. I have read in several places that, as visible foreigners, if we don't tip generously and often for every little thing in the all-inclusive resort or in any hotel generally, we will get terrible service, our sheets will never be cleaned, the towels will never be replaced, food will be sent to us late and cold, etc other inconveniences.

My partner and I are not made of money but we would like to have an actually nice time on holiday. We don't travel often, and feel that we have already spent a lot of money even booking these hotels at all. How much and how often and when do we tip? I assumed at an "all-inclusive" surely all food and drink etc are covered in the hotel, so when would we even be paying anything at any point beyond paying the final bill at the front desk?

Grateful for strategies, things I may not have thought of as a non-regular non-American tipper, how much we should budget for tipping, when it's OK not to tip, when it's definitely not OK to not tip - anything you can think of! Specificity to experiences in Mexico would be most helpful.
posted by starcrust to Travel & Transportation around Mexico (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Ah! I recently went to Mexico City and I learned that Mexico has a specific way of tipping hotel housekeeping. Each morning when you leave your hotel for the day, leave a 100 peso note on the dresser in order to get housekeeping service. If it's a really fancy hotel I'd do 200 pesos per night.

It's typical to tip about 15% at restaurants though you can certainly go higher. Since it's all inclusive, my thought is just leave 200-500 pesos in cash per meal depending on how big and fancy the meal was. At least in Mexico City my experience was that most transactions are done in cash.

You should also tip your bellhop 20-50 pesos if they carry your suitcase to your room, and ALL tours and activities should get a tip of 350-500 pesos. Definitely use cash for all of this, though some of your tour guides may have venmo.

Have fun! I had such a blast in Mexico City. One of my favorite trips ever. It's a GORGEOUS city.
posted by capricorn at 7:13 PM on January 12

My family went to an all-inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta last year that my mom had been to several times before. She told each of us to bring $100 in US one dollar bills for tips. Every day we left two dollars on the bed for housekeeping, a dollar per drink, and two dollars a person on the table at meals. If a jar or hat was passed for entertainment, we each put a couple of dollars in. We were there for a week and I left with an extra $10 in $1 bills. You don’t have to tip at the all inclusives, but we got the best service all week and our servers definitely remembered us and appreciated it.
posted by Fuego at 7:15 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]

My understanding is that in Mexico, 10% tipping at restaurants is standard although in more touristy places that see a lot of Americans, higher amounts may be common. I tipped 10-15% in pesos on restaurant meals in Mexico City and Oaxaca and generally rounded up taxi / tour guide amounts to something sort of in that range that made sense given the bills I had. We had no mishaps, just one taxi driver who quoted us a high rate before getting in the car for a trip from a very touristy area because we looked like we would pay it.

If you do book guides through any online services that take booking fees, don’t be surprised if the guide tries to move to text message / WhatsApp to communicate and cut out the website’s fees and as a result gives you a slightly ambiguous understanding of how much you owe them. I had that happen both in Mexico and in another country last year.

No idea on all inclusive resort customs as I’ve never visited one.
posted by A Blue Moon at 7:45 PM on January 12

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