Who to tip and how much to tip in Mexico

Tipping in Mexico

cost of living Playa Del Carmen

Tipping in Playa Del Carmen Guide

What are tipping in Playa Del Carmen standards? What will classify you as a generous tipper and what will make people think you stiffed them? There are some cultural differences and unique situations in Mexico for tipping that you should be aware of. We break it down by places and situations you will find yourself in.

What is normal for tipping in a restaurant in Playa Del Carmen?

For Americans it is standard to tip at restaurants and in the past decade the amount has been increasing toward 20%. For Europeans it is not as common to tip in restaurants. So what is normal for Mexicans? Tipping in restaurants falls into three main categories.


Tipping at a roadside restaurant or taco stand

For basic restaurants where most of the food is around 100 pesos and service is casual, there is no tip expected. They might have a tip jar on the counter and you can put something in if you like.

Places like this include where you order at a counter. El Fogon (a famous taco restaurant in Playa Del Carmen) for example has table waiters. This would fall into the next category.

Tipping at a mid range restaurant in Mexico

For most restaurant that are not gourmet or upper end it is standard to give  between 10 and 15% tip with 10% being more normal.

Tipping in Playa Del Carmen
Tip here because they have table service. Normal tipping amount would be 10% here.

Upper end restaurants

At nicer restaurants tipping is usually 15%. A 20% tip is not heard of much by people living in or experience with being in Mexico. The trend is going from 15% and moving up lately but still you should not feel cheap by leaving a 15% tip.

Rules for tipping in Mexico

The prices on menus in Mexico are the complete price. No taxes can be added and no tips can be added on the bill. Sometimes restaurants slip this in to unknowing tourist. (We go into detail about this in our dangers and safety article for not overpaying at restaurants.)  The first thing to check when you get your bill is look at the total and make sure that the tip was not included. They might suggest a certain percentage and have a chart for you, but this is only a suggestion.

Do you tip taxi drivers in  Playa Del Carmen?

Taxis are a love hate relationship in Playa Del Carmen. There are no taxi meters but there is a rate sheet of prices for trips between zones. Very often they charge more then what it should be. Taxis however do need to be used at times because it does rain and public transportation is slow. See our complete guide to taking taxis in Playa Del Carmen here.

Normally you do not tip taxi drivers. Most trips are between 25 and 50 pesos so even a 5 pesos tip would be a higher percentage tip. You might feel inclined to give a tip to a driver that gives courteous service and charges you the correct price.

If you have bags that the driver helps with, he might include it in the price but if not, it is good to tip 5 pesos or more depending on how many bags and how difficult they are.

You might have to tip a taxi driver if they do not have change or say they do not have change. Tip: Try to have small change when taking a taxi. This way you can pay the fare and tip only if you want to.

Tipping Playa Del Carmen
Here is a typical taxi in Playa Del Carmen.

Tipping hotels employees

Here are three main areas where you might run into a tipping situation on vacation.

  1. Housekeeping. Most midrange to upper range hotels might provide an envelope in your room for tips for the housekeeping staff. It is not that traditional in Mexico to leave tips but in tourist areas this does happen. Most basic hotels and lower midrange hotels you should not worry about it unless, you have good contact with housekeeping or you ask for special services. It will also depend if you stay for an extended time period. For upper end hotels it is nice to give something to the staff especially if you have contact with them. A tip of 20-50 pesos a day or a lump sum at the end of your stay. (See our article on the secret life of the Mexican worker).
  2. Bellhop. If you are staying in a medium size hotel and mid range to upper range hotel and you have help with your bag you should tip. It depends on how much the bellhop settles you into your room. If they turn on the air conditioner, open the curtains and give you a tour plus helped with your bags you might give 50 pesos. If they just deliver bags then 20 pesos is good.
  3. Wait staff at all inclusive hotels. This one can confuse people because often when you book it will say all services and gratuities are included. Most of the time when you dine at an all inclusive you will have a waiter bring you drinks or more to your table. Most people do not tip. It is standard that the pay from the hotel covers them. Where it is good to tip is if you have a regular waitperson or special service. Tips are always appreciated by staff because many make $25 USD a day. As we mention in our article about Mexican workers, people generally give very warm and genuine service to guest here. They will not just do it for the tips. When you have a connection with someone it is always nice to give a small thank you in the form of a tip.

Do you tip for laundry service?

Laundry mats where you drop off clothes are common in Mexico. It is affordable and easy. Often people choose this method over doing it themselves. This service is about 100-200 pesos a week depending on how many kilos of clothes you drop off. See our guide to doing laundry in Playa Del Carmen here.

Often you will see a tip jar on the counter. So do people tip here? Most people round off what they owe. So if you pay 97 pesos for your laundry you might just leave the 100 peso bill. Every once in a while you might want to leave a proper tip of 20 pesos or bring a treat or drink to the people doing your laundry. This will be appreciated and it often can get you a bigger smile when you come again. It also can get you express service when you are in a bind and need something washed faster.

Grocery store baggers and tipping

Tipping at a grocery store might be something unheard of in other countries but typical in Mexico. When you check out in most grocery stores there is someone bagging for you. Often this is an older person. These people are doing this for extra money or supplemental income. It is standard to tip them for their service.

Tipping depends on how much you buy at the store. If you have a couple of bags you can give 2 or 3 pesos. If you have done a lot of shopping then you can give 5 or 6 pesos.

tipping in Mexico

Mandatory tipping for employees in Mexico

If you have a business in Mexico or household help there is a labor law that effects “tipping” at the end of the year. It is called “aguinaldo“. Think of this as a year end bonus. It is required on or before December 20th and in cash. The aguinaldo cannot be a gift of some sort.

It can be a little complicated to calculate for those that have employed  part of the year of hire people in the home. Here is a link to calculate the Aguinaldo.

Many do “tip” more toward this or make a separate tip to employees. The overall year bonus is small compared to how hard most people work.

We hope this tipping guide has helped you get to know some of the standard practices in Mexico. Let us know if you have an d questions or comments below. 

tipping playa del carmen
This is funny because Coppel is a store that charges very high interest payments to customers, sometimes upward of 30%. People become indebted to this store so this tip jar is to help pay off debt supposedly. At least it gets a smile!

About The Author


  1. Any thoughts on a reasonable tip for laborers such as plumbers or electricians performing repairs? I realize a tip my not be customary, but it’s a practice I’ve used for years to ensure a good relationship and rapid future response when needed. I guess a better question would be how much do “journeyman” workers make (versus a small business owner who may employ a few laborers)?

    Thanks in advance

    • It is a little bit of a complicated answer. It is nice to offer a tip nos great people well but you will find that 50% of the time people take it as the fact you will pay more and take advantage of your kindness.
      Most trades people make about 300-500 a day but house calls and specialty people can make more. Odd jobs of course are not going to be just 50 pesos because it is a fraction of the day. So it depends on the job. If someon has employees and they work each day doing jobs they usually make a out 300-400 pesos a day.

  2. What about tips to the bus drivers and tour guides that take you from and drop you off at your hotel when you take tours to xelha, xplor and other places like that? Also the boat driver and tour guide when you go snorkeling or scuba diving?

    • Tour tips depend on if it is more personal and if it is just transportation. The bus for Xel Ha is not normally a tipped ride. A boat tour can be $5-$10 USD depending on how expensive the tour is. If tours are private and more expensive then you would tip more. Scuba diving is usually $110 USD or more per tour. So $10 or a little more is good for a tip.

    • A five dollar tip would be good for a driver. This would be about 10% of the ride. You can tip more if he is extra helpful with bags or talks to you about local info. Some drivers just pick you up and drop you off.

  3. One more tipping question. We’re taking a tour with Absolute Adventures to Chichen Itza. Is it customary to tip both the tour escort and the driver? If so, how much?

    • For private tours most people tip the guide and the guide shares with the driver. It will depend on your group size. Most people tip around 10% but is less for a larger group. We hope you enjoy their tour. They do a really nice job. We have been on several tours with them.

  4. We are having a chef drop off a catered dinner for 10 at our condo. Do we tip on top of fee? We’ve also hired drivers for day trips-one to bar hop around Cozumel and one to see Tulum and Akumal_ each for 10 people. What do you suggest we tip? Thanks!

    • The catered dinner is charges based on the delivery and there are no other real services to tip for on that. So unless they do something extra, there is no need for a tip. For the tours you could do 10% or $20-$30 usd depending on how much they have charged.

  5. Who enforces the law when waitstaff add tips to the bill or restaurant owners and tax to the bill . Is there a Mexican government agency in Playa Del Carmen ,And if so can you send me an address phone number and name of the person in charge of this agency

  6. What are the rules for services like a spa or salon? Is there a general amount (like 20 pesos) or is it a % thing again? Example: my manicure and pedicure was 600 pesos. What should I have tipped the two ladies each?

    • Hello Emily

      It will depend on the quality of the establishment. It will also depend on the job they did. Most likely this sounds like a decent place and it is a percent. 10% is good and if you want to tip for great service, 15%. Spas are more dependent on if the service was a massage or personal service. A massage is around 10% as well with upper end 15%.

  7. If my wife and i accept a beachside massage for say, $25 / hour each person, is it customary to tip
    a massage person on the beach?

    • Hello Tim

      That is a very good price for an hour massage. It is good to tip a little something. Beach massages that are not super professional are more casual and more just for the payment. Spas that do massage are more of a full service and professionals so there you would tip 10% or more.

  8. Thank you for thins guide. I never like to undertip people but also don’t like to tip out of the norm when it comes to jobs. I know people work very hard in Mexico and I always give a heartfelt thank you when living, in addition to tips when warranted.

    • For most tours a 5% tip is good. Many tours are 100 USD and 10% starts to be a lot for a tip. Of course it depends on the quality of the tour and the amount of people in the group. For example a private catamaran tour for 10 people is more of a tip than going on a boat with 50 other people.

  9. This is all great information-thank you! I have an additional question. Do the people you’re tipping have a preference between receiving tips in pesos or US dollars?

    • Hello Jodi

      In places like the Riviera Maya, people can buy with dollars in the super market and get a good exchange rate. Outside of 3 beach destinations in Mexico, Pesos are better because they don’t have to exchange them and make a trip to somewhere. Also, sometimes it depends on the exchange rate, but the USD can be more than a 20 pesos note, so they actually can get a bigger tip in dollars.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Best Bars in Playa Del Carmen to check out when on vacation here!
  2. Mexico Travel Tips So You Can Have a Great Vacation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.