Mexican Tipping 101: How Much Green to Leave on the Table

tipping in mexico
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Mexican Tipping 101: How Much Green to Leave on the Table

Tipping in Mexico can get tricky due to the various factors involved. But today, I’ll cover some of the most common scenarios.

Whenever you go to a restaurant or hotel, and it’s time to pay the bill, you’ve probably asked yourself: how much should I tip?

There will be some who leave the change or those who leave 10, 15, or 20 percent.

Needless to say, tipping in Mexico is NOT mandatory. The Federal Consumer Protection Law supports this, and in case the restaurant says otherwise, it could receive a heavy fine.

Things to consider when tipping in Mexico

I worked in the hospitality industry for over fifteen years—fine dining restaurants, Luxury Hotels, All-Inclusive Resorts, etc. So I know exactly how all this works.

One of the first things to consider is that waiters, in this case, make a minimum wage of around 250 USD a month (coffee money, if you ask me).

The same applies in the U.S. and Canada, where hospitality workers (front of the house) make the minimum.

Another thing is that tips are usually split among others, so whatever you give to someone, more than likely, they will have to share it with someone else.

How much should I tip in a Restaurant?

This will significantly depend on several factors. Let’s review the most common restaurant types:

tipping in mexico
Source: Marcos Castillo /

Fine dining restaurant

These establishments are meant to provide maximum service, food quality, and overall experience.

People who work here, are highly trained and have much more experience in their field.

Therefore, if everything goes well and they go above and beyond to provide you with the best dining experience possible, a 20% tip should be ideal.

Keep in mind that some restaurants include a service charge for large parties. If that is the case, review the amount (15, 18, or 20%). Leaving an “extra” is up to you.

Other establishments

  • Casual dining: 15%
  • Bars & Pubs: 10-15%
  • Fast food: Optional
  • Cafes: 10%
  • Diners: 10%
  • Buffets (self-serve): Optional
  • Street food: optional

Tipping in all-inclusive resorts in Mexico

tipping in mexico
Source: Irina Mos /

All-inclusive hotels and resorts have a general gratuity already added to the bill.

However, in most cases, the company keeps a big chunk of those tips, and employees only get a small portion of it.

It sucks, but many companies don’t care much about their people. It’s all business.

So tipping is ideal. Not a lot, though, but 10% should be ok. The same happens with “normal” hotels that add a so-called Service Charge to the bill.

This service charge can range between 10-20% depending on the level of service.

You may want to read: What is the Drinking Age in Mexico? Rules for Safe Drinking

Tipping for other services

  • Cabs and shuttles: These guys don’t make a lot of money, so if you like your driver and he or she is genuinely helpful, you can give ’em a nice tip
  • Spa services: 15-20%
  • Bellman: Have you heard the expression “always tip your bartender?” Well, same here. The tip will depend on the amount of effort put in. Don’t just tip him one dollar if he carries six big pieces of luggage to the 10th floor
  • Housekeeping: Very often underrated, these ladies work their asses off and make less money than everyone else. If you’re satisfied with their work, look for your maid and give her a decent tip. Please!
  • Room service: There’s usually a service charge to the bill here. However, if I’m satisfied with my order, I will give a little extra. Maybe a 10%

Tipping in Mexico: Should I leave pesos or dollars?

tipping in mexico
Source: AGCuesta /

Everybody loves dollars, right? So make sure to bring enough change in US currency for tipping.

Never tip American coins! They are not accepted in banks and currency institutions in Mexico.

Pesos are welcome, too, of course. Just make sure you know the right conversions. It often happens that people leave inferior tips in pesos by mistake.

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