Tipping etiquette can vary quite a bit from country to country. I was recently reminded of this fact during our recent trip to Italy, a country where it is not customary to leave a tip at a restaurant.
That trip inspired me to do a post to provide visitors to Mexico with a bit of guidance when it comes to tipping.
It is customary to tip 10% at restaurants and bars. Of course, you can tip more if you feel it is warranted. Linda and I typically tip between 15-20%.
Service Fee Added to the Bill
Some establishments will include a service fee or tip (propina) of 10-20% on the bill. Although this practice is illegal in Mexico, it is still common in tourist areas where the majority of the customers are unfamiliar with Mexican consumer laws.
The government agency that investigates and enforces consumer law violations is called Procuraduría Federal de Consumidor, or PROFECO for short.
PROFECO takes the matter of adding the tip to the bill pretty seriously and has created numerous public service announcements encouraging people to report businesses that do it.
If you do see a service charge or tip added to the bill, you can handle it a couple of ways:
1) you can request that it be removed, or
2) you can just pay it and not leave an additional tip.
What I typically do is ask the business remove the illegal charge and then tip the server directly. That way I know for sure that they’re getting the money.
It is not customary to tip a taxi unless the driver provided you with some additional level of service such as helping you carry your groceries into your house or waiting for you while you shopped.
Private Transportation Services
If you book a private transportation company to drive you to or from the airport, it is customary to tip the driver. The amount of the tip will depend on the distance traveled but a good rule of thumb is around 10%.
Many all-inclusive resorts will advertise that the tips are already included. In spite of that, we always tip because we know how little the employees get paid and how hard they work.
If you would like to learn more about this, check out Tipping at All-Inclusive Resorts.
All of the gas stations in Mexico are full service, meaning that the attendant will pump the gas. It is customary to tip 5-10 pesos if the attendant provides some additional service such as cleaning the windows or checking the pressure in the tires.
The majority of the baggers are unpaid volunteers and work strictly for tips. it is customary to tip 2-5 pesos per bag.
If you would like to learn more about this, check out Mexico: Why You Should Always Tip Your Bagger.
Let’s Wrap This Up
Tipping is certainly the norm in Mexico and this article does not cover every possible tipping opportunity. While visiting Mexico, feel free to tip often and well. The hard-working people that you meet will certainly appreciate it.