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Tipping and Gratuities in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean

Knowing local tipping customs make vacations sail smoothly in the Mexican Caribbean

Photo credit: © Vadim Ponomarenko |

Although the Mexican Caribbean hosts a booming tourism industry, it remains one of the poorer areas in the region. For those who make their living off tourism, tips make up a large portion of income, and salaries are typically very low.

Most places regard tips as a reward for good or exceptional service. Unfortunately, certain nightclubs and bars may not provide good service unless you tip up front. In these situations, it's best to start off with a high tip and decrease with each drink ordered.

Restaurants and bars may include tips in the bill or tab, so be sure to check each charge carefully. If gratuities are not included, 15 percent is considered standard in the Mexican Caribbean. Unlike the United States, tipping cab drivers is not necessarily expected though it is perfectly acceptable if you chose to. Tipping the maid at your hotel, on the other hand, is an absolute must. All-inclusive hotels usually state that tips are included in the initial cost, but if you do chose to tip someone for exceptionally good service, be sure to do so discreetly.

Additionally, show appreciation for those who go out out of their way to help. If a bellhop brings mail or packages to your door, or a repairman promptly fixes a problem such as air conditioning or plumbing, be sure to provide a small tip.

These small gestures go a long way and can make your visit to the Mexican Caribbean much easier.


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