Tipping in Cancun: The Ultimate Guide

Are you planning a trip to Cancun and do you have questions about tipping in Cancun? Tipping when traveling can be tricky.

You want to follow local customs and not be cheap, but you also want to avoid potentially awkward situations caused by overtipping. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about tipping in Cancun. 

I lived in Cancun for many years and every time I go back now I stay in vacation rentals and resorts. When it comes to tipping in Cancun I have learned a thing or two. So in this post, I will tell you all about it.

View of Playa Delfines.
Playa Delfines

Is Tipping Expected in Cancun?

Yes, tipping is expected in Cancun. Most service industry workers have low salaries and count on tips.

So, remember to take cash, small denominations are the best, and go to Cancun prepared to show your appreciation for the people who help you have a great vacation. 

How Much Do I Need to Tip in Cancun?

Knowing how much to tip can be tricky. Here is a brief guide that will give you an idea of what standard tipping rates in Cancun are.

If you are ever in doubt and want to make sure to leave an acceptable tip, 15% of the service provided is a safe bet. 

Having an idea in your head of how much you will tip someone is great, but remember to always reward people who go above and beyond. 

Hotel Zone Walkable area.
Hotel Zone

✔️ Hotels & Resorts

There are several people at your hotel who will work hard to give you a good experience including the bellhop, concierge, and housekeeping staff.

Plus, if you are eating at the hotel’s restaurant, you will want to tip the workers there too. Thankfully, you are not expected to tip any individual worker very much and can budget about 15-20 dollars per day for tipping. 

If a bellhop helps you take your bags to your room, you can give them a dollar or two per bag. If they have to carry your suitcase upstairs, two or three dollars per bag is appropriate.

In some hotels, the bellhop will take your bag to your room and leave it for you while you complete checkout and you do not see them.

If this is the case do not stress about it, but if you see them in the lobby you can always give them their tip then. 

It is customary to leave a tip for your housekeeper, the suggested amount is $1-5 dollars or 20-100 pesos per night.

To guarantee that your housekeeper gets the tip, it is best to leave it every day instead of waiting until the end of your trip because different people might be cleaning your room.

Some hotels have a specific envelope for housekeeping tips and staff are not allowed to touch money that is left on a table or nightstand.

If you have any questions about your hotel’s specific tipping policies you can ask the front desk. That way you will be sure the correct person is getting the tip. 

If you use the hotel concierge services, it is common practice to leave them a tip.

The suggested amount varies on the service you reserved. Most people consider a $5 to $10 dollar tip appropriate for booking tours or giving helpful recommendations.

If your concierge was able to pull strings and get you into a full restaurant or set up a personalized tour, you can show your appreciation by leaving a bigger tip of around $20 dollars. 

✔️ Cancun All-Inclusive Resorts

Tipping at all-inclusive resorts can be tricky. Some all-inclusive resorts have a no-tipping policy because they do not want staff to give a better service to guests who tip.

At these resorts, if you try to tip the staff will usually not pick it up in order to not risk getting in trouble. Other all-inclusive resorts allow tipping.

If that is the case at your hotel, it is a great idea to bring small denomination bills with you to use for tips. 

Unlike when you eat at a restaurant or go to a bar, you do not see prices at an all-inclusive resort, making tipping a bit trickier.

As a general guideline, your tip can be a token to show staff you appreciate their hard work.

When you eat at a sit-down restaurant in your resort a suggested tip is around $3 per meal.

Many guests like to tip their bartender to keep the drink flowing and at an all-inclusive resort you can leave them a few dollars per round of drinks. 

Tipping housekeepers and bellhops at all-inclusive resorts is the same as at hotels. You can leave the bellhop a few dollars per bag, and leave the housekeeper $1-5 dollars per day. 

The resort’s concierge can help you find tours, offer advice, and book tables at restaurants for you.

You can show your appreciation for their service by leaving $5-10, but remember if your concierge is going to extreme lengths to give you an awesome experience, reward them with a bigger tip. 

Puerto Cancun Cao Restaurant
Puerto Cancun Cao Restaurant

✔️ Restaurants

One of the highlights of any trip to Mexico is the delicious food and drinks. Cancun has no shortage of amazing places to eat, and you can find everything from small taco stands to high-end restaurants.

In general, tipping in Mexico is similar to tipping in the United States, and whenever you are in doubt, tip between 15 and 20 percent of your total bill. 

🍽 Fine Dining Restaurants

Cancun has many fine-dining restaurants. There you can expect amazing food, drinks, atmosphere, and service.

If you eat at a fine-dining restaurant, you should leave a tip between 15-20% of the bill for great service. Your tip should never be included in the bill. 

In Mexico it is illegal for a restaurant to automatically add a tip to the bill; however, many restaurants still try to do this.

In the last year, there have been news reports of restaurants being fined for trying this, but it is always a good idea to look over your bill and ask if you have any questions.

Playa Delfines shore with white sand and turquoise water and huts.
Playa Defines

🍽 Beach Clubs

Nothing beats a day at a beach club. You can relax in the sun while enjoying delicious food and drinks.

You should tip your beach club server like you would a server in a restaurant.

It is common in Mexico for people to tip anywhere from 10-20%. In the past locals tipped around 10% at restaurants, but in recent years it has increased to 15%.

Many tourists are accustomed to tipping 15-20% and many servers are accustomed to receiving that from visitors. 

🍽 Local Restaurants

It can be fun to get away from your resort and explore local restaurants. You can find local gems with authentic, and usually very affordable food.

Locals usually tip between 10-15%, with some tipping as much as 20% for good service.

Some local restaurants offer ‘comida corrida’ or a fast, set-menu lunch option. For as low as 100 pesos you can get a nonalcoholic beverage, soup, and a main course.

When eating on the cheap, you may want to increase your tip to make sure you always leave the server at least a few dollars (even if that is a higher percentage of the bill).

In instances when you find great affordable food, the difference between a great tip and a normal tip is only a dollar or two, so it is a great opportunity to reward someone for hard work. 

🍽 Street Food Vendors

There are a lot of tasty treats to get from street vendors in Cancun.

In addition to tacos, you can find panuchos and salbutes, which are similar to tostadas, and sweet treats like churros and marquesitas.

It is not customary to tip street food vendors, although more and more you will see them with a small cup labeled for tips.

If your vendor has a tip jar you can leave them a small tip or the change from your purchase. 

🍽 Fast Food and Coffee Shops

If you go to an establishment where you order at a counter and then seat yourself, you are not expected to tip.

Similar to street food vendors, it is getting more common to see tip jars in fast food establishments and coffee shops. You can leave a small tip or spare change if you want, but you are not expected to tip. 

✔️ Bars and Clubs

If you are at a busy bar or club, leaving a good tip of a few dollars per drink after the first round can help you get faster service for the next round. How much you need to tip at a bar depends a lot on the establishment.

Some of the fancier clubs and bars will expect you to tip more than a small, local bar. 

✔️ Transportation

Unless you are renting a car for your entire vacation, you will undoubtedly need to use some form of transportation while on vacation.

Many visitors like to book private or shared shuttles from the airport to their hotel. These shuttles are comfortable and fast, and the driver will help you load and unload your bags.

You can tip shuttle drivers between 2-3 dollars per person, or 50 pesos per person.

Taxis in Cancun do not have meters, there are set rates for different distances. Unfortunately, many visitors do not know the rates, and you will need to agree on a price with a taxi driver.

Always make sure to set the price before getting into the cab. Taxi drivers do not expect tips in Mexico, but if they help you with bags or give you good service you can leave them a small tip. 

Bus at the Cancun Hotel Zone Kukulcan Plaza.
Hotel Zone

✔️ Travel Tour Guides

It is customary to tip your tour guide after going on an excursion. A standard tip is 10-20% of the cost of the tour. Tour guides often have a low base salary and count on tips.

When tipping your tour guide, it is a good idea to follow tipping guidelines, but also give a little extra to tour guides who really went out of their way to help you have fun.

If you have a guide who held your hand and helped you snorkel, kept you safe and helped you have fun while scuba diving, or gave you historical and cultural information above and beyond what the tour required- show them you noticed their efforts and leave a bigger tip.

The difference between a normal and great tip is usually only a few dollars and they will really appreciate a generous tip. 

✔️ Other Situations

For most people, it is easy to remember to tip at the hotel or in a restaurant, but there are several other situations in Mexico that might leave you wondering what the proper tip protocol is.

Remember, tipping is never required, it is the best way to show someone you appreciate a service they offered you. 

👉🏽 Street Musicians

Street musicians often wander into restaurants and serenade guests or can be found in parks or on the street.

After playing a song or two they might walk around with a jar or hat for people to leave a tip in. You can leave them a few dollars, or 30-50 pesos.

If they stop at your table at a restaurant and play several songs or any requested songs you can increase the tip to $5 or 100 pesos. 

Pemex Gasoline Station.

👉🏽 Gas Station Attendants

If you rent a car you will undoubtedly need to stop at a gas station at some point.

In Mexico, a gas station attendant pumps your gas for you. It is not required to tip them for filling your tank, but many will also wash your windshield or check your tire pressure, which is deserving of a small tip.

You can leave your leftover change or a few dollars. 

👉🏽 Grocery Baggers

Most grocery stores have baggers who will help you pack up your purchases. Often, these are low-income retirees who are not employed by the store.

They bag your groceries for the chance to make a little extra tip money. Most people leave them anywhere from 10-20 pesos per bag. They are often friendly and helpful and very deserving of a tip.

Tip: It is now illegal for grocery stores to give you single-use plastic bags. Take a tote bag with you to transport your groceries after shopping. 

👉🏽 Beauty Services 

If you decide to pamper yourself and get your hair cut or styled, a manicure, or a pedicure, you should leave a 10% tip.

This same percentage applies to spa services such as massages. As always, if you received great service, you can always leave a little extra.

👉🏽 Bathroom Attendants

In many malls, restaurants, and clubs you will find bathroom attendants who help keep the bathroom clean and even hand you a paper towel when you finish washing your hands.

It is not required to tip them, but it is a nice gesture to leave a few coins or a dollar in their tip jar.

It cannot be a pleasant job to stay in a bathroom for long hours at a time, so if you have some coins or small bills on you use them to tip them. 

👉🏽 Car Parking/Valet

If you use a valet parking service, it is customary to leave a few dollars or 50 pesos as a tip.

Often if you are in a busy parking lot someone will come over and help direct you when you can back out of a parking space.

You can thank them for their help by rolling your window down and leaving them a few coins. 

Handcrafted souvenirs in Mercado 23.
Mercado 23

When Not to Tip in Cancun

As you can see, there are many circumstances in Cancun when it is customary to leave a tip. Often the tips are not huge amounts, but they are a meaningful way to thank people.

If you stay at a resort that does not allow tips, please respect the policy. You may feel compelled to try to sneak someone a tip for great service, but then they run the risk of getting in trouble.

If you want to acknowledge their great work, you can ask their name and let the manager on duty know how thrilled you are with their service. 

Is it Better to Tip in Pesos or in Dollars in Cancun?

People always ask whether it is better for workers to receive tips in pesos or dollars. Most workers are probably happy to receive either, and dollars are widely accepted and easy to exchange for pesos in Cancun.

What you should avoid though, is tipping on your debit or credit card. Most businesses will subtract the credit card processing fee from the tip, and it can take a few days for credit card payments to process and for workers to receive their tips.

Even if you are paying for a nice meal or spa service with a credit card, try to remember to leave a cash tip.

Fruits and vegetables stand in Mercado 23.
Mercado 23

Tipping Etiquette in Cancun

If you are even in doubt about the appropriate tipping etiquette, feel free to ask a local or staff member.

Chances are you are not the first person to ask, and they will appreciate that you want to leave an appropriate tip. 

When you tip, make sure to always hand it to the person directly, look them in the eye, and tell them gracias. People appreciate cash tips, but they also appreciate being acknowledged for their hard work. 

If possible, try to tip in pesos. Workers will accept any currency, but pesos are the local currency. 

Lastly, be generous with your tips. Most hospitality workers in Cancun are working hard to help you have a great vacation.

Salaries in Mexico are quite low compared to the United States and even a few extra dollars can make a big difference for someone. 

Entrance of El Cocodrilo restaurant - one of the few best places to visit when you travel from Cancun to Coba.
El Cocodrilo Restaurant

Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Have to Tip in Cancun All-Inclusive?

You are never required to tip. If the all-inclusive allows tipping it is customary to tip a few dollars in the restaurant, to the bartender, the bellhop, and the housekeeper. 

Do You Tip in Mexican Restaurants?

Yes, locals and visitors alike tip after eating in restaurants in Mexico. Most locals will leave between 10-15%.

El Pocito Restaurant
El Pocito Restaurant

Do You Tip Waiters in Cancun?

Yes, whether in a restaurant, bar, or beach club, it is customary to tip your server at least 10-15% of the total bill.

Do I Tip Taxi Drivers in Cancun?

You do not need to tip taxi drivers in Cancun. If they help you load and unload your suitcases you can leave them a small tip if you want. 

Bus on a busy road in Cancun Hotel Zone - tipping in Cancun.
Hotel Zone

How Much Do You Tip in Cancun in Dollar?

When in doubt, a good rule of thumb for tipping in Cancun is to tip 10-15% of your total bill.

This is an appropriate tip for restaurants, spas, and bars.

If you receive great service, you can always tip more. Your bill will probably be in pesos, but you can leave the equivalent amount for a tip in dollars. 

How Much Do You Tip in Cancun in Pesos?

Whether you tip in dollars or pesos in Cancun, you will want to leave 10-15% of the bill for services such as tours and beauty services or for eating in a restaurant. 

This is me with Miguel the driver and the shuttle that took me to my hotel.
Me with my driver from Cancun Transportations (you can tip your driver if you are happy with the service)

Is $5 a Good Tip in Cancun?

$5 is a good tip for your housekeeper or bellhop in Cancun. If you are at an all-inclusive resort, you can leave 5$ on the table after a meal. 

Is $1 a Good Tip in Mexico?

It depends…If you are staying at an all-inclusive resort you can leave $1 to the bartender for each round of drinks.

If you go on an excursion or eat in a restaurant, $1 will not be enough for a good tip.

Aerial view of Cancun Hotel Zone surrounded by blue sea - tipping in Cancun.
Cancun Hotel Zone

Is it Illegal Not to Tip in Mexico?

No, tipping is common in Mexico, but it is never required by law. 

Is it Rude Not to Tip in Mexico?

In Mexico, it is customary to leave a tip. Restaurant and hotel workers, tour guides, and other service personnel will not usually ask you for a tip, but they are accustomed to receiving tips. 

Ilios Restaurant

Final Thoughts: Tipping in Cancun

When you come on vacation to Cancun, you should be prepared for sunshine, fun, and relaxation.

Workers in your hotel, restaurants, and tour guide all work hard to make sure you have a good time, and if you want to be a gracious guest, come prepared to leave tips.

In addition heartfelt ‘thank you’ tips are the best way to show people you notice their hard work. Bring small denomination bills with you to make it easier to leave tips. 

About the Author

Hey there! This is Isabella, the owner, and writer of this site. I have been living in Cancun for the past 12 years and although I have been roaming around Mexico, Cancun’s spectacular turquoise waters and pristine beach draw me back to this popular Mexican beach destination. That is why I decided to start this blog, to show you all the beauty you can find in Cancun and share helpful travel tips to help you plan a fabulous vacation in Cancun!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *