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August 12th, 2010 7:05 PM

The Real Value of Your Tip

Written by: Mexico Insight

Published: Friday, April 24, 2009

Tipping people for services rendered is a practice that is deeply engrained into Mexican culture.

Most of the people working in Mexico’s tourism and catering service industries earn a low basic minimum wage and depend upon your tips to earn their living.   The importance of earning those tips, coupled with extensive training programs rolled-out nationwide out by Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism, have caused service levels in Mexico to increase exponentially over the last decade.   Hotels, restaurants, bars and activity and tours service-providers and their staff are being continuously trained in the art of good service and it’s actually harder to find bad service in Mexico now than it ever has been before.

The practice of tipping in Mexico goes far beyond the restaurant table; there are many situations where a small tip is appropriate, and keeping change on hand, in the form of small denomination coins, is essential for this purpose when you are visiting or living in the country.

There are two situations which are worth a particular mention as they are often overlooked by foreign travelers:

The first relates to the unsung heroines (they are invariably women) of the hotel industry: chamber maids.   They will often travel a considerable distance to reach your hotel and spend the day cleaning and maintaining yours and other guest’s rooms in good order, so that when you get back after to your room, it’s waiting for you clean, fresh and tidy.  It’s appropriate to leave a small tip and leave it each day, as work schedules change, and the maid who cleaned your room initially may not be on duty the day when you leave.  The amount of the tip should vary depending upon the category of hotel; a sum in Mexican pesos, left in cash on the side table (next to the maid’s greeting card if one is present), equivalent to between US$3 and US$5 (for highest-end luxury hotels) per day is suggested and will be sincerely appreciated.

The second situation relates to “all inclusive” hotels and travel packages.  A small few packages stipulate that ‘tips are included’ and in this case no further tipping is required.  However in most cases, porters, the concierge, table staff, and the chamber maids (see above) will appreciate a small tip – even if, for example, the price of your meals (or just breakfast) is included in the room rate.  A dollar per bag for porters, a dollar or two left on the table after a breakfast or meal, and a modest tip for the chamber maids will add less than US$30 to your total spend over a seven day vacation in Mexico; and the amounts you tip will mean a great deal to the people serving you and your partner or family during your stay.

The amount of the tip should vary depending on the situation and the category of establishment.  Our guide to tipping in Mexico contains a comprehensive list of situations and the amounts you may consider tipping in given circumstances.


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Posted by Craig Harrison on August 12th, 2010 7:05 PMPost a Comment

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