Tipping at All Inclusive Hotels in Cancun
Tipping is a way of life in Cancun. Many of the staff earn a low basic salary and rely on tips to earn a livable wage. Personally, I consider tips as a way of showing thanks for a good service received and not as a means to ensure it. If I receive poor service I don’t tip for the sake of it. There shouldn’t be too much pressure within your hotel for tips but away from the hotel on trips or in nightclubs for example it’s a different story. In restaurants 15% is considered the norm.
Many have carefully calculated formulas regarding tipping at all-inclusive hotels, such as a dollar every drink and $5 to start and finish their session. That to me seems a little too overthinking it. Just give what you feel the service deserved.
Some people like to bring items for the staff, such as toiletries for the maids, sports wear for the guys. English soccer shirts are particularly coveted. However, cash is what pays their utility bills and puts food on the table. By all means give gifts, but don’t substitute them for cash.
In addition to the bartenders, waiters, bellboys and maids at your hotel remember those who may not receive tips regularly. Examples include the gardeners who make the grounds look so nice, the maintenance man who fixed your air-con or the DJ who played your request.
Are Tips Included?
One thing to remember is that travel agents will often describe an All Inclusive resort as “having tips included” in the price you pay. That is true to a certain extent. A tiny portion of your payment is separated into a tip fund and shared amongst the employees.
However, it is only a tiny amount and I often wonder how much of this is left when those higher up the chain have had first pickings. Don’t ‘tip’ to try to receive something the staff member is not allowed to give, like drinks you’re not entitled to, or an upgraded room. The staff member could easily lose his job if discovered.
Tipping at Restaurants and Nightclubs in Cancun
In some places particularly at some open bar nightclubs, the game changes and you may not receive good service unless you tip up front. Many is the time I’ve seen a ‘deaf’ bar tender completely ignore requests for drinks while pointing at a tip bucket.
Whenever we go to a club, which isn’t often these days, rather than go to the bar and ask for drinks we always find a waiter that is serving tables. We’ll give him a $10 tip when he has delivered our first round of drinks. That gets him hungry for more and will result in him bringing you drinks all night. We don’t tip every round but every so often we’ll tip him another $5 or so.
When paying your bill at the end of the night at restaurant, bar or club, always check if the tip has already been included. This is actually against the law, but some places will try it on. They will hope you don’t notice and tip on top of the already included tip.
Tipping Taxi Drivers in Cancun
You really shouldn’t, the local’s never do! The only exception being if the driver performs some extra task such as carrying heavy bags or making a short stop such as at an ATM or convenience store. In downtown Cancun there are accepted rates that all the locals know. In the Hotel Zone though the drivers will charge you what they think they can get away with. If you’re paying in Dollars it will be even worse. Not only will they charge you an inflated price if they can, they will also calculate in Pesos and give you a poor exchange rate.
Should You Tip in Dollars or Pesos?
You’ll probably know that there are two accepted currencies in Cancun. US Dollars and Mexican Pesos. Inside the Cancun Hotel Zone Dollars are fairly commonplace, but in the urban areas of Cancun where the staff live Pesos are the predominant currency.
If you tip in Dollars, bear in mind that the first thing the recipient will do is find an exchange place and swap the Dollars for Pesos. When he/she pays their rent, takes the bus, pays their utility bills etc they will be paying in Pesos. Try to save them the extra hassle of exchanging their money and save them from losing out on the rate themselves.