On your way to an all-inclusive vacation in Mexico? Lucky you! When your transportation, accommodation, food, drinks and activities are all taken care of, you’ll be able to focus on relaxing and recharging. However, I know from experience that it can be hard to relax and recharge if you’re worried about how to go about tipping at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico.
The good news is that there are no hard and fast rules about tipping at all-inclusive resorts in Mexico (or nearly anywhere else). As long as you’re considerate of the hard work that goes into making your vacation great, and as long as you treat the local staff with respect and dignity, there is lots of room for flexibility in when, why and how much you tip all-inclusive resort staff.
Below, I’m going to highlight the common scenarios where most travelers will choose to tip all-inclusive resort staff, along with a few helpful tips like how much money to bring for tips, which currency is best for tipping and how to go above and beyond for the employees that give you five-star service at your Mexican resort.
Should You Tip in Pesos or Dollars?
At an all-inclusive in Mexico, tips are accepted in both Mexican pesos and US dollars (sorry Canada, nobody wants your dollars).
However, think about the people you’re tipping. They’ve just worked twelve hours in the hot sun to make your vacation great – do you want them to now have to stand in line at the bank or currency exchange office to convert dollars into pesos they can spend at the stores where locals typically shop? Do you want them to lose money on the commission they have to pay when converting currency?
Personally, I don’t want to waste resort staff’s time, so I tip them in pesos that they can use at any store in the country. It’s more convenient for them.
How Many Pesos to Bring for Tips?
The amount of local currency you’ll need to bring in total will depend on what optional extras you plan to partake in during your trip, like excursions outside the resort, private airport transfers, motorized water sports, room service or top-shelf drinks.
While total spending will vary from person to person, it’s fairly easy to anticipate how much money you’ll need to bring specifically for tips.
For a one-week stay in an all-inclusive resort, I recommend budgeting 3500 Mexican pesos ($200 USD) for tips. Order them through your bank or currency exchange office and request small bills (20- and 50-peso notes are best for tipping).
How Much to Tip at An All-Inclusive in Mexico
There are several main situations where tipping at an all-inclusive in Mexico is customary: when you eat or drink, when someone provides a service, and when you are transported between locations.
Tipping at All-Inclusive Restaurants and Bars
- Buffet meals – 40-50 pesos per meal. You can leave the tip on the table when you leave.
- Made-to-order buffet dishes – If there’s a tip jar near the cooking station at the buffet (for example, for omelets or pizzas) you can leave 20 pesos.
- A la carte meals – 50-60 pesos per meal.
- Bartenders and servers – 20 pesos per drink. You can tip each time they make or deliver a drink, or you can leave a big tip at the start or end of your drink service.
- Room service – 100 pesos for a simple delivery, 200 pesos for anything super-expensive or late at night.
Some travelers like to always sit at the same restaurant table, or on the same beach chair, to develop a relationship with specific staff members. They believe that if you tip the same staff members well throughout your trip, you’ll get better service. Personally, I haven’t bothered testing this theory as I’m perfectly happy with the basic level of service and enjoy changing locations through my stay.
Tipping for All-Inclusive Services
- Housekeeping – 40 pesos per day. Make sure to leave it on the pillow so they know it’s a tip.
- Minibar – 20 pesos per day. Typically, the person who refills your minibar isn’t the housekeeper. Leaving a small tip inside the fridge is much appreciated.
- Concierge – 100-150 pesos per activity, transfer or restaurant booking they arrange on your behalf.
- Spa – Approximately 10% of the total service cost in pesos. Round down if the treatment is basic and round up if it’s amazing.
- Beach services – Recently, I’ve heard that more and more travelers are tipping staff on the beach, including the people working at the beach towel station and the people who clean the seaweed off the beach each day. 20 pesos per day is more than enough for towel service, while a one-time tip of 100 pesos is generous if you notice the same person raking the beach near your sun chair each day.
If you upgraded your all-inclusive package to include dedicated butler service, the tips for your personal butler would not be included in the 3500 pesos I mentioned at the start of this guide. Plan to tip your butler 500 to 1000 pesos per day, depending on how much service you request from them.
Tipping for Transportation At An All-Inclusive Resort
- Airport shuttle driver – If your transfer was included as part of a package tour, tip 100 pesos for solo travelers or 200 pesos for couples and families. Tip the same on your way to the all-inclusive resort and on the way back to the airport. If you organized a private transfer, 200 pesos per vehicle is appropriate.
- Luggage porters – Tip 20 to 30 pesos per bag.
- Golf cart drivers – If your resort is so big that you need to get around by shuttle, tip 20 pesos per trip.
- Tour guides – For a short excursion (an hour or two) tip 100 pesos per person. For a full-day excursion, tip 200 pesos to the guide and 100 to the driver.
Tipping Etiquette at All-Inclusive Resorts
There’s nothing more cringe than a tourist throwing one-dollar bills around a resort and acting like they’re a hot shot. Actually, there is something worse… guests who don’t tip at all because that’s not how it’s done in their home country. If you don’t want to tip, either stay home or work with a travel agent to find a resort with a no-tipping policy. For example, Sandals resorts charge more up front and include tips for staff in the rate you pay.
- The smallest bill in Mexico is 20 pesos, which (at press time in late 2023) is equivalent to $1.15 USD, $1.56 CAD or €1.05. Personally, I don’t tip anything smaller than a 20 peso bill, and if I have coins left at the end of my trip I will leave them with my final housekeeping tip.
- Some resorts require staff to pool all or some of their tips. Tips that go into a jar will likely be shared across all the staff working in that area for that shift, while tips that you hand directly to an employee are more likely to stay with that person. Tip pooling ensures that staff in non-customer-facing roles also benefit from gratuities.
- Carry about 350-400 pesos with you throughout the day for tipping and keep the rest in your hotel safe. Don’t flash all your cash at the same time!
- If you receive exceptional service from a staff member, a larger tip and a thank you note is appreciated… but a Google Review or TripAdvisor review mentioning them by name is often even more valuable, as it shows their employer that they’re a good representative of the resort. Some resorts even base bonuses and promotions on social media reviews.
Tipping Outside the Resort
If you choose to venture outside your resort (which I highly recommend!), you may find yourself in situations where tipping is customary or polite. Here are a few examples:
- Taxis – Typically, taxi drivers in Mexico don’t expect tips. If one provides excellent service or helps with your bags, 20 pesos is appropriate.
- Restaurants – If you’re eating outside of the resort, a tip of 10-20% of the bill is standard. However, do check the bill first to ensure that a service charge isn’t already included.
- Bars – Similar to inside the resort, 20 pesos per drink is normal.
- Grocery stores – If a young, elderly or disabled person packs your grocery bags for you, chances are good that your tip is the only payment they will receive. 1 or 2 pesos per bag is normal, but this is a nice situation to be generous.
- Gas stations – Tip 10 to 20 pesos to the person who pumps your gas.
- Tours – See above, as it’s the same for tours organized through the hotel and those you organize on your own.
Have you been to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico? What is your advice for other travelers who are nervous about tipping?
Looking for more Mexico travel tips? Start with my guide to the best destinations on Mexico’s West Coast.
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