San Pancho Living

Tipping in Mexico

"Propinas" is "tips" in Spanish. Conserve coins and small denomination peso bills for tips

In Mexico, U.S. and Canadian dollars, as well as euros and British pounds, go further because of Mexico’s comparatively low cost of living and currency exchange rates.

As the peso’s value has declined against these currencies, the value for foreign travelers has increased. Yet a weak peso causes inflation and a higher cost of living for Mexicans. Tips become even more essential, as salaries and wages are not keeping up.

Consider that a salaried waiter in Mexico makes about 10,200 pesos a month. At an exchange rate of 17.5 pesos to 1 U.S.$, that’s U.S.$583—a month. 

Not everyone earns a salary: minimum wage

As of 2020, Mexico’s minimum wage ranges from 123.22 to 185.56 pesos a day (US$7.04 to $10.60 a day), depending on the location. Not a lot of money!

Some workers, including baggers in grocery stores (except in Costco and Walmart), toil without any wage and depend entirely on tips (“tips” is propinas in Spanish).

Tips are not just important, they are crucial.

Always tip in Mexican pesos!

Mexico’s currency is the peso. If you tip in dollars, euros, or another foreign currency, the person will have to go to a bank (if she or he even has a bank account) or currency exchange, stand in line for a long time (when they could be earning money by working), convert your tip into pesos, and lose some of it to the conversion fee.

Even worse, the bank or currency exchanges probably won’t process such a small amount of money. They won’t change foreign coins at all.

Be prepared to tip by hanging on to your 20, 50 and 100 peso bills as well as your 5 and 10 peso coins.

Tipping guidelines

Based on 17.5:1 peso-to-U.S.$ exchange rate. As the rate changes, adjust your tipping up or down.

Airport porter

20 to 40 pesos ($1.14 to $2.29 U.S.) per bag, more if bags are heavy or he waits with you for your driver

Taxi driver

10 pesos ($0.57 US) per suitcase (no need to tip if there’s no luggage, unless they’ve been really helpful during the drive with useful visitor information)

Gecko Rent a Car airport driver

50 pesos each way (U.S.$2.86), depending on how helpful he is

Grocery bagger

5 to 15 pesos ($0.29 to $0.86 US), depending on the number of bags

Food server

15% to 20% of the total bill if the service is good (check your bill—it’s illegal to add a tip to your total). If you pay by credit card, do not add the amount to the credit card charge. Instead, tip your waiter with cash pesos. Many Mexicans place tips in the hands of their waiter.

Bartender

10% to 15% of the total bar bill

Housekeeper (vacation house)

100 pesos (U.S.$5.71) per bedroom/bathroom used per day, including your departure day cleaning. Tip more if you are messy!

Musicians (restaurant, with tip jar)

15 to 30 pesos (U.S.$0.86 to $1.71) per person at your table for musician/s playing to all diners, more if you make a request

Musician (beach)

For a song request, 80 pesos (U.S.$4.47)

Gas station attendant

10 pesos (U.S.$0.57)

Tour guide

At least 90 pesos per person (U.S.$5.14) for groups of 20+

15% to 20% of the tour cost for one small group

Fishing captain

15% to 20% of the cost of the charter. He will share the tip with his crew

Spa service provider

15% to 20% of the cost of the treatment, unless the provider is the business owner

Bathroom attendant

5 pesos (U.S.$0.29)

Costco car loader

80 pesos (U.S.$4.57) for loading very large, or many, items

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