TIPS ON TIPPING IN CUBA
TIPS ON TIPPING IN CUBA
WHEN SHOULD YOU TIP IN CUBA?
The short answer to this question is whenever you can! Most Cubans who work in tourism expect a tip for just about anything, so act accordingly.
HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU TIP IN CUBA?
A dollar is good for most simple transactions, like a drink order or a door-man at a hotel. If you are on a large group tour riding on a Cuban government tour bus, very unfortunate, you should tip the guide $5 to $10 per day, and the driver $3 to $5 per day, per person. If you are fortunate enough to travel on a custom tour with us, guides should be tipped about $10 per day, drivers about $5, and guide/drivers about $15 per day per person. While these amounts are very high when compared to the average state salary in Cuba, which is $30 U.S. dollars a month, they are what is expected in the island’s tourist sector. A couple of bucks a day per person is good for a hotel maid, and bell boys one to two dollars per piece of luggage. If you tip roughly following U.S. standards, you will be considered a very good tipper!
Tipping in restaurants is like the U.S., with 15% or more being greatly appreciated, while most European and Latin Americans who travel to Cuba tipping 10% or less, and some don’t tip at all! Restaurants in Havana, Trinidad, Varadero, and other touristy cities are adding a 10% service fee to their bills, so double-check that check. Restaurant service tends to be slow in Cuba, and in some restaurants, it is horrible. Restaurant service and quality is hit-or-miss, unfortunately most are bad, but look over our Havana Bar & Restaurant Guide for “tips” on where to eat.
Americans are perceived as big tippers in Cuba, so don’t let them down. Cubans who work in tourism are overjoyed that Americans are visiting their country, and at the end of the day you should tip what you are comfortable with, and feel is appropriate. Keep in mind that the average government salary in Cuba is still less than $30 a month!!! So, a two-dollar tip goes a long way.
A note about paying with U.S. dollars in Cuba, some high-end restaurants in Havana and Trinidad have started to list menu prices in both Cuban CUC’s and U.S. dollars, giving you some flexibility when it comes time to pay that bill and leave a tip! The only U.S. credit card that works in Cuba is issued by Stonegate Bank, but many credit card terminals are inoperable anyway, so cash is king throughout the island.
By Frank Gonzalez
May 8, 2018