If you plan on visiting Havana or any other part of this incredible country, we’re sure you’ll have one key question: how much should you tip in Cuba?
The last thing you want to do is offend the locals during your trip. At the same time, you’ll need to budget effectively for your vacation. So, with that being said, below, we’ll reveal everything you need to know about tipping etiquette in Cuba.
The tipping etiquette in Cuba
Cuba has a very strong tipping culture, which you should respect while going on vacation here. Some of the different places you should leave a tip include:
- Guided tours
We recommend carrying a handful of $1 and $5 notes in your wallet in your home currency. This makes it a lot easier to tip whenever required.
In terms of how much you should tip, it really depends on who you’re tipping. Naturally, some people earn more money in Cuba than others. Don’t worry, though, as we’ll explain everything you need to know.
What currency do you use to tip in Cuba?
You can use any foreign currency while tipping in Cuba, so the US dollar is fine. Some of the other foreign currencies accepted in Cuba include:
- Mexican Peso (MXN)
- Japanese Yen (JPY)
- Pound Sterling (GBP)
- Euro (EUR)
- Swiss Franc (CHF)
- Canadian Dollar (CAD)
If you’re based in the US, and you’re heading to Cuba, you’ll be pleased to know that US dollars are highly sought after by residents in Cuba due to the recent spike of the US dollars in the informal market.
Of course, it would seem natural to tip in Cuban Peso (CUP), as this is Cuba’s official currency. There’s nothing wrong with this! After all, who doesn’t want a tip of any nature? It’s just important to remember that CUP is devalued in comparison to your home currency. So, make sure you do the math and tip fairly.
Tipping while in Cuba
Now that you have a better understanding of what currency to use, let’s take a look at tipping at some of the common places in Cuba:
Tipping a parking valet
Many tourists won’t rent a car while they’re in Cuba, but just in case you do, let’s start with tipping your parking valet. Rather than having parking meters, there are parking attendants in Cuba who collect a fee and watch your vehicle while you’re away. Tipping the valley around $1 is a good idea.
Tipping a toilet attendant
There are toilet attendants that supervise public toilets in Cuba. You’ll need to pay a fee to use the restroom, and then you should tip the attendant too. Simply tipping between $0.25 and $0.50 per bathroom break is sufficient.
Tipping at a store
Tipping a cashier or shopkeeper is quite a common thing to do in Cuba amongst locals and visitors.
There’s no set amount on how much you should tip here. Most people simply tell the store clerk to round up their purchase to the nearest dollar and keep the change.
Tipping a musician or street artist
One thing you’ll quickly learn is that Cubans love their music. They love to share their passion with visitors too.
In the big cities, such as Havana, you’ll come across live salsa music, dancers, and street musicians. If you stop to enjoy some tunes, leaving a tip is the polite thing to do, especially if you request a song. We recommend tipping between $0.50 and $2 per person.
Tipping a taxi driver
Renting a car in Cuba is difficult, so you’ll probably rely heavily on buses and taxis to get around the island.
A $1 tip is usually sufficient if you use a taxi service. You can tip the driver more if he or she goes above and beyond or takes you on a long journey.
Tipping a tour guide
The tip you leave will depend on the size of the tour you go on. For example, if you’re going on a day-long excursion, this will warrant a bigger tip than a simple walking museum tour that only lasts a couple of hours.
- Guided hikes, sailing, and snorkeling – Between $5 and $10 USD per person
- Private tour guides – Between $5 and $10 USD per person
- Bus tour driver – Between $2 and $3 USD per person
- Bus tour guide – Between $3 and $5 USD per person
- Museum guides – $1 USD per person
Tipping at a restaurant
There are many exciting restaurants to choose from in Cuba. When your meal is finished, and you’re ready to pay the bill, adding a 10% gratuity is customary.
However, it’s worth remembering that there are some restaurants where they add on a 5% gratuity automatically. If you have enjoyed your meal, it’s a good idea to make sure you add at least an extra 5% so you can reach that magic 10%!
Tipping at a hotel
Last but not least, resorts and hotels have a lot of workers to make your trip as stress-free and comfortable as possible. Hotel staff includes bellboys, receptionists, bartenders, and maids. It’s a good idea to tip them whenever they help you.
- Hotel bartenders – If the service charge is not included, a 10% gratuity makes sense. If you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort, tipping $1 for every few drinks is the most common approach.
- Bellboys – We recommend leaving between $1 and $3 during check-in and again when you check out of your hotel.
- Maids – It’s a good idea to tip maids between $1 and $5 every night of your stay. As you can imagine, cleaning dirty hotel rooms isn’t the most enjoyable job in the world, so it can give these hotel workers a real boost when you acknowledge their efforts, especially when they don’t often see residents face-to-face.
Make people feel special by saying a few words in Spanish
Not only do Cuban people value a few extra dollars, but making an effort to say a few phrases in Spanish can go a very long way. Simply learning a few basic phrases will put a smile on the local’s faces.
Show your gratitude by leaving a tip while in Cuba
So there you have it; our guide on how much should you tip in Cuba? We hope this has given you a better understanding of the tipping etiquette in this part of the world. It certainly helps to understand this in advance so you can budget effectively for your trip and ensure you don’t cause any offense!
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