How to Tip Like a Pro in Puerto Vallarta
Nobody wants to be that guy – the one that leaves a garbage tip on the table – so we have the ultimate guide to tipping in Puerto Vallarta, so you’re always the boss in every situation, getting bomb service, looking like a rock star and feeling like a decent human being in the process.
So, let’s get a couple myths out of the way, before we get into the nitty-gritty of how much to tip in Puerto Vallarta.
MYTH #1: Tips are included in an all-inclusive.
Alright, let’s get serious about this, just because it’s on the internet, doesn’t mean it’s true, even though it often says right there on the resort website, “tips included”.
While resort staff will receive what is tantamount to a profit-sharing percentage, the slice they’re getting is thinner than a piece of good prosciutto, and their daily wages are certainly below what hotel staff in the USA or Canada would make.
Tip these good people that are carrying your bags, cleaning your room, servicing your food and drinks, and generally making sure you’re having a good trip.
Tipping your hotel staff in Puerto Vallarta, at an all-inclusive resort or otherwise, is just the right thing to do and it will be greatly appreciated.
MYTH #2: American Dollars are accepted easily and everywhere.
While you can pay in USD in a lot of places, you’re generally going to get burned on a really crummy exchange rate and, due to money laundering laws, there are limits on the denominations you can use, so save those Benjamins and bring small bills ($1, $5, $10 and $20) with you.
Even better, bring your ATM card and withdraw cash from a bank machine when you arrive for your vacation in Puerto Vallarta.
You’ll get a favorable exchange rate and some American and Canadian banks even have agreements with Mexican banks to bypass international service fees. Check with your bank before you arrive.
If you do arrive with USD, consider changing for some smaller bills in pesos when you get here for your Puerto Vallarta tipping, like $20, $50 and $100 MXP denominations.
This makes tipping easy and saves those nice people you’re thanking from having to go to the bank or money exchange to change that USD into pesos.
And Canadians, don’t even think about it. Your money is pretty, to be sure, but you’ll get bent on the exchange rate in Puerto Vallarta and no businesses will accept it.
Call ahead to your Canadian bank and order pesos in advance or use your bank card when you arrive at an ATM in Vallarta.
Now that we have those myths cleared up, let’s get down to who should be getting what when you’re tipping in Puerto Vallarta.
The Taxi Driver
While tipping a cabbie isn’t always standard practice, if you’re vacationing in Puerto Vallarta, there are times you should absolutely pass off a bit of cash to your driver.
Tip your Puerto Vallarta taxi driver $1 USD or 20 pesos per bag if he is driving you to or from the airport, and the same if you ask him to make a stop (like at a convenience store) on the way.
Local Tip: taxis in Puerto Vallarta aren’t metered, running instead on a fare system decided by zones. Check with your hotel staff about what the fare should be in advance and double check when you get in the taxi with your driver.
The Uber Driver
Much like taxis, tipping your Uber driver in Puerto Vallarta isn’t exactly an expected practice but it sure is an appreciated one.
Plus, the convenience, air-conditioning and generally awesome dispositions of Uber drivers in Puerto Vallarta will probably make you want to give them a little something.
You can tip through the app at the end of your ride or you can just pass them some cash, $1 USD or $20 pesos for any ride that is up to $150 pesos, which will get you from the Puerto Vallarta Marina all the way to Old Town Puerto Vallarta, even during surge pricing.
It’s the best way to show a little gratitude and make sure your own Uber rating stays stellar.
Easy and standard, tip $1 to $2 per bag ($20 to $40 pesos) that they carry for you.
If you are a high maintenance packer (Hi ladies! We’re talking to you and your platform shoes) with luggage that just squeaked in under the maximum airline weight, make sure it’s 2 bucks for that bag.
Don’t wait until the end of your stay, as you may have a different housekeeper every day of the week. $1 USD or $20 pesos per day is good, and make sure to leave it on your pillow, so she is clear that it is meant for her.
Now, this is based on a standard level of your own personal cleanliness. If you know you’re a bit of a slob, up that to $2 USD or $40 pesos per day.
And if you have done your housekeeper dirty – you heaved all over the bathroom or there are condoms literally anywhere other than in the garbage can – you leave that good woman at least $5 USD or $100 pesos…. or more.
You know what you did. Pay for it appropriately, you animal.
The Tour Guide
This can vary greatly depending on the type of tour, how personalized it is and how much individual attention you received.
But generally, on a large group tour, $10 USD or $200 pesos per person is going to be really appreciated.
For a more personalized tour or if you were paid particular attention, like you were part of the show, you may want to up that to $20 USD or $400 pesos. For tipping fishing and private yacht charters in Puerto Vallarta, standard is 15% to 20% of the cost of your charter, depending on the service and your catch.
The Spa Staff
If you are not getting a massage during your Puerto Vallarta vacation, you are making a serious error in judgement.
Massages in Puerto Vallarta at a hotel spa cost less than half of what they do in the USA or Canada, and much less than that if you go to an off-site independent spa.
Same goes for manicures, pedicures and waxing services. Depending on how pleased you were with the service, tipping at a Puerto Vallarta spa is generally 10% to 15% of the cost of the service.
The Hotel Activities Staff
While these guys and girls may well end up being your best friends on your vacation, don’t get it twisted.
Making sure your vacation is fun is literally their job and they work hard doing it, getting up early to start the day with those yoga classes on the beach, doing the shows at night, and doing a whole lot of water aerobics, pool volleyball and general tom-foolery to keep you entertained in between.
If you’re not down with the resort activities and prefer to keep it low-key, you aren’t obligated to tip these folks, but if they know your name and you know theirs, and they are making your vacation that much better, leave them something as you leave.
How much really involves on your engagement level, but anywhere from $10 USD or $200 pesos and up will be totally appreciated.
The Restaurant Server
When we say waiters and waitresses depend on your tips, we mean it literally.
Almost all servers make minimum wage in Mexico (about $5 USD per day…that’s right…. not per hour, per day), so you do right by these people and tip your server in Puerto Vallarta.
For breakfast and lunch, or in a super casual place, 15% of the total bill is about right. For dinner and fine dining, 20%. Wait, you say, what if the service isn’t good? You aren’t going to have this problem.
Service in Mexico, particularly in fine dining establishments, is very attentive, as a rule.
Local Tip: In Mexico, the bill will not arrive for your meal until you specifically request it, as servers do not want to be rude and make you feel rushed.
The Pool Attendant
How are you not going to show a little financial gratitude to the guy that has been finding you a top-notch location with an umbrella at the pool, and been bringing you food, beverages and towels? Tip your Puerto Vallarta pool attendant daily, in case he is not there on the last day of your stay, and to ensure you get great service throughout your entire vacation. Tipping 15% to 20% of your daily pool bill is perfect.
This is the person that is legit going to make or break your good time, so tipping your bartender in Puerto Vallarta is important. 15% to 20% of the total bill or $1 USD or 20 pesos per individual drink, as you go.
Local tip: If you are going to open a tab, tip on your first drink, and then tip out the rest later when you settle your bill. This makes sure you’re going to be first in line, getting attention at the bar.
The Club Server
Just like a bartender, your club server is literally bringing the good times to your table, so tip them for it. 18% to 20% of the bill is standard.
Who’s waiting in line? Not you! You’re here for a good time, not a long line.
Like anywhere, tipping the doorman to bypass the line can be a tricky equation based on many factors – how full the club is, how many people are in your group, your general level of hotness, what others have been offering that night to jump the line, if you’re a connected local – so why not just make life simple and book a Puerto Vallarta VIP Club Package from PVNL Puerto Vallarta Nightlife, skip the line and get down to business with a VIP host, table reservations, bottle service, open bar packages and more, at the hottest clubs in Puerto Vallarta.
The Lap Dancer
Hey, we’re not judging, unless you stiff the girl wiggling on your lap by not tipping her generously.
You pass that girl $20 USD and be a gentleman about it – make it a nice, crispy fresh bill, not some wadded up, damp twenty you pulled out of somewhere.
That’s it. That’s all you need to know to tip like the class act you are, whether you’re on a Vallarta party vacation, girls’ trip, bachelor party in Puerto Vallarta or just down for a good time in one of the best cities for nightlife in Mexico.