How Much Should I Tip Drivers and Services Workers in Costa Rica?

Categories // Tips & Advice

How Much Should I Tip Drivers and Services Workers in Costa Rica?

In United States, tipping is customary and it is often expected for everything from poor to excellent service. This etiquette is ingrained in all the different trades, from porters, cab drivers, valets, to baristas, restaurants, and many more trades. In Costa Rica, you are not obligated to do so, however, it is customary to leave something extra.

This guide attempts to cover various scenarios that a traveler will encounter in Costa Rica. The tips listed in this article will help you have a smooth and better experience when interacting with Ticos in taxis, tour operators, hotels, bars, and restaurants.


Costa Rica’s currency is colon. US dollars are not accepted for the services in the country. So, it is recommended that you have the correct currency on hand. It would be best if you exchange your current currency for colones upon arrival in Costa Rica. Although you can put everything on debit and credit cards, in rural areas of the country it would be useful to keep some of the cash on hand. You can find currency exchange desks at many locations throughout the country, including airports.

Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes

In most restaurants in the country, the tip is already on the service bill. Routinely, a 10-15% tip is included in the bill. If it is not included in the bill, then you should leave a 10-15% tip. Feel free to add an extra tip if the service is excellent. However, you can skip the tip altogether if you are not satisfied with the service. In Costa Rica, bartenders receive about 140-280 colones tip.

Hotel Staff

Tipping is expected in the hotels of Costa Rica. Housekeeping and porters are the hotel employees that are most commonly tipped. If a porter carries your bag(s) to your room, then it is customary to give him about 550-1100 per bag. For housekeeping, you should leave about 1100 colones per day. Other services in the hotels are tipped according to the services offered.

Taxi Drivers

The usual tip for taxi drivers is either round up to the next colon or give the change. If a cab driver helps you with your baggage or provides you with useful information about getting around, then you should consider tipping extra. Tip an extra of about 2800-5600 colones if you hire a cab driver for the entire day. A trip is generally much appreciated if it is around Christmas or New Year’s Day.

Tour Guides

Per day, the usual tip for a tour guide is about 2800-5600 colones. However, you might want to tip a little extra if the tour guide is particularly informative or enthusiastic.

Final Thoughts

Remember that it is not obligatory to tip someone for their service. It is okay to abstain, particularly if the provided service is not up to your expectations. In Costa Rica, the expectations for tipping are relatively lower than they are in the U.S. However, if there is a problem with the service within a restaurant or hotel, then it is recommended that you speak with the manager.

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