Tours of a Lifetime National Geographic 2010, 2012
Top 3, Best Values in the World Travel & Leisure, March 2012
Tips on Tipping
There are more differences of opinion about tipping than just about any other topic in the travel industry. Should they be included or not? Should specific amounts be recommended to guests? So, by popular demand. . .we’ll see if we’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t.
Of course tipping is entirely up to you. Level of service, whether or not you feel comfortable giving tips, and your budget are all important factors. Personally, I love to tip (or not tip), depending on service. When I worked as a guide I loved to receive tips. I’ve tipped toll takers for giving me particularly careful, detailed directions. I’ve also left a penny in a full water glass after suffering through particularly surly service at a restaurant. I think of a tip as a statement.
If you don’t believe in tipping, don’t feel obligated. Nobody should expect a tip. Regarding Costa Rica Expeditions and our own hotel personnel, if you believe in tipping and do not feel that one of our people deserves a tip, we’d very much appreciate hearing from you. We’d also appreciate hearing from you so that we can recognize extraordinary good work.
Restaurants: Required by law to add 15% tax and 10% tip to the bill. As a general rule, Costa Ricans do not tip. I tip up to 10% depending on service.
Taxis: Cab drivers are not usually tipped unless extra service is provided.
Bellboys: Often tipped a minimum of US $1.00 up to US $1.50 per bag, at check-in and check-out. Remember that the people that carry luggage at out-of-town places are bellboys too, even if they are not sporting the normal bellboy attire.
Chamber maids: Also often overlooked. I think they are among the most important people to tip. You may want to consider US$0.50 - $1.00 per night.
Transfer Guides, Service Guides, Corcovado Guides, Tortuguero Guides and Monteverde Guides: Average tip is $3.00 per person per day. This tends to go up if the group size is less than 4 persons.
Naturalist Guides: Average tip is $10.00- $15.00 per person per day. This tends to go up if the group size is less than 10 persons.
River Guides: Average tip is $5.00 per person per day. This tends to go up if there are less than 4 persons in the raft.
Drivers are often overlooked. Kaye’s tip: your life is in his/her hands. If you tip anyone, tip the driver. Average tip: US $5.00 - $7.50 per person per day. This tends to go up if the group size is less than 4 persons.
Sign seen in Whitewater River Trip bus in the US: "Tipping is not a city in China."
The word for tip in Spanish is "propina" and is defined as a synonym of "reward". It comes from the Latin word "propinare" which means to give something.