Help With Tipping in Costa Rica

Jul 24th, 2008, 02:33 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 34
Help With Tipping in Costa Rica

Leaving Saturday for an all-inclusive in Costa-Rica. Could you please advise me on customary tips for various services. I have heard that all inclusive means "all-inclusive" but I have also heard that all inclusive means tip on what the food or beverage would have cost. Any insights on tips for food, beverage, etc would be appreciated.
jthwrh is offline  
Jul 24th, 2008, 02:38 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 23,815
Wow, I've never heard of an all-inclusive in CR, but at all the restaurants we went to, they automatically added 10% onto the bill for gratuity. We usually left a couple of extra dollars on the table as well.
volcanogirl is offline  
Jul 24th, 2008, 03:45 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 608
Are you going to one of the Occidental properties? I have only done all-inclusives in Mexico. Tipping is not required, but it is nice to do it anyway - just a few dollars here and there - a great way to say thanks for good service.
janenicole is offline  
Jul 24th, 2008, 03:52 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,750
Not sure where you're staying, but I assume by all inclusive you mean food and non-alchoholic beverages. Below is a link to some tipping discussion that is for a fairly remote lodge and how people approach tipping. Maybe this will help a little.

Have a great trip!

hipvirgochick is offline  
Jul 24th, 2008, 05:45 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 49
Costa Rica is not a big tipping culture, since 10% is added for service automatically to any restaurant bill. You can consider that that 10% is already part of you AI price. At places like Paradisus Playa Conchal, there is not much additonal tipping at the restaurants or bars as people do not carry cash around with them. In general leaving someting for the maid or something every once in a while for a bartender will go a long way.
dweissnj is offline  
Jul 24th, 2008, 06:30 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 757
Here's what we were told: The 10% on your bill is split by the entire staff. Thus you are encouraged to leave something extra for your server. Much like Volcano Girl says, we always left a few extra bucks.
SiteC_er is offline  
Jul 26th, 2008, 08:27 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 344
If I remember correctly, we ate at a few small places in CR where they didn't add the 10% to the tab. Some made it known on their menu, other times you had to check your tab. We tried to watch closely so they got approx. 15% depending upon service.

We always tip at all inclusive resorts, but you may find you have to be sneaky - fold the bills real small, etc. Sometimes you can avoid watered-down drinks if you tip the bartenders but if managers are around, they will usually hand your money back.

Linda137 is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 03:17 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 179

Yes 10% is added to the restaurant bills for tip.

We almost always gave a bit more.

On tour, a good guide is worth a good tip and we often did so. I think that the people are quite proud and I am not sure how the tip is reflected.

When I tipped the guides, I folded the bills to small size then palmed it and gave it with a hand shake and a warm thank you. I did not wnt to damage his dignity.

We had one driver who treated us as if we were long favoured old uncle and aunt. He had an hourly rate. We always rounded up the hour and then gave him an extra hour as well. One time he stopped so we could buy fresh strawberries from a road way stand. We bought a big bag and one for him and his family as well. That was not a great cost, more a recognition of him as a fellow human being that we were happy to share with.

I feel lucky to be able to visit these great places and do not mind parting with a few bucks for good service. Also, I am not shy to let an establishment know if I am dissatisfied for what I think is a serious breach.

Last winter we stayed at Casa Conde in San Jose for quite a while and took day trips around and mostly relaxed. One evening our hotel was swamped with guests. Three elder hostel groups at once plus the regular crowd. My wife remarked to a wait staff, "You sure are busy." and the staff replied, "Thank goodness." Does that sound like a willing worker? Do they earn and extra tip? I would say so. We also went to a store and brought a large quantity of quality candy for the staff to enjoy. That went a long way not that we were unwelcome otherwise.

I made the mistake of telling a joke to one of the concierge staff. I then had to have a new joke every day. We were there for over a month between tours out of town and day trips between. I had to remember a lot of old jokes.

We found the Ticos mostly friendly, helpful and hard working. Only a few times some cab drivers ripped us off.


georgewoodie is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 04:44 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 23,815
We just had a great experience with a cab driver in Monteverde a couple of weeks ago; he told us the fare in colones, and when we converted it to dollars, we added one or two dollars for a tip. He took the money, and then said, "Oh, no, this is too much" and tried to give the tip back. When we told him it was a tip, he looked so happy. What an honest guy.
volcanogirl is offline  

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