Tipping in Cuba
Cuba has a very modest, but very present tipping culture. In restaurants, taxis and for personal services, all tips are at your discretion. Many locals, especially those working in the service industries, are poorly compensated for their work so tipping helps them earn decent wages. Knowing who and how much to tip in Cuba is not always an easy task. Refer to this blog for your ultimate guide to tipping in Cuba.
Who Should I Tip in Cuba?
Cubans tend to tip anyone who offers them any kind of service. Cuban people will leave tips for waitresses at restaurants, grocery store cashiers, mechanics, bartenders, taxi drivers, barbers, maids, etc. During your travels in Cuba, we suggest tipping anyone who gave you service that went above and beyond their duties. Also, anyone who helped enhance your experience is a very good candidate for a tip. If you did not receive exemplary service, you are not required to tip.
What Currency Should I Use for Tips in Cuba?
A tip in any currency will be appreciated, but we recommend tipping in EUR, USD or CUP (the local Cuban currency) while in Cuba. For more information on what currency to use in Cuba, check out our blog about Exchanging Money in Cuba.
Leaving a tip of 10% of the total bill in restaurants and bars is a good rule of thumb.
When tipping in USD/EUR, you might want to leave a 1 – 2 USD/EUR tip. When eating out, you might consider tipping as a group and taking turns. For example, one person will tip for the group with a 5 or 10 USD/EUR bill at a meal. And at the next meal, someone else can leave the tip and so on.
When tipping in USD, we recommend bringing about $25 – $50 worth in 1/5 USD bills to leave as tips.
When tipping in CUP, the 10% rule also applies, but it’s a bit trickier and involves a little more math. The exchange rate for CUP vs USD/EUR may be different in private businesses than in the government exchange offices. Many restaurants will value 1 USD/EUR at varying rates so be sure to ask.
You can read in our blog about the currencies in Cuba to better understand how this works.
You’ll most likely be paying in USD or EUR most of the time, but may receive change in CUP. Before calculating your tip in CUP, you should ask what the restaurant’s exchange rate is for CUP vs USD/EUR.
From there, the example below explains tipping in CUP:
- The restaurant values 1 dollar at 75 CUP.
- Your meal at a local restaurant costs 15 dollars.
- You pay with a 20-dollar bill. Your change is 375 CUP (5 dollars).
- You want to leave a tip of 2 dollars in CUP.
- 2 dollars x 75 CUP = 150 CUP is the tip in local currency.
How Much Should I Tip in Cuba?
How much to tip in Cuba is always up to you, but as mentioned previously, 10% of the total bill is acceptable in a restaurant. You’re always free to leave more if you feel like the service you have received went above and beyond the call of duty. Below is a recommended list of who and how much to tip in Cuba:
- Taxi drivers: 1 – 2 USD/EUR (only if very good)
- Luggage porter: 1 – 2 USD/EUR per suitcase (keep in mind weight & size)
- Waiter/Bartender: 10% of the total bill
- Cleaning ladies: 1 – 2 USD/EUR per day
- Local guide: 5 – 10 USD/EUR per day (or in one lump sum at the end of the trip)
- Bus driver: 3 – 4 USD/EUR per day (or in one lump sum at the end of the trip)
Tipping in Cuba is really all up to you; there are no set rules. Just tip what you feel is right and deserved. Remember that those who give you service will usually be appreciative of any tip you may give. Another way to help the Cuban people is to bring gifts with you to Cuba due to the lack of access to goods there. Check out our blog about bringing gifts for the Cuban People to learn more about this. Happy travels!