Tipping in Cuba is highly encouraged. Tips are not only a big part of the income of the service staff at Cuban hotels and restaurants, but they are also a universally understood way of saying, “thanks for the awesome service!”
However, tipping in Cuba can be tricky for first-time travelers, especially if you come from a country with no tipping culture.
Who do you tip in Cuba? How much should you tip? We cover everything in our Cuba tipping guide below!
Tipping Etiquette in Cuba
Cuba has a strong tipping culture, an interesting fact about Cuba. Generally, you should consider tipping costs while planning your travel budget for Cuba. Hotels, restaurants, museums, guided tours, and shops are common places to leave tips.
Plan to carry a handful of $1 or $5 notes of your home currency in your wallet (this is easier and less awkward than breaking larger bills into a change when you want to leave a tip).
You don’t have to tip everyone in Cuba the same amount. Some people will earn a higher amount depending on the service they offer. Look at the section below to learn more about how much to tip in Cuba.
Pro tip: In addition to tipping in Cuba as a token of your gratitude, Cubans also love when tourists speak Spanish with them. Even a few basic phrases will go a long way toward bringing a smile to a local’s face!
If you’re still new to Spanish or a little rusty since your last Spanish class, bring a handy guidebook like Cuban Spanish 101: Bilingual Dictionary and Phrasebook for Spanish Learners and Travelers to Cuba.
What Currency Do You Use to Tip In Cuba?
The best currency to tip in Cuba is the Euro because it has the highest “official” and “unofficial” exchange rates. However, tipping in any foreign currency, including the US dollar, is fine.
Here are the foreign currencies accepted in Cuba:
- Canadian Dollar (CAD) – Yes, Canadian travelers to Cuba can tip in CAD.
- Swiss Franc (CHF)
- Euro (EUR)
- Pound Sterling (GBP)
- Japanese Yen (JPY)
- Mexican Peso (MXN)
Selling your USDs to Cuban individuals, especially if they own a private business, may even be an activity that qualifies for the Support for the Cuban People license.
Finally, since the Cuban Peso (CUP) is the only official currency in Cuba, you may be tempted to tip in CUP. And that would be ok, but keep in mind that the CUP is devaluated compared to your home currency. Check the current exchange rates and do the math to ensure you are tipping fairly.
NOTE: The tipping amounts below are in USD only for illustrative purposes. As we said, you can tip in Cuba in Canadian dollars or any other currency accepted on the island.
As of January 2023, 1 USD is worth about 120 CUPs if sold to CADECA, or more than 160 CUP if you exchange it in the informal market.
Tipping at Hotels
Hotels and resorts have many staff to help make your trip as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Hotel staff includes maids, bartenders, receptionists, and bellboys. It would be best if you tipped them each time they helped you.
Maids: 1-5 USD/night for each night of your stay
Bellboys: 1-3 USD at check-in and again at check-out
Hotel bartenders: 10% gratuity if the service is not included. At all-inclusive resorts, 1 USD for every few drinks is the most common.
Tipping at Restaurants
Cuba has tons of exciting restaurants to choose from. Don’t forget to add a 10% gratuity when your meal is done. Remember that some restaurants may automatically tack on a 5% gratuity. If you had a fantastic time at the restaurant, feel free to say “thank you” by leaving a larger amount!
Restaurants: minimum 10% gratuity
Tipping Tour Guides
The tip’s size depends on the kind of tour you sign up for. A simple walking museum tour doesn’t warrant as much as a day-long excursion or guided tour.
Museum guides: 1 USD/person
Bus tour guide: 3-5 USD/person
Bus tour driver (except for Viazul bus drivers): 2-3 USD/person
Private tour guide: 5-10 USD/person
Snorkeling, sailing, guided hikes, etc.: 5-10 USD/person
Tipping Taxi Drivers
Taxi drivers: 1 USD
If your taxi driver goes above and beyond the call of duty, like giving you directions, he’s earned an extra CUC or two!
Tipping Street Artists and Musicians
Cubans love music, and they love to share it with visitors, too. In big cities like Havana, you’ll come across dozens of street musicians, dancers, and live salsa music. If you stop to enjoy some tunes, it’s only polite to leave a tip–especially if you request a song!
Street Artists: .50 – 2 USD/person
Tipping at Stores
Tipping shopkeepers and cashiers in Cuba is quite common among visitors and locals. There’s no set amount for how much to tip, so most people round up the sum and tell the clerk to keep the change.
Store clerks: round up to the nearest whole dollar
Tipping Toilet Attendants
A toilet attendant supervises public toilets in Cuba. You’ll need to pay a fee and tip the attendant to use the restroom.
Toilet attendant: 0.25 – 0.50 USD per bathroom break
Tipping Parking Valets in Cuba (“Parqueadores”)
This is only important if you rent a car in Cuba, which most tourists don’t do since rental services are expensive and the roads are iffy at best. Instead of parking meters, Cuba has parking attendants who collect a fee and watch your car while you’re away.
Parking valets: 1 USD
Your Trusty Guide for Tipping in Cuba
That’s a wrap! In just a few minutes, you learned everything you need to know about tipping in Cuba and how much to tip in Cuba. Not bad, right?
If you’re heading to Cuba in the future, remember to bookmark this list to use it as a helpful resource during your Cuban adventures.
If you enjoyed the article, please share it so other Cuban adventurers can take a look (that’s how you “tip” us–we appreciate it!).
Let us know what you think in the comments!