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)
If you are traveling to Cuba from the US, you will be glad to know that US dollars are very sought by Cuban residents because of the recent spike of the US dollars in the informal market.
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
Renting a car in Cuba isn’t easy, so chances are you’ll rely on taxis, classic cars for hire, and buses to get around the island.
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!
Essential Travel Logistics For Cuba
Cuban Tourist Card – If your Cuban Tourist Card (a.k.a Cuban Tourist Visa) isn’t bundled into your airline ticket or travel package, buy it only through EasyTouristCard.
Travel Health Insurance – Travel medical insurance is an entry requirement for Cuba, so you can’t skip it. Travelers can get travel health insurance for Cuba via Insubuy. Travel protection benefits such as trip interruption and cancellation, baggage delay insurance, etc., are not required.
Essential Items to Pack – Bring the essential travel necessities that you may not be able to get in Cuba:
- First aid kit
- Hand sanitizer
- Face masks
- Water bottle with filter
- Mosquito repellent
- Pin adapter (for Europeans)
- Travel guide
- Spanish-English phrasebook
- Suggested Reading: The Cubans: Ordinary Lives in Extraordinary Times
Read our complete packing list for Cuba.
Find Accommodations – Find hotels or casas particulares (private accommodations) on Skyscanner, which lists thousands of accommodations available in Cuba.
Book Your Flight – Book cheap flights to Cuba on Skyscanner, our favorite flight search engine to find deals on flights to Cuba.
Yes it is okay to tip in Canada dollar BILLS, but I brought home over $400 in Loonies and Twoonies as like in any other country, Cubans cannot take Canada coins to the bank. If you want to tip in Cdn coins please, buy them all back with Canadian bills before you leave!!! Cubans much prefer $US as they are worth much more than their Peso.
Is it okay to tip with Canadian coins? I had read elsewhere that Cubans can only exchange bills. Our smallest bill is $5. If I tip $5 for every drink I’ll be out of cash by the end of the first day! LOL Would it be better to take USD $1 bills instead, or get Cuban $$ before we go? Also, it appears maids appreciate gifts of much needed supplies. Is it okay to tip se supplies or should we also tip with $$?
Generally, the hotel staff accepts toonies and loonies. They later exchange them with travelers or at the exchange office in the hotel. However, I always suggest tipping in USDs. It’s easier for them to exchange. Maids will welcome your gifts.
Some of this seems to be in line with the past and and now younger Millennial and Gen Z current American / Canadian obsession with tipping and over tipping
Travelling to vara cuba 2022
Is it still proper to leave gifts to maids in 5* resort.
Like soap, toothbrush, deodorant, toothpaste etc.
Yes, definitely. In fact, they will appreciate it.
US dollar is the only currency among canadian, euros and pounds which still use 1$ banknotes. The others have only coins below 5 denomination. Coins are more complicated to exchange for Cubans, they first need to exchange it for the banknotes from the same country.
So I better like to give to a waiter 1 UDS dollar which she/he can exchange on the black market for 24 to 100 pesos than change my canadian money and give her/him around 20 to 25 pesos. I am not cheap but we are tipping often and I want cuban employes to get as much they can from it.
If you dont feel great with black market idea… Country where you can sell hard currency in the bank but you cant buy them back is already a scam by itself :))). I am from an ex-communist county myself, we were use to it :)))
This is such a helpful website and article, thank you!
My husband and I are traveling to Havana next month and staying in an Airbnb. Our lovely hosts are helping us exchange Euros for CUP and I’m wondering should I tip them for this and if so how much?
Talks about not tipping in US dollars and then every suggested tip is quoted in US dollars?
Tips are shown in US dollars for illustrative purposes. Please, check our Cuban currency guide to know more about using money in Cuba.
You think money is the only way to show appreciation to someone…you really are American!
Clearly you never went to Cuba… :)))
How much should you tip a private tour guide/driver for a good full day trip.Their websites say 20-30%. That seems a bit high to me.
20-30% seems a little excessive. Not sure how much is the full day trip, but 10% should be ok to tip the guide. Perhaps they are asking 20-30% because they want you to tip both the driver and guide.
Very informative article! Now when it comes to travel insurance, apparently residents of Puerto Rico can’t get insurance on RoamRight. I just picked Puerto Rico off the list and Boom! … NO CAN DO???
Do I have options?
I have been going to Cuba for over 20 years. I carry quality gifts and toiletries and they have always been appreciated. Also at the a la carte restaurants, i make sure each waiter who serves me (sometimes 3) is tipped, the same for the buffet. I tip for whatever good service I receive but I tend to sit in the same area at the buffet so that I end up with the same waiters. One lady told me they have many family members and friends who do not work at resorts so they share the gifts with them. I actually gave her an expensive top to give to anyone if it did not fit her. The next day, she told me she took it for herself and that cloths were also appreciated. It was not the first time that I took down summer tops and they were glad for them. I guess if they got 100 soaps, they would sell some. I always ask who is cleaning the room and on which day, because the same person don’t always work for the whole week. I give them a tip for the week before they leave otherwise, you can end up leaving the tip for the wrong person. I prefer to give them one large tip at the end of the week or on their last day. There will be a shortage of things because of closures during the pandemic.
You have achieved to explain extremely well and clearly a great amount of information. Thanks!
We have always tipped, and tried to be generous, when in Cuba. One thing we learned is that, particularly with the housekeeping staff at the resorts/hotels, they really appreciate ‘trinkets’ (hair accessories, children’s toys, stationery items, the list is endless). I leave these in addition to the cash.
Thanks, Ruth. Those items are certainly appreciated in Cuba!
Very informative thank you,