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 a little tricky for first-time travelers, especially if you hail from a country that doesn’t have a culture of tipping.
Who do you tip in Cuba? How much should you tip? Take a look at the Cuba tipping guide below to learn all about the art of who to tip and how much to tip them!
Tipping Etiquette in Cuba
Cuba has a strong tipping culture and you should be respectful of Cuba tipping etiquette. As a general rule, you should expect to tip plenty of people during your stay. Common places to leave tips are hotels, restaurants, museums, guided tours, and shops.
Plan ahead by carrying a handful $1 or $5 notes of your home currency in your wallet (this is easier and less awkward than having to break larger bills into change when you want to leave a tip).
You don’t have to tip everyone in Cuba the same amount. In fact, some people will earn a higher amount depending on the service they offer. Take a 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 the Spanish language or a little rusty since your last Spanish class, bring a handy guidebook with you like Cuban Spanish 101: Bilingual Dictionary and Phrasebook for Spanish Learners and Travelers to Cuba.
CUP or Your Home Currency? The Right Currency for Tipping in Cuba
Before the elimination of the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) in January 2021, the answer to this question was pretty much straightforward: always tip in CUC.
However, since the Cuban Peso (CUP) emerged as the only official currency in Cuba, you may be tempted to tip in CUP. And that would be ok, as long as you keep in mind that the CUP is very devaluated compared to your home currency. Always do the math to make sure that you are tipping fairly.
Confused about Cuban currency exchange rates? Not to worry–that’s why we put together this helpful Cuba Currency Guide!
With that said, honestly, the best currency to tip in Cuba is the US dollar (which can great for you if you are traveling to Cuba from the US). That’s because Cuban residents can buy household and food products at the so-called “dollar stores” that, as the name says, only accept US dollars. The US dollar is also sold at the highest exchange rate in the “street market”, higher than the official exchange rate, which is 1 USD ≈ 24 CUP.
Tipping at Hotels
Hotels and resorts have lots of staff on hand to help make your trip as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Hotel staff you’re likely to encounter include maids, bartenders, receptionists, and bellboys. You should tip them each time they help you.
Maids: 1-3 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 every few drinks is the most common.
Tipping at Restaurants
Cuba has tons of interesting restaurants to choose from. When your meal is done and you’re preparing to pay the bill, don’t forget to add a 10% gratuity. Keep in mind that some restaurants may automatically tack on 5% gratuity. If you had an awesome time at the restaurant, feel free to say “thank you” by leaving a bigger amount!
Restaurants: minimum 10% gratuity
Tipping Tour Guides
The size of the tip depends on the kind of tour you sign up for. A simple walking tour of a museum doesn’t warrant as much as a day-long excursion or guided tour.
Museum guides: 1 USD/person
Guided bus tour: 2-3 USD/person
Snorkeling, sailing, guided hikes, etc.: 3-5 USD/person
Tipping Taxi Drivers
Renting a car in Cuba isn’t easy, so chances are you’ll rely on taxis and buses to get around the island.
Taxi drivers: 1-3 USD
If your taxi driver goes above and beyond the call of duty like giving you directions, then 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: .5 – 2 USD/person
Tipping at Stores
Tipping shopkeepers and cashiers in Cuba is quite common among both 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
Public toilets in Cuba are supervised by a toilet attendant. To use the toilet, you’ll need to pay a fee and tip the attendant.
Toilet attendant: 10c – 25c per bathroom break
Tipping Parking Valets in Cuba (Parqueadores)
This one 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 using parking meters, Cuba has parking attendants who collect a fee and watch over your car while you’re away.
Parking valets: 25c -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 so you can 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!).
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