Every country has its own traditions, travel etiquette, rules, and traits when it comes to tipping abroad, it can get quite tricky for first-time travelers. Tipping in Cuba is a nice way of thanking the business owners as well as staff for their service. Whether it is just grabbing a coffee, having a meal or requiring assistance while carrying your luggage, visitors are encouraged to give a small tip for the services provided by the Cuban hospitality service.
This might seem like a simple process, but tipping in Cuba has its own culture and sometimes it might be confusing for first-time travelers. Our team has prepared some tips and advice regarding this.
Cuban tipping etiquette
The locals in Cuba are very traditional and the tipping etiquette was actually implemented by the tourists. Some tourists say that tipping is a way of encouraging staff to provide better services, some simply think it is a nice way to thank for the service, others believe it is mandatory and some claim tipping is not necessary.
Cubans are hard workers and those who work in the hospitality sector earn an hourly rate totaling in 15-25$ salary a month hence the tipping really makes the difference. The tipping does not end with the hospitality sector. Keep in mind that if you enjoy a street musician performance, take a photo with one of the street performers or purchase anything from independent artists make sure you leave a small tip of 1 or 2 (CUC).
Remember that tipping in Cuba is not only valued in money, but you are also always encouraged to thank the business owners for their service by learning basic phrases in Spanish, leaving the premises clean as well as respecting other clients and the staff which is a great addition to the actual tip.
When and where should I tip in Cuba?
The tipping can vary between 5-10% depending on the services used. In Cuba, you will use the local currency of CUC which is equal to 1 US $. Once you have arrived at your hotel and use the helping hand of a bellboy tip him 1 CUC, the same applies to the services of maids. We recommend tipping after each service provided.
In restaurants it is common to tip 10% of the total bill, of course, you are welcome to tip more if you have been satisfied with the work of the chef as well as other staff members.
The same applies for tipping your tour guide and taxi drivers, leave a 1-3 CUC tip if you have enjoyed the tour or a taxi ride.
Other unusual places to tip are – stores, spas, hairdressers as well as public bathrooms. Leave a 10% tip for the SPA staff and your hairdresser, if you have used the public bathroom leave a 25c – 1 CUC tip for the bathroom attendants.
Most importantly don’t forget to show your appreciation by thanking the staff and the local business owners for the provided service, Cubans are warm and welcoming people who will appreciate your effort in learning and trying to speak Spanish.