It’s very common for restaurants to add a 10% voluntary tip to your bill. This should not be confused with IVA, which is a 15% sales tax. Always review your bill to ensure you’re not double tipping.
FOR OTHER SERVICES
Baggage handlers at the airport also expect tips. $1 – $2 USD is enough for a bag or two, but if you have a cartful of bags you should give a bit more.
Tipping is also customary for other service providers like hairdressers, estheticians and massage therapists. The amount you wish to give is up to you, but a 10% minimum is common.
Some people give small tips to parking lot attendants. Depending on how long you’ve been in the store or restaurant between 10 and 50 córdobas (35 cents to $1.75 USD) is acceptable.
A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY
Salaries in Nicaragua are minimal. Many employees in the service industry rely on tips to feed their families. When in question about whether you want to give that extra dollar or two keep in mind that a little generosity goes a long way!
Just Another Day in Paradise
When Emilie from Nica Sail and Surf called us out of the blue to ask if we wanted to help with the Quarterly San Juan del Sur Elder’s Luncheon Elisha and I had no idea what to expect. I envisioned a quiet stuffy environment with a few people leading the group. Maybe a few speeches followed by a solemn lunch.
Once again Nicaragua had a surprise in store for us.
Mother’s Day with the Elders
Once every 3 months over 200 of San Juan’s finest gather for the elders meeting and luncheon. Mother’s Day is more like a week long event in Nicaragua. Accordingly, the gathering that coincides with this holiday is highly anticipated and well attended.
A special Mother’s Day mass at the church proceeded the elders meeting so the well treed church courtyard made for the perfect location. After mass and before lunch there are gifts passed out to each of the mothers.
These events are free for the elders, but they take some cash, planning and lots of hands working together to pull off every quarter. Consequently many of the local businesses and prominent families help with funding. Payita Solis, Hermanas Sanchez, Sunday Funday Pool Crawl, Eduardo and Angelita Holman, Arenas Pizzeria, Pizzeria San Juan, Frida Fajardo, Iskra Travel, Casa Oro, Madera Futura y más all pitch in.
The Sanchez sisters – who own clothing, grocery and tourist shops in town – not only help fund the event but run point on organizing logistics.
Pacha Mama and Naked Tiger hostels round up most of the volunteers/dance partners for the elders. Nas (sporting her Sunday Funday tank top above) the General Manager for Naked Tiger brought the idea of volunteering for this event to her team over a year ago. They have been a fun part of these meetings ever since.
This was just an all out party with constant dancing and laughing culminated by some piñata smashing. One man tried to sit with the women pictured below and they sent him packing. Elisha overheard them saying they were busy gossiping so he needed to go sit with the men.
The elders were not shy about grabbing up the cute young men and women volunteers and dragging them up on the dance floor. The elders not inclined to dance didn’t let that slow them down from flirting. One fellow Elisha chatted up gave me the stink eye and made a gun pointing gesture (all in good fun) at me when he heard I was the competition.
Once lunch arrived we served it up as quickly as possible because this group wanted to get back to dancing. Some of them were already eyeing up the piñata.
You know what’s better than watching kids smashing a piñata? Seniors smashing a piñata.
After some serious hits on the heart shaped piñata candy finally started to rain down.
Once the candies hit the floor those elders dove on the ground and scrummed like it was a rugby match. I’m still blown away there were no injuries.
After three hours of dancing, a big meal and a candy scrum the elders of San Juan were ready to head home.
Elisha and I stayed long enough to pack up the chairs and tables and help clean up the courtyard. We were ready to go home for our afternoon nap after all the excitement.
We felt privileged for the invitation to help out at this event and grateful to have the time to give back to our community. Thank you Sunday Funday for inviting us and special thanks to the elders of San Juan for allowing us to be a part of your special day!