YOU ASKED, WE ANSWERED: What is the norm for tipping in Nicaragua?

What is the norm for tipping in Nicaragua?

– Restaurante El Pescador: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

If you’re a first time visitor to Nicaragua you may be wondering what is acceptable when it comes to tipping. 

Eliminate the guesswork by reviewing our tipping guidelines below.

FOR SHUTTLE DRIVERS, TAXIS & TOUR GUIDES 

In Nicaragua shuttle drivers and tour guides expect a tip. 10% of your fare or excursion fee is acceptable.

If your driver went above and beyond to provide safe and friendly service an extra 5 to 10% is appropriate. Same goes for a tour guide that made your excursion extra special.

Private taxis may expect a tip, but it’s not necessary to tip your driver when you’re in a collectivo taxi (shared taxi).

If you’re taking a taxi or shuttle from the airport and are without córdobas (local currency) American dollars are fine. Just make sure they are not ripped, torn or marked on.

We do not recommend exchanging money at the airport. You will always get a lower exchange rate than what you can get at the bank or with a money exchanger on the street.   

AT HOTELS & VACATION RENTALS

Whether you’re at a hotel or a vacation rental you should tip for your maid. Depending on your length of stay $10 – $20 USD is appropriate. If your rental home has a cuidador (caretaker) its a nice gesture to leave a little something for him as well.

IN RESTAURANTS & BARS

When dining at a sit down restaurant in Nicaragua a 10% tip is the norm. Many individuals will leave an extra 5 to 10% for stand out service.

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.

What is the norm for tipping in Nicaragua?

– Tip jars are commonly seen at small locally owned restaurants, bars and sometimes even pulperias (small convenience store). 

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!

Posted on August 30, 2016, in People & Culture and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Excellent overview. One other service where I always give a tip is for the helpers at the supermarkets who pack your goods into bags and carry them to your car for you. I typically give them C$10.

    • Same here! A couple times I got funny looks and was thinking, “Is it not normal to tip the guy who took all your bags out and loaded them into the car?” But I do it anyway. Usually C$10-20 like you.

      The only thing that drives me a little crazy sometimes is tipping “car attendants”. I’m like, “You don’t work here! You’re just a guy sitting next to my car on the street. I can literally see my car from the restaurant, I don’t need you to watch it for me.” I feel like I’m paying THEM not to rob it. haha but I suck it up and give them a tip. Usually the same C$10-20 or more if it’s late at night and I’m far from my car for hours.

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