It’s a common travel question. How much should I tip?
Whenever you’re travelling to a foreign land, the customs are going to be different than your home country. One of the questions we hear most often from our friends and guests when they come on a vacation to Costa Rica is, “Should I tip in Costa Rica, and how much?”
The easy answer: Use good judgement depending on the service you received from your server, bartender, driver or tour guide.
Restaurants and Bars: In most restaurants and bars around Costa Rica nowdays you will usually find a 10% tip ("propina" in Espanol) already added on to your bill, as well as a 13% tax added by the government. That 10% propina is sufficient in many cases. However if you think the service you received was really stellar add extra colones or a few dollars to the 10% tip. Everyone appreciates financial acknowledgement for a job well done, and you will be treated well when you return to the establishment.
Tours, Shuttles and Taxis:
Whether you spend a few hours or a whole day in a car or on an adventure tour with a native Costa Rican, it is an easy to make a new friend. The Ticos are happy, loving people, and are proud to show you and talk about their beautiful country. If you’ve had an especially wonderful time getting to know your driver or tour guide, when you say goodbye, a propina is not necessary, however it is greatly appreciated. Again, use your own good judgement about how much to tip. A general guideline is 10% on top of whatever the taxi ride, shuttle, or tour cost, if you feel like you received really good, friendly service.
Keep in mind, visitors and tourists, the average wage here in Costa Rica is under $500 a month. Passing on an extra few bucks can mean a lot. Take the opportunity to be generous, and reward your new friend for all his or her had work. Your generosity of spirit will come back to you!