Tipping at All Inclusive Resorts
Wondering about tipping at all inclusive resorts?
But isn't that the point? You don’t have to carry cash with you. Everything’s included.
Well, we weren’t sure either. But on our first trip to an all inclusive resort in Costa Rica, we realized… this "travel gesture" was one of those personal decisions.
As a general rule, tipping at all inclusive resorts is not required. Your trip’s a complete package - including gratuities and in some areas, it's even strictly prohibited. At other resorts, you can see people shelling out dollar bills here and there.
About Tipping in Resorts
Here’s the general consensus on tipping…
There’s a general policy of no tipping at all inclusive resorts in Mexico. However, it happens, with quite a few people leaving tips at the bar, dining room and with the bell boy. We note that in Mexico, tipping can (notice we said “can” not “will”) make a difference in speed of service, and quality of drinks (yes, you can experience stronger, better drinks!)
Again, there’s generally a “no tipping” policy throughout most of the Caribbean all inclusive resorts. However, there’s been a shift from tipping, and that is to bring something from home (small toiletries, items for kids – crayons, coloring books, etc) and to leave those as gifts with staff.
In the Caribbean, items like these are expensive, and resort staff (especially in Cuba and the Dominican Republic) really appreciate these everyday-type items. We find these kinds of things just at our local Dollar Store and they’re easy to pack.
NOTE: In Jamaica, tips are common outside of resorts. But at all inclusive resorts in Jamaica, tipping policies are strict and tips are prohibited. Best to not tip at Jamaica resorts, as employees can actually lose their jobs for taking tips/gifts.
CENTRAL AMERICA (Belize & Costa Rica)
In Belize, most all-inclusive resorts have an automatic service charge/gratuity built into your package. People generally do tip tour guides and once in awhile, you’ll see a tip being handed to someone. Best to provide your tip at the end of your stay directly to staff.
At our Costa Rica all inclusive resort, gratuities were built into our package. We also noted that tipping was never expected, and we never saw anyone tip. But again, if you get exceptional service, we recommend leaving something at the end of your stay for staff to show appreciation.
We’ve been on tons of tours with just some incredible guides. We’ve always found they work hard and we like to show our appreciation for that.
There’s no rule for tipping tour guides. If your guide is awesome and goes “above and beyond” (and most do), then definitely tip them to show your thanks. Again, how much to tip is up to you, but a minimum extra twenty dollars in local currency or US dollars is good (just our opinion).
It’s probably best to tip in the local currency as it doesn’t necessitate a trip to the bank for an exchange. However, US dollars are accepted in almost all tourist destinations and will be just as appreciated.
Tip if you feel like it. And it’s also a personal decision – no one can force you to tip.
For easiest tipping at all inclusive resorts, throw into your bag a small stash of one US dollar bills before you go.
If you get great service and feel like someone should know it, then you’ll be glad to tip. No need to be extravagant. One US dollar goes a long way for a deserving maid/bartender/server that goes out of their way for you or shows you extra special service.
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