Tipping in Costa Rica

Tipping is not generally expected in Costa Rica. However, salaries are lower than expected so a little extra is usually welcome. For airport transportation, $5 to $10 is a good tip. For the ride to the clinic, maybe a dollar or two, but again, it is not expected. Colones would be preferred, but US Dollars work fine also.

With regards to restaurants, the 10% service fee that is automatically added to your bill is distributed among all of the employees, and if you want to leave your wait person something extra, you can leave cash on the table or give it directly to them (best).

If you feel the 10% service fee is not enough because your waiter was outstanding, you can leave cash on the table or give it to the waiter, but you will generally not have the option to add a tip to your credit card bill in a restaurant.

If you rent a car in Costa Rica, you will probably meet a “wachiman”. These are unofficial parking lot attendants in Costa Rica. They watch your car for you when it’s parked, and at the end you pay them. It’s a different experience for travelers, but they are usually harmless. It’s good to say “hola” or nod your head to acknowledge them. Let them know you will pay them when you return. When you leave, roll down your window and pay them anywhere between 200-600 colones in change.

A Guide to Tipping in Costa Rica

Service Provider Tip? How Much to tip?
Bus Driver (Public) no N/A
Front Desk Attendant no N/A
Car Rental Attendant no N/A
Bell Hop yes $1 per bag
Restaurant Wait Staff/Bartender no included in bill, any extra your choice
Parking Lot attendants (wachiman) yes 200-600 colones ($0.40-$1)
Taxi Drivers yes round up to next colon
Excursion Guides (zipline, etc) yes $3-5/person
Private Tour Guides yes $5 per person per day, minimum
Private Shuttle Drivers yes $5 per person per day
Babysitter/Kid’s Club Attendants yes $3 per child (optional but recommended)
Spa Services yes 20% of final bill