How to Tip in Cuba
Taking good care of the people and places we visit as tourists should be part of our itinerary wherever we travel. While everyone enjoys an affordable holiday, it's important to also look out for the local community’s well-being. During trips to Cuba, which is a communist country, do people tip? And how do you do it?
Research on the subject of "tipping" in Cuba can be confusing. The economic and monetary situation is complex, with supplies of basic goods sometimes unreliable. Life for tourism industry workers —all laborers—isn’t easy. It's hard to know what the proper etiquette is regarding the local business employees, service people, and guides you will encounter daily on your trip, especially when you add language barriers.
Some travel industry experts say Cubans aren't used to being tipped a gratuity, while others claim it's expected. Consider a balanced approach: Cuba is a poor country, and its local communities can benefit from generous pay for jobs well done, regardless of custom or expectation. With new tourists from the United States, Cuban tourism infrastructure has also expanded wildly. Tipping a person who is probably working for little pay in comparison to U.S. standards will go miles in Cuba and cost you very little. It's a win-win.
Consider tipping like this:
10-15% in CUC gratuity is appropriate, similarly to the U.S. (but less really when you consider the conversion rates).
Even if you've booked an all-inclusive tour, local guides appreciate being tipped for their hard work. We recommend 1-2 CUCs for a short excursion, and 10 CUCs per person per day for all day and multi-day excursions.
Let's face it, many of us have gone to Cuba with music on our mind. Those talented Afro-Cuban artists and street-side jazz musicians can't live off of nothing. Tip 1-2 CUCs when you've appreciated the performance.
Just like a hotel at home, your service staff will greatly appreciate a tip for a job well done. 1-2 CUCs a day would be a welcome sight for them.
Tip the guy who will watch you car. No, really, this is a person you may encounter. If you rent a car while in Cuba, expect to run into un-official/official, roadside parking assistance in Havana. These parquedores will approach you on busy city streets with an expectation of a small fee to help keep an eye on your vehicle. 1 CUC is usually sufficient.
In many public restrooms in Cuba you may find a "service person" waiting to be tipped. While some restrooms may be below expectation, it still is appropriate to give .25 CUC or so to a bathroom attendant.
While resorts are still off limits to American travelers, those who do happen upon one should expect to tip service employees 20-30 CUCs a week.
Learn more about our Cuba Culinary Tour and explore Cuban culture through its cuisine.