Peru Tipping Guide

Tipping is not a big part of Peruvian culture but there are times when a tip is appropriate, if not necessarily obligatory. The following Peru tipping guidelines will give you an idea of when to hand over a tip and how much to give in various situations. By the way, the word for “tip” in Spanish is propina, something that most foreign tourists will hear at some point during their trip to Peru.

peru-tipping-guide

Peru Tipping: Tours and Transport

Taxi Drivers – You never need to tip taxi drivers in Peru. The drivers don’t expect it, and they are probably overcharging you anyway. If a taxi driver is extremely friendly and points out various landmarks along the way then there’s no harm saying thanks with a small tip.

Tour Guides and Porters – The consensus seems to be $5 to $10 (15 to 30 soles approx) per day for tour guides and between $3 to $5 (9 to 15 soles) per day for porters, drivers, cooks and the like. Again, the quality of service determines the exact amount. If you are on a luxury tour then the tip amount will generally be at the upper end of the scale (and vice versa). It’s sometimes a good idea to tip collectively as a tour group. Pooling your money will give you a better idea of the overall amount that each guide, porter etc will receive – and will help you avoid excessive tipping.

Private Hire Drivers – As a rough guideline, consider tipping a private driver $5 to $10 per day. A lot depends on the type of trip, the amount of driving required and how much extra help you receive. You might end up buying your driver lunch, snacks and drinks throughout the day, but it’s still nice to tip for good service at the end of the trip.

Tipping in Peru: Hotels and Restaurants

Hotel Staff – Tipping is customary in top end hotels, but not in budget establishments (especially hostels). Tip porters about $1 (2 to 3 soles) per bag, or maybe a little more in a truly flash hotels. It’s up to you whether you tip cleaning staff or room service, and again depends on the overall quality of the service.

Restaurants – How much you tip waiters in Peru depends on the type of restaurant. A 10% tip is standard in larger, more elegant restaurants, but this may be added on to the bill (you can always leave an extra tip on top of the service charge for exceptional service). A tip is optional in mid-range restaurants (like chifas, for example), but giving the waiter 1 or 2 soles is a nice gesture. No tip is necessary in budget eateries such as the family run menus. The locals don’t often tip in these places, so you certainly don’t have to. It is also possible that the owner, rather than a waiter, will serve you, in which case a tip isn’t appropriate.

Dubious Peru Tipping Requests

The fact that foreign tourists do tip more often than the locals has not gone unnoticed, and has given rise to occasionally dubious tip requests. For example, a bus baggage handler might ask for a tip for taking your bag out of the hold. Not necessary.

Alternatively, maybe you ask for directions in the street, at which point your newly acquired “guide” shows you to your destination. A generous, heart-felt offer, it would seem, until you are faced with an upturned palm and a stubborn request for a tip. If you genuinely feel that no tip is necessary, it’s best just to ignore this type of Peru tipping request.

  4 comments for “Peru Tipping Guide

  1. Herb
    June 12, 2011 at 7:16 am

    A funny story about tipping:
    My wife and I were with a friend at a restaurant. His elderly mother was with us. We had collectively left a small tip for the server for excellent service. While she thought no one was watching his mother took the tip and put it in her pocket never missing a beat. When asked why she took the tip she replied that the girl was working and did not need it.

    My friend also replaced the toilet tissue she stuffed in her bra when using the facilities.

    This all comes from a time when there was nothing extra to go around.

    • November 1, 2012 at 3:39 pm

      Herb,

      Your story is hilarious! I don’t want to think that most elder people in Peru are like that! Really funny!

  2. August 11, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Tipping in Peru reminds me of tippping rate in most central/south American countries that I’ve been to. The only exception is the non-tourist towns in Mexico… where tipping seems extremely foreign (this does not include Cancun! 🙂 ).

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