I will be heading to South America in just a short week and a half. Now finally Starting to research the small things that will be SUPER helpful, like tipping in South America.
Before going to any country, familiarizing with their cultural customs is vital. One thing that is often overlooked is how tipping is seen and done. Tipping in South America, as with many other continents, differs vastly from one country to the next. What you think is typical to do in your own home country, may be considered rude in another.
The following information was provided through a multitude of sources including Conde Nast, TripAdvisor, official tourism websites and finally Sofie, of Wonderful Wanderings. I found Sofie’s article so useful I decided to share it with my own insights.
Ready to learn all about tipping in South America? The list below is in alphabetical order for convenience.
Tipping in Argentina
Restaurants: It is customary to give a 10% tip to your server. Giving more than that is generous and uncommon. Leaving less than that or nothing is okay if service quality was bad. Always tip your bartender directly into their hand, especially if you order a specialty drink!
Tour Guides: Typical to give 10-20% at the end of your tour based on service quality of course.
Taxi Drivers: No need to tip them, it is not customary here. Rounding up to the nearest amount is common however as to not make them count coins for change.
Hotel Staff: Hotel porters are often tipped 2-3 pesos per bag, doormen expect a little bit more. Housekeeping will appreciate 4-5 pesos per day.
Note: “Cubierto” on your bill means that there is a charge for the utensils, placements, and bread at your table. This money goes towards the restaurant and not the server.
Tipping in Bolivia
Restaurants: 5-10% to your server is common for good service. Tipping in bars is not expected but you may opt to leave small change.
Tour Guides: Typical to tip them 8 Bolivianos (Bs) per hour, or 50 Bs for one whole day.
Taxi Drivers: No need to tip your taxi driver, unless you hire them for a few hours or for the day, in which case 10% is typical.
Hotel Staff: Hotel porters are usually given 4 – 8 Bs. House cleaning staff are tipped 7Bs per day.
Note: Get small denominations of local currency – trying to break it can be a struggle.
Tipping in Brazil
Restaurants: 10% to your server. Usually already included in your bill as a “servico”. Tip your bartender 10% as well for good service, if you do so you will also get a stronger drink next time.
Tour Guides: They rely heavily on gratuities, try to tip at least 10% of the excursion cost if service was good.
Taxi Drivers: No need to tip taxi drivers, just round up to the nearest Brazilian Real.
Hotel Staff: Hotel Porter should get 1 real per item of luggage, give housekeeping 5 real by the end of your stay. Concierge do not accept tips, but a few reals is good to give if they do you a favour.
Note: You can ask people to watch your car while parked in a certain area, tip them 1-2 reals.
Tipping in Chile
Restaurants: Most restaurants already include tips but 10% is customary if they do not. Tip 15-20% if service is especially excellent.
Tour Guides: Base your tip based on service but a good benchmark is 5-10% of the tour cost.
Taxi Drivers: Round up to the nearest peso.
Hotel Staff: Hotel porters should be tipped 600 pesos per bag, and Housekeeping will expect 500 pesos a day.
Note: Baggers at supermarkets are typically given a few hundred pesos – they do not get salaries!
Tipping in Colombia
Restaurants: Interestingly, Colombian law states that restaurants must ask customers if they wish to pay the voluntary service charge (meaning the tip). This amount should be around 10%, unless it was an exceptional then feel free to tip a bit more. Tip your bartenders $0.5-$2 per drink.
Tour Guides: Typical to do 10% of tour cost.
Taxi Drivers: Not customary to tip.
Hotel Staff: Hotel porters are tipped $1 regardless of number of bags. Chambermaids (housekeeping) should receive $1-$2 per day.
Note: Breaking bills can be difficult, make sure to bring smaller denominations with you.
Tipping in Ecuador
Restaurants: Sometimes included in bill. Typical tip is 10% unless it was exceptional then 15-20%. Bars may charge an entry fee, it is still common to tip your bartenders a couple of dollars.
Tour Guides: Typical to tip $5-$6, if there is a driver during the tour as well, tip them $2-$3.
Taxi Drivers: Tipping is not common but rounding up the fare is common – especially for chatty or helpful taxi drivers.
Hotel Staff: Tip doormen $1 if they hail a cab, hotel porters should get 50-75 cents per bag and cleaning staff $1 per day at the end of your stay.
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Tipping in Paraguay
Restaurants: For small eateries a few hundred Guaranis should suffice. In restaurants 10-15% of the bill is common. Bars do not expect tips but rounding up is always nice here, especially for good service.
Tour Guides: Gs 10,000 – 30,000 is common.
Taxi Drivers: No need to tip or round up but round up if you please.
Hotel Staff: Hotel porters are tipped Gs 5,000 – 10,000 per bag. Hotel maids receive 10,000 a day. Make sure to check there is not an included housekeeping tip in the bill before you tip.
Tipping in Peru
Restaurants: Lower end eateries leave a few sols, in restaurants common to tip 10-15% of your bill.
Tour Guides: For short tours S/. 5 to S/. 10 or S/. 20 for a long tour.
Taxi Drivers: Taxis do not have meters, so you have to negotiate your price with the driver beforehand.
Hotel Staff: Porters are given 2 soles per bag, and chambermaids (housekeeping) are given 1-3 soles per day.
Note: On a Machu Picchu trek it is common to tip ALL staff involved (guides, cooks, porters, etc.) Hikes are recommended to tip 15-20 soles per day – which will be distributed amongst all staff.
Tipping in Uruguay
Restaurants: Typically, 10% of the bill, but make sure it is not already on your bill.
Tour Guides: 5-10 pesos if they impressed you.
Taxi Drivers: Optional, typically add a few UYU to the total.
Hotel Staff: Tip bellhops 20 UYU per bag and housekeeping should get 20 UYU per day.
Note: Common to tip street parking attendants 10 UYU, gas station attendants 5-10 UYU and windscreen cleaners a couple of coins.
Comment below if you found this helpful! Or if you have anything to add or suggest should be added to the list.
Planning a trip to South America? Read more posts here.