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The proper way to tip in Cozumel

The proper way to tip in Cozumel

What is a Customary Tip in Cozumel? A Comprehensive Guide

When you venture south of the border to savor the sunny white sands of Cozumel beaches, you enter a world that is vibrantly different in many ways. One such difference lies in the tipping culture. Traveling to Cozumel means immersing yourself in a whole new world of generosity. However, there are some cultural contrasts in tipping that you need to bear in mind to prevent any potential misunderstandings between you (the visitor) and the locals. Whether you opt for an all-inclusive experience or prefer to explore the local character, it’s important to understand the fundamental differences in tipping etiquette between the United States and Mexico.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll clarify what a customary tip is in Cozumel. We’ll also address specific scenarios such as tipping dive masters and boat crews, and whether it’s customary to tip waiters at all-inclusive resorts.

The Basics of Tipping in Cozumel

Tipping customs can differ significantly around the world. In Cozumel and the surrounding areas, it’s customary to tip for various services, so it’s useful to understand when, where, and how much to tip.

1. Taxis and Drivers

In the United States, it’s common to tip taxi drivers. However, Cozumel operates a little differently. While standard taxi rates in resort areas with significant tourist traffic are predetermined and already include the tip, you’re not expected to tip unless the driver goes above and beyond with their service.

If a taxi driver helps with your bags, provides useful advice, or delivers exceptional service, then a tip becomes more common. In these cases, a tip of about 10-20 pesos or rounding up the fare is considered appropriate.

2. Grocery Baggers

In Cozumel, it’s typical for baggers at grocery stores to pack your groceries for you. These baggers are often high school teenagers or retirees, working for tips without a weekly wage. It’s therefore customary to tip them depending on the number of purchases, usually ranging from 10 to 20 pesos, which is equivalent to around 50 cents to a dollar.

3. Tour and Activity Guides

When you engage in tours or activities in Cozumel, it’s customary to tip the guides. This applies whether you’re going on a dinner cruise, a scuba dive, or exploring the Cozumel jungle on horseback. A tip amounting to 15% to 20% of the overall tour cost is generally considered appropriate.

4. Gas Station Attendants

In Mexico, you won’t find any self-service gas stations. Attendants will fill your gas tank, check fluid levels, clean the windshield, and inflate the tires. If they only fill the tank, locals typically don’t tip. However, an appropriate tip of 10 to 20 pesos is always welcomed.

Tipping at All-Inclusive Resorts in Cozumel

Staying at an all-inclusive resort? Here’s what you need to know about tipping:

5. Gratuities at Resorts

Gratuities for good service are an expected part of the tourism culture in Cozumel. This applies to services such as scuba diving, snorkeling, taxi cabs, restaurant and bar service, housekeeping, and guided tours.

However, the amount you should tip can vary. It’s generally suggested to tip $1-3 per meal per table at restaurants, $1 per round of drinks at the bar, $1-3 per bag to bellmen, $1-5 a day to the housekeeper, and $5 to pool boys if they reserve prime chairs by the pool for you.

6. Tipping at Cozumel Airport and Cancun Airport

When you arrive at the Cozumel International Airport (CZM) or Cancun International Airport (CUN), you may need to start thinking about tipping. If you’re taking a van or bus to your hotel, you might offer a few bucks (or the MXN equivalent of 20-50 pesos) to the workers who load your bags in and out of the vehicles.

7. Tipping at Cozumel Hotels and Resorts

Tipping at hotels and resorts in Cozumel depends on the type of service provided. For room service or special accommodations, show your appreciation with a small gratuity. If not, there’s no need to tip. Cleaning service staff are usually full-time employees, so it’s suggested to leave a gratuity amount each day rather than leaving one sum at the end of the week.

Tipping in Cozumel’s Restaurants & Bars

When it comes to restaurants and bars, the tipping culture in Cozumel is somewhat similar to that in the U.S.

8. Sit-Down Restaurants

At sit-down restaurants, it’s customary to tip between 15% and 20%, much like in the U.S. Especially if you’re dining at a local or casual joint, a 15% tip is common. It’s worth noting that most restaurant prices in Cozumel are reasonable compared to U.S. prices, so your overall bill (including tip) may still be less than what you’d pay in the States.

9. Local Restaurants

At small, local eateries, a 10% tip is customary. Avoid over-tipping as this might make you stand out as a tourist. If you’re dining at a local favorite, you might tip closer to 20%, especially if you’ve come to know the staff well.

10. Street Food Vendors and Fast Food Restaurants

For street food vendors and fast food restaurants, it’s not customary to tip. Enjoy your plate of cheap tacos and soak up the local vibe without worrying about leaving a gratuity.

Tipping for Cozumel’s Scuba Diving and Excursions

Scuba diving, snorkeling, and deep-sea sport fishing are popular activities in Cozumel. But what’s the tipping etiquette for these activities?

11. Dive Masters and Boat Crew

For dive masters and boat crews, the worldwide standard for boat diving tips is calculated “per tank.” The typical tip when diving in Cozumel is $12-$15 U.S. dollars (or equivalent), per tank, per person. This comes out to $24-$30 per boat trip for each diver. These are the guys who make sure you come back alive and not bent, so it is well worth the amount paid.

12. Learning to Dive in Cozumel

If you’re learning to dive in Cozumel, your diving instructor will likely go above and beyond to ensure your safety and enjoyment. In this case, you should show your appreciation with a nice gratuity at the end of the lesson.


Understanding what is a customary tip in Cozumel can significantly enhance your travel experience, ensuring a smooth interaction with the locals and service providers. Whether you’re dining out, taking a tour, or enjoying a scuba diving adventure, mindful tipping is a sign of respect and appreciation for the service received. Remember, when in Cozumel, do as the Cozumelians do!

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