Tipping, Puerto Vallarta
bus drivers do not expect tips. theoretically, taxi drivers do not expect tips, either, unless they do something special, such as loading or unloading suitcases; however, i have found that most taxi drivers seem to expect tips from americans for each ride. i aim for about 15% for them.
waiters in restaurants expect tips. i aim for about 20% for them. for bellboys at hotels and porters at the airport, i aim for the peso equivalent of one or two american dollars per bag.
when i was in puerto vallarta in 2005, there were often children packing the groceries in the large grocery stores. i doubted that those children were paid and always tipped them, usually with the peso equivalent of between 50 cents and one american dollar.
when i went in 2014, i noticed that adults -- different adults from the cashiers -- were packing the groceries in the large grocery stores. they wore a tag that said "servicio voluntario" ("voluntary service"), but i wasn't sure if the tag meant that the packing was a free service by the store (and therefore that it was not necessary to tip) or meant that the person doing the packing was working without pay (and therefore that tipping would be appreciated). however, since the average mexican income is so low compared to income in the united states, i went ahead and tipped, usually the peso equivalent of one or two american dollars, depending on how much i bought. no one seemed offended.
Even when "all gratuities included" at a resort (and I laugh), think twice about not tipping. If you like waiting 10-20 minutes to be noticed for a drink that's fine.. but tipping 1.00usd a round gets you noticed.
Tip the hotel maid EVERY DAY.
If you leave a large tip at the end of the stay, it might go to someone else if it is her day off. Daily tipping also results in extra little things like a tissue paper rose, towells and washcloths folded into the shape of birds or flowers, etc.
Two dollars or twenty pesos a day for two persons is about right. Leave the tip on the pillow.
PV is super duper safe but you still gotta be careful…there is absolutely no reason to take jewelry or other valuables other than a wedding ring to a beach front resort town.
Never put anything of any value into a checked piece of luggage…as you will see later this is a moot point as you should not have any checked luggage.
I carry a fair amount of cash with me but keep it along with travel documents in a pouch around my neck.
Travelers checks are ok as there are banks and exchange huts everywhere…but then you still have to take the time to go cash them and then you are still carrying cash…also what if you lose them…it’s a pain…the best exchange rates are at the bank…never change money at a hotel.
ATM’s are the ticket…there are ATM’s everywhere…the money is dispensed in pesos…the exchange rate is the best…you can quick grab pesos whenever you need to.
Credit cards…good to have as a backup or for cash advances but a pain to use and you will get charged more for using them and then you have to know that the carbons are destroyed et cetera…we bring them as a backup against losing our ATM cards or something but never use them.
Tipping (1) is same as in US…15% is expected…20% is a very nice tip…service standards (2)…this is very important otherwise you can think you are getting poor service and get ticked off…they will rarely if ever disturb you as they feel that it is rude and intrusive…they will stand where they can see you and if you need them you simply look at them or raise your hand or call out “senor”…for example they will not interrupt your eating to ask how everything is so if there is a problem you must summon them…they will virtually never present the check (3) until you ask for it…again this would be rude as it would be like saying ok now get the heck out of here…simply say “senor la cuenta por favor” when you are ready to leave…consequently you should be ready to pay before asking because they will stand very near by waiting so that they can take the check and payment right away…the check never just sits on the table
I always suggest to pay for most things in pesos. You will usually come out ahead this way.
The American Express office is located in the downtown, right across the street from the backdoor of the Hard Rock Cafe.
No US-Canadian coins are accepted anywhere.
No personal checks.
I recommend paying for all purchases in pesos. This is the money here and you will nearly always come out ahead in your bargaining or whatever you are paying for, by paying in pesos.
The people here basically live for tips. Remember that the average wage is approximately 5USD per day so tips are important! I suggest 15% at restaurants. Basically any excursion you go on, at the end of the tour the crew-guide will pass the tip jar around. This is a personal decision for you to make. When people ask me how much I suggest 5USD on up, depending on how you felt the service was. And of course, if you go anywhere and receive poor service, then by all means, do not tip!