Tipping and taxes, Miami
Check your bill at restaurants and bars to make sure you do not double tip. Everywhere we went, even bars, included gratuity in the bill. The amount added changed from place to place ranging anywhere from 12 to 18% - so you do not really get a chance to tip based upon how good the service actually was.
Even when we got drinks in a bar, we found out when we asked for the bill that the tip had been added in to the price he had told us (even though their drinks list says tipping is optional)
TIPPING...Many of the restaurants in Miami already include the tip in the bill which is different from many other places in the US--be aware of this so that you don't wind up tipping the server twice! Taxi drivers are supposed to get tipped 15-20% of the fare, your hotel bellman gets $1-3 PER BAG, and give your doorman $1-3 for hailing a cab or parking your car.
European friends asked me wether the shops, and restaurants in Miami closed mid day. Businesses in Miami do not close in the middle of the day. They stay open straight through closing time. You may find restaurants that open as early as 6:00am, and some stay open till 3:00am, and there some dinners that donot close at all. Shops, such as department stores(magasins) generally open after 10:00am and close between 9:00 and 11:oopm.
Tipping: it is custumary to tip restaurant workers between 15 and 18% of the total bill. taxi drivers 10%. Baggage handlers $1.00 to $2.00 per piece of luggage. No tipping at movie theaters.
There is a 7% sales tax on most items except medicines, religious items, and unprepared food, and it is usually not included in the price you see in the store windows Down Town, so remember you will be billed that price plus 7%. It used to be 6.5% but since January 1st, 2003 it went up to 7%. Hotel tax in Miami is currently 12.5% of room cost.
A decimal point is used in the U.S. instead of a comma to separate the dollars and cents, example: nine dollars and forty nine cents is written as $9.49, not $9,49.
Spanish is used profusely in Miami, here are some usefull words:
Buenos Dias.... Good morning;
Buenas Tardes..... Good Afternoon;
Buenas Noches.... Good Night;
Quiero Agua..... I want water;
Quiero Comer I want to eat;
Donde esta el hotel where is the hotel;
Donde esta el restaurante where is restaurant;
Donde esta la farmacia where is the drugstore;
Cuanto Cuesta?......How much?;
necesito ayuda I need help;
Yo soy de New York I am: from New York;
Yo soy miembro de VT I a member of VT;
Adios Good Bye.