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138 posts
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What is the rule of thumb?

Destination Expert
for Richmond
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1,708 posts
214 reviews
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1. Re: tipping

Most restaurants add a 10% service charge on top of your bill, which can be considered a tip. Most locals leave it at that, and that's completely acceptable, because that's standard in Costa Rica.

In the US, tips are more in the 15-20% range, and that's the standard in the US.

It's just a difference in cultures...

As a US citizen I'll throw a little more on top of the 10% depending on the level of service, how long I stay around chatting with friends and occupying the table, etc. However, the additional tip is not necessary.

And just to add...When I say, "how long I occupy a table" I am bringing up another difference in Costa Rica culture. In Costa Rica, it's the norm to stay around and chat with your friends after the meal. There is no one rushing you out of the table like you experience in the US... which brings up ANOTHER difference.

The servers don't bring you the check unless you ask for it. They feel as if it's rude to bring the check before you ask for it (This goes back to the previous paragraph of not rushing you). So, don't expect them to bring it until you ask for it!

Hope this helps!

Edited: 02 January 2014, 00:42
Liberia, Costa Rica
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52 posts
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2. Re: tipping

Are you wondering about bars and restaurants only, or other things, such as tipping guides,hotel workers, etc? At restaurants there is a service charge included (on rare occasion it isn't, it will be pointed out on the menu), and at bars you don't tip. However, many tourists leave an extra tip. I recommend that you leave whatever you're comfortable with, on top of the included service charge.

Puerto Viejo, Costa...
Destination Expert
for Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
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3. Re: tipping

I get many guests ask me what is appropriate tip. I always tell them, that it is not expected but greatly appreciated. Do whatever is comfortable for you.

My own personally policy in Costa Rica is an additional 10% on restaurant bill unless I feel service was below par. Taxi... Min $1 or 10%. Tour guides, excursions, shuttle drivers as long as I feel they put effort into making sure you were getting what you paid for, I give 10%.

Some small hotels have shared tip boxes. I give 10% of room stay portion of my bill.

Again, these my own personal policies and are not a rule. Cheers, Colin.

Costa Rica
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4. Re: tipping

Tipping is always a good way to "get rid" of your colones change, which can't be exchanged. I will usually leave a handful of change for the housekeeper or server or taxi driver, depending on what it is. For tour guides or drivers (don't forget the driver!), 10% is a good rule of thumb - but it will depend on the tour: how long, how many people, how attentive and informative the guide was.

5. Re: tipping

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