Tips on Tipping in Manzanillo 

Manzanillo is a resort town, and like any other resort town, people flock to gain employment here.  Those that do are paid very small salaries. In fact, the average daily wage in Colima is under $5 U.S. That is daily--not hourly, and the average employee must work a full 8 hours for that small sum. Everyone who is in some type of service industry depends on tips for the major part of their income.

Estela serves to gringos at La Herradura in MinatitlanIdeally, you should tip as you do in the U.S., letting the size of your pocketbook and the quality of service set your tipping guidelines. “Tip-dependent” workers include waiters, bellboys, maids, diving and snorkeling guides, other tour guides, boat crews, masseuses, beauty salon operators, supermarket grocery baggers, bathroom attendants, airport luggage attendants, and gas station attendants. 

Even though you are told that tips are included at your “all-inclusive” hotel, don’t think that the hotel gives the employees much. Tip them, too, and start tipping on the first day of your stay. You'll be amazed at how much better you're taken care of!

Kitchen staff at La PergolaTip for good service. Ten to fifteen percent is customary; I lean toward 15% or more because I know what wages are, and your tip can mean a decent meal instead of tortillas and beans. In the case of taxi drivers, a tip is included in the price. If a taxi offers to wait for you while you shop, expect to pay him extra. If you hire a taxi for the day, a tip can be added to the agreed-upon price.

You should always have loose change and low denomination bills with you in order to make the transaction effortless. Taxi drivers will never have change. Bus drivers generally do, but not for large bills. Whenever you shop, save your change. It will come in handy for all the tipping you should be doing.

Here  are some basic guidelines for tipping in Mexico.

Angeles Verdes: The "Green Angels", are government trucks that are painted green and travel along Mexico's interstate highways helping people who have broken down. Their help is free, but they will charge you for parts and fuel if your car needs it. Be sure to tip the attendant; the amount is discretionary, and should relate to how much help they were in a particular circumstance (e.g. more at night) and on how much work they have done for you. The author has used them frequently over the last 21 years in Mexico, and I've found them to be extremely helpful.

Police: This tip concerns being broken down, and a policeman helps you. I've had them change my tire, get water for my car, and give me a jump start, among other things. I've willingly paid $200 pesos for a policeman to change my tire in the middle of nowhere. This is not a bribe, but you are helping a good Samaritan who just happens to be a cop. Oftentimes, I have had to force them to take the money.

In Mexico, not only is it customary, it is expected and appreciated to tip in return for good service.

Even fringe services like someone at a taxi rank opening the door for you (and perhaps putting your suitcases in the car's trunk) should receive a small tip (just 1 or 2 pesos will suffice in these cases).

"What should I tip?" is perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions. Mexicans tell me that Mexicans and Canadians rarely tip, and if they do the amounts are relatively small. Europeans don't tip either, they say. Now that the American economy has crashed, and the Mexican pesos continues to devalue, a good-sized tip can really can make a difference.

Susan Dearing is the owner of and has authored two tourist guidebooks. The is a 21-year resident of Mexico, with 18 years in Manzanillo.