HOW TO TIP IN BELIZE
In the U.S. tipping is customary and expected for everything from lackluster to outstanding service. It is an etiquette which is ingrained in all trades, from the wait staff at restaurants to our baristas, valets, cab drivers, porters, and many more trades. In Central America tipping is not as habitual and the same goes for Belize. There is no obligation to do so, however, leaving something extra is customary. Belizeans are discreet and subtle when it comes to business transactions. It`s helpful when tipping someone not to make a great display. You might verbally thank them, shake their hand, and express your appreciation while handing the bills folded. The questions `when?` and `how much?` can leave some travelers confused, as the practice varies. This guide attempts to cover most situations that you, as a tourist, will encounter. Hopefully using these `tips` will provide a smooth experience when interacting with locals in restaurants, bars, hotels, tour operators, and taxis.Currency: Can I pay in U.S. dollars, or should I use Belize dollars?
The currency of Belize is the Belize dollar and US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for Belize dollars upon arrival. In our culture we can put everything on credit and debit cards, however, in rural areas of Belize you will find it useful to always keep cash on hand. Currency exchange desks can be found at the airport and many locations throughout the cities.Restaurants, Cafes, and Bars: When should I tip? How much is customary?
In most restaurants in Belize a 15 percent tip is common at nicer establishments. Always check your bill and see if any service charge has been added. If your service is excellent, feel free to add an additional tip. If you aren`t satisfied with the service, you can forgo a tip altogether. Bartenders receive a tip equivalent to about BZ$.25 per drink.Hotel Staff: Who should I tip?
Tipping in hotels in Belize is rarely expected except in cases of exemplary service or if you solicit special services. The most commonly tipped employees are the porters and housekeeping. If a porter helps to carry your bag(s) to your room the customary tip is about BZ$2 per bag, usually no more than BZ$5 total. It is customary to leave about 5 to 10 percent per day for housekeeping. Other hotel services are tipped depending on the service provided.Taxi Drivers: Should I tip?
Usually cab drivers are not tipped in Belize. You may wish to tip extra if they help you with your luggage or provide you with useful info about getting around. If it is around Christmas or New Year`s Day, a tip is very much appreciated. Needless to say, if your driver was rude or took you on an out of the way route to hike up the fare, do not leave a tip. Always remember when traveling abroad that it is good practice to agree on a final fare before the cab driver begins driving.Tour Guides: Should I tip?
The normal tip for tour guides is about 10-15 percent of the price of the tour. If a tour guide is particularly enthusiastic or informative do not hesitate to slip them a little extra cash if you wish!Miscellaneous: Is there anyone I should tip that I would not normally?
Street Performers: Here is one place to splurge a bit. Though you may not actively solicit entertainment from musicians, mimes, artists, and the like, it is polite to tip them if you have enjoyed their trade. These people live off the money they make bringing their talent to the streets of Belize City, San Ignasio or Belmopan. Take some of what you would have left your waitress in the restaurant and give it to one of these artists!
Other Services: In the event that you are in Belize for a special occasion (wedding, honeymoon, graduation gift, birthday, etc..) and employ the services of a hairdresser, make-up artist, party planner, personal shopper, tailor or spa services and the like, use your best judgment in tipping. Factor in the cost and quality of service and, as a general rule, stay in the 10% range.
Dive Masters: If you are planning to dive in Belize, keep in mind to tip the dive mastors. Around BZ$5 to BZ$10 is suitable.