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In the U.S. tipping is customary and expected for everything from lackluster to outstanding service. It is an etiquette that is ingrained in all trades, from wait staff at restaurants to our baristas, valets, cab drivers, porters, and many more trades.

The questions `when?` and `how much?` that surround tipping 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.

Tipping in the Maldives is not compulsory, a 10% service charge is added to everything, however, tipping staff members who receive low salaries in the Maldives is a wonderful gesture. If you receive excellent service or enjoy an incredible experience on a tour it is a nice gesture to tip the individuals 10% or $10 per day. There are different ways to tip, once a week at resorts (the original European way of tipping) or tipping every day.

Currency: Can I pay in U.S. dollars, or should I use the Maldivian rufiyaa?

The currency of the Maldives is the Maldivian rufiyaa (Rf or MVR). US dollars are widely accepted and in most resorts prices are posted in USD. It is recommended to exchange some rufiyaa for the other inhabited islands and on Male. There are exchange desks at the airport.

Restaurants, Cafes, and Bars: When should I tip? How much is customary?

Tipping in restaurants in the Maldives is usually a matter of rounding up the bill or leaving the change. You should always have some cash on hand to tip the waitstaff if paying by credit card. The 10% service charge is always added to the bill, but if you want to thank your waiter, leaving some cash is a good idea.

Hotel Staff: Who should I tip?

Tipping at hotels and resorts in the Maldives can be done on a daily basis or weekly basis depending on your stay. There is no obligation to tip, however, if the staff has given good service tipping $2 per day for housekeeping, and bell boys is a good rule of thumb. If tipping by the week $10-20 a week for housekeeping is good.

Taxi Drivers: Should I tip?

There are no taxis in the Maldives, but you will be taxied around on boats as you move to and from the main island and to other islands and atolls on day trips and excursions. Generally speaking, if you have had a memorable ride on a small boat with a friendly crew, a modest $5-10 tip is a great compliment. Some of the transfers in the Maldives are private or chartered and the price reflects this, so tipping here is not necessary.

Tour Guides: Is a tip required?

Tipping tour guides in the Maldives is not a requirement, but if you feel that you want to tip for a great experience then perhaps a group tip between $5-10 would be a good amount.


Many hotels and resorts in the Maldives have “unseen” staff members who work behind the scenes, possibly cooking your meal, or arranging romantic dinners, or excursions. It is recommended to tip $10-20 a week. Spa’s are abundant at resorts in the Maldives, tipping in a spa depends on the number of services you will indulge in and how many staff members will be involved. A $5-10 tip per service is an adequate amount to express your gratitude.

Remember that it is perfectly okay to abstain, especially if you are not happy with the service provided. This is also true for hotel staff, however, if you should encounter a problem with the service within the hotel, we highly recommend speaking with the manager.

When paying for services in cash (which we generally recommend for services other than your hotel) remember to take your receipt. This is important for two reasons; If you leave a tip on a credit card, the person providing the service may not always get it, and if there is a discrepancy it is important to have your receipt to settle it with the manager of the establishment and to prove that you paid for the service.