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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 Turks and Caicos is similar to the tipping customs in the USA. Always check your bill and look for an automatic service charge which could be 10-15%. If a service charge has been added you can choose to leave an additional amount, up to 20% is the recommended total amount. Normally with large parties, a large service fee is automatically added to the bill.

There is an additional 12% government tax charge at all hotels and restaurants in Turks and Caicos and is mandatory for all guests to pay, it funds the administration of the island and goes directly to the government.

Currency: Can I pay in U.S. dollars?

The official currency of the Turks and Caicos is the United States Dollar. Providenciales, South Caicos, and Grand Turk have banks on the island with ATMs. When visiting the more remote islands, you will need cash in hand or use a credit card.

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

When dining at restaurants in the Turks and Caicos, be advised that a government tax of 12% is an additional, automatic charge on your bill. Check your bill to see if there is also a service charge between 10-15% added to the bill automatically, it is up to the discretion of the diner to leave an additional tip if the service received was exceptional. Tipping in restaurants is similar to the tipping practice in the United States, 15-20%.

Hotel Staff: Who should I tip?

The Government Tax of 12% is automatically an additional charge on every hotel bill in the Turks and Caicos, this amount is not a tip. Most hotels and resorts will add an automatic service charge or resort fee of 10% to your bill, this charge includes gratuity for all hotel staff. However it is always a nice gesture to leave an extra tip for individual staff members for their services, bellmen should be tipped $2-$3 per bag, housekeeping $3-$5 a day, and concierge service anywhere from $5-$20 depending on the task performed.

The Turks and Caicos are a luxurious destination with many high-end accommodations including rentals of private villas, homes, and cottages, some with their staff on site. Depending on the size of the villa and the number of guests, the average daily tips are around $25.

If renting a poolside cabana or sun loungers at a resort or hotels, a tip between $6-$10 per day is considered very generous for any staff member taking care of you.

Taxi Drivers: Should I tip?

Tipping taxis drivers 10% of your total fare in the Turks and Caicos is the standard practice.

Tour Guides: Is a tip required?

In the Turks and Caicos, it is recommended to tip your tour guides between 10-20%, depending on the level of service provided. Tipping for excursions or water sports activities is a nice gesture, a small tip shows appreciation for their efforts.

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.