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A Little Goes a Long Way: Tipping Etiquette in Peru

Get the know-how on the "DOs" and "DONTs" of tipping in Peru.
by Kathleen McAfee

It is super helpful to understand the tipping etiquette in Peru before your travels commence. Imagine yourself enjoying a romantic dinner of Peruvian lomo saltado or ceviche with your special someone at the lovely Limo restaurant in Cusco as you both admire the views of the magnificent and historic Plaza de Armas. After the meal, the bill comes and you ask yourself uncomfortably, “Should I tip or is it included?” 

Or, you just completed the rugged, yet ever so rewarding Inca Trail. You snapped some phenomenal pictures of Machu Picchu for that bucket list photo album, and you owe it all to the skill of your experienced tour guide and trekking staff. As you say your final goodbyes, you’re reminded how much they helped you along the way and wonder to yourself:

“Should I tip?”

Let’s clear the air, and say that in general, tipping in Peru is a respectable practice and strongly encouraged among travelers. Specifically, you should tip at sit-down restaurants and bars, porters in hotels and airports, tour guide staff and drivers, as well as gas station and bathroom attendants. And of course, if you receive exceptional service it is acceptable to give a little extra. Follow these general tipping guidelines of “DOs” and “DON’Ts” so that you are aware of them on your next Peru adventure.

Before we start, a piece of advice: keep around that small change in Nuevo soles (PEN) or soles (S/) because tipping in coins, especially for local services, will be essential. As tempting as it may be to tip in USD, it’s actually more of a burden for the recipient(s) to change that to local currency.

Tipping Etiquette in Peru


Restaurants and Bars
Airports, Hotels and Spas
Guided Tours and Trekking Staff
Gas Stations and Public Restrooms
Taxis

This article was updated by Gina Cronin on November 1, 2019. 

Restaurants and Bars

Interior of Lia restaurant, with view out the window of the Plaza de Armas

Limo Restaurant overlooking the Plaza de Armas. Photo by Cusco Restaurant Group / Limo.

The first thing you should know about your bill is that gratuity is usually NOT included. If it is, it will likely be at an upscale or chic restaurant, and it will be listed at the bottom of the ticket as a 10 percent service charge of sorts. Generally speaking, tipping 10 percent of the total in sit-down restaurants is customary. Although some restaurants will give you the option of leaving a tip via your credit card, it is more the norm to leave tips in cash, so always have some on hand.

Many small, local establishments do not expect a tip, but that doesn’t mean you can’t leave a few soles on the table when you leave. If you are at a bar or lounge, it is practical to tip 1-2 sol (about 35-70 cents) per drink, but of course, if you order bar food be sure to apply the 10 percent rule.

Another thing to keep in mind is, when you go to pay, the waiter or store will regularly ask “boleta” or “factura.” Boleta is the receipt for yourself, factura is only for Peruvian companies registered with SUNAT and have a registration number. For example, if you were at a business meeting and need proof of what you spent to be refunded back by the company you work with.

Airports, Hotels, and Spas

When you first arrive at the airport, porters will leap into action to help you load a luggage cart or carry your bags. However, please note that this service is not complimentary, nor do you need to accept it. Especially if you have a tour company waiting for you at the airport, it is better to look for the sign with your name on it—the staff member meeting you should be more than happy to assist you. If you do accept the assistance of a porter at the airport, 2 soles per bag is a reasonable tip.

For the most part, tipping hotel staff will depend on the kind of hotel. Budget hotels and local inns don’t see tips as often as the luxury hotels in the larger cities, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tip good service at these local establishments. It will be greatly appreciated by the staff. If you stay in a hotel that is part of a large chain, you should tip the housekeeping about 3 soles (approx. $1) per day and the porters about $1-3 USD for their assistance. This is a small expense that goes a long way and will definitely make your travels easier.

For trips to the spa, maybe after hiking the Inca Trail, you should generously tip about 5 soles or even as much as 10 soles for exceptional service. However, since many spas have different policies and packages, it is best to confirm the tipping etiquette with the front desk beforehand.

Guided Tours and Trekking Staff

Trekking Porters, Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Peru, Peru for LessTrekking guides, cooks, and porters hike along with you to ensure that you are safe and comfortable on your journey along the Inca Trail.
Photo by Greg Headley/Flickr

It is customary to tip your tour guides, tour bus drivers, and trekking staff.

Day tours

For a guided group tour, you should tip your guide about 15-17 soles (about $5-$6 USD) per person for a half-day tour and 20-25 soles ($7-$8 USD) for a full-day tour.

For guided private tours, tips would be around 30-35 soles ($10-$12 USD) per person for half-day and 50-60 soles ($17-$20 USD) for a full day. Meanwhile, bus drivers expect roughly 10 soles (about $3.50) per day of travel.

Multi-Day Tour

When trekking the Inca Trail or other multi-day treks, be sure to tip your porters, cooks, and guides.

Trekking staff. The staff is the most important part of your trek and is oftentimes underpaid. Depending on the number of staff accompanying your group, we recommend that each hiker tip 150 soles (around $45). Bear in mind the length of your journey: if your trek covers multiple days, anywhere from 35-40 soles ($10 to $12) per day would also work. The guide will distribute the tips evenly among the staff members at the end of the hike.

Guide. You will be amazed by the amount of hard work and dedication your guide offers you and your fellow trekkers from morning to night each day. In addition to the 150 for the trekking staff, about 60-80 soles per person for the tour guide ($18-$24 USD) is a fair tip.

Other Excursions

River cruise: Tipping anywhere between 20 soles and 30 soles per day for good service.

Jungle Guide & Lodge Staff: Tip at the end of the tour. At many jungle lodges there is a tipping box to leave tips that’s divided among the lodge staff. Minimum 100 soles ($30) per day divided between the group.

Galapagos Cruise (Ecuador). Bear in mind that USD is the official currency in Ecuador. As a general rule-of-thumb, we recommend between $10 – $15 USD from each passenger to 1) the guide and 2) the crew per day.

Gas Stations and Public Restrooms

In general, service attendants at gas stations and public restrooms should receive a modest tip. If you rent a car in Peru, when you stop to fill up at a fuel station, you can expect the attendants to pump the gas for you. If you want some extra services such as checking the tire pressure and cleaning the windows, they will gladly do it for a small tip of about 50 centimos (about 20 cents).

For restrooms, if there is a person at the door they charge you 50 cents to 1 sol. If there is a person inside the bathroom permanently cleaning, they usually have a small basket to leave change, for toiletries, hygienic paper, and the overall maintenance of the restrooms

Taxis and Public Transportation

Street with a line of mototaxis parked on a sunny day with palm trees in the backgroundTaxis and mototaxis provide a fast and easy way to get around town. Be sure to clearly negotiate the fare beforehand.
Photo by Martin Garcia/Flickr

Typically, you don’t tip public transportation personnel, taxi drivers, or mototaxis. The public buses and vans, called micros and combis, cost between 1 and 2 soles depending on where your stop is along the route. However, taxis and mototaxis do not have meters, so you should definitely negotiate the fare before getting in. While it may be tempting to tip if you receive exceptional service, most Peruvians agree it’s just not necessary. However, if the driver helps you with your bag, 2-3 soles is a nice display of appreciation. 

IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP: The best way to ensure safety when taking a taxi in Peru is to only accept fares from vehicles that have a TAXI placard visibly displayed and vehicle numbers written clearly on the side of the car. For additional security, also write down the vehicle’s number for reference. A highly reputable taxi service in Lima is Autotaxi Satelital, and their phone number is 01 355 5555.

Remember the tipping etiquette in Peru. It is a great way to show your appreciation for a job well done, as well as help those who are underpaid. Peruvians are hardworking people that are sometimes exploited, and as a responsible traveler, you can provide a little contribution that goes a long way. So make sure to have plenty of coins and small bills so that you will be ready to reward someone’s hard work and attentiveness.

For more information about the currency used in Peru and tipping advice, visit Peru Facts & Info.

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