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What is the tipping custom in Cuba?

Tipping is not required but it certainly is appreciated! Tips go a long way in supplementing the average Cuban’s income which in most cases is low so we encourage participants to give what they can and feel comfortable giving. Tips for restaurant service throughout the tour are handled by us. Customary end-of-tour tips for your tour leader, local guides, driver, and tour leader are left to the participant’s discretion and should be based on the guest’s satisfaction with the level of service received.

The dual currency system has created a have-and-have-not society. Many everyday items in particular, good quality food, clothing and household items are only sold in CUC, however most Cubans are paid in Cuban Peso (CUP) which means that accessing CUCs is critically important and it is part of most people’s daily struggle, which in Cuban parlay is La Lucha, literally the struggle. Cubans who are able to earn CUCs will share their tips with family and friends who don’t have access to them. However, with that said, excessive tipping is frowned upon and could create unrealistic expectations regarding how much they can expect to receive as tips.
Guideline for tipping:

  • Tour leader, $5-8 CUC per day
  • Local guide, $5-8 CUC for a full day excursion, less for half day
  • Driver, $3-5 CUC
  • Taxis, 10% of the fare
  • Musicians, $1 CUC or better buy their CD if they are have one for sale
  • Bathroom attendants, small coins only
  • Housekeepers, $1 CUC per day (if you are staying at a hotel)
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