Costa Rica: Tipping & Etiquette

As you buy, you’ll often get change back in Costa Rican colones, not US dollars. We believe in sustainable tourism, are ICT certified and in perfect standing with the following organizations. The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish, but English is also widely spoken. This makes Costa Rica an ideal destination for travelers who want to learn or practice their Spanish skills. If you’re looking for something refreshing, try a glass of fresco de frutas – a fruit drink made with water or milk and blended with fresh fruits and vegetables. Other essential items include a camera (to capture all those amazing memories!), a reusable water bottle , and a travel adapter .

When travelling to Costa Rica, be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent, as the country’s tropical climate can be quite humid. The country’s infrastructure is still developing in some areas, so expect potholes and uneven roads in certain parts of the country. Packing Guide — Check out our Costa Rica packing list to help pack your bags and ensure you don’t leave anything at home. Whenever we arrived at a new place, we would ask if the water was okay to drink; for the most part, it was. Our friends at My Tan Feet do a great job of delving in-depth into the water situation in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is home to more than 500,000 species, with 300,000 of those insects.

Sit-down dining establishments automatically add to the bill a 10% service charge for wait staff. You don’t have to tip on top of that, but if your server was especially attentive, leave a little extra—though no more than 10% of the final bill amount. Tipping is more common when it comes to boat captains or tour guides.

Instead of watching the vehicle like they said they would, it got broken into it and robbed since the parking guy was in on the robbery. Yeison never tipped as a Costa Rican growing up, even working in the tourism industry. It just isn’t part of the Costa Rican culture and it’s not something taught snowboarding tips intermediate to them. Something very important to note is that I am writing this from a Costa Rican AND foreigner point of view since Yeison is Costa Rican and I am from the United States. I feel lucky to be able to visit these great places and do not mind parting with a few bucks for good service.

So I think it’s just a nice courtesy to tip in the local currency. It doesn’t really matter, but I think it is best to tip in local currency if you have it. This saves the person you are tipping a trip to the bank to exchange the money, possibly incurring bank fees on the tip. Some of the times, you don’t need to worry about calculating tip at restaurants. In Costa Rica, it is required by law that restaurants include the service tax, which they call tips and sales tax in their menu price. When paying for services in cash remember to take your receipt.

The people who keep watch over cars are usually members of the community, and the attendant job is their only source of income. This being said, there’s no guarantee that their vigilance will prevent problems such as vehicle theft, theft of possessions from inside the vehicle, and/or vehicle damage. Regardless, we err on the side of caution and take parking lot attendants up on their offers and have them watch our car. In smaller local, family-run restaurants the service charge might not be added, so be sure to ask.

I usually like to give a little bit to the masseuse too if we go to the spa. Tipping the taxi driver is not normal in Costa Rica for locals. Yeison has never tipped taxis because they unfortunately have a pretty bad reputation.