Upon arriving to a new country, there is often at the start of your trip those somewhat awkward or uncomfortable moments every traveler will have to go through. One of those moments is to recognize when a tip is required and once you have figured this out, the next million dollar question; how much to tip.
Peru does not have the same approach to tipping as in the US for instance but for many local people this does represent a large part of their income and therefore is good practice when on vacation in Peru. The Peruvian approach is a merit-based approach but does come with some kind of minimal expected tip for different services.
|Trekking Guides||US$10-15 per day||n/a|
|Porters||US$3 per day||n/a|
|Cooks||US$5 per day||n/a|
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Therefore on average one can say that if you are happy with the service provided you can tip a “standard” tip. In case you were more than happy with the service you can increase the tip based on your judgment. In case you are not happy with the service you can go under the “standard” tip. In case you would feel that no service is delivered you should of course feel free to abstain from tipping.
Before indicting some standard tips, I would also like to point out that in countries such as Peru were US Dollars are also accepted besides the local Peruvian Sol, it is always better to tip in the local currency. First of all this gives you more freedom in deciding the amount of the tip as this currency denomination is expressed in smaller quantities. Secondly this allows you to tip for smaller services such as bellboys or airport transfers without having to request change in return. Finally it is also much more appreciated by the people receiving the tips as they do not have to worry about the exchange rates. Saying that however, the US dollar will be happily received, particularly for larger amounts.
For your tour guides that do the actual guiding during an excursion, the standard amount is of US$10 (25 Soles) per person for a day long excursion. If you would be doing a half day excursion you can cut this amount to about US$7-8 (15-20 Soles) per person. In case your guide went out of his way to help you or did an outstanding job, you can increase this amount of course. In case you would have received a service which you feel was not up to standard, feel free to cut these amounts in half. If you will be travelling with the same guide for several days you do not have to tip him every day, just indicate that you will provide them with a tip at the end of the service. In the case where you would have a private tour, these tips per person can be increased if you are content with the service.
On most tours and excursions you will be accompanied not only by a guide but also by a driver. If a driver does a good job, his work will go mostly unnoticed. Drivers often have a difficult job as they are in charge of your safety and often have to manage difficult roads. For drivers the average tip is about US$5-7 (15-20 Soles) for a full day tour. For airport pickups tips are less expected but if the driver has helped with the luggage, good advice and maybe helped with your check in, a tip is recommended. For a transfer of about an hour a tip of about US$2-3 (5-10 Soles) is the norm. For shorter transfers this amount can easily be cut to US$1-2 (5 Soles).
Trekking guides are used to not being tipped every day on a multi-day trek. They know that their tip will be handed over at the end of the hike. Trekking guides do provide a 24 hour service while guiding you on a trek and therefore the tips for trekking guides is somewhat higher than normal tour guides. On average a tip of US$10- 15 per day is expected. In the case where you would have a private tour, these tips per person can be increased if content with the service.
Porters & Cooks
On a multiday hike, your group will most of the time also be accompanied by some porters to carry the camping equipment and a cook, in charge of putting your meals on the table. Porters can also be tipped at the end of the hike and as their job is essential to a good hike and is one of the lesser recognized jobs a tip of US$5 (10-15 Soles) per person per porter is advised. For the cooks it will be easier to appreciate their work as you will have to eat their “grub” every day several times. A good cook does make a difference on a multiday hike and therefore it is recommended to tip them somewhere in the US$10-25 per person for a 4 day hike.
In hotels, especially the higher end hotels, a tip is expected by the bellboys who help you with your luggage. Tips of US$1-2 (5 Soles) are the norm.
In small local restaurants tips are not often expected but if you do leave a small tip of about 2-3 Soles, these are appreciated. For tourist restaurants, minimal tips of about 10% of the bill are expected. However, in case you were happy with the service and food, feel free to increase this percentage. In case you were not happy it goes without saying that this can be expressed with a lower tip.
Taxis in Peru do not expect a tip for a normal taxi ride. As very few taxis in Peru have meters, the fee is agreed on before taking the drive and taxi drivers will often automatically charge more to tourists. Therefore a tip is absolutely unnecessary. In case you do request some additional service from the taxi driver after agreeing on the fee (waiting, detour, etc…) a little extra is recommended.
Please note that even though the information above is correct at the time of publishing, this can change over time. In general it is important that you feel comfortable with tipping and the amount. If you are in a group tour it is often recommended to gather the tips from the group and hand them to the guide as a group. This way you can also see if your tip is much higher or lower than the rest of the group.
Finally; when dealing with gratuities on a vacation to Peru, the following golden rules are helpful to keep in mind.
Only pay when you want to
For all this talk of giving the perfect gratuity, don't forget that nobody should expect a tip. Don't feel obliged to provide anything if you have not been satisfied with the service.
But, at the same time...
Even if the service isn't great, or even good, consider leaving a tip. Customs and language barriers are just a few of the circumstances that may prevent you from seeing the situation in its entirety.
Have amazing and a safe journey in this amazing country!!!
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