Tipping in Costa Rica is not mandatory, though restaurants do add a service charge on the final bill that includes 10 percent gratuity. This is considered a sufficient amount for a tip when dining out, but you can always leave a few extra colons if the service exceeds expectations. U.S. dollars are also widely accepted at most places, but it is wise to exchange currency once you reach your hotel. Check current exchange rates when considering how much to tip in colons.
A few other places to keep an eye on how much to tip are tours, hotels, taxis, and spa services. There are no hard and fast rules about exactly how much to tip, but there are a few suggestions of what will show appreciation for each service.
Cafe server: If there is a tip jar by the cash register, it’s a nice gesture to leave a couple of coins or round up to the nearest colón.
Restaurant server: A 10 percent service charge will be included on the final bill, and is considered a sufficient tip. It is, however, considerate to leave a little extra for those servers that exceed expectations.
Hotel bartender: It’s standard to leave about 500 CRC (or 1 USD) per drink.
Tour guide: Base the amount you tip on the size of the tour. For example, tip about 2,500 CRC (or 5 USD) per person for an average group tour; about 5,000 CRC (or 10 USD) per person for a small group tour; and 7,500 CRC to 10,000 CRC (or 15 to 20 USD) per person for a private tour.
Taxis: A good rule of thumb is to tip 500 CRC to 2500 CRC (or 1 to 5 USD), depending on distance and service. You can also let the driver “keep the change” for shorter distances.
Airport shuttle: It’s not necessary to tip your driver, but feel free to give about 500 CRC (or 1 USD) per bag if they help with your luggage.
Doorman: Tip 500 CRC (or 1 USD) when a doorman helps hail a cab.
Bellhop: It is considerate to tip 500 CRC (or 1USD) per bag, depending on size and distance carried. It is considerate to tip on arrival and departure if assisted with luggage both times.
Housecleaning: Leave 1,000 CRC (or 2 USD) per day. Giving a tip at the beginning of the stay may equal even better service during your stay.
Concierge: A tip is not expected, but 500 CRC to 1,000 CRC (or 1 to 2 USD) is a nice way to show appreciation for a special recommendation or a hard-to-get reservation.
Spa service provider: A tip of up to 15 percent for exceptional service is appreciated.