Tipping in Belize

Reading Time: 2 mins
A couple sitting at a restaurant in Belize

I’ve created this guide to tipping in Belize to clear any speculation and offer insight from a local’s perspective.

Knowing who to tip and how much to tip might come easy to a few people, but for many others, it’s difficult to know, especially when traveling abroad. Because let’s face it, when you travel you can be overwhelmed–you want to be fair but you aren’t sure what’s locally acceptable, and to make matters worse, the exchange rate may throw you off a bit.

Belize tipping guide

First, let me start off by saying that I am biased toward tipping. I worked in the hospitality industry for several years so I will always tip, even if the service is bad. But of course, tipping is up to someone’s discretion and it is not mandatory in Belize or elsewhere in the world.

Who in Belize expects a tip

Most people who offer tourists a service at resorts and restaurants expect a tip, including hotel staff, tour guides, servers and bartenders. They are providing a customized experience and to be honest, they aren’t being paid much. Yes, it’s not your problem that these people aren’t being paid a lot but don’t tell me you didn’t know the same goes for the local server or bartender. If they were paid more, it’s likely that you would have to pay double for the service you receive.

Who in Belize doesn’t expect a tip

Taxi drivers, street-food sellers, and art and craft vendors in Belize don’t expect a tip. Contrary to the USA or Canada, taxi drivers work for themselves and make a decent living. Only if you want to keep a reliable taxi driver around, I recommend you tip them – since if that’s the case, they will quickly transform from an ordinary taxi driver to your personal chauffeur.

How much to tip in Belize

Typically, tourists in Belize tip 10% on average and 20% for exceptional service. For example, if you spent $80 USD on a tour, I would tip $10 USD (or $20 BZD) to your guide. And if you have multiple guides taking you around, just tip the “main guide” and tell them to share it with the others. What would likely then happen is that the “main guide” would hang out with the others later and buy drinks or food to share.

Do I have to tip in Belize

Tipping is not mandatory in Belize. It’s just a nice thing to do. In Belize, the extra money from tips allow fathers to send their kids to school, it allows mothers to buy their daughter’s Quinceañera dress, and it allows teenagers to pay for college (I’m talking about me). Minimum wage in Belize is $5 dollars, your beer costs $5.00…whoa that sucks, right?

Best way tip when in Belize

Cash tips are always preferred. Period. But if you can only tip with a credit card, that is OK, too. The reason why cash tips are better than credit card tips is because credit card companies charge a big fee and some of the gratuity money will be taken away due to this. On some occasions, hotel and restaurant owners might keep some of the tips. Yes, it’s a thing.