Local Customs


Tap water in Mexico is not good for drinking. If you are at a large resort or a restaurant in one of the bigger cities, they serve purified water and ice that is safe to drink. Otherwise it is best if you drink bottled water. This includes using bottled water for brushing your teeth and for making ice. Some of the larger grocery stores sell disinfectant drops that can be used for washing vegetables. Look for it in the produce section.


When you have finished your meal and are ready for the bill, you will need to ask for it, “La cuenta, por favor”. It is considered rude to rush diners by bringing them the bill before they ask for it.


If you are in a store, the prices are fixed and they won’t barter with you. If you are shopping at outside stalls then bartering is acceptable.


In Mexico it is customary to ask how they are, “como esta?” when you first greet someone. It would be polite to know a few basic phrases in Spanish. Please “por favor” or thank you “gracias” are always appreciated.


Always check your bill to make sure it is correct. Below is a guideline for when to tip and how much:

  • RESTAURANTS: 10% at most restaurants is sufficient, 15% at the nicer restaurants. Check you bill, it may have been included already.
  • GAS STATION ATTENDANT: If the attendant only pumps your gas it is not necessary to tip, but if they washed your windows or did anything extra, give them 5 pesos.
  • HOTEL MAID: At a nicer hotel, you can leave money for the maid in your room at the end of your stay. At one of the cheaper hotels, leave the tip at the front desk. Make sure to give them your room number so it is given to the correct maid.
  • BELLMAN: At the nicer hotels, it is customary to tip the bellman 10-30 pesos for bringing up your luggage.
  • TAXI DRIVERS: It is not necessary to tip the drivers unless you feel they went above and beyond.
  • GREEN ANGELS: They are not allowed to accept tips.