The art of tipping in Punta Cana
When you’re on vacation, sometimes it’s hard to know how to tip. Who should you tip? When and how much should you tip? These are typically the questions I hear from tourists traveling to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
People who work in tourism in Punta Cana often receive a relatively small basic salary, which is supplemented by tips and sales commissions (for example, excursions). These hard-working people are used to receiving and often expect to receive a tip for their services.
If you want to be fully prepared to tip from the moment you arrive in Punta Cana, it would be a good idea to make sure you have plenty of small USD bills. When you have arrived in Punta Cana, you can always exchange larger USD bills for smaller bills or withdraw money in the local currency (ie Dominican Pesos) from any ATM. One USD is approximately 40 Dominican Pesos.
Arriving at the airport:
It all starts when you arrive at the Punta Cana airport. You will be greeted by friendly porters/bell boys who are ready to help you locate and carry your luggage from the baggage claim area to the car or bus that will take you to your resort. The porter expects to receive USD 1 per bag, or a little more if your luggage is very heavy or you have a lot.
In the complex:
When you arrive at the resort, you can tip the driver if you feel they drove well, were courteous, and were generally satisfied with their services. Normally you should tip 10-15% of the tour price, which in most cases would be approx. USD 3-5 if your resort is located in Punta Cana or Bávaro (10-30 minutes from the airport).
When you arrive at the resort, a bellman, who will help you with your luggage, will greet you. You can tip USD 1 per bag if you take your luggage to your room.
It’s always a good idea to tip the maid who cleans your room, either at the beginning of your vacation or during it. Normally, she should tip the maid about 2 USD per day and leave the money on the bed where she will surely find it.
At some point during your vacation in Punta Cana, you will most likely need the help of the concierge, for example, to make dinner reservations. A tip of around USD 5-10 for your attendance will go a long way, and you can experience that a table in the restaurant, which was originally full, is now available to you at any time you like. You may also experience that something, which was completely impossible for you to obtain, suddenly becomes “no problemo”.
Waiters and bartenders will surely appreciate your tip. You can leave a larger tip of approx. $10-20 at the beginning of your vacation (then you will surely never forget it) or smaller tips during your vacation (eg $1-2 every time you get excellent service).
On a hike or on the golf course:
If you are going on an excursion during your vacation in Punta Cana, it is recommended that you bring money to tip the tour guide. Typically, you will share tips with the driver and/or other staff on the tour. If you had a good time, you can easily drop USD 2-3 on a half day tour and USD 5 on a full day tour. If you took a private tour with a private driver or tour guide, you must leave a larger tip, for example USD 10.
If you are a golfer and you are going to play in one of the courses in Punta Cana or Casa de Campo where caddies are mandatory (Punta Espada, Corales or Teeth of the Dog), you normally have to pay a caddy fee of USD 25-30 for the caddy Normally you will need to have one caddy per golf cart with 2 people. Aside from the caddy fee, a tip of $15-20 per person is expected, depending on how satisfied you were with the caddy or how well you played…and your mood after the round.
If someone cleans your golf clubs and/or shoes after the round, you should tip them $3-5.
At the local restaurant:
If you decide to go out to eat at one of the local restaurants in Punta Cana, you should know that there is usually a 10% tip already included in your bill (by law). In most places, you are expected to leave an additional tip of 5-10% of your bill amount if you are satisfied with the food and service.
It may seem like you can hardly walk without throwing money and tips left and right. Don’t despair: If all else fails and you have doubts, follow his frame of mind. If you have been satisfied with the service you have received, and if you have nothing to complain about, then the best way to show your appreciation is to leave a tip for the people who have served you.