Do You Tip in Quito? Understanding Gratuities in Ecuador's Capital

Written by Jim Belt in How Much To Tip

Visiting Quito, you may find yourself wondering about the tipping customs in this bustling Ecuadorian capital. This guide helps with Quito's tipping customs and shows when a small tip is polite.

In Quito, tipping is customary in restaurants, often around 10% of the bill if service is not included. For taxis, rounding up the fare is appreciated. Hotel staff such as bellhops and housekeepers also typically receive a small tip for their services.

Tipping Customs

Tippping is customary


  • Tipping 10% in restaurants is customary for good service.
  • Hotel staff, guides, and transport workers welcome tips for their services.
  • Discretion and currency familiarity enhance the tipping experience.

Understanding Tipping in Quito

When you're visiting Quito, grasping the local tipping norms ensures a smooth, respectful exchange with service providers. Here's how you navigate this aspect of Ecuadorian culture.

Cultural Norms

Quito has a unique tipping culture that balances traditional etiquette with modern practices. Unlike some destinations, tipping isn't always expected but is certainly appreciated for good service. It's customary to tip around 10% in restaurants if a service charge isn't already included in the bill. For taxi drivers, rounding up the fare is a subtle way of showing your gratitude.

Tipping Etiquette

In Quito, tipping reflects your appreciation for the service you have received. A tip isn't always included in the bill, so it's helpful to know the expected amounts to ensure you're following local customs.

Service Type Suggested Tip Additional Information
Restaurants and Bars 5%-10% of bill, 15% for exceptional service Hand tip directly to server
Tour Guides $10 per person per day Adjust for exceptional service
Drivers $5 per person per day Adjust for exceptional service
Hotel Housekeeping $1-$2 per day Leave in room for housekeeping
Bellboys/Porters $1 per bag Upon assistance with luggage
Hotel Bar/Room Service 5%-10% Depending on service quality

Restaurants and Bars

When dining at restaurants in Quito, it is courteous to tip your server. There is no set service charge, so a tip of 5%-10% of your total bill is standard for good service. For exceptional service, a higher tip of around 15% will be greatly appreciated. It's recommended to hand the tip directly to the server instead of leaving it on the table.

Tour Guides and Drivers

Tipping your tour guides and drivers is a gesture of appreciation for their dedicated service. For private guides, consider tipping around $10 per person per day, and for drivers, about $5 per person per day. If they have gone above and beyond to enhance your experience, you may choose to tip more to acknowledge their exceptional service.

Hotels and Accommodations

In hotels, small tips can go a long way. For instance, leave about $1-$2 per day for housekeeping in your room. For bellboys or porters who assist with your luggage, $1 per bag is typical. At the hotel bar or for room service, follow the same guidelines as restaurants, around 5%-10% depending on the quality of service provided.

Restaurants Tipping Guide

When you dine out in Quito, understanding tipping etiquette is important to ensuring that you show appreciation for good service and comply with local practices.

Understanding the Bill

Your restaurant bill in Quito usually includes a 10% service charge and a 12% IVA tax. It's important to inspect your bill carefully. If the service charge isn't included, consider leaving a tip directly with your server.

How Much to Tip at Restaurants

For good service at restaurants, a tip of around 10% of your total bill is customary. If service was exceptional, it's kind to increase your tip to about 15-20%. Always tip in cash to ensure it goes directly to your server or bartender.

Hotels and Accommodations Tipping

When you stay at a hotel in Quito, showing appreciation to the staff for their service is common courtesy. Here's how to navigate tipping in such settings.

Service Type Suggested Tip Tipping Method Additional Information
Bellboys $1 per bag Hand to bellboy Upon assistance with luggage
Concierges $5 to $10 Hand to concierge For exceptional itinerary assistance
Cleaning Staff $1 to $3 per day On pillow or bedside table For daily service; consider more for longer stays
Spa Staff 10% of service cost At spa payment area Standard appreciation for spa treatments
Galapagos Cruises & Boat Staff $10 to $15 per day Given at end of cruise, often pooled Shared among boat staff; more for private tours/lodges

Tipping Hotel Staff

Bellboys and Concierges: A typical tip for bellboys is around $1 per bag they assist you with. For concierge services, especially when they go above and beyond to help with your itinerary, consider tipping between $5 to $10.

Cleaning Staff: You should leave about $1 to $3 per day for the cleaning staff, usually placed on the pillow or bedside table to ensure they receive it. For longer stays, you might consider a larger tip at the end of your visit to recognize consistent service.

Special Cases: Spas and Cruises

Spa Staff: After a relaxing spa treatment, a tip of 10% of the service cost is standard to thank the staff for their work.

Galapagos Cruises & Boat Staff: During a cruise, it's customary to provide crew members with a tip, generally suggested at around $10 to $15 per day, which is often shared among the boat staff. For exceptional service on private tours or lodges, you may want to tip higher, as a gesture of your gratitude.

Transportation Tipping Guide

When navigating Quito, understanding the tipping etiquette for various transportation services is key. Here's how to show your appreciation to those who help you get from point A to point B.

Service Type Suggested Tip Additional Information
Taxis and Ride Services Round up or add $1-$2, 10% for exceptional service Not mandatory but appreciated
Private Tour Transports 10% of total cost For personalized service
Group Tour Transports $2-$5 per day Based on length and quality of service

Taxis and Ride Services

In Quito, tipping your taxi or ride service driver is not mandatory, but it is a nice gesture for good service. Typically, riders round up to the nearest dollar or add an extra dollar or two on top of the fare amount. For instance, if your fare comes to $4.70, you might give the driver $5 or $6. For rides with exceptional service, a 10% tip is a generous way to say thank you.

Tour Transports

When it comes to private tour or group tour transports, the tipping practice slightly differs. A good rule of thumb is to tip your driver $2-5 per day for group tours, based on the length of service and your satisfaction level. For private tours, a higher tip, usually around 10% of the total cost, is appropriate, considering the personalized service you're receiving. Remember that tipping is a personal decision, and any amount given is a sign of gratitude for your driver's efforts.

Tourism Tipping Practices

When you're traveling in Quito and the surrounding areas, understanding tipping practices for tours is essential to ensure you're following local customs.

Day and Naturalist Tours

In Quito, if you're taking a day tour, a tip isn't automatically included in your payment. For a remarkable experience, it's common to provide a tip to both your tour guide and driver. On group tours or naturalist tours in the Galapagos Islands, it's a kind gesture to tip your naturalist tour guide, highlighting your appreciation for their expertise and dedication.

Extra Gratuities for Tour Guides

Your tour guide's efforts to make your walking tour or specialized excursion unforgettable warrant acknowledgment. If they've gone beyond the usual scope—offering insider knowledge, personal anecdotes, or handling unexpected hiccups—an additional tip is a warm way to say thank you.

Money Handling

When traveling in Quito, understanding the preferred payment methods and handling money wisely are key to smooth transactions, including when it comes to tipping.

Cash vs Credit Card

In Quito, you'll find that cash is widely accepted and often preferred, especially in smaller establishments or when you're tipping service staff. Keeping small denominations of US dollars on hand will make it easier for you to handle everyday expenses, as larger bills can be challenging to break. Credit cards are accepted at most hotels, upscale restaurants, and large retailers, but it's always a good idea to carry some cash for smaller purchases or tips where cards may not be accepted.

Currency and Change

The local currency in Quito is the US dollar, which simplifies transactions if you're coming from the United States. Smaller bills are particularly useful as getting loose change can sometimes be a hassle. Street vendors and small shops may have difficulty providing change for larger notes, so always try to use small denominations or exact change when you can.

Special Considerations

When you're navigating the tipping culture in Quito, there are specific scenarios to keep in mind at bars and cafes, as well as regional variances across Ecuador. Your awareness of these nuances can enhance your travel experience and show respect for local customs.

Bars and Cafes

In Quito's bars and cafes, tipping is a gesture of appreciation for service quality. While not always expected, it's customary to tip around 10% if a service fee isn't included. In some establishments, like those frequented by North Americans or in touristy areas, a voluntary tip on top of any service charge is welcomed. Keep in mind that the income for service staff may be lower than the minimum wage, and tipping can make a significant difference for them.

Regional Differences

Ecuador exhibits regional variations in tipping practices. In the Amazon or Galapagos Islands, tips contribute a more substantial part to the local income due to the high cost of living. On mainland Ecuador, a service fee might be included in your bill more frequently; always double-check. As a traveler, understanding these differences will help navigate when and how much to tip, fostering a smoother interaction with service staff across diverse regions of the country.

Published: 01-02-2024

Do You Tip in Geneva? Understanding Tipping Etiquette in Switzerland

Traveling to Geneva presents a unique experience, especially when it comes to understanding local customs around gratuities. This guide explains tipping etiquette …

Jim Belt in How Much To Tip
Do You Tip in Frankfurt? Understanding Gratuity Etiquette in Germany