A Guide to Tipping in Peru

Los Escribanos Restaurant on Plaza Mayor (Plaza De Armas) Lima Centro District

Richard Cummins / Getty Images

Best known for tourist attractions like the Inca Trail, Lake Titicaca, and Machu Picchu, Peru is an exciting destination with a friendly reputation. To show respect as a visitor in Peru, it's important to get accustomed to the local tipping culture. Because tipping isn't a big part of Peruvian culture as it is in other parts of the world, it's just as easy to tip too much as it is to tip too little. Before you leave for your trip, make sure to familiarize yourself with the going exchange rate of dollars for soles, the currency of Peru.

Hotels

At upscale and chain hotels, tipping customs in Peru are the same as in many parts of the world. However, at hostels and other budget accommodation, you won't be expected to leave a tip.

  • Tip porters and bellhops between 3-4 soles per bag.
  • You won't be obligated to leave a tip for housekeeping, but you can tip 1-3 soles if you like.
  • If you take advantage of hotel concierge for any reason, a tip of 5-10 soles is a nice gesture.

Restaurants

Peruvians aren't big tippers in restaurants, although in upscale establishments a 10 percent tip is customary and a service charge may be already included in your bill.

  • At a locally-run or family-owned restaurant, tips will not be expected, but you can round up the bill to the nearest even amount or tip at 10 percent if you enjoyed the service. Waiters in these cheaper restaurants earn very little, so all tips are more than welcome.
  • Waiters in midrange restaurants might receive a small tip for good service, but it's certainly not a hard and fast rule.
  • At more upscale restaurants, a service charge will probably be included on your bill. If not, a tip between 10 percent and 15 percent is acceptable.

    Transportation

    When you use a cab or mototaxi in Peru, you'll negotiate the price ahead of time with your driver, so you don't need to tip extra after the ride is done. However, if your driver is friendly or if he carries your bags into your hotel, feel free to give 1-2 soles.

    Tours

    When you sign up for a tour in Peru, especially one that involves multiple days of hiking, there are a lot of people who will be with you along the way making sure you have the best experience possible. Make sure to bring low-denomination cash with you, so you can tip properly.

    • For short tours between one and two hours, you should tip your guide between 1-5 soles, depending on the level of service and how much you enjoyed your experience.
    • Multi-day tours are more complex, especially when they involve tour guides, cooks, drivers, and porters. For good service, a typical tipping rate could be anywhere between 30 and 100 soles per day, to be shared out between the various tour personnel. If you want to tip each person directly, offer 20-35 soles per person.

    Spas and Salons

    Tipping etiquette varies by budget at spas and salons in Peru, so if you're not sure if you should tip, ask the front desk when you check in.

    • Tipping is not generally expected at spas in Peru, but more high-end spas are more likely to expect a tip of 10 percent to 20 percent. You can also consider giving between 1-5 soles per treatment.
    • At a hair salon, most locals don't tip their hairdresser, so it is not expected. However, if you're happy with your hair, you can give 5 soles as a small sign of appreciation.

    Unexpected Tipping Situations

    While traveling in Peru, you might sometimes be asked for money when you're not expecting it, especially in tourist hotspots like Cusco, Arequipa, and Lima, where foreign tourists have a reputation for tipping beyond the norm.

    • Some photo opportunities come at a price, especially in Cusco where women in traditional dress (often leading a lavishly adorned llama or alpaca) charge 1-2 soles for a picture. Always ask before taking someone's photo and bear in mind that a tip may be necessary.
    • If you ask for directions while strolling around a town or city, a friendly local may offer to show you to your destination. If they're the one approaching you, there's a chance that your informal guide will expect a tip, or propina, upon arrival. If you don't want the extra assistance, politely turn down the offer before they have a chance to give you any help.
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