Those who travel for the first time to a country always have the doubt on how much tip they should give and to whom. Cuba is a very unique country in almost every aspect and tipping is one of them.
Many of the restaurants and cafeterias add to the total to pay 10% of the consumption, under the concept of “tip included”. This amount will be shared equally among the workers of the place. When the service has not been good this can cause discomfort but otherwise frees you from deciding a figure. Always look at your bill if it is included; if it is not, then the reasonable is between 5 and 10%.
In markets, stores, shopping centers and other small establishments where food, clothing and other items are sold, you can leave the person at the cash register some coins of your money (0.10 – 0.25 cents), but it will not look bad if you decide to take it full.
As for transportation, in private taxis you do not have to leave a tip. Old cars known as “boteros” or “almendrones” have a fixed rate from one point to another regardless of where you get off, only pay the established price. If you take a taxi that uses a meter, you should only round off the final price, taxi drivers do not have coins for a fractionated return.
Cuba does not have parking meters, so you can supposedly park your car free of charge in the public areas that allow it. However, the “parqueadores” have arisen, controversial characters wearing a red vest and have a government license to take care of parked cars in some areas, especially in the vicinity of shops, restaurants and nightclubs. At the time of leaving you can give 0.25 cents if it is day, and at night or if it has taken a long time, 1 CUC is a reasonable tip.
If you are going on a group tour with a guide, we suggest 2 CUC per person per day. At the end of the tour the guide usually shares the tip with the driver of the bus.
If you stay at a hotel we recommend 2 CUC per person per night for the waitress.
During your stay in Cuba you can enjoy live music in restaurants or on the streets. Some of these musicians will come to you when they finish hoping to get a tip, 1 or 2 CUC is fine.
Remember that these are only recommendations, in each case you decide how much tip to give depending on the quality of the service received.