With the circulation of two currencies in Cuba, gratuities in hard currency are appreciated by all levels of tourism personnel in Cuba. Tips received in foreign currency will grant the recipient access to a much larger variety of goods and services, or the option to convert to national money if needed. If you are traveling from Europe (where this may not be the custom), you should be aware of this policy when you select Cuba as your travel destination. Gratuities go a long way to support day-to-day living, filtering down from tourism workers to support many other sectors of the local economy. As one privileged to travel, part of doing that responsibly is to support the local economy of the country you have chosen to visit, not only with the purchase of a tour package or its elements, but also through meaningful interaction with local people and direct compensation for their efforts to elevate your experience. We believe you’ll encounter many highly-educated, friendly, and down-to-earth professionals on your travels in Cuba. And we hope that your interactions with them will be educational, memorable and fulfilling for both parties.
Another common misconception of some travelers to Cuba is that tourism workers will be thrilled to receive their cast-off clothing, candy, etc in lieu of hard currency for their efforts. While in some rare cases this may be true, trust us that cash tips will be infinitely more valuable to locals and will provide them with the immediate choice of what to purchase according to their individual needs and wants, rather than (in many cases) first having to try to pawn off any unnecessary tokens in exchange for cash. Yes, some of the people you will meet may have specific needs for items that aren’t always easily accessible in Cuba, but if you’re not specifically aware of those needs prior to your travel, simply plan on setting aside a certain amount of cash for gratuities. And preferably hard currency.
On fully supported cycle tour programs accompanied by our company representative, WowCuba includes standard service gratuities. Our rep distributes tips along the way to deserving staff, including restaurant workers, porters, chambermaids, musicians, and more. It is customary to tip tour staff directly in Cuba, so if you feel the services of your Cuban tour guide, Transtur driver and WowCuba/MacQueen’s Island Tours tour leader warrant recognition, gratuities are welcomed.
For both independent and group travelers, here’s a general guideline for what we believe to be fair when distributing tips along your travels: