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Tipping in Ecuador: The Complete Guide

December 18, 2023 by Michelle

It is a general practice to tip in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. The local currency in Ecuador is the US dollar. So, if coming from the States, bring some smaller $1 and $5 bills along with you for tipping in Ecuador. 

Tipping in Ecuador 

Tipping is a common way to show an extra thank you for the fantastic service you’ve received during your travels. While tips shouldn’t be expected, a dollar can mean a lot more to your tour guide or driver than it does to you. If travel to you means forming relationships, supporting locals, and learning about cultures, then we recommend tipping. 

When traveling, be sure to be up to date on the tipping etiquette for the place you’re visiting. Photo by Tom Barrett on Unsplash

Tour Guides

Tour guide tips will differ depending on if you’re on a private tour, group tour, full-day, or half-day tour.

Full-Day TourHalf-Day Tour
Private Tour$15-$30 USD per person$10-$15 USD per person
Group Tour$10-$20 USD per person$5-$10 USD per person


Similar to tour guide tips, tipping your driver will vary based on the length of service. It’s recommended to tip a little extra for private tours since the per person tip amount is lower in smaller groups. 

Full-Day TourHalf-Day Tour
Private Tour$7-$10 USD per person$5-$7 per person
Group Tour$5-$10 USD per person$2-$5 USD per person

Taxi Drivers

In Ecuador, tipping cab drivers is not a common practice. Anyhow, by rounding up the total to the nearest dollar, you can show your thanks. 

Restaurant Tipping Guidelines

Always check your bill to see if a service charge of 10%-12% has been added to your bill. This happens most often at upscale restaurants. In this case, it is not necessary to add anything additional. However, not all restaurants have a service charge included. Give a tip of 5%-10% of the total bill directly to your server to say your thanks. 


Tipping your bartender $0.50 for a beer and $1 for a cocktail are appropriate tip amounts. 

Cash is the preferred option for tipping in Ecuador. Photo by lucas Favre on Unsplash

Tipping in the Galapagos: Cruise

While you’re not supposed to leave anything behind in the Galapagos, at the end of your Galapagos cruise it is customary to leave behind a tip. Give both your naturalist tour guide and the boat crew who navigated you through the crystal clear waters of the Galapagos Islands something to show your appreciation. 

What to Expect

Depending on your cruise, there may be a box in which to insert all tips at the end of your stay. Or, you may receive two envelopes in which you can put tips at the end of the cruise experience. One is for the boat crew, which includes cleaning staff, bartenders, servers, and boat drivers. The second envelope is for the naturalist guide ushering you on each tour. You’re likely to only have one guide throughout your cruise experience, so this tip will not be divided up. 

Internet can be spotty, so plan to tip in cash rather than on a credit card.  

Boat Crew

Tipping etiquette in the Galapagos will depend on how high-end of a cruise you choose to sail with. For luxury Galapagos cruises, opt for the higher end of the range as you’ll be receiving luxury attention. 

Allocate between $15-$30 USD per traveler per day for boat staff. For a 5-Day/4-Night cruise, approximately $125-$150 USD per passenger will be left to divide amongst all members of the crew. 

Naturalist Guides 

Be blown away by the fountain of knowledge that your naturalist guide is. They’ve trained hard to give you a top-notch Galapagos experience that you’ll never forget. Allocate approximately $10-$20 USD per day for your naturalist guide tip. For a 5-Day/4-Night cruise, approximately $50-$100 USD per passenger will be given to your guide.

Galapagos Tours:

Tipping in the Galapagos: Hotel

Naturalist Guides 

Similar to tipping naturalist guides on a Galapagos cruise, if you’re staying at a hotel and taking daily excursions, you’ll want to give a tip to your guide for their expertise. The same rules apply for cruise guides, approximately $10-$20 USD per day per person. 

Boat Crew

For Galapagos island-hopping packages the tip for the boat crew won’t be divided up between quite so many people as on a cruise. Allocate between $5-$10 USD per passenger as a tip for the boat crew.  

Hotel Staff 

Hotel cleaning staff at our Top Pick hotels work hard to keep the rooms immaculate. Leave a tip of $1-$2 USD on the bed each morning and before check out. This is the perfect way to say thank you even if you never meet them. 

Bellmen are glad to help you with your luggage, show your appreciation with a tip of $0.50-$1 per bag. 

Thank the spa staff with a gratuity of 5%-10% of the total spa bill. 

Tipping in Ecuador is a common practice. Photo by Juan José Zevallos on Unsplash

The minimum wage in Ecuador is approximately $400 USD per month. While the average cost of living in Ecuador is anywhere between $900 USD and $2,000 USD. Tipping in Ecuador is one way to show your genuine gratitude that also provides locals with a higher than minimum wage income. It’s a win-win!

Contact an Inca Expert travel advisor today to book your dream vacation to Ecuador or the Galapagos Islands. 

About the author

Originally from Canada, Michelle is a wanderer who has made Peru her home since 2018. In search of the best Red Velvet cupcake, she has been eating and travelling her way through Peru and South America ever since. Obsessed with glaciers, mountains, and french fries Peru has become her home away from home.

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