Tipping and Taxes

All restaurant bills carry a 10 percent automatic tip so most Tico’s don’t leave an additional tip.  If service has been exceptional (which most times it is) leave another 5 percent, it’s not required or expected but nice if you have received good service. There will also be a 13 percent sales tax added to all restaurant bills, making the final bill 23 percent more than you were expecting.  On many menu’s you will have 2 rows of prices, the first row is before tax and the second is with tax.  Not that you have a choice on whether or not to pay these taxes.

The 13 percent sales tax applies to all goods and services except fees to independent professionals like doctors and lawyers.  The sales tax on airline tickets is only 5 percent.  The sales tax on hotel rooms is the usual 13 percent with an additional tourist tax of 3.9 percent, for a total of 16.9 percent.

You don’t tip taxi drivers but should tip bellboys, hotel maids and tour guides.

For more information on tipping or taxes email us at


Exit taxes

It seems people more often than not someone forgets to tell you about the exit taxes due before leaving Costa Rica until you get to the counter after standing in the long long lines. To save yourself that frustration, know that you must pay these taxes BEFORE you get in that long line for the ticket counter.

When you enter the airport, to your direct left or right you will find branches of the bank that serves the airport. Go to one of these banks and pay your $26.00 exit tax then and only then are you ready to stand in the long line.

Will save yourself a lot of frustration and time by going to the bank first.