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Every country has its own traditions and rules about what is customary when it comes to tips and gratuities. In Jamaica the percentage and procedure differs from hotels to restaurants.
While tipping throughout the United States is compulsory, in Jamaica tipping may be less common. Gratuities are often included in the bill, or in the original price quoted to you. The following are a few simple guidelines to demystify tipping in Jamaica.
While some restaurants take the liberty of including a 10 percent to 15 percent gratuities charge into the final bill, others do not. So it is wise to thoroughly review the final bill or ask your server about the charges incurred. If a gratuities charge is not incorporated, a 10 percent to 20 percent tip on the total cost is expected depending upon the level of service. Like always, tipping is based solely upon the diner's discretion.
Similar to restaurants in Jamaica, many hotels tack on a service charge for food, beverage, and room expenses. Then again, other hotels do not include this charge. At the time of check-in, consult the front desk employee regarding the hotel's policy on gratuities and/or service charges. Otherwise, tip helpful service employees an adequate amount. Bellhops expect $1(USD) to $2(USD) per bag, and maids anticipate $1(USD) to $2(USD) per day.
A word of caution for those travelers staying in all-inclusive hotels: most of these establishments strictly do not permit tipping.
Taxis in Jamaica are either metered or non-metered. Rates go by the car, not by the passenger. Check with the driver before starting your trip so you will know if you need to arrange a flat fee or if you will be paying according to the meter. To arrange taxi services, JUTA (Jamaica Union of Travelers Association) is a highly recommended service because it is the largest on the island and is well-regulated. Contact JUTA in Montego Bay at 876-952-0813, in Negril at 876-957-9197 or in Ocho Rios at 876-974-2292.
Vacationers may also summon a taxi on the street. Either way, a 10 percent to 15 percent tip for taxi drivers is customary. Trips taken between midnight and 5:00 a.m., however, run on a standard tipping rate of 25 percent on top of the metered fee. When taxis are not metered, the price must be negotiated and may not include tip. Also, make sure that the price is negotiated in a specified currency, as several different types will be accepted in Jamaica.
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