This article is from the April 1996 The Mexico File
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Tips on Tipping
Tipping can often be an awkward and unsure exercise. Who do I tip, how much, when? First of all, try to always carry plenty of small coins in your pocket. One, five and ten peso coins are the most helpful. Remember that the average daily wage is very low in Mexico, and what seems like a small token to you can make a big difference in the life a local. But also remember that these are a very proud people, and your largesse should be as discreet as is practical.
Waiters: Sometimes service is added on to the bill along with a tax. If you're not sure which it is, ask the waiter. If service has been added, that is your tip. If the service was exceptional, you might leave a few pesos extra. If no charge was added, tip the same percent you would in the States.
Taxi Drivers: Tips are not expected in most areas, but I almost always leave extra anyway. These guys don't make much and it can be hard work.
Hotel Maids: Again, they don't expect a tip, but most of them are only eaming four or five dollars a day. A few extra pesos go a long way in their lives.
Bellmen: They work for tips and expect them. Five to ten pesos is sufficient. Tip anyone else at the hotel who performs a special service for you.
Gas Station Attendants: The person pumping your gas won't expect a tip, but the kid who checks your oil or cleans your windshield will. A couple of pesos is appropriate.
Guides: should always be tipped. The amount depends on how long they are with you.