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Tipping, Cash & Credit Cards

Tipping

Many people ask about tipping in Aruba.  My thoughts on this are pretty straightforward.  We typically always tip 20%.  I treat it just like restaurants back home.  If we can afford to come to Aruba, we can afford to tip 20%

Now, let's talk about that service charge that's added at some, but certainly not all, restaurants in Aruba. From what I've gathered, this is pooled among the entire wait staff, plus the front and back of house; so that means bartenders, servers, bussers, cooks, sous chefs, dishwashers, hostess, etc are all splitting that tip.  I usually will still tip between 10-15% here too.   If that15% is split between that many people, they aren't getting a huge cut and it's hard work pleasing people!

You know the young men at Superfoods, Ling & Sons and CMART that bag your groceries and then help you take them to your car?  Did you know that they don't make a salary and only make what they make in tips?  They are usually in high school, saving to go away for college, so be sure to tip them

for their work!

 

So when we rent a car, usually with Wheels 2 go, they pick you up at the airport and then drive 2 min away and have a car waiting, air conditioning on full blast, and then they transfer all your bags for you.  Same goes for on the way back, so we tip them each way because we feel they go the extra mile!

 

If you take a taxi or hire a driver and have a great experience, a tip goes a long way in showing your appreciation for a job well done!  Plus, if you spent enough time with said driver, chances are you have made a friend for life in Aruba!

If you go on an excursion, such as a snorkel tour or a private tour, or if you saw a live band at Bugaloe, and you had an amazing time, be sure to tip and/or write a great review for them!

Same goes with hotels, always feel free to tip your bellman, concierge, bartenders, servers, cleaners, entertainers, etc. They work hard to make sure we have a blast on vacation, and most of them genuinely care if you have a good time or not!

Cash vs Credit

Cash is always handy. It's essential for tipping at resorts, paying for taxis, navigating farmer's markets, and more. Plus, some attractions and smaller vendors may only accept cash.

 

When I visit Aruba for extended stays (2+ months), I typically bring around $1000-$1200 in cash, which usually covers my cash expenses.  While hotel ATMs offer convenience, they often charge hefty fees ($10), so it's wise to come prepared.  If you do withdraw cash and receive larger bills, consider visiting the cashier in the casino to exchange them for smaller denominations.  Smaller bills are generally more widely accepted and make it easier for vendors to provide change.

 

At some local spots, you might receive change in Florins instead of USD.  The coins hold more value than you think, so don't discard them.

 

If you're from the US, there's no need to exchange your money for Florins.  However, if you're from Canada, consider exchanging your currency for USD before your trip.

 

Now, let's talk credit.  I personally use a travel credit card to accumulate points for future trips, but it's essential to choose a card that offers benefits or rewards.  While credit cards are widely accepted, some smaller vendors may only accept cash.

I would stay away from using a debit card while traveling, especially internationally.  There isn't a lot of recourse should your card get compromised compared to a credit card.

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