Is tipping voluntary? - La Prensa Journal of Nicaragua

In Nicaragua there are laws that prohibit charging tip, but most of the establishments include it in the bill. Is it voluntary or mandatory payment of gratuity? It is perhaps one of the most recurrent questions when visiting a restaurant, a bar, club or hotel, which usually gets used include such charges in the customer invoice.Payment of this fee “voluntary” sometimes becomes bitter taste to the palate when the service you receive is poor in quality.

Nicaraguan laws clearly state that “tipping is voluntary” and that should not be included in the invoice payment.“It is forbidden to all tourism service providers include amounts in respect of gratuities or additional payments, users are not required to make this payment,” reads part of Article 60, paragraph F, of the General Law of Tourism, Act 495.

Although the Act is explicit, Mercedes Jimenez, sales executive of a company in Garden City, says that feels obligatory. Remember the last time it was lunch at a food establishment in that area asked to exclude from the bill tip because this time did not have enough cash to cover the cost of the service. He had received a good service, says.

It had not been three minutes since I asked the waiter for the bill withhold payment of gratuity when she approached the store owner to inquire why he was making such a request. “Honestly I felt depressed and since I did not volunteer,” he says.


If you are dining in Nicaragua and wanted to know what it means when you get the bill for your meal and you see "Propina Voluntaria" check out this article. The laws are clear that one does not have to pay it if you don't want to, but perhaps some of us who on rare occasions decide that the service was so horrible that 10% was overpaying for the service and pay less than that or even nothing at all can get the stink eye or the manager coming over and pointing out our lapse. It can be a bit uncomfortable!

Complete English (Google) translation and my additional blog comments here--->

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Service Has Been

getting remarkably better in Nicaragua. Rewarding good service is what the tip is all about.

Cost of prepared food is considerably less than in Nicaragua than in the US, even in an upscale restaurant. Ten percent is half of what is considered proper in the US. So, a tip is, like much else in Nicaragua, a bargain.

My concern would be the tip actually finding its way to the waitstaff ; I don't know of any way to ensure that. It comes down to giving one Nicaraguan money to give to another; I've not had good luck with that. Guaranteeing that the servers get the money left as tips by the customers should be a priority of INTUR.

Perhaps just asking the server-- "If I leave a tip will you get to keep it" ?? -- might start the ball rolling in the right direction. I haven't done that yet, but think that I will start.

I always try to put the tip directly in their hand...

and yes true I agree in general customer service is improving, at least in the more popular spots.

Doors of hope fly open when doors of promise shut. -Thomas D'Arcy McGee

Good Idea

Tip directly in the hand . . .didn't think of that.

Fact is, despite the many negative comments on this site about tourism being a source of Nicaraguan income, tips could offer a very good income to a talented and personable Nicaraguan server who spoke enough English to engage his customers.. I remember the bartenders at the top of the Ambos Mundos lining up the Mojitos twelve wide, making them as fast as they could. Standard tip was a $1, these guys were probably making $200 /day. This was Christmas 2008, place was full of tourists, mostly Germans.

Same-o, same-o for the daiquiris at the El Floridita

Not bad money for a couple of commies; beats the $50 /month everyone else in Cuba was getting. I found many instances of entrepreneurship in Cuba. From the guy who rented movies from his house (""Bring me some movies when you come back"), to the guy with the three gorgeous daughters selling fish and lobster from his refrigerator in his house.

One of the biggest disappointments was the fresh produce. Very little selection, and in poor condition. It was one of the few things you could buy with the Cuban peso.