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What's the deal with tipping on Caribbean port excursions? We recently came back from a cruise and we had arranged all the activities ourselves, rather than through the cruise line to save money. But we hadn't factored in tips. That's sort of a hidden cost that drives up the already expensive cost of tours to crazy amounts of money.

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They are providing a service so they expect a tip. It's no different than being a server or bar tender.

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The general range we've paid for most of the privately arranged excursions/tours we've done in the Caribbean over the last several years has been between $55 and $100 per person. (Obviously there are many more expensive tours that can be booked, but we've looked for good values.) Depending on the type of tour, size of group, and level of service, we've added a tip of maybe $5 or $10 per person for a driver/tour guide/person who assists with snorkeling, etc. 


I don't think that's getting too expensive. Other travelers we've been with have tipped even more; we might be on the low end. We often tour with small operators who are in business for themselves. Like most activities where tipping is expected, such as dining out in the U.S., one has to factor in the tip as part of the expense. We figure that five bucks means a lot more to many of those earning a living in tourism on these islands than it does to us. If we couldn't afford it, we wouldn't go, on a cruise or a particular excursion.

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