Sportfishing is an expensive sport, whether you are the angler, the boat owner/operator or crew. Typically the crew of a fishing charter rely to a large extent on tips from charter anglgers to supplement their incomes. This works because the owner/operator is able to keep the fixed costs of running the operation a little lower, but also because quality of fishing is often correlated to quality of effort put into catching fish – bu the angler and also by the crew.
If the angler is the beneficiary of the effort of the crew therefore, it is often god thing to tip. This process continues in most places, and is particularly true in Guatemala – although comes with certain considerations that are not unique to Guatemala, but are nonetheless specific to your fishing trip to Guatemala.
How much to tip the crews ?
Tipping in Guatemala is not widely practiced – although it has become the norm in certain services, particularly – as you would expect – in any provided directly to tourists and foreigners.
We are frequently asked “What is considered normal tipping practice when fishing”, to which we generally advise that a tip of $125-175 per boat per day is probably average. The wide range should be primarily determined by factors such as –
How hard did the crew work for you? Were they watching the baits ALL the time?
Were they changing out the baits on a regular basis to avoid them becoming “washed out”?
Were the considerate and asking how YOU would like to fish rather than how they normally fish?
How big is the party fishing – the tip referenced above assumes 4, so if more or less there is a case for adjustment –
Were you provided with snacks, food and drink as and when you want it? Were your needs anticipated?
Did the captain work hard to find fish? Was he successful?
While the tip should not necessarily reflect the number of fish caught, there IS a correlation between the number of fish caught and effort/work provided, The number of fish raised to efforts to scout a productive area and find what baits are working
In all cases of course, the tip is discretionary, and should reflect the level of service provided and your satisfaction with the crew… probably the biggest factor in all of the above, or the largest modulator of whether the boat tip should be $100 or $175 is how many anglers there were actually fishing for the day.
These opinions on what is customary are suggestions only and you should use them as guidelines. Consider however that there can be a divergence in custom between local crews – and “Professional” or “International” Captains.
The prime season in Guatemala is relatively short compared to many other destinations, and so there is a “school of thought” that says that Captains and crews have a need to compress earnings into a shorter time – and so the average needs to be higher. We will leave that up to the individual to consider.
Tipping for other services
A general “rule of thumb” that is realistic, is that if you are receiving service from someone who primarily deals with tourists/anglers – then use judgment to tip as appropriate. Of course hardly anyone is going to refuse a tip, but some examples of what is customary maybe :
Maid in a villa : $5/day total for the group unless there is a lot of laundry or extra cleaning to be done
Chef/Waitress in a private villa : $25/day for the group between them. The chef is usually the “leader” ‘so a tip left for him/her would be shared amongst the rest of the team
Drivers – only expect to tip if they help substantially with luggage ($1/bag), or if they go out of their way to help (run an errand for example)
Tour guides – maybe 10% of the total cost, or approximately $2/hour spent with them – this can be different as well depending on anglers fishing, size of group etc.
Salaries in Guatemala are low compared to US or European standards, to give you an idea (and perhaps to help gauge the “value” of a tip :
– Unskilled day labour – you may see people picking fruit or cutting grass with a machete in the central reservation for example : $8-10 per day
– Moderate skilled office or shop worker : $350/month
– Skilled but not professional (may speak English for example) : $500/month
– “Professional” (accountant, bank sub-manager, store manager) : $1000/month
Of course, just like anywhere, there is a small percentage of folks (mainly in the city) that earn a substantial amount of money, but for the most part, compensation is relatively low – and so a tip (or “propina”) can be very meaningful.