A little tip goes long way in assuring good service

Tips get excellent results in Costa Rica from everyone.

I highly recommend personally visiting the closest police station to your house and introducing yourself and bring a nice gift. Maybe a coffee maker or a box of donuts, cake, pie or some other edible treat. The nice thing about this culture is that nearly everyone remembers a kindness or generous act and greatly enjoys responding in kind when you need help.

Also tip generously everywhere, you will be remembered.

Every Christmas I give the six garbage men who service my house $10 each when they ask all of the neighbors for a little tip at Christmas. All year long, if I forget to take my garbage out on garbage day, they ring my door bell, hold the truck and come into my garage and carry everything out to the truck. If I put 12 bags of lawn clippings or anything else in the street in front of my house, they take it all, no problem.

When the city guys are in the neighborhood filling potholes, I go out and give each of the workers a small tip. They always fix all of the potholes in front of my house that same day. If they run out of asphalt, the other potholes get filled some other day, but they never forget my place.

Employee turnover is not as common in Costa Rica. Costa Ricans often happily work at the same job for decades, I have known the same waiters in my favorite restaurants, some for nearly 20 years. Tipping generously in Costa Rica is the best investment you can make in Costa Rica and you will always be remembered and get great service. You don’t have to be a millionaire in Costa Rica to be treated like Donald Trump when you visit your favorite restaurants here. I never need reservations and everyone always remembers me by name.

If you are lucky enough to be on a date with a nice Costa Rican woman, always leave a nice tip for the waiter. The worst thing you can do is ask her if the tip is included in the mandatory 10 percent service charge on the check. Most Costa Ricans routinely leave tips in addition to the nominal 10 percent service charge included in the check.

A little bit goes a long way in Costa Rica, so always leave a generous tip and tip everyone. I even tip the toll booth operators the 15 colon change, and I always get a big smile. I call it the 3-cent smile.

Edward Bridges,
20 years in Desampardos

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