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Tipping Guideline For Galapagos Liveaboards?

Discussion in 'South America' started by cleung, Aug 1, 2019.

  1. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada Solo Diver Staff Member

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    I've significantly overtipped due to getting incorrect advice. No offence to others from the USA but your tipping policies for the most part exceed that of the rest of the world's policies and this really skews things or should I say, screws things up for the rest of us. Jk

    In any event, I've endeavoured to become more knowledgeable on tipping practices and expectations depending upon where I am in the world and what I'm doing there. I suspect that I still "overtip" by many other cultures standards and under tip by the standards of many from the USA.

    With regard to who I tip and how, I go with the flow. If the place/lob has a stated tip policy, I kind of like that idea and go with that. However, if someone goes over and above for me personally in some way, I'll figure out how to express that to them without the others being aware that I've gone outside of the policy unless my expression is a physical gift rather than money.(dive gear etc)

    With the extra cash expression, I've done it with the handshake method, or a gift of some insignificant item (for example a tiny bag of tiny orings) that had cash in it. Then it is entirely up to that staff/crew member to decide if they will tell and/or share.

    I have also tipped the whole crew more than originally planned because the whole crew blew me away.

    Frankly, it would be great if there was a list somewhere for each place we go. For example, after a number of trips to a certain place on the other side of the world, I'd been tipping 10+% of the cost only to find out that the recommended/hoped for amount was $15/day! Omg how happy they must have been to see me coming until I learned that. Or perhaps they just thought me a fool?
     
    paolobl65 likes this.
  2. DiveTheGalapagos

    DiveTheGalapagos ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    It's literally the cost of operating in Galapagos. And yes, the government fee for the permit alone increased almost 10 X what it used to be. The government ceased to subsidize fuel. If you want to blink your eyes one extra time per day while onboard, there's a fee for that. I always go back to my friend Mathias (founder of Scuba Iguana) saying that once his permit was done, he was going to put it in his boat to see if it sunk the boat. This is the land of endless bureaucracy, is arguably the most regulated place on the planet and every piece of red tape has a price.

    The cost of food! It is an island 600 miles out into the ocean and while yes, there is now a lot more fresh and organic produce grown in the Highlands, like organic produce anywhere, it's expensive. And many things have to get shipped in, including every soft drink, beer or glass of wine you have onboard. The cost of preparing 81 meals a day onboard / 567 meals per week. And you gotta feed the people well! There's a bit of a standardized pay among various professions in Galapagos, including crew, who need to afford to live here.

    EVERYTHING is more expensive in Galapagos. Honestly, it's as pricey for almost anything as it would be in New York City. A debatable hostal is $60. A good hotel is $500+. A small boat motor you could buy in the US for $5000 costs $40,000 here. Internet I would pay $20 a month for for in the US is $300 here. I looked last week at the Trident aluminum noise maker that costs about $18-$20 in the US. Here, it's $42 plus 12% sales tax. And marine services anywhere are expensive, so double or triple that here...after you flew someone in from the mainland.

    In short, it's less about limited demand and more about the actual cost of doing business here.
     
  3. CWK

    CWK Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Malaysia
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    OK. So why tip as a % of LOB cost? As @Newdiv said:

    Note that the per capita GDP of Ecuador is less than USD6,000. At a tip rate of 10% of trip cost, the amount of tips earned by each member of crew would be multiple times Ecuador's per capita GDP.
     
    Lorenzoid, chillyinCanada and Newdiv like this.
  4. DiveTheGalapagos

    DiveTheGalapagos ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    It's not a % of LOB cost. It's like going to a restaurant and wondering why you're supposed to tip a waiter. Because that is the custom where you are visiting and the worker relies on it for income.

    I still remember getting yelled at because I did not tip a washroom attendant at the bathroom rest stop on the Autobahn. I did not know it was the custom because we do not tip at rest stops on highways in the US, nevertheless that was (is?) the custom there.

    The cost of living in Ecuador is WAY LESS than the cost of living in Galapagos. That's like saying the US has a certain GDP therefore someone working a minimum wage job in West Virginia should be able to afford living in New York City.
     
  5. CWK

    CWK Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Malaysia
    724
    349
    63
    My understanding is that LOBs pay their crew a living wage, unlike service personnel in America who are not paid a living wage and have to rely on tips for income. You have said that tipping is a local custom and that it should be 10% of LOB cost, which works out to be about USD700 for a 1 week cruise on the Galapagos Aggressor.

    One of your competitors in the Galapagos cruise industry has a different take on the matter. They say,

    The most important thing to remember is to never feel pressured to give any particular amount - tips are never an obligation but should be given as a reward to staff for good service. You can discuss tips with fellow passengers - many groups end up pooling tips to be split between the guide and the crew. If anyone gives you exceptional service then it would be appropriate to give an additional personal tip. Also, it's worth noting that Galapagos guides actually receive an extremely high wage in comparison to the average Ecuadorian income.

    As a general guide, Galapatours consider the following amounts to be suitable for tips (suggested amounts are per passenger and to be split according to personal preference between guide and crew):

    Budget or Mid-Price Galapagos cruise
    4 days - $40-$50
    5 days - $50-$70
    8 days - $80-$120

    First-Class and Luxury Galapagos Cruise
    4 days - $50-$75
    5 days - $75-$100
    8 days - $120-$150


    Very rarely, the boat guide or captain may pressure passengers to tip more than this, but we urge our clients only to give what they feel to be appropriate and not to feel uneasy if giving less than is suggested.

    (My emphasis)

    See: What is the tipping recommendation in Galapagos?
     
  6. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada Solo Diver Staff Member

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    Awesome share CWK! Thanks
     
    CWK likes this.
  7. runsongas

    runsongas Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: California - Bay Area
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    1,097
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    that company primarily does naturalist tours for bird watchers though
     
    DiveTheGalapagos likes this.
  8. CWK

    CWK Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Malaysia
    724
    349
    63
    If you look, you may find that they do list Aggressor cruises.
     
  9. runsongas

    runsongas Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: California - Bay Area
    3,063
    1,097
    113
    if you don't want to tip that is on you. you're going through to many mental contortions at this point to justify it.
     
  10. CWK

    CWK Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Malaysia
    724
    349
    63
    I actually do tip. I think the metal contortions are being done by those who argue for 10%.

    Personally I take the view that I do not support any LOB that exploits labour by not paying their crew a living wage.
     

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