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Old 02-08-2009, 10:04 AM
gunner gunner is offline
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Tipping guides in foreign countries

Having just read the threads about Belieze and the Bahamas, I was wondering what you tip the guides in the various countries --

Except for tourists areas, the average per capita income in Belieze is, or was a few years ago, $25.00 per month. Do you tip a certain sum and maybe leave the guide some of your flies, cigarettes, etc? What's good for different areas?

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Old 02-08-2009, 02:43 PM
nmbrowncom nmbrowncom is offline
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boy, that's a hard one. i do an extensive amount of fishing travel. i am consistently told by locals in third world countries, europe and canada that the amount that americans tip is is off the charts-far in excess what others tip.

consequently guideing americans in third world countries is a highly desirable job. in many if not most places the guides have to bid (pay management or their bosses/head guide) to get a job guideingthe americans. these bidding wars do not lead to better guides, only guiding to the highest bidder. in effect, we become the commodity that the locals "bid"for.

in many third world countries the guides are not paid at all. they work for tips only. some outfitters ask that the fisherman give a "suggested" tip to the head guide or team leader who will disperse it. but i was on a trip last year in venezuela and all the guides were going to walk off because management was keeping most of their tip money. we intervened and had to promise the guides that we would give the tip directly to them and not the leader.

friends of mine went to africa to to fish for tiger fish. they were told flat out to tip the white guides about 15 times the amount of the black guides.

i mention these stories because i think most of us are extremely naive about how things like tipping work in third world countries. it's not america. there's no unions nor rights. money talks...period. while i realize that some may say that is cynical-i'ts reality.

i am told by lodge owners that a tip of $10-$15 per day per angler for a guide in belize is appropriate. if the average income is only $25 per month as you suggest, then that tip is off the charts. the guide is therefor almost assuredly having to share with management , the head guide, and others for the priveledge of that job. that said, i think the cost of living is far higher, but i don't know, but it's worth checking.

i would think that the income in the bahamas is significantly more,- because the cost of living is much higher than belize-close to the u.s. in major city areas like freeport and nassau. also consider that fuel is much higher in most places than the in the u.s. i also consider whether i'm being guided by an independant guide or 1 that works for a lodge.

we tip our bahamian guide who works for himself and picks us up at our lodge and drives us back (1 hour each way) and fishes us 8 hours, $50 per day for 2 of us. his charter rate is $450 per day.
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:51 AM
Swalt Swalt is offline
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The amount guides are tipped seems to be one of those things that is all over the place and varies from destination to destination. nmb has a lot of experience and gave really good informatioin but even he is not sure about some destinations. I tip the same for guides in the Bahamas $50 a day but I have no experience in Belize.

The Angling Report recently did a survey of anglers on on tipping. You can google their site.
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Old 02-09-2009, 06:35 PM
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Aitutakiflyfish Aitutakiflyfish is offline
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I guide here on Aitutaki in the Cook Islands for bonefish and trevally on the fly. Tipping is not the norm here for anything. So when I take a guest out I get my fee and that is usually it. When I do recieve a tip it is usually from a person from the US, where I originally come from, and is between 10-20%. Even so most people just don't tip here because it is not the custom. I don't mind, it's just the way it is and I enjoy the work. I will let them buy me a cold beer at the end of the day though.
Butch Leone
Aitutaki Blue Lagoon Flyfish
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Old 02-11-2009, 03:37 PM
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rooster rooster is offline
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I have fished in the Ascension Bay area, out of Punta Allen, MX a few times. Tips have typically been about $20/day. It didn't break me and I was pleased with the service the guides gave me. I have also brought old vises, hooks, tread, bobbins down there with me and those are also excellent tips.
From what my buddies tell me, $20 is fairly typical.
Buenos Diaz
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Old 02-14-2009, 09:20 PM
gunner gunner is offline
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thanks for the responses, especially the one on the report in Angling Reports -- very interesting article.

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Old 03-18-2009, 09:23 PM
arubaman arubaman is offline
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As a semi-European I still wonder who ever invented tipping as a standard.

Personally a tip is a way to say thank you, but in a material way. you give a "token of appreciation" to the one who spent his time and energy in you. And you give him this appreciation if you really appreciated his/her effort (even if you did not catch a thing somebody can still have put a whole big effort in it).

Where it all goes wrong is when indeed tips get to be standard. The guides are depending on it and they get annoyed if you don't tip them (or don't tip enough). In some countries (for example Cuba) a very small tip ( one us dollar) is already a lot compared to the standard income everybody gets (hey, that's communism). and I think it is ridiculous to get surgeons carrying your luggage at hotels, just to get one dollar. And it happens, they work operating people all week but earn more carrying luggage for tourists in the weekend!

I have been a divemaster somewhere in the past and tips were good. It was the money of the tips that made my job. But it also had a counter side. Because if there's 10 repetitive divers coming in for a week, you would see all the masters (guides) fight over the one that pays the best tips. this means the angler (or diver) is now trying to outbid his buddy's to get the best guide. you want to go with me tomorrow again? oh well, your pal just offered me 30%, if you give 35% I'll go with you, if not with the one that offered 30%.

To be honest, i think one should guide for an amount that is included in the price/rate of the deal. And if you get a tip, you should be thankful, even if it is not that much as the man yesterday gave you, it's a symbolic way of your customer to show you he appreciates what you did for him.

so if somebody spoiled the market before you....
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Old 03-23-2009, 07:09 PM
belizefishing belizefishing is offline
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I live and operate a guide service here in Belize fishing for permit, tarpon, and bonefish. I assure you that while the average income is low - people living on the Cayes - especially Ambergris Caye where all your flats fishing takes place. Our living expenses are much higher and the average income per month is more likely to be about 750.00 USD... However, Guides here own boats, kayaks, other fishing related equipment. the cost of flies and the materials for those of use who tie our own.

A good tip here for boat guided trip is typically around 20.00 BZ dollars - equal to $10.00 US for a day of fishing. If you are familiar with slatwater flats fishing, have your double haul & Belgium cast down, can quickly shoot 80 to 90 feet of line and avoid the habit of lifting the rod-tip to set the hook. THEN if your guide puts you on school after school of fish and you catch. Then I would recommend a $40.00 BZ tip.

What many people seem to forget about when gearing up for a flats adventure is that it's NOT river fishing and you need to practice certain basic mechanics prior to arrival. I see many people each year that have thirty even forty and higher chances per day to get to a tailing or feeding school of fish. But poor mechanics and lack of familiarity causes them to not hook up.

Often my first timers spend the first couple of days adjusting to the new methods before getting their first bone or permit.

So if the experience was worth it then give 10% tip - if it was excellent then double it.
Tight Loops,

Jim "Big D" Harper
Bite Me Belize
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