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Gifts for hotel staff

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hmmm... I can't remember if I tagged onto this one or not but, it can't hurt to double up. :)

 

I always bring colorful clothing / accessories. They have limited access and ability to purchase clothing, purses, jewlery, etc. I always bring any purses (that aren't black or brown-- as colorful as possible, they love them) for the women on the resort, as well as lots of kids clothes.

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Cuba is very different than the other countries, stuff is much better than money for the staff there.

 

Please keep in mind the other people on the resort, like the gardeners, etc..the maids and the wait staff get the best gifts, try to give them to the less obvious people as well. There are lots of trips to go into town and visit schools, if you can do that and save stuff for them its greatly appreciated.

 

The kids can't get candy there, so if you can bring candy, you will be very popular. Also, I brought a curling iron (it cost me $5) for the hairdresser and she literally cried, said it was the nicest thing anyone ever gave her. I also gave her all my left over hair clips and lots of nail polish and make-up because she was going to be doing her niece's hair and make-up for her wedding and the wedding party as well and they don't have access to many things there.

 

Hats, toiletries, any thing with sports teams (they love the Blue Jays) on it is really popular. Also stuff with Canada flags. Panty hose (because they have to wear them to work but pay a fortune for them), kids stuff, pencils, books, etc... I have a list somewhere that I got off a site from people who go there on a regular basis just to bring stuff to the poor people in Cuba, I will see if I can find it and post it here. Great thread.

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Very true - my mom brought a box of bobby pins and the hairdresser was more excited about that than the tip I gave her! She gave my mom the biggest hug - it was so sweet. We went on a jeep excursion and brought lots of candy, baby onesies, baby food, children's tylenol. The kids come out of their houses as they know that the tourists will bring gifts and they are very grateful, as are the parents. It's a feel-good thing for sure!

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I will usually give cash tips, but when I go to Cuba I will always go to the dollar store and pick up toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, ets, all the grooming stuff that we all need. All that stuff though, I will only give to the maid, the rest of staff it's cash tips. They seem to really appreciate it!

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When we go to Cuba along with toiletries I also bring things like suger packets, that kind of stuff they pay a fortune for! Suger, soap etc are seen as luxeries which they must buy with CUC, while they get paid in Cuban Pesos. They must exchange cuban pesos to cubuan convertable pesos (CUC) for those luxery items, therefore losing on the exchange. Just something to keep in mind.

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While maids,bartenders and servers make the most. Gardeners and other staff barely get anything. They will appreciate it much more as they don't expect it. Maids and servers do expect it from everyone though. In fact, if you don't tip a server or bartender then they will just avoid serving you.

Some also will only serve those who pay the most. I've stayed at a 5star resort where 5CUC at minimum a day would get a server's attention. Anything less and you can eat your meal with no water/drink refills. Some of them make as much in tips as servers in North America.

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I've definitely have had the same experience as Dmitri_Markine! They (servers & bartenders) will look right at you, and if they don't see you tip, well....forget about that drink you were about to order. I've been going to Cuba for many years, and I've noticed it becoming like that ever since they put the CUC in to order.

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