Many first time visitors to Cost Rica are not aware that in most restaurants, a 13% sales tax and a 10% service charge are automatically added to the final bill, so in effect, you are leaving a 10% tip for your waiter or waitress. However, if you have enjoyed your meal and the service has been exceptional, you are welcome to leave a little extra. Prices on the menu may or may not include the sales tax, so look for a note on the menu or ask your server.
For hotel accommodation you will pay 13% sales tax; vacation rentals that are professionally managed also add 13% sales tax to the rate, but private vacation homes rented directly from homeowners are usually not subject to taxes. It is generally expected that cleaning maids in any establishment receive 50 cents to $2 a day, depending on the class of lodging. In good hotels, bellmen who look after your luggage expect to be tipped at least $1 per bag.
Tips for tour guides, bus drivers and taxi drivers are totally discretionary. It is generally not expected, but would be a nice reward for someone who has exceeded your expectation.
When leaving a parking space, you should give the watchman about 200 colones for every hour that he has watched over your car. If a young boy hails you a taxi or carries your shopping bag to the car, a 100c coin is all he expects.
Outside of the tourism spectrum, tipping for any services is not the norm.