Wednesday, December 18, 2013

COUNTING THE COST: Where do you buy your food?

Like most countries, Nicaragua has a variety of grocery shopping options and I'll try to cover them in more detail than I have in the past.

Here's what you need to know about buying food here: 

Regardless of where you buy your produce you should know the preparation is the same. ALL fruits and veggies purchased should be cleaned at home before use. Just because it costs more doesn't mean it's going to be better quality or service. 

The Grocery Stores (super-mercados)

La Colonia

La Union
Pali/Maxi Pali

The Markets 



Let's not forget PriceSmart which is in a category all by itself.

Shopping in the markets can be nerve wrecking, smelly, dirty and hectic. It is also your cheapest option and the most satisfying option of all the shopping experiences. You came, you went and you successfully conquered getting your food for a fraction of the cost it would be in the the supermarket. It can be amazing. Don't believe me? Check out my What $5 gets you at the market posts from the archives.

I don't recommend that you go alone the first few times. Go with a local. They'll love to show you the best places to shop and who usually has the best prices. You get a close up view of a veteran market shopper in action. 

For more on Counting the Cost and other tips check out the So You Want to Preach in Nicaragua page here.

Have questions or concerns about shopping here or have an experience to add please comment below or send me an email.



  1. We just got La Colonia, aren't those the best?
    Also, it's the exact same style of building and colors, so they must be related, your Maxi Pali is called Maxi Dispensa here.

    1. I miss having a La Colonia close. Great supplier of all the name brands you love for a price. Our new place isn't near one but we go to PriceSmart to make up for it :-)

  2. Thank you for doing this post! It's so true that the market can be absolutely terrifying in the beginning but the bargains can't be beat. My rule has always been dairy and meat in the supermarket, all other food in the local market. Dairy and meat sold in the supermarket here in Nicaragua has to be approved my MINSA (Nica equivalent of USDA) so you run a much lesser risk of contamination and/or parasites.

    1. I'm glad you said that about the meat. Best not to skimp on that one.