Guide to Grocery Shopping: San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua
Grocery shopping in San Juan del Sur takes a bit of effort. One stop shopping is unheard of.
In this article we’ll attempt to make your San Juan del Sur shopping experience better by telling you where to buy what and how much you can expect to pay for things.
Although Pali (owned by Walmart) is the largest grocery store in San Juan del Sur it’s my least favorite place to shop. The aisles are narrow and the selection is limited. Pali stocks the basics and essentials.
Items like sesame seeds, peanut oil, rice wine vinegar, wasabi paste and extra virgin olive oil can be purchased at Miscelánea Sánchez. Nutella, Kraft salad dressing and Frank’s Red Hot Sauce are part of the regular inventory. They also carry instant cake mixes, confectioners sugar, baking soda and brown sugar. If you want imported cheeses like cheddar, feta, gorgonzola and parmesan this is the place to go.
If you don’t see a particular item you’re looking for at Miscelánea Sánchez just speak to the owner Gloria. She’ll do her best to find the item(s) you’re looking for and bring them in for you.
Feta Cheese (171 g) – $4.65 USD
Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (680 ml) – $5.27 USD
Nutella (350 g) – $7.59 USD
Peter Pan Peanut Butter (426 g) – $5.99 USD
Kraft Macaroni & Cheese $1.35 USD
On a side note many spices have been difficult to find here in San Juan del Sur (or any other place in Nicaragua – including Managua – for that matter). If you have favorites that you absolutely cannot live without you should bring them with you.
For your shopping convenience there are two Miscelánea Sánchez locations in town – one next to the market (shown above) and the other just south of Barrio Cafe (shown below).
Aside from fruit and vegetable trucks that drive through our neighborhood, the market is the best place to stock up on produce.
1 Pitaya (Dragon-fruit) – $1.06 USD
1 Watermelon – $1.27 USD
1/2 dozen bananas – $0.21 USD
1 Large avocado – $1.27 USD
1 Pineapple – $0.85 USD
30 eggs – $3.38 USD
The market has the best selection, but if you can find what you need on the truck there are deals to be had.
Being so close to the ocean has it’s advantages. We know of four fish markets in town, but our favorite (shown in the photo below) is located just beyond the marina.
Lobster – $6.34 USD per lb
Shrimp – $4.65 USD per lb
Mahi-mahi – $2.96 USD per lb
For the best deal on alcoholic beverages we go directly to the distributor in town. It is located about two blocks from the beach on the main road as you’re coming into San Juan del Sur. It’s on the right hand side, just down past Pan de Vida Bakery.
24 – 350 ml bottles of Toña – $13.87 USD
12 cans of Coca-Cola -$5.07 USD
5 gallons of water – $1.78 USD
Even though we have to drive thirty minutes to Rivas to get to the nearest Maxi Pali it’s my favorite place to grocery shop. Maxi Pali is as close as you’ll get to a North American supermarket. The store is bright and clean and the air conditioning is chilly.
Maxi Pali offers a bit more variety when it comes to certain items. Here we can get green, red and yellow peppers. They also carry grapes, kiwi and strawberries. We prefer to buy our meat at Maxi Pali.
Filet Mignon – $3.38 USD per lb
Ground Beef – $2.05 USD per lb
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast – $2.55 USD per lb
Like other Maxi Pali stores in Nicaragua the one in Rivas has a pharmacy and a small clothing section. They also carry housewares and a few electronics. They even have a “dollar” section. Maxi Pali accepts payment by credit card.
And last, but certainly not least is on my list of places to shop in San Juan del Sur is Pan de Vida.
Pan de Vida is located 100 meters West of the Uno. It is here is where you’ll find tasty bread and other delicious baked goods you won’t be able to find anywhere else in Nicaragua. Everything is baked in the brick oven.
To date I’ve only tried the foccacia bread, the cinnamon buns and the banana bread, but I can’t wait to sample more of their daily offerings.
Banana Bread $4.64 USD
Foccacia Bread $1.48 USD
Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread $5.70 USD
Round Multigrain Loaf $5.06 USD
Items at Pan de Vida are a bit on the pricey side for an expat on a budget in Nicaragua, but if having good bread means giving up a few Toñas per month I’m in. These delicious baked goods are worth every penny!
On an average month we usually spend between $250 – $300 USD on groceries each month. We don’t eat filet mignon and lobster every night, but we aren’t eating gallo pinto every night either. We also eat our fair share of meals out.
Hands down we eat more healthy in Nicaragua than we did in Canada. We are eating a lot more fruits and vegetables. And it’s rare for a week to go by that hasn’t included a nice thick tenderloin steak grilled on hard wood coals. Now that we have more time meal planning and prep is something we both really enjoy.
Posted on November 20, 2012, in Food & Drink and tagged expat life, fish market, Grocery shopping, Maxi Pali, Miscelánea Sanchez, Nicaragua, Pali, Pan de Vida, San Juan del Sur. Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.