Praia - Post Report Question and Answers

How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Groceries can be expensive. We live on an island with almost no natural resources, so everything is brought in. You can always tell when the boat has come in because EVERY store has the same new items. There's no guarantee that you'll be able to find things regularly, so if we see something we like, we stock up as much as we can. The most difficult to find and most expensive items are things like celery and iceberg lettuce. When we see them, we buy the good ones and plan our weekly menus around them.

Meat is expensive! We don't tend to purchase from the grocery stores - there is a place that imports meat that is frozen. We trust them, and purchase large slabs of beef to take home and grind ourselves. The local hamburgers are gross, so we press our own patties.

As for household supplies, you can find a decent amount of items here. The quality is so-so, with local staff telling me they won't buy things like toothpaste at the grocery store or Chinese shops because they're knock-offs. I don't know this to be factual, but it also doesn't affect us, since we have consumables shipments. - Sep 2018

Local produce is abundant and cheap with a wide range of fruits and veggies in the green markets. Fish, not surprisingly, is extremely fresh and cheap (line caught by local fishermen). The tuna and serra are awesome. Many other products are imported from Portugal or Spain. Quality varies and selection can be spotty due to erratic shipping schedules. We were expecting higher prices due to being on an island, but most items are comparable in cost to the U.S. Good selection of Portuguese wines. - Dec 2017

I was actually surprised by how affordable groceries and other goods are here. Freshly baked bread is 20-30 cents a piece, really good Cabo Verdean wine (we recommend Chā) and Portuguese wine is anywhere from US$5-$15, and locally grown fruits and vegetables are also very wallet-friendly. Papayas, mangos, and bananas are all grown locally and affordable. There are also a good local goat cheese and sausage here that are very cheap and delicious. In general, though, most food such as canned and dried goods and cleaning supplies are imported from Portugal, France, Turkey, South Africa and the Middle East, among other places, and they are still quite affordable. You can even find cream cheese here on good days.

The one thing to be careful about is meat. We tend to buy our meat from only one place - which is the same place restaurants and more well-off locals/expats - tend to shop. It is more expensive, but not by much. Overall, we've been happy with the food availability. Whatever we can't find we purchase on Amazon. - Oct 2016

Other than seafood, meat is very expensive. If you are willing to negotiate at the open air market, then you can get a good price on produce. Bring all of your soaps, shampoos, contact lens solutions, canned good with you. Household supplies are affordable but not American quality. Wine is not expensive and very good. They also have great olive oil and balsamic vinegar. If you like to drink they make grog here and it is quite tasty. - May 2014

Groceries and household supplies are about as expensive as in the States, or a bit more depending on what you purchase, since everything is imported. That being said, things appear and disappear often, so you never know what you are going to find. For household goods, I usually use the diplomatic pouch or bring everything with me. This is a consumables post, and we ship a lot of specialty and ethnic items (mostly Mexican and Thai) and liquor, beer and wine, as the selection gets very old after a little while and liquor can be quite a bit more expensive for lesser brands than in the States. The fresh fish is wonderful, and I am getting more and more courage to cook it all! - Feb 2011

Very expensive. Everything is imported except the tuna and the eggs. You will need your COLA. - Sep 2012

It's an island. What's available today you might not see again for months, ie butter, eggs, chicken breasts. Costs are similar to DC. - May 2012

Both are readily available. Over-the-counter drugs, though, are expensive and should be purchased before arriving. - Sep 2009

The availability of fresh products improved during my time in Praia. More fruits and vegetables were being brought in from Brazil, Spain, Portugal and South Africa. That being said, it was still hit or miss and prices were higher than in the U.S. You certainly can't go to the grocery store with a meal plan in mind and expect to find all the ingredients. Fish is readily available and fresh. Dairy products are difficult to come buy and milk is all long life. Meat is mainly imported from Brazil (some from Europe) but be sure to take a good look at it as sometimes it is frozen and thawed several times due to poor refrigeration systems. Praia is a consumables post and, especially if you like to cook, I would strongly recommend bringing most things with you. Laundry detergent is very expensive and of poor quality. Clothing and shoes of any sort of quality are also hard to come by so plan on ordering replacement items from the US. Dry cleaning is available but they are often out of fluid. - Feb 2008

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