San Salvador - Post Report Question and Answers

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

Most things are available, including a decent selection of “international”: groceries, but costs are comparable to DC. It’s not cheap here. You can get local seasonal produce delivered to your house; it’s a little cheaper than buying at the grocery (Super Selectos, Walmart, PriceSmart), but not much. - Feb 2022

Grocery costs are generally inline with what you would pay in DC. Imported goods like butter or beef or speciality items are generally twice as expensive. However, there are a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits that are grown locally or nearby Guatemala that are very reasonable. There is a PriceSmart and an excellent local grocery store chain called SuperSelectos that has just about everything. - Aug 2021

Groceries readily available for decent prices at Pricesmart (Costco) and at Super Selectos the supermarket chain. The latter offers imported American stuff at highish prices. Also, the Green Corner is an organic supermarket in San Benito area - Jun 2018

You can get pretty much anything here, except organic specialty items. PriceSmart (similar to Costco) has most items you would want from the US, and local fruit and vegetable markets have a wide array of produce for very little. We also have a fruit/vegetable delivery truck that comes to our house once a week, as well as a guy who delivers fresh fish, and someone who delivers fresh milk. - Mar 2018

You can get almost everything you need here in terms of groceries. There is a Pricesmart (same thing as Costco, even sells Kirkland branded items) two minutes away from the main neighborhood. Super Selectos is the grocery store near the embassy and they even have an “international” section. There are also other Selectos around town with even more variety. There is an organic produce truck that comes through the neighborhood once a week, and many people buy from him. Prices aren’t that far off from DC. The embassy also has a commissary that sells hard to find American products. Things people buy off Amazon: cake frosting other than vanilla or chocolate, Jet Dry dishwasher liquid, Bissell carpet cleaning solution. - Jan 2018

We have Pricemart (like Costco). You can find pretty much everything. Just bring special spices etc. - Nov 2017

The grocery options here are amazing! After serving in many hardship posts, we were delighted the first time we went to the grocery store, which is well stocked with many of our comfort foods. There's also a PriceSmart, a subsidiary of Costco, where you can buy much -- but certainly not all -- of the selection in the U.S. By far, this has been our easiest post in terms of groceries. - Jul 2016

We have decent grocery stores that stock a large selection of stuff, even gluten-free items. You can get pretty much everything you need, as well as imported items from home. The quality of the local meat is pretty bad, and the cold-storage facilities aren't great either (frozen/thaw/refrozen equals bad taste and a case of food poisoning). Great beer and liquor selection; only cheap and crappy wine available in country. - Dec 2015

Groceries: depends on what you eat. If you want to eat like an American they can be expensive. But for local staples everything is cheap. There is a Pricesmart (Costco) and American-style supermarkets. Just be careful to check prices because sometimes something like shaving cream is US$12 a bottle for a US brand and US$1.50 for the Salvadoran brand. - Jun 2015

Very good. A brand new modern grocery opened across the street from the embassy and Pricesmart/Costco is a block away. Prices are similar to DC. Some items though like quality meat is expensive as well as a few American imports. - Mar 2015

A little cheaper than in the U.S. and everything is available here. Produce is great and cheap. Most people shop in the Super Selectos. - Oct 2014

Expensive compared to the USA. - Jul 2014

Super Selectos and Dispensa Don Juan are the big chain supermarkets. My local Super Selectos charges slightly under what you would pay in a mid-sized American city. The Salvadoran diet ranges from rice to beans to pupusas and back again. There is very little spice or seasonings in anything. Thus, supermarket offerings are limited. Anything imported is marked up 50-100% and is often expired or near expiration. - Apr 2012

Grocery prices are close to American prices. - Jul 2011

It depends on how you shop. You can go to the local markets and get fruits and vegetables for pennies, and while they have meat there too, it's sitting in open bins in an un-air conditioned room, so I don't buy any. The grocery stores have very low prices on locally-produced goods, but shopping like an American can get pricey, since all the foods we're used to are imported. Imported specialty food items are often close to their expiration dates or well past them; I've found families of spiders living in my imported Baker's chocolate on more than one occasion. American-brand products produced for the Central American markets are of lower quality than they are in the States. The meat is also sub-par, most noticeably the beef. Specialty foods like sour cream, whipping cream, lemons, and puff pastry are so seldom for sale that people buy every one available and hoard it. - May 2010

We find that groceries here are a little more expensive than in the US, but not bad. We can find almost everything here. Wal-mart bought out one of the local grocery chains and are stocking its shelves with more and more products from the US.The Salvadorans are very familiar with US products and culture and demand for them here is high, so finding them is generally not difficult. Sometimes you have to go to a couple of grocery stores to find everything you want. PriceSmart must be owned by Costco because it looks EXACTLY like Costco in the U.S. and carries many of the same kinds of products. It even has the same food bar outside the cash registers. You can't go in without spending US$100, but the quality of the goods is generally very good, and it is a great place to get meat and decent cheese. You may be able to find everything you want, but timing can be an issue: sometimes the grocery stores will stock something and then you won't see it again for five months - so if you like it and it can be stored, buy it all! - Feb 2009

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