Subscribe to SmallPlanet

We Need Your Help

Five stars on Amazon! Don't miss Talesmag's first book of essays, on cross-cultural food experiences from Mexico to Mongolia (plus recipes!)
Submit a Real Post Report

San Salvador



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

We have Pricemart (like Costco). You can find pretty much everything. Just bring special spices etc. - Nov 22, 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 14, 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 8, 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 9, 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 23, 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 29, 2014
Expensive compared to the USA. - Jul 8, 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 28, 2012
Grocery prices are close to American prices. - Jul 15, 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 21, 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 28, 2009