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

Very difficult to get anything here. Some European brands but availability is hit or miss. Cost is high. Use your consumables. - Oct 2017

There is probably no post with less availability of groceries or household supplies. You are foolish if you don't use the consumables shipment. One of the greatest frustrations here is driving around all weekend looking for coat hangers or butter and not finding what you want. Everyone builds little hordes of food. When you have built up your food stock over a couple months, you will feel better. Just bring everything. Remember, there is no mail here. We made many trips to get suitcases of food to bring back to Havana. Once, when we were losing our minds, we went to Miami just to go shopping, and mostly for food. - Jan 2016

Fresh fruits and vegetables are available in agro markets (separate from the supermarkets). Cost and quality are pretty good but availability is very seasonal. Since Cuba imports very little fresh food, you will rarely find fresh foods that don't grow in Cuba. Don't count on finding apples, blueberries, peaches and so on. Mangoes, avacadoes, broccoli, and lettuce are availble for only a few weeks or months every year. Potatoes can be difficult to find. The cost of dry goods ranges from the same to significantly higher than in the U.S. You can never count on finding any given item when you go shopping. We've experienced shortages in butter, milk, flour, dish washing liquid, ketchup, eggs, and even beer since we've been here. It's rare to find whole grain products of any kind. Spanish foods, such as olives, canned tuna, olive oil, capers, canned red peppers, are the most reliable. Sometimes there is a good range of cheese, sometimes almost nothing. We used to buy bread at the bakery, but after a couple of suspicious loaves, we've been baking our own. Since living in Cuba we've learned to pasteurize fresh milk, make cheese, raise chickens, and bake bread. That said, if you are very flexible and patient, you will eventually find everything you NEED to get by. We've seen it as a good opportunity to learn to live more simply, and still we're ridiculous consumers by local standards. - May 2014

Grocery bill can vary from week to week depending on availablity. If there is nothing to buy you'll spend US$20 bucks, if milk shows up that week along with chicken and some other items you might spend US$400 stocking up for a family of 3. Produce is cheap but supply is extremely seasonal and sporadic. - Aug 2013

One of the areas where Cuba is lacking most is this area. Good produce is hard to find and sometimes not even good-enough is to be had. Products, even staples like salt or butter, will disappear from the market for weeks at a time. One needs to build up a stock of supplies to make do. - Jul 2011

New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More