Bogota - Post Report Question and Answers

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

Availability 7/10 - there's a Costco (called Pricesmart) where you can find familiar Kirkland products including maple syrup. Colombia has a good variety of fruits and vegetables, flour (especially corn flour), liquor, etc. Some things are hard to find, like Asian/Middle Eastern spices and (surprisingly) yellow lemons. Cost 10/10 - very cheap compared to Canada. - Aug 2023

Groceries are generally cheap here- especially the domestic produce. Pricemart (I.e Costco) can be a bit expensive if you want those USA products but it’s nice to have the option. Rappi and Domicillos are great options for grocery delivery (especially during COVID). Buying furniture and other home items can be a bit more expensive...but there are lots of options available. - Feb 2021

Nearly full selection; conveniently delivered to home via apps also. Cheaper than in the U.S. - Jul 2020

Food is reasonably-priced here. The variety of fresh fruits and vegetables is good. There are supermarkets that cater to expats with imported products. You will pay a bit more for those things. There is a Price Smart for those who like warehouse shopping, they also carry a lot of exports from the US. I get cottage cheese there. - Feb 2020

Nearly everything is available here except for some specialty products and some baking products. Cuts of meat are not always the same and finding meats like lamb can be difficult. PriceSmart, the Costco membership club equivalent, has a lot of U.S. products, including Kirkland brand, in bulk quantities. Some specialty ingredients and spices are only available in smaller stores, not big supermarkets. There is not a huge variety in beer the way there is in the U.S; just local brands and a few microbrewery options. Wine is usually South American wine, as European wine is more expensive. - Nov 2018

There is very little that you can't find here. I do miss good cheeses, but you can find some. In general most groceries seem to cost less than at home (though that can vary with the exchange rate), but specialty items are definitely more expensive. Even cereal can be expensive. We have a Pricesmart (Costo), and there's a commissary at the embassy. We order a few items from the states, but very little. - Sep 2018

You can get just about anything here, especially American imports at PriceSmart (Latin American Costco). Carulla, Exito, and Olympica are the main grocery stores and you can get just about anything. There are some limitations on things like exotic spices, etc, but there is no shortage of specialty stores; you just might have to go out of your way to find them. Lots of markets with much more inexpensive produce and meats, but not necessarily in expat areas and not as convenient. - Aug 2018

Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables available for cheap. Imported products will run a little bit higher but still cheaper than the US. Many people shop at PriceMart (equivalent to Costco) for American products. In general, the cost of living is very low. - May 2018

With our current exchange rate local fresh food is very inexpensive (a bag of 6 hass avocados for slightly over a dollar). Imported and packaged food items are more expensive. There is a PriceSmart that offers many imported products for much cheaper than you'd find it in the regular grocery stores. - Apr 2016

Produce is cheap, but imported household goods and non-food groceries, like shaving cream, can be ridiculously expensive. For example, a lint roller that costs about a dollar at home will cost you about fifteen dollars here. - Aug 2015

Groceries are expensive. - Aug 2014

Almost everything is available if you are willing to go to a specialty store. Some grocery stores cater to higher end imported products and are more expensive. A weekend trip to the large food market is very cheap and you can find your heart's content of fresh produce, fruit, flowers, and meats. - Jun 2014

Most things available but are 20% higher in cost than in the US. - May 2013

Almost everything is available for a cost, if you are willing to look for it. Any dried fruits and nuts, baking supplies, canned tomatoes, and detergents should be brought from home. - Oct 2012

I have never been one to ship in food and have always lived with whatever my options are locally. Bogota is an incredibly easy place to grocery shop. You can usually find whatever you need, even if you have to pay a little more than US prices to have it. The grocery stores are big and modern and pleasant. The embassy also has a commissary. - Jul 2012

Expensive, probably 5-10% above D.C. prices. Selections can be fairly limited. - Apr 2012

Groceries in the Carulla are generally more expensive than what I pay in the U.S.They stock a lot of American and European products, but at import prices. For example, a small can of Hunt's canned tomatoes costs $5. In terms of household supplies, the thing that makes me cringe is dishwasher detergent which cost nearly $10 for a small box. - Dec 2011

Groceries are a bit more expensive, especially if you want imported items. English muffins can cost 10$/pack, but if you eat local stuff the cost is not too bad. - Jul 2011

Expensive, more than in Washington. Meats, fruits and vegetables are cheaper, but cleaning suplies, toys and clothes are extremely expensive. We have 3 kids, and we pay 300 USD every time we go to the grocery store. - Nov 2010

You can find just about everything, but things are pricey. - Sep 2010

Groceries here are more expensive than in the States, and staples are lower in quality. There are very few high-quality locally-produced items. Fruits that they should have here are of poor quality or are expensive imports. No lemons; peaches are hard as a rock or imported, locally produced oranges are not good. Vegetables are awful and there is no variety. Meats: poor-quality beef and pork, but chicken is OK. If you pay upper-end prices, you can get OK- to-good seafood. - Aug 2010

Surprisingly expensive for a lot of things. Locally grown produce is cheap, especially at the open-air markets, but anything imported has a high mark-up. And for whatever reason, cheese is like gold. - Aug 2010

Fruits and vegetables tend to be a lot cheaper than in the USA. Pasta and pasta sauces are more expensive. Dried beans are readily available, but they don't come in cans, so you have to prepare them in advance. Due to the elevation, it can take days to cook them, so be sure to bring a pressure cooker. Meats and dairy items are readily available, but cheeses tend to be very expensive or of poor quality. - Aug 2010

Fruits and vegetables are cheaper than in the States. Cheese is expensive, cleanning suplies are a little bit more expensive sometimes. Clothes, toys, and electronic supplies are much more expensive here than in the States. - Jun 2010

Expensive, except for fruits, vegetables and meat. Cheese is like gold here. No idea why but you will pay around $10 for a small piece of Colombian-made swiss cheese. And anything imported is very expensive. - Jan 2010

You can get pretty much everything in Bogota. Imported items may be about what they cost in Washington, DC. - Sep 2009

This is an expensive city. Groceries are as costly or more than Washington and other major cities, and it really hurts when the exchange rate dips like it did for a few months in early 2008. Even though gas prices have fallen to around US$1.50 in the US, we're still paying around US$4 here. - Dec 2008

You can get almost anything here except for spices and good ethnic food. EVERYTHING IS EXPENSIVE! For Americans living on a government salary, it's hard to cover your costs if you are a family and eat at home during the week, and like to enjoy dinner out once or twice a week. Don't expect to save anything. - Dec 2008

Groceries are out of control! Sooooo expensive, cleaning supplies as well as the food. American food is available in the grocery stores but for double or triple the price. So Netgrocer is a good idea or a trip to Miami from time to time. - Nov 2008

Very available, especially fruits and veggies; cost for local goods reasonable, for imported expensive. - Nov 2008

The dollar is worthless right now so it's extremely expensive. No exaggeration. In January 2007, you could purchase 1 million pesos for about US$500 (sometimes less), now it cost about US$645 USD to purchase 1 million pesos. If you don't buy the U.S. imported stuff and buy locally, it may not be that bad but with three children, we usually buy the U.S. stuff. I find it quite expensive to buy food, cleaning supplies, clothing . . .pretty much everything I have to have I can get it cheaper on (company that ships just about any guilty U.S. pleasure you have to have). I also shop on - May 2008

Groceries are available at many supermarkets. Almost everything is available except for some baking supplies and ingredients for ethnic dishes. You might want to bring that with you. You will pay an arm and a leg for anything imported from the U.S., so buy local brands, they are pretty good. It is becoming more expensive to buy groceries. This also depends on the strength of the dollar. - Apr 2008

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