Santiago - Post Report Question and Answers

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

Excellent availability, but costs can be high. As in most places local stuff is cheaper. Chile produces excellent fruit, veggies, olive oil, wine, and beef. Poultry and seafood quality are lower. Imported goods are pricey. One store in town resells imported Costco stuff which is nice in a pinch or for luxury items (La Croix!) but the mark-up is significant. It is rare that I can't a staple, but we do order a few things through DPO (brown sugar, chocolate chips, kids snacks). - Dec 2020

Everything is available, so long as you are willing to pay for the mark-up. Coffee is $25 USD/lb. Mexican (and spicy) food is generally lacking in Chile. I am not too much of a brand loyalist, so I don't ponder on the Skippy peanut butter I cannot buy or the ginger dressing that I miss from Whole Foods. In general, supermarkets are large and well-stocked. Mind you, Chile had been buying out grocery store chains throughout Latin America in the last two decades. - Jun 2019

Groceries are expensive. Just to stock up initially will cost you about 200,000 pesos. A kilo of ground beef is about 3,000 pesos. A loaf of bread can start at 2,500 pesos this is not purchasing the maraquetta or one of the chilean bread staples that are produced fresh everyday. - Feb 2016

Costs are higher. All the basics are readily available. We order special stuff from the U.S. via Vitacost. - Nov 2014

Very available in chainmstores such as Jumbo and Lider. Way, way cheaper at markets like La Vega, that features an awe-inspiring range of fruits, veggies, meat, fish, household items. - Oct 2014

Fresh fruit, vegetables and fish/seafood is much cheaper when it is in season than in Canada. Anything imported is significantly most expensive. - Sep 2011

Similar to the US, and sometimes more expensive. Comparable to Washington DC with grocery chains. There are bargains available at the Mercado Central, which is a popular Farmers' Market. - Jul 2010

Groceries and household supplies cost about the same as in the U.S.Produce is cheaper, however. Be careful of the tuna fruit. It has tiny fibers that cut your hands. The taste isn't worth it. - Jul 2009

I have a hunch that there is a a special work program for the descendants of Nazis who fled to Chile after WWII - they all now work in Chile's agricultural service (SAG). Their mission is to preclude the entry into Chile of any food or natural product. You will encounter them at the airport upon arrival (better to step off your flight with a kilo of cocaine in your rectum than a forgotten apple in your bag!). Despite relying heavily on exports, Chile is surprisingly closed to food imports - which contributes to a disappointing selection at supermarkets. You'll simply have to learn to go without, since it's unlikely that you could even smuggle things in your luggage past the fascists at the airport. - Apr 2009

It depends if you want to buy mainly american goods, then you're going to pay a lot more. Although prices of some things from the states like peanut butter and cereal have gone down since the DR-CAFTA trade agreement. Also drinks such as DR Pepper and Mountain Dew which weren't available before DR-CAFTA, are now stocked in the American-style stores. For us, we tend to buy more Dominican brands-they're cheaper and some things like the Mayo, Mustard and Parmesean cheese are tastier. Supermarkets:1. Supermercados Nacional- frequented by expats and the upper middle and upper class Dominicans. American brands are pricier, but they have a great selection of yogurts, drinks and meats.2. Pricesmart- kind of like a BJs or Sam's Club where you buy things in bulk. You need to purchase a membership to shop there, but they do sell hard to find things like Silk Soy Milk, Chocolate chips, Bratwurst and decent cheese.3. La Sirena- kind of like the Dominican version of Super Walmart. They have a great selection and the best prices in town on just about everything from groceries to appliances to school supplies. 4. Supermercado La LLave- a smaller supermarket-just opened a couple of years ago. But its selection is getting better and its closest to our house. Most of houses and apartments are located within walking distance to colmados (corner convenience stores) where you can purchase a loaf of bread, milk, ice and water. You cannot drink the tap water here b/c of parasites, but you canpurchase 5 gallon purified water containers for 250 pesos (about $8 US dollars) and take it back for a refill thereafter for only 25 pesos (about .67 cents)-the cheapest place I know to buy water. - Sep 2008

Groceries and household supplies tend to be much more expensive. Even coming from DC, we had a hard time adjusting to the high cost of things. After a couple months here I disovered a local fresh fruit and vegetable market, called La Vega. It's huge and has nearly as much available in the line of fruits and vegetables as the supermarkets and is cheaper. - Jul 2008

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