Panama City - Post Report Question and Answers

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

Groceries are expensive, much more so than in the US. If you are not a brand loyalist and can adjust (not without challenges, mind you) to local offerings to substitute imported brands, the cost of groceries will adjust accordingly. Veggies from Cerro Punta are great. Fantastic fish, ceviche, and fruit are to be found everywhere. Panama has a long tradition of being close to US traditions and its influence, so you can find just about everything in the groceries. Also, yummy items from Colombia and Venezuela can be found as well. - Dec 2021

Plentiful options, though groceries are more expensive than in the U.S. - Oct 2018

Groceries are a bit more expensive than in the US and if you really like something you should buy what you can when you see it, as you can't depend on consistent stocking of shelves. Stocking and cleaning go on while the stores are open so expect some inconvenience. Many US products are available in Panama but you may have to go to specific stores to find it and the availability will be spotty. - Sep 2018

Expensive! - May 2017

Grocery shopping is much more expensive than I thought. You can buy nearly anything that you'd find in the States, from gluten-free, dairy-free, allergy-free products, to cheeses, to meats, etc. Lots of imported items which are reflected in the price. You can save money buy buying local meats and produce, but they're still up-charged quite a bit at the most common grocery stores (Riba Smiths, El Rey, Super 99). The best local produce is at a market called Foodie, though the prices are high. A typical grocery run for our family is almost twice the cost of what we paid in the States. For extremely cheap produce, go to the Mercado de Abastos, which is where all the restaurants buy their produce wholesale. You can buy heaps of pineapples, mangoes, and bananas for extremely low prices. It may be overwhelming at first, so bring a friend. Pricesmart is a Costco-like store which you can go to for cheap groceries as well - $30/year membership. - Mar 2017

Almost everything is available here at higher than U.S. prices. Imported meat is VERY expensive. - Oct 2015

The great thing is you can find U.S. products but they are expensive. Local fruits, vegetables, milk, yogurt are cheap/reasonable. - Jun 2015

One the one hand there is a wide range of products are available but on the other, it will cost you. The cost of living has risen dramatically even in the short time I have been here. This has causes serious morale problems for entry and mid level employees, especially those with families with a stay-at-home parent. For example, a bag of grapes cost US$7, frozen lean cusine meals are US$5.50 each, a small individual sized container of greek yogurt is US$1.85 and a one pound container of greek yogurt is US$7. - May 2015

I found it expensive, hence the COLA, which never adequately compnesates. - Sep 2014

Groceries at the supermarket aren't that cheap. Public market is cheaper but not that easy to go to considering your working schedule and traffic. - Jul 2014

About the same as DC, although anything imported will be a lot more expensive, so I recommend buying some of those things online if you have access to the DPO. Frozen goods are almost all imported, and most seem to thaw and refreeze at some point during shipping. - Mar 2014

Grocery stores here carry almost everything you can find in the U.S., including a lot of organic, gluten-free, etc., type products (for a price). I've been disappointed by the vegetable selection here. Unless you're really into starch, it's pretty limited. Tropical fruits are fantastic though. - Jan 2013

The fruits and vegetables are quite good at speciality markets such as Minimax and Foodie at Bal Harbour in Paitilla. They ship in a lot from California due to humidity making it hard to grow everything here. Berries and other such items are pricey. Most items are reasonable to buy here. - Sep 2011

Good prices overall. - Apr 2010

can get most things you need but will have to pay more for them - Dec 2009

Riba Smith has the most items I am familiar with. But you do pay a premium for them. I also shop at El Rey and Super 99 which have lower prices, but not as good as a selection. Surprisingly good produce is hard to find. - May 2008

Everything is available but everything is also imported with few exceptions of some fruits and some Panamanian coffee. - Apr 2008


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