Many people ask, “Is it possible to eat healthy and still keep to a reasonable budget in Costa Rica”? The answer is an overwhelming, YES!!
The “how” to this question is to get out and explore the community. Get to know what’s readily available and where to buy it at the best price!
There are several grocery stores in the area that you will need to familiarize yourself with. One is the Auto-Mercado. Auto-Mercado is an air-conditioned store, found in Playas Del Coco and caters to the American/Canadian or more modern foreign lifestyle. You will find a large choice of varied brands to choose from.
The more local stores such as Luperon, Super Compro, Maxi Pali, carry more of the local brands found in Costa Rica and are located in most of the towns in the area.
First, explore the local stores to find the items that you must buy from a grocery store. Avoid import brands as much as possible. There are many local brands to choose from and you will be pleasantly surprised how good they are. Here is a perfect example, if you like ice cream and buy Haagen Daz, you will pay about $8.00 for a small container. The local brand is Pops ice cream which less than 1/2 the cost and in my opinion is fantastic.
Second, there are three items I rarely buy in the grocery store, meat, fish, fruits and vegetables.
I buy my meat (beef and pork) at from the meat market called San Martin located near the airport or from local butchers like Rico Nico’s Carniceria located in Playa Hermosa. The prices are fantastic and the quality is unbelievable.
I buy all my fish from one of several fish markets in Playas Del Coco or straight off the boat as they arrive at the beach.
Next, I buy most of my fruits and vegetables at one of the many outdoor markets. The taste and quality are excellent. The one thing to always remember when you buy fresh fruits and vegetables is to only buy what you intend to eat during the week. Remember, they aren’t using preservatives to make the food last longer! I shop once a week for all my fresh fruits and vegetables.