As we continue to prepare to move there, just had a quick question on what people typically spend on food each month? (Just groceries, not eating out, not cosmetics ) I've seen lots of charts showing what people typically spend, but I know you've got a lot of great expat businesses that many of you probably buy from, which could increase the price. So if you're willing to share what it costs you as an individual or a couple that would be really helpful. Thanks a lot!

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When you arrive here, I think you'll find that shopping is quite a different experience!  We now have 2 very decent grocery stores in Boquete, and most of us still do some shopping in David because there are specialty stores that carry specific items.  I love the beef store, pork store, etc. in David because I can get really good quality meats, but I buy chicken locally.  The local grocery stores have definitely improved their selections over the past year - but I still find that I must shop at multiple stores to get everything I want. We have a wonderful produce market in the center of Boquete, and fresh produce is very reasonable.  Many food items are seasonal (certain type of avocados, melons, etc.) but if you're willing to be a bit adventurous, you can find some locally-grown fruits and vegetables you've never eaten in the States but that are delicious!  I can buy all the produce we (couple) eat for a week for less than $20.  If you are willing to forego American brands, which are expensive here, you can easily eat well for $400-$500 a month.

Thank you Sheila. That super helpful. So when you say $400-500 does that include buying

some items in David? It sounds like it does. Just out of curiosity, what do you think a couple would spend if they purchased all of their groceries in Boquete only? Not that crazy with the idea of driving down to David more than I need to. Thanks again.

That is everything for the month - groceries in Boquete and David, meat, fresh produce, etc.

Google the Panama adventure blog. An American couple living in Terronal David almost for 5 years. You will also find the cost of food and living. Sheila is quite right. Imported brands are more expensive. If a foreign brand is being produced in Panama it is cheaper than imported stuff.

Thank you Robert. Very helpful.

2 weeks self catering holiday and you’ll get the answer. Buying off local (Panamanian) vendors is cheap for produce. Guys at the end of our street gave us fresh from the field cilantro and we had avocados from trees on our doorstep, so some things were even less expensive. Grocery stores in town varied from pretty well stocked with a lot of expensive imported items to reasonably well stocked with cheaper local items. You can do one stop shopping but it will cost you a lot more. Your Spanish will improve and also your haggling skills if you shop at the market stalls in town.

Thank you Don. That is a very nice detailed response and very helpful. I'm glad you think I'm doing due diligence in checking it all out. Just hoping I don't ask too many questions, but alas...there are so many. Knowing what to expect when we get out boots on the ground will be so very helpful. Thank you.

Thank you John C. Yum that sounds good...fresh grown cilantro and avacados...perfect!

Lately I've been experiencing problems attempting to upload photos to the forums due to a browser issue, it seems to be working now.

This is what $10 of vegetables and fruits looks like in Boquete.

Beautiful produce. Can't wait to try some! Definitely affordable.

Deborah & Michael,

You could actually get that batch cheaper if you shopped at numerous vendors in the town market instead of one as I usually do.  Sometimes prices vary wildly between vendors.  One will have avocados for $2 each where as one will have them for two for a $1. 

There was a flood of pineapples a few years back, there must have been a half a dozen pickup trucks full of them parked in the streets selling them along with the usual vendors in the town market.  I thought I got a great deal at four for a $1 but someone got eight for a $1 at the end of the day!  It pays to have a large freezer.

It's even crazier with the fish guys at the end of the day when all of their ice has melted.  Fresh tuna for $5 per pound?  Try $2 per pound.  I know someone who has purchased fish for $1 per pound at the end of the day at the docks in Pedregal.

Those are some really good tips! Thank you. If you happen to read this, would you share what kinds of fresh fish are available there? Thanks much!


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