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.

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.

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.

Debroah in all the years (decades) I have been in Panama I've rarely seen anyone as meticulous with their research as you folks! Keep up the good work there are no dumb questions but please don’t be afraid to make the transition, you will be fine if you continue to do your home work as you are.


As for the cost of groceries well that obviously will differs from family unit to family unit but like your situation it‘s only the wife and I so we do all of our shopping in David. We utilize Price Smart a lot which is basically a Costco, in fact it used to be called Costco but later switched to Price smart some years ago. Never the less you can find many of the same items there as you would in the USA. We generally shop there once a month sometimes a bit longer but typically a month’s supply of food stocks easily runs us $350 or more but we tend to load up on supplies so our expenses are probably a bit higher than most people who shop there.


You won’t find everything you need there so we also shop at one of several other super markets all in David to acquire the things we are looking for that are not on hand @ Price Smart. In Ray’s and or Supper 99, Super Xtra and other super markets we generally spend between $80 and $110 to complete our monthly grocery shopping. All in all you will probably spend $450 to $550 monthly on groceries if you want to maintain a US standard of living as we do.

If you decide to live in Boquete believe me you will be making trips to David more often than you realize so this should be incorporated into your plans sooner rather than later because you will be needing things in David plus there will be the large new mall when completed in a few more years.

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.

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