Where to Shop in Nicaragua

Visitors and those moving to Nicaragua often wonder about the best places to shop for groceries and other household items.  Here are a few of the popular places to do your grocery shopping.

Where to Shop in Nicaragua

La Union
La Colonia
Stop and Go

Grocery stores like La Union and La Colonia are fairly similar.  La Colonia might be considered a little nicer but La Union might have better prices.  Many may by their produce at one of the grocery stores and buy meat at the other.  These grocery stores are all over Managua.  Both have large stores on the Masaya Highway and South Highway making it easy for people to pick groceries or household items on their way out of town.  Another grocery store is Pali which caters to local Nicaraguans.  Pali grocery stores are very simple with no air conditioning and mostly sell local Nicaraguan and Central American products.  Prices are usually more affordable and you can find Pali grocery stores around other parts of Nicaragua including San Juan del Sur.

PriceSmart is an expat’s dream.  For Americans that have been living in Nicaragua for years PriceSmart was a huge blessing when it opened for business.  PriceSmart is a great place to purchase in bulk as you would in a store like Costco in the United States.  There is a yearly membership fee to be able to shop in the store.  Buying in bulk is great for foreigners that have business like hotels and restaurants.  Many of these people have their business in places far away like San Juan del Sur and Granada.  Buying in bulk not only saves them money but allows them to buy enough for their business to last them a couple of weeks so they don’t have to make the trip into Managua quite as often.  PriceSmart also has many US products that cannot be found at any of the other grocery stores.

Stop and Go convenience store is a little slice of heaven for foreigners, especially Americans.  Stop and Go sells many American snacks that cannot be found anywhere else.  Stop and Go sells Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew and Root Beer.  Don’t expect to find those sodas anywhere else.  Stop and Go used to have locations on both the Masaya Highway and South Highway but the South Highway location close a few years ago.


  1. Bryan Chitwood says:

    After four years of frustration, I have made my last trip to the San Juan del Sur Pali Supermercado. It is quite possibly the worst run business I have ever seen and I have never experienced anywhere the horrific customer service that is the norm at this location. The cashiers aren’t just slow–they’re utterly indifferent and often outright rude. Check-out times are unbelievable and there are generally 2-3 managers standing around, just watching the chaos. To add to the misery, there is no AC, unlike the MaxiPali in Rivas. The staff won’t help you find anything, the selection is limited and no one seems to have any interest in providing even basic customer assistance. It’s a shame, because the meat department is excellent and affordable. That’s not enough, however, to lure me back into that hell hole. SJDS is loaded with nice pulperias for my basic needs and I’ll be glad to drive to Rivas to do my shopping when need be. What I won’t do is spend my dollars at a store where I’m treated indifferently on the best of days and rudely far too often. When I was finally able to check out yesterday at SJDS Pali, the cashier couldn’t provide me with a pen to sign my receipt, and no one would give him one. When I asked a manager who clearly had a pen to give it to me (and I asked in clear Spanish), she rolled her eyes, muttered under her breath, ignored me and went back to doing nothing. Why would I spend my money there ever again?

  2. Mike @ Farmstay El Porton Verde says:

    Regarding shopping you mentioned Pali, but didn’t say how it is the cheapest supermarket but is IMHO the meat & vegetables are not very good quality.

    Most of your readers won’t be able to use it, but there is the Army Market on Carretera Norte that one can only enter if you know someone in the Army or someone whose parent was in the Army. The great thing about that market is that they do not charge VAT so things like liquor are especially good bargains.

    The other way to do your shopping is to go to one of the mercados. My bride and I go to Mercado Mayoreo to buy our fruits and vegetables and it is much much cheaper than going to La Colonia or other regular supermarkets. Certainly it is not as convenient or comfortable either, but if you go early in the morning you can get the real Nicaraguan experience before it gets too hot and see some wonderful varieties of fruits and vegetables that are very fresh and sometimes at half the cost of comparable produce in the supers. Great way to meet people too. For example, I have my melon-man there and he slices me off a piece to try to make sure the fruit is the sweetest there is! Good place to buy charcoal in bulk also…

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