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4 Dec 2007

Puerto Rican Grocery Stores – No Bueno

Author: Summer | Filed under: Puerto Rico, Rincon Businesses

I’m currently back in San Diego for work and one thing we’ve taken for granted, when living in California, is how awesome the grocery stores in California are. The Vons’ and Ralphs’ are pretty nice, but nothing compares to Trader Joes, Henrys, Boneys and Bristol Farms. Here are some snaps that I took of the Bristol Farms in La Jolla, California:

grocery produce

yummy produce

They even have Vicious Cookies!! ;)

vicious cookies

Look at all that amazing produce! The local grocery store in Rincon, Puerto Rico (the Econo), pretty much sucks. The produce is horrible, the meat is bad and they run out of shit for long periods of time (who runs out of bagels for 5 weeks?!). I do understand that being on an island means that items need to be imported, but come on…It took me 2 days to ship my computers from California to Puerto Rico. Why can’t you keep bagels in stock?! Or yummy produce?! Sigh…

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74 Responses to “Puerto Rican Grocery Stores – No Bueno”

  1. Joan P. Says:

    Summer,

    Try Superfresh on Route # 2 near the Walgreens on the way to Aguadilla, they have a much better selection of fresh vegetables than Econo ( Econo really does suck but alas unless we want to travel a littel bit it’s the only large supermarket in town) Also Pueblo will be opening in Mayaguez and their choice of fresh meats is much better than Econo. We have learned to eat a lot of fish and chicken in the 20 years that we have been in Puerto Rico.

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  2. stefan Says:

    Joan:
    Thanks for the recommendation. I am going to hit up the Superfresh on Rt. 2 on the way back from the airport on Friday. Hmmmm…near the Walgreens? Is it by the K-Mart or down at the bottom of the hill near the shortcut into Aguadilla?

    Where do you get fresh fish? I see frozen stuff everywhere and haven’t been lucky enough to find the fish market over by Villa Orleans open.

    Summer:
    Looking at those pictures just made my jaw drop in awe. We really did take all of our food options for granted when we lived in California. We’ll get the Rincon fruit stands and fisherman dialed in after construction when we have some more time. We’ll start our garden before rainy season and plant everything we can’t get around here. We’ll be living larger than life again real soon. :-)

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  3. Robert Rexach Says:

    Summer,

    Econo sucks, no matter where you are on the island ;) Here in SJ, I do my shopping mostly at Grande and Costco. Sometimes I’ll deal with Pueblo, but they’re going through a lot of changes at the moment, including some merger/sale with Econo, so that scares me. I’ve heard decent things about Supermax, but I haven’t tested them out myself. I know of a few people in Aguadilla/Mayaguëz/Ponce that come once a month to Costco in SJ to do large shopping (oh yeah, I’ve seen rashguards/boards/wax at Costco before, but not always… that’s just cool to me)

    Also with Econo, I avoid Amigo like the plague… not because they’re a bad place, but because they’re owned by Wal-Mart and I gotta stick with my principles.

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  4. admin Says:

    uh oh Robert…you trash talked Wal-Mart! I was a man of principals like you (Have you read “The Wal-Mart Effect”: some great compelling arguments for both sides of the fence) until I fell in love with Summer. Then, Wal-Mart just became a part of my life…I must have abandoned my principals or something.

    :-)

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  5. Robert Rexach Says:

    Principles are also very convenient when there isn’t a Wal-Mart nearby

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  6. Alicia & Brad Says:

    I can imagine what it must be like, when we went to Belize I thought oh we we will just eat fresh fruit and fresh fish all day. I could barely find either. Crackers and that trippy non-refrigerated cheese was more like it.
    I had an all new appreciation for our stores when I came home.
    So can you post some photos of the store there??
    Maybe you can do Mailorder. I get the craziest food catalogs from the people that used to live here. This store has amazing fresh fish and they say shipping to anywhere in US, it might include you.
    http://poulsbo.central-market.com/newSite/poulsbo/shops/index.php?shop=seafood

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  7. stefan Says:

    Alicia & Brad
    I just emailed the store through the contact form on their site asking if they will ship via FedEx to Puerto Rico. I’ll let everyone know the outcome. Thanks for the tip!

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  8. Joan P. Says:

    It’s by the shortcut, on the same side of the street as Pitusa/opposite Walgreens. Have you tried Sam’s for Meats? I find that they are not too bad especially chopped meat for burgers. I gave you the wrong name of the place it’s Fresh Mart and it’s hit or miss sometimes also. The fishermen come into the fishing village around 2:00 p.m. daily with their catch, that’s the best time to get fresh fish in Rincon. Good Luck!

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  9. DJR Says:

    In my opinion shopping in general sucks in PR…let’s not talk about customer service, at its best is not existent!

    The variety and quality of products leaves a lot to desire…people in PR are very loyal to brands, they have been using the same products for generations…If it’s Goya, has to be good! That could be one of the reasons we don’t have the variety you wish…

    Get to know your neighbors…they will bring fresh fruits from their trees once in a while…and steal from yours too! Lol!

    Dorian

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  10. admin Says:

    Dorian:
    You are so right…our neighbors have so many fruit tree’s and they have all opened their doors for us to take what we can consume.

    I like your ‘spin’ on the variety and quality of products in PR….it really does make sense.

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  11. Vicious Summer Says:

    Alicia & Brad – Really? No good food in Belize? I always had the best food in Costa Rica, so I figured it would be similar in Belize. Although Costa Rica has that gross cheese too…They call it Tico Cheese. Yuck!

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  12. Alex Says:

    O.K. Guys, late to the party here. My partner and I are moving to Puerto Rico, Mayaguez this summer (new job for me) and I’ve got to ask. Has anybody tried the meat at Costco? (San Juan, Caguas, Bayamon) We buy the Costco meat here in the Virginia area and it’s actually pretty good. Vegetables I can improvise (At least I can grow those). Bad meat? I don’t know what I’d do.

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  13. Victor Says:

    Econos in PR are for low income people. Good options are Costco, Sams, Ralph’s, Amigo, WalMart and Grande in order of preference. You may not find atractive supermarkets in small towns, but you may trade taht for the beauty of the place: like Rincón or Boquerón.
    You can also find good restaurants.

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  14. Rob Says:

    I’ve started buying my produce from a street vendor in front of my neighborhood, and the quality is noticeably superior to what is offered at my local Pueblo & Grande.

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  15. Summer Says:

    Victor – The Econo’s I’ve been to don’t exactly have bargain prices (I pay the same price for things I would buy on the mainland). Costco & Sam’s are great, but very limited when it comes to food and Ive never even seen a Ralphs in PR. BUT, you are 100% correct when you say “trade that for the beauty of the place”. I love Puerto Rico for what it is! If grocery store selection was that important to me, I would move back to CA ;)

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  16. Miri Says:

    Hopefully good news: Word is that every Saturday morning from 8am to noon, there will be an Organic Farmer’s Market at Natural High Juice Bar & Café. I missed the first one, which was yesterday. I’ll be very interested to check that out.

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  17. isasbread Says:

    The fist sunday and the third of the month there an organic farmer market at Placita Roosvelt in Hato Rey.
    In Caguas the second and fourth of the every month.
    I will be making fresh organic breads from August 2008.
    I dont have any problem buying good stuff in the mountains.Feel free to ask me where you can find what in Puerto Rico.

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  18. Lace Says:

    I am planning a trip to Puerto Rico and am intrested in the cost of groceries .. what is it like shopping there. I have revently come back from india and was surpised how things were managed there. I am located in washington state USA and like to get a feel of what my stay would be like in Puerto Rico. IM thinking about renting an appartment for a week which include all the basics living like kichen bathroom ect.. if some one could give me a feel of how things are in this location of the world i would be totally greatful…

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  19. Amelia Says:

    I’ve just moved from Puerto Rico 2 California for grad studies in Monterey. Upon first entering Trader Joe’s I heard angel choirs and knew I had stumbled upon Nirvana. The organic fixation sometimes gets to be a bit too much for me but I’m loving the grocery stores and farmer’s markets. If only I could get some Puerto Rican staples over here.

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  20. lauren Says:

    I just bought a house in Rincon and was wondering where is the closest Costco or Sams? Is there one in Mayaguez? I took a picture of the meat case at the Econo on my last trip to Rincon. It was full of Pernil (pork shoulder) with a whole hog head in there too. That is actually something I love to make.

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  21. Adam Says:

    Lauren-There is a Sam’s Club on the north side of Mayaguez on #2 – it is in a shopping strip mall with a Super K-Mart, Home Depot, Caribbean Cinemas, etc. Also, if you are ever on the south side of Mayaguez on #2 near the large Mayaguez Mall, the Pueblo near the mall is probably the best Pueblo on the West side in terms of produce, meat, etc Hope you find what you are looking for………..I live in Joyuda and love it over here!

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  22. Myra Says:

    I stumbled upon this site while searching for Puerto Rican groceries and thought I’d share my recent experience. I just returned this month from 11 days in Humacao. I was born in the U.S., but spent 9 years in P.R. I had not been to the island in over 8 yrs. and was surprised at some of the commercial “progress”. I shop at a Super Walmart in Las Vegas because prices are more reasonable; however, I was horrified at the prices in P.R. Some items were double and even triple Las Vegas prices. People acted as if they were at a local attraction and the lines were packed. I don’t get it..High unemployment, low wages?? Regarding the quality of meat, produce etc. You are all correct, it sucks. I found better quality produce, meats etc. at local mom & pop markets and the prices were substantially lower. I was sad to hear that Suiza is the only dairy company left on the island and noticed the majority of products are imported from CA, South America and other caribbean islands. What the heck is going on? Please shed some light if you can.

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  23. elizabeth przygoda Says:

    hello, I am moving to Puerto rico in the next month and I am looking for a local grass feed cattle farmer, does anyone have any sources?

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  24. elizabeth przygoda Says:

    i was also thinking of trying to get a local market started in Aquadilla. if anyone is interested please contact me

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  25. Betty Del Valle Says:

    I would like to buy a Queso de Bola Holandaise. Where can I order it. Thanks

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  26. Tito Says:

    Well there is all kinds of supermarket in PR all you have to do is look for them.Probably not as good as the one from the States but they here and then again PR never get the same quality but there is one supermarket for every taste.There is at lease 3-4 Ralph.Just look or ask around and I’m sure you’ll find one for your taste and pocket.

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  27. Lee Says:

    What is the name of the food store that is south of Mayaguez, I believe it is on Rt 100, on the way to Boqueron. It seemed very big, and modern. I thought it was Mr. Food, but not sure.
    I am trying to remember how far south of Mayaguez it was, it you can help me with this, I would like to go there on our next trip in Feb.

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  28. Stefan Says:

    Lee

    The only health food store I can think of that is south of Mayagues is on the Rt. 2 on the left. Look for the Wendy’s, Lone Star and Chinese Buffet on your right and get in the left lane. At the next light (gas station on right), make a left, a right on the side road and it will be on your left hand side. I don’t remember what it is called. If you know of another one, let me know!

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  29. Theresa Colon Says:

    There’s a health food store up on rt 2 in Aguada across the road from Walgreens. Freshmart. Also, I thought they opened a whole grocery store of health food products in Rincon. Plus on 115 in Aduada there’s a health food/organic type restaurant on the left coming from Rincon across from the Mexican rest. It’s small but the food is great.

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  30. Lee Says:

    This was not a health food store, but a very big grocery store on Rt 100. It was on the left side of the highway, heading south. I am wondering if it was called Mt. Special, as I did see there were some in that area. I was trying to remember the name, and trying to remember how far it was from Rincon, as I was kind of tired of shopping at the Econo in Rincon, and since we stay a month, would love to stock up somewhere big and with a large selection of food.

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  31. Nancy Says:

    To help resolve being homesick for the groceries stateside, found a way to get them shipped to U.S. territories at no additional cost and pay a lower price than what you can get them stateside to boot. Send your contact information to me at: internetgrocer@verizon.net and I will forward a weblink to you.

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  32. REINALDO LUGO Says:

    i was on vacation in Rincon from jan 20 to 27 and went to some Gringo bars like Tammboo,Calypso,Shripwreck and Casa Verde had a wonderful time. But i was surprised that people who moved to Rinon (y the way nobody force them) trash and ridicules Econo knowing that if they drive 20 minutes the will find Wallmart and Sams and if they drive to Barceloneta they will find Walmart Supercenter. Living in Nasville Tennesee in the 90s taught me about adapting in new society believe me if Hillbillies hear me about bitching about groceries stores in NaSVILLE the will respont to me or better said attack me in a mean way. We in PUERTO RICO are polite and make you feel comfortable and welcome

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  33. melissa Says:

    we have gone to san juan for the past 2 years absolutely love it. I can’t find the mini cans of juices that the Grande or Pueblo had for mixing or drinking plain. they were all flavors e.g. mago pineapple strawberry etc. they were soooo good. I want to order them from home. please help. thank you.

    melissa

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  34. Jay Says:

    I have had good experinces shopping at Hatillo Kash and Karry and Publo Xtra.

    Fish you can buy from the fishermen near any beach or try finding a fish market near the area. For fish I like shopping at CrashBoat Aguadilla they the have a fisherman’s market very good tasty fish.

    For Produce road vendors sometimes have a good selection and also depending on where you live they might have a local vendor who drives by in a truck full of produce.

    As for meat I try to purchase del pais (From Puerto Rico). I would

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  35. Gloria Says:

    Ahh! The perks of living in Paradise.
    Puerto Rico is no doubt beautiful, but it’s an island. It will never be the same as what we leave behind in the states.
    By now you’re pretty much all settled in.
    Following all the progress you’ve accomplished in a short period of time is quite remarkable.
    I take my hat off to you. Congratulations!
    Hopefully you’ll be very happy in what we Boricuas call paradise, ‘La isla del Encanto’. The Enchanted Island.

    Enjoy the moment. Oh! If you do decide to plant your veggie garden, tomatoes don’t do well there, the plants rot w/all the rain, plus they get worms on the ground. They may grow in containers w/
    purchased soil.
    Beat of luck to you both

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  36. Matt Says:

    I do not think it would be the same without the Econo. To me that is part of being in Puerto Rico. I am however looking for a place to buy some lobsters over Christmas. Anyone have any Ideas? Anywhere within an hour of Rincon would be amazing.
    Thanks

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  37. Stefan Says:

    Matt – There is a new grocery store in Rincon with a great butcher where you can get great cuts of meat that are cut the proper way. It is called the Family Coop and it is located off the 110 on your left side heading South out of town.

    If you are looking for lobsters, keep on driving that direction until you get to the corner in the road where Kapalash is. There is a new BBQ joint there and it has a fish store attached to it. Go in there ahead of time and tell them you are looking for lobsters. They may be able to hook you up.

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  38. Trisha Says:

    I totally know what you mean about missing the grocery stores in California. I moved to Mayaguez October this year and am so disappointed of the lack of fresh fruits and veggies. All the produce is packaged, you can’t choose the better produce for yourself, and its way over priced! I will spend the extra money at the Natural Food Center here just so I can make sure I am not getting any rotten produce! For everything else I use Mr. Special, where you have to check the date on the milk because they will sell you expired milk if you’re not careful!

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  39. cyanide88 Says:

    there are Ralphs in PR… Caguas, Las Piedras… and I’m not sure were else..

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  40. Reinaldo Says:

    Well Trisha why dont you try things out with your neighbors ,south of the border, in Puerto Escondido, Mexico i heard they have good surfing or this other place Costa Rica or better jet state of Hawaii maybe you find what you want

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  41. Trisha Says:

    Well Reinaldo, I live in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico at the moment with my husband’s family. Puerto Escondido is near California, where we used to live – i.e. no longer is Mexico a “neighbor”. I don’t surf, my husband does and did as a child in Rincon, where he was born. We aren’t here for the surfing, we are here for family reasons. So I am not interested in living in Costa Rica nor “jetting” (even if I could afford it) to the state of Hawaii. My experience with the grocery stores here in Mayaguez are as I stated above. That is why I and my husband’s family (native Puerto Ricans who had originally warned me about the condition of the grocery stores) use the Natural Food Center for buying the majority of our groceries. We don’t need to move from the island to your for mentioned places in order to “find what we want”.

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  42. Juan C. Says:

    I’m amazed at the ignorance of the original post. La Jolla, CA is an upscale (average annual income: $78,000) 43,000 people (maybe more) community. No wonder thay have all this amazing and celestial produce, cookies and these incredible array of items !!! This is a very affluent area with big $$ rolling….where is the common sense?

    On the other hand, Rincón is an approximately 15,000 town, where spoiled americans are a minority and the house income is an average of $20,000 a year.

    It is disrespectful to trash talk a local business, I agree with Reinaldo. If San Diego or La Jolla is so great….why don’t you go back? You have sunsets, beautiful beaches, nice weather, nice supermarkets, nice roads, surfing….what are you doing here? I wouldn’t even dare to move to a town in the United States and start saying that the local supermarket or businesses suck. I will show more respect for them. After all, I’m in THEIR turf. I will make my best effort to adapt to this new place. That is what hundreds of americans that moved to Rincón have done. They accepted this new environment and have adapted to our culture and the way things are done here. We consider them rincoeños and are part of our community as anybody else.

    Econo is a a supermarket that caters to the necessities of a small town like Rincón. I wish we could have Trader Joe’s, Henry’s, Boney’s and all those beautiful supermarkets, but, they will shut down within a week. Rincón’s economy wouldn’t sustain it.

    Econo supermarket, as the name implies it (“Econo….economy”) are aimed to the average family, therefore they will have the things that are needed in a Puerto Rican household. There is no need for a “Vicious Cookies” aisle. And as much as I love bagels, they are not a necessity.

    Don’t be fooled by fruit and veggie vendors on the road. The majority of them buy their stuff from the same people that Econo buys their produce from. I guess the psychological factor and the romantic idea of the hard working campesino carrying his fruit cart at dawn can fool some. If you want fresh veggies and fruits, the best option is to have a backyard garden and do it all by yourself. Or ask your neighbour to share with you some of his aguacates and panas. Just make sure he doesn’t know about you saying that the local supermarket sucks. Maybe a member of his family works there.

    You can always have the option of having your stuff delivered from the US, as someone posted earlier. Or to go back.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  43. Debbi I. Says:

    My husband and I moved from Virginia to Aguada, PR, in July of this year (my husband retired). I lived in VA my entire life, so this is definitely a whole different experience for me. We bought our home here 2 years ago. We visited every chance we could get. Visiting is definitely different from actually living here. But we knew that life would be different for us here. And, yes, we have discovered that we cannot find certain things in the grocery stores that we were used to back in the States. We did not expect things to be just like they were back in VA, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Life is good here and we love it. The Puerto Rican people have all been wonderful to us and have welcomed us very warmly and we have made several very good friends here. We are still trying to learn Spanish, which we are finding more difficult than we thought at our age. But we will continue trying. We respect the language here and the culture. The island is beautiful and being so close to the ocean is a dream come true for us (especially after the bad winter we had last year back in VA)! The closest grocery store to us here is Pitusa and we also have Mr. Special. Each store, we find, has different items. We also go shopping at Econo in Rincon (we find they have more of a selection sometimes). No, the stores are not the same as they are back in the States but I am impressed by the selection available to us considering this is an island. If there is something I really need that I cannot find (for a specific recipe I am making), then I just order it online and so far that has worked out just fine. We definitely have to find a local fisherman – all I have found is frozen seafood. But all in good time. Now that we are retired we have lots of time to enjoy our life here on the island – we are looking forward to our first Christmas here!

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  44. Reinaldo Says:

    Bien dicho Carlos , you hit a home run with loaded bases in the 9th inning.I believe the same people that complain in this or other blogs are the same people that said that cities like Miami ,Los Angeles and New York City are third world countries. It work like this you like it or not but if dont like it why spend another day and move on

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  45. liz Says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  46. Reinaldo Says:

    Liz , dumb bitch, FYI we have same stores that US and Canada have like Sears , Walmart same products you and me us everyday.So do your homework first, my darling

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  47. Doug Charles Says:

    OK. Liz is partially right. Some of the produce is not like back home, but, we are not back home are we. Lets’ just chill out, or should I say warm up and enjoy P.R for all of the other good qualities that it has, like the coffee.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  48. Reinaldo Says:

    Doug,if home a lot better than living in PR why dont you move back and leave the trashy third world place where you and Liz are living now

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  49. Dahlia Says:

    Why no bagels in stock… it’s call HUMIDITY!!! it spoils easily… you have to get local bakery. No fresh produce? Grow your own, again high humidity and high temperatures means no crunchy vegetables for the most part… California weather preserves most everything better…
    Why can’t they ship things faster? I don’t even want to go there…

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  50. Dahlia Says:

    And by the way I quote “they run out of shit for long periods of time “… well that you can get in any part of the world…

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  51. Rod Says:

    How could someone compare “The Vons’ and Ralphs’ … Trader Joes, Henrys, Boneys and Bristol Farms. ” with ECONO???
    It’s like trying to compare JC Penney, Nordstrom depts store with the dollar store and complain about the quality of the Dollar Store…
    There are “crappy” markets in the US as well; you get what you pay for… In PR if you drive or have the money to have groceries deliver to your door you’ll find the same you’ll find in the states… besides if you ever travel the US coast to coast it’s not all as you are trying to describe it… Enjoy the Island and it’s people, you’ll find they are very friendly and forgiving… embrace the culture… you are just home sick and spoiled!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  52. Summer Says:

    Dahlia/Rod (since you are the same person) – You’re right, the Econo is like the Dollar Store of grocery stores. That was my whole point.

    We have found a better grocery store in Rincon…Edwards Family Coop has better produce and a real butcher that will cut meat for you. The owners are very nice and they obviously care about their store, hence the better quality product. :)

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  53. Rosa Says:

    I agree with you Summer, since Frank found Edwards Family Coop..we hardly go to Econo…but can’t right it off…u never know. I must tell them to carry my wine :)

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  54. Reinaldo Says:

    Regarding living in a third world country like lovely Liz said she’s living at . The other day i read on writer Pat Buchanan page an article the way the USA will be in 30 years from now. He said USA will be in a 3rd world country by that time .From a majority white majority population that it is now(about 65 percent) anglos will be 47 percent . Hispanic polulation will be over 100 million todays Mexico City population.Cities like Houston Los Angeles an Phoenix will be a carbon copy of Mexico City the rest of the other cities will be like todays Los Angeles. My opinion USA wont be a 3rd wrls country but a diffent one good example Miami and San Francisco will like to read some feeback fro Gringos regarding this article

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  55. Summer Says:

    Rosa – The best thing about Edwards Family Coop is that if you ask them, they WILL carry your fav wine. They always ask to make sure that I found everything I was looking for and if I have not, they actually listen. What is your wine, by the way? So I can make sure we have some when you visit next! ;)

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  56. Rosa Says:

    How weird it is that I found a spanish wine Martin Codax Albarino in Sams Club in Mayaguez…and I can’t find it here…I even called a few liquor stores up here :( Well, just need to get down to Rincon more often…ha ha. So my two favorites are Martin Codax Albarino and La Crema! Two great white wines!! so mention it to your friends at Edwards for me!

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  57. Debbi I. Says:

    Does anybody know where I can buy 5-ltr boxes of wine other than the base at Aguadilla? I haven’t been able to find boxes of wine anywhere else. We had a friend who would go to the base and pick wine up for us but he is moving back to the states. Now I’m in search for somewhere else to buy it. Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks!

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  58. Rosa Says:

    Wine in a Box? Never heard of it, is that like a wine cooler? Sam’s Club does carry wine coolers.

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  59. Debbi I. Says:

    Oh yes, they have all kinds of wine in a 5 liter box – chardonnay, merlot, cabernet, burgundy. It is wine, not a wine cooler. Sam’s doesn’t carry the boxed wine – I was hoping but they don’t. So far, the ONLY place I know of is the base at Aguadilla. I just love the wine in a box because as much wine as I drink, it is way cheaper to buy it that way than by the bottle. I love my vino!

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  60. Amy Says:

    We just moved to PR and I have thoroughly enjoyed this place though the one thing of course is the lack of organic foods which I do understand. We are moving to Dorado and I was wondering if anyone could help me to figure out where I can go to find fresh organic or locally grown produce near there. Also, what about the milk? I am so use to giving our children organic do you all recommend another kind? We have a tree nut allergy in our family plus our baby will be turning 1 soon and I would like to figure out what my options are for her. Thanks!!

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  61. Stefan Says:

    @Amy: We use the ‘special’ lactose free milk because it doesn’t have added hormones. I am not sure about organic stores on that side of Puerto Rico. Island living has it’s challenges…all worth it in the end.

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  62. Nancy Gonzalez Says:

    Great post. I am from Puerto Rico but lived in Texas over 28yrs…I hate the PR grocery stores. Walmart is outrageously expensive here too! To find a greater variety of food, we actually now shop at Pueblo next to the San Juan Airport. Amazingly enough, they have decent things there, more variety and much less expensive than in Walmart in Canovanas (we are in a beach apt in Loiza)…Ralphs is ok as well. We shopped there while living in Caguas, but really, most grocery stores here have the same 3 types of dressing, the same 2-3 types of pasta, blah, blah…sigh. Anyway, my kiddo is autistic and the best resource I found to find decent food was through the other moms of autie kiddos! Here’s a website of a natural magazine in PR and they have many ads of healthfood stores, etc… http://www.na-pr.com/ Also, I have heard that Supermax is one of the better ones. I went to one in Ocean Park (San Juan area) and was very impressed…In Caguas, there is a Grande store between Hacienda San Jose & Los Prados developments that is pretty decent as well. Very different than others as far as we could see. We shopped there often. Not like a US supermarket, but far better than other PR supermarkets. Lots of organic, gluten free, etc.

    Good luck!

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  63. Nancy Gonzalez Says:

    PS – forgot – check with PR tourism because I believe there is now an organic market in Old San Juan once a month or something…same thing at Plaza las Americas…yes, a bit far from Rincon, but maybe once a month you make a trip and get some things to last you a couple of weeks

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  64. Deneane Simpson Says:

    Hi guys, I currently live in Aguada. Does anyone know where EXACTLY in Rincon the fisherman come in? There is a huge stretch of water there, not quite sure where to find them. Oh, and is it still about 2pm? This is sort of an old post. Going to try and catch the farmers market in Aquidilla this Saturday. I’ll be sure to post how it is.

    P.S. Econo is crappy, but there is a Super Coup on the 115 in Aguada that isn’t too bad. Going to look for the FreshMart in Aquidilla soon, I just hope it’s still there!

    Thanks!

    ~D

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  65. Rosana Says:

    Summer, Econo is a cheap grocery store that caters mostly to food stamps.
    If you happen to see a Pueblo grocery store on one of your trips thru PR, stop by and check out their selection.
    I thougth that the pics you posted were at one of the Pueblo grocery stores in PR. My gringo husband always loves when we walk to to a Pueblo store.

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  66. Lee Foxwell Says:

    Edwards Super Coop on 115 is awesome. They go out of their way to make sure you find what you need, and are so polite.
    I believe el Fogon sells fresh catch daily, on 115, south of Rincon. Hoping someone can clarify that.

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  67. Deneane Simpson Says:

    Lee, yes Fred at El Fogon has fresh fish at about 1pm everyday (except tuesday, they are closed). Lately tit has been scarce due to Lent, but we’re going to try back after Easter. However, we did get lucky one day and got a 4 lb live rock lobster from him that was delicious. Edwards is really good and has a lot of speciality items but is also little pricey. I am happy to report that the FreshMart in Aguidilla is still open but again, on the expensive side. If you are on a budget, the best thing you can do is be friendly with the neighbors and find out who the local fishermen are and who has a garden.

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  68. Gary P Says:

    Not mentioned yet – Selectos at the int. of 402 & 2, better selection of meat, frozen seafood, decent cheeses.
    Mr.Special in Anasco, further along 402, like the one in Aguada but newer and larger

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  69. Ahmed Gonzalez-Nunez Says:

    There are two or three supermarkets that cater to a more affluent and therefore more demanding consumer than the average Puertorrican. Econo in Altamira (that caters to the Garden Hills and environs crowd and used to be Pueblo Xtra before they went under) is one of these. It offers an amazing diversity of products —for Puerto Rico— even a well stocked selection of craft beers from around the world. And at lower prices than, let’s say, Wal-Mart’s Amigo. So does SuperMax in Condado, though their variety is not as good and their prices too expensive. There are many specialty food stores, Hacienda, Fernandez & Co.., etc. where you can get super quality foods if you are willing to pay the price. At any rate, in Puerto Rico one cannot go to a single grocery store for everything. Grocery shopping here always involves going to at least two different stores if not more. Organic? Fuggedaboutit. How I miss Whole Foods!

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  70. Reinaldo Says:

    I was thinking the other day what if i move from sunny Puerto Rico to the state of New Jersey(thats where most Gringo residents from Rincon are from)and start complaining and bashing(like an ugly woman fron Seattle who has her own blog) and start writing my own blog and start bitching about the loudsy weather, how dirty are the beaches,how uncivilized are the people (worst than the Jersey Shore tv show) and demand everything in spanich.What will be the reaction or opinion from me .Am i gonna get a free pass like some Gringo blogs bashing Puerto Rico. Is there double standard or the people in Jersey will take me like their own

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  71. nik Says:

    hi my daughter and I will go to rincon at the end of Feb.,just a short week. read all the posts; been 15 yrs since I’ve been to P.R. We’d hoped that local fruit or veg. would be available somewhere since we’d like to try what P.R. has to offer. Not much info, even for generalities, about what’s there this time of year.Don’t expect broccoli and that’s fine! But we’re at a place where we can cook- so what to get? yes, had the delight of a ‘over the fence’ offer once. thoughtful neighbors long ago. It won’t be D.C. in mid-winter, right? Pls reply.

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  72. Julio Says:

    You certainly cannot compare the grocery stores on this small island to the mainland ones but you really shouldn’t. People eat differently here and you have to adjust. Moving here 3 years ago has been an experience. I find myself going to various supermarkets from Econo to Pitusa (now closing) to yikes Walmart. However if you eat like the natives there are always goodies to be found. In Aguadilla’s crashboat beach. There is the local fishermans co-op and excellent fresh fish are to be found. The times are offbeat and it might be hit or miss though it beats anything you will find in the stores. Fridays in San Sebastian off route 111 you can go to the fresh farmers markets and buy everything that is available in season, fresh and inexpensive. From fresh lettuce, tomatoes , beans to live chickens, lambs. hogs. There is an Econo on route 110 on the way to the airport that has better selection than other Econo’s in the area and you will find from Bagels to great imported cheeses and an american style selection of fresh veggies (not cheap). Best thing is to grow in your garden. I do from tomatoes to squashes, platains, bananas depending on season. Living in the mountains away from others you really get the pioneering spirit and tend to grow your own. If i want fresh beef, i will drive down to Ponce thru the mountains and go to Hermanos Santiago Cash & Carry off rte 2. They have their own cattle and their meat is fresh and delicious. There is a Superwalmart near there that you will find a wide selection of all types of produce. Local fresh farmers cheese is available and delicious from local cows right here in Isabela. So it takes a bit more time, but then thats one of the resons we moved here in the first place.. Good luck and good eats!

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  73. jlmpr Says:

    Pros & cons U R all trippin. I’m a Newyorker, I lived in Fl 37 yrs,yes I miss local produce & fish. When I lived in Greece I p/u some lingo & hung out and enjoyed it.Stop bitchin of what there is not, enjoy what there is, jst like the couple fr Va. said. And learn the language don,t isolate yourselvs jst like many PRs did in the states and then feelt on the fringes of local culture. Or hvn’t U heard? When in Rome do as the romans do !!!

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  74. Patty Says:

    I agree, I left there in 2006 after 20 years on the island and went back to visit last January. When I left there were Pueblo, Extra, and Supermercado Grande (where I worked) and all were really nice but now I could not live there. The stores are nasty and stink there are so much bad food. The selection is not what it used to be when I was there either. I visited Rincon, San Juan, and San Sebastian and it seems that the good ones are gone.

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