Puerto Rican Grocery Stores – No Bueno

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…

74 thoughts on “Puerto Rican Grocery Stores – No Bueno”

  1. 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 :)

  2. 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

  3. 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! ;)

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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!!

    1. @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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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

  10. 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!



  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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!

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

  19. 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 !!!

  20. 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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