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Food Costs in Panama: Save 50% or More on Your Grocery Bill

By in Lifestyle, Panama on July 16, 2013

Cost of food in Panama

There’s a lot of buzz about the incredibly low cost of living in Panama.  But just how cheap is it?  And how do you know it isn’t just a bunch of lies fabricated by marketers and real estate brokers?

You might have even found some information about the costs to rent or buy a property, but still have questions about–for instance–how much food costs in Panama.  To answer that, take a look at a typical grocery bill for a family of four.

This isn’t a gimmick.  This is just based on our observations during our last couple of trips to the market.

And just for fun we had a friend back in the U.S. give us the current prices on the same items there.  Take a look at the side-by-side comparison.

Item Panama U.S. %Discount
1 dozen eggs,organic $2.08 $3.18 35%
2 filet mignons teaks (12oz.total) $4.86 $14.99 68%
1 liter milk $1.59 $3.19 50%
2 lbs. bananas $.80 $1.18 32%
3 lb. bag laundry detergent $2.53 $5.45 54%
Soap (3bars) $1.59 $3.65 56%
Yogurt (4servings) $2.40 $6.00 60%
Pineapples, 3 small $1.00 $4.99 80%
Grapefruit, 4 $1.00 $2.29 56%
Cheese, largeround(16oz.) $1.57 $6.99 78%
3 heads organic lettuce $1.00 $5.07 80%
Bouquetof fresh flowers, large $3.50 $12.99 73%
Ground organic coffee(12oz.) $4.04 $5.99 33%
1 dozen fresh panacitos (rolls) $2.40 $5.58 57%
1 rotisserie chicken, whole $4.19 $7.39 43%
Rack of porkribs, frozen $12.13 $8.98 -35%
3.5lb chicken breasts, frozen $6.47 $9.79 34%
2lbs langostinos(shellfish), frozen $6.18 $19.98 69%
Cereal, boxed $6.29 $4.29 -47%
Total $65.62 $131.88 50%

Because your grocery bill will be every bit as varied as your individual tastes, it’s impossible for us to tell you exactly what YOUR food costs in Panama would be.  However, as you can see above, we spend about half what we would pay in the U.S.  For the exact same items!

We should point out here that not every food item in Panama costs less.  On some things, like cereal and other pre-packaged items, you may even pay a little more if you insist on having the same brand you’ve always eaten for breakfast.  On a few items, there may not be enough of a savings to even warrant mentioning, like yogurt.

This may appear to be the case on quite a few items.  However, another factor to consider is the QUALITY that you are paying for.  Take coffee for example.  While it’s about the same price, coffee in Panama is no comparison to what we drank back in the States.  This stuff is out of this world.

Likewise fruits and vegetables here are organic and as fresh as you can find, and they run about $8 per week for a family of four.  Not to beat a dead horse, but this can really vary depending on the types of fruits and vegetables you prefer.

As you probably noticed, our diets haven’t suffered as a result of our decision to move to Panama.  Neither have our wallets.  So no matter how delicate your palate or tight your budget, you shouldn’t be disappointed with the options available to you in Panama.  Cheers!

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3 thoughts on “Food Costs in Panama: Save 50% or More on Your Grocery Bill

  1. 1

    Not sure where you’re getting the “organic” info from. In our part of Panama, the Azuero Peninsula, we don’t have the same access to organic fruits and vegetables as what’s available in Panama City or in Chiriqui Province. For example,we pay about $1 apiece for pineapples, which are fresh and locally grown. Organic? I have no idea. . .

  2. 2

    Another GREAT article ! Gracias. Hey…what about that “retraction”? (Of that company driving on the beach in Nosara, CR.)

  3. 3

    Good job of information on the benefits of living in Panama.

    Chris Easley
    El Flor Highlands
    Chiriquí Panama

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