The hardest part of getting established in a new place isn’t even the move itself, its AFTER, where you have to figure out Grocery Stores and Shopping in Pereira. While city-specific, the basic concepts of this guide can apply to many parts of Colombia where similar chain and local shops are found.
Grocery Stores in Pereira
The most familiar shopping experience for most foreigners, is in the bigger chain grocery stores which have corporate culture. The local mini-markets and grocery shops, while still common, can feel small and dirty in some places – even when they are actually quite clean.
As foreign residents, we need to re-train our senses a bit to adapt to this environment, especially if you decide to live in a pueblo where larger chain shops aren’t as common.
If cost is important to you, then you should definitely plan to buy all your fresh foods in the neighborhood “revuelteria,” or fruit stand. Not only will you typically save a bit of money, but the quality is almost always better than grocery stores and shopping in Pereira.
Big Box – Chain Shops
Pereira is a big enough city that it has several shops with import foods, bigger brands, and a modern appeal.
Super-Inter is a regional chain shop which is found in Risaralda. In Caldas, the regional grocery store is Mercaldas, which has a more refined/import product selection than Super-Inter.
Exito – is comparable to Wal-Mart in the US. They feature lower prices on alcohol, import goods and a decent variety of ingredients. Carulla, owned by Exito, feels like Trader Joes trying to be Whole Foods. You will find more nationally made gourmet brands, import items and a bigger wine selection.
For meat, we recommend going to a local or regional butcher, and buying the specific cuts you prefer. I feel like the quality of fresh meat is better at locally owned butcher shops. For those of us who grew up in FFA and have a basic understanding of meat judging and cut quality – this is custom cut heaven.
Keep in mind that aside from Carulla, big box grocery stores usually don’t have good quality fresh produce. If you consume a lot of fresh food on a weekly basis, you will save money and get better quality by going to the source, places like Plaza de Mercado de La 40 (recommended), or Mayoristas (near Mercasa).
We don’t recommend shopping in and around Parque Libertad unless you are comfortable with areas with high amounts of street crime, petty theft and everything else.
Insider Tip: Bring your own re-usable grocery bags to save money (500 pesos), and reduce environmental waste.
Special Diets – Gluten Free – Healthy Foods
Colombia has both farmers markets, called Mercado Agroecologicos, and organic shops, called Tiendas Organicas. In these shops, you will find imports like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free flour mixes, sprouts, ghee, coconut oil, local cheese, yogurt, buffalo products and the like.
Do not confuse these shops with the Tienda Naturista, which is a more traditional health supplement shop which sells vitamins, “natural” shampoo, soap, candles, love potions, and protein powders.
One of the shops we like which are now in Pereira, originally of Manizales, are MercaFit. You can visit the Pereira one in Invico – on Calle 14 before you get to the stoplight with Circunvalar. In Manizales you can find one in Palermo, another in Milan, and a smaller one on Av. Paralela before you get to the cemetery coming from the direction of the football stadium at U. Caldas.
When you take our Lifestyle Tour we actually show you where these shops are according to your individual dietary needs. To schedule your tailored experience, email us at email@example.com.
Farmers markets are usually one weekend a month in different places. In Pereira Pre-Covid, there was a farmers market on the first Wednesday of each month at the Universidad Technologica de Pereira. Currently, the only markets we know of are at centro comerciales, and Kafe del Alma (near Hotel Movich).
Insider Tip: The only consistent source of sweet potatoes in the Coffee Axis, is Mercafit Manizales, call ahead, or message them for availability. Recently, I had sweet potatoes and apple cider vinegar shipped to the pueblo where I am living. They arrived the next day.
Shopping in Pereira
As a quick byline, I should also mention that Pereira has the best shopping. Malls feature nice branded shops like Nike, Langosta or Puma, which you won’t find as much in the US anymore. Plus, we get some of the European brands like Zara.
We also have PriceSmart (membership required), which carries some Costco brands like Kirkland Signature, and is the only shop which carries nice quality Pampers brand diapers, ricotta cheese, grass fed angus beef, Philadelphia cream cheese, or decent trash bags.
Pereira also has several “Centro Comerciales,” or shopping malls. The fanciest one is probably Parque Arboleda, Pereira Plaza is nice too. And, the biggest one is Unicentro, while the newest one will be Cerritos Mall, which is currently under construction along with a 300 room Hilton hotel.
Insider Tip: Check out Organica inside of Pereira Plaza, they have some really nice products including locally grown specialty coffee.
Wine – Craft Beer – Alcohol
Due to recent tax legislation, import alcohol is subject to luxury taxes and prices have risen. And, for the most part, we still can’t get Guinness in most parts of Colombia. If anyone finds this particular brand in Pereira in an easily obtainable way, we will buy you one for the tip.
The cheapest wine for the quality can be purchased at D1 (pronounced: day uno). Carulla offers 40% discount on certain days, but only if you have a credit card for them, which can be tricky for foreign residents. But, they will give you a 10% discount if you have your groceries delivered to your door, called “domicilio.”
PriceSmart is a good place to go to for import beer, some craft brands, and alcohol. By far you will find the lowest prices, particularly on the alcohol. You can find some really nice wine brands too for lower prices than Carulla.
For a more personal look at Grocery Stores and Shopping in Pereira, contact us today to book your exclusive Lifestyle Tour. Our editor will personally show you around, while teaching you about art, history, culture and bus/taxi transportation. For more information or scheduling, email Erin at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Richard SNovember 9, 2020 at 5:58 pm
Good overview of the shopping situation. Still looking for Guiness too.