I am budgeting about US $300 a month for my food here in San Juan Del Sur, which includes eating out a couple of times a week. It is very affordable once you get familiar with the actual Nica
economy versus the expat economy. You can pick up fresh produce at the open-air market very economically and affordably. If you eat the non-imported, locally-grown, and locally-sourced food, it’s going to be significantly less expensive, but if you want your particular brand of cheese, you are going to pay the same as you would in North America or more.
There is also Pali, which is a very First World style grocery store here in San Juan Del Sur. It is like a small North American grocery store and it is where you can get pretty much everything you need. It is slightly more expensive to shop there but a lot of expats do. A budget of $200 to $300 per month per person on food would be fine, plenty enough. For a couple, the budget for food per month could be around $400.
I am budgeting what I do and I have seen other budgets for couples that are about the same. I entertain a lot and I am a couple half the time, so I am using what I budget but I probably use about the same as a couple would.
You can get your fresh fish right down on the beach where they bring it in every day. You buy the whole fish. That is how you buy fish here in San Juan Del Sur. They filet it but they filet it as a whole. We paid $8 for a huge fish, which would be a lot less than what we pay for in Toronto, Canada where I come from.
There is a place in town for North American style cheeses and meats that is quite expensive and that is sort of what we as expats buy for special treats. There is also Pan de Vida, which is a lovely type of bread in Nicaragua. It is expensive, but one of the things that you will find about Nicaragua is that the bread is not great by North American standards. There is a North American brick oven for bread making called Pan de Vida and they have a whole selection of fresh breads and pastries that they make every single day. It is very very popular. A loaf of bread would cost you about $4 or $5. It is quite expensive, but it has really good quality breads and cinnamon buns.
Our overall food cost here in San Juan Del Sur is about half of what it is if we were in Toronto. And that is eating not like a native Nicaraguan, but not like you would in Toronto, either. It is about midway. I really like lots of the fruits and produce in Nicaragua. You have to be careful buying food at one time and storing it in the fridge because when the power goes out, so does your fridge. You don’t want to be wasting food. So you have to be careful in not loading up your fridge. If you buy more fresh food frequently, it brings your budget down. It is very convenient to buy food almost every day since San Juan Del Sur is such a small town. I buy food nearly every day here.