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Hannah Weber – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Incredible dishes prepared with local produce available at Vanilla Hills Lodge, Cayo, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe food in the markets in Cayo has its ups and downs. They get their deliveries twice a week, Tuesdays and Fridays. If you go to the market on Tuesday morning or on Friday afternoon, you will get some very good quality foods. There would be some nice cauliflower, broccoli, etc. But if you go there on a Thursday, everything seems to be spoiled. The cauliflower would be somewhat grayish and they would cut out the spoiled pieces. You would get some old carrots because most of the stalls at the market do not have refrigerators. Just imagine the produce sitting in the high temperature for two days. Saturday is the main market day and when you go early in the morning you will get some very good quality food for a very reasonable price. 
 
There is not a lot of overall variety of food in the markets in Cayo. The common produce you would be able to get is cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes. The markets in Cayo have a good variety of tropical fruits like pineapple, and papaya all the time. They only sell avocado or mango when they are in season. It is not like in the developed world where you could buy any kind of fruit even if they are out of season.
You get a lot of spices here in Cayo, too. There are three or four stalls in the open-air market where they sell only spices. You can get most spices that you need for cooking your favorite dishes. 
 
There are no Wal-Mart-type stores here in Cayo that cover pretty much everything. Instead we have small supermarkets. Taiwanese owners run 95% of them. They have the same products as most supermarkets. There may be a handful of stores that also sell different merchandise to please the expat community. We have only one real supermarket in the whole country, which is located in Belize City. The supermarkets here in Cayo are referred to as “the Chinese Store” even if Taiwanese people run them.
 
What I dislike about the stores here is that you’ll find that most things are dusty.  The reason is that they have the doors open all day long and many roads in Cayo are not paved. So even if things have just been on the shelves for two days, they can be dusty, which is something I don’t like. When I was in Austria, I liked doing the groceries because I like going through all the isles to see what they have new in stock, but here in Cayo, most of the time, I let my husband do the shopping. 
 
I like the open-air markets here in Cayo to some extent. What I like most is the interaction with the vendors. The Austrian markets have the lowest prices in Europe so I am used to very low prices for good quality. When you compare the prices in Belize with the prices in Austria, it seems to be even more expensive here in Belize for me than it is in Austria. Things like flour, rice, and sugar would be cheaper here in Belize but one liter of milk here is roughly $3 Belize (US $1.50), while in Austria you pay 80 euro cents, which is not even US $1 or less than $2 Belize.
 
(Incredible dishes prepared with local produce available at Vanilla Hills Lodge, Cayo, Belize, pictured.)
John Acott of RE/MAX Belize Property Center – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
chayote – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe markets in Cayo have a lot of vegetables and a lot of tropical fruits.
 
I’ve never been in a market in North America, but I would imagine that it’s much the same. The quality of fruit is better in the States – no blemishes, larger size. Here it’s more local grown stuff, but it’s fine. We have nice tropical fruits here. Some things we get are imported, but we get most things here.
 
The food prices in the market are cheap. Most of my American clients say it’s cheap. 
 
We haven’t got any big places like you got in the States like Wal-Mart. We have supermarkets and they’re quite large but not on your scale.
 
I go to the market once a week in Saturday to buy my vegetables, fruits, eggs, and other things.  The market in San Ignacio is very nice; it’s famous in Belize. It’s a social occasion as well – you walk around, talk to your friends, sit down and chat.  They have a lot of food stalls there.  All the veggies come in on Saturday morning, the whole area is packed with cars and buses; it’s a very nice event. I really enjoy Saturday mornings. You go from stall to stall.  There’s fruit, there’s meat, clothes, books; anything you want – it’s like a flea market.  
 
(Chayote is native to Central America and the "fruit" is eaten like vegetable, steamed and in stews, pictured.)
Gwido Mar of Grupo Mar Realty Ltd. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Farmers' market Santa Elena, Cayo District, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWe have several supermarkets in San Ignacio and Santa Elena area, in the Cayo District of Belize. You could get mostly what you need but you won't get a huge variety of the products. For example, if you wanted cereal, there may only be twenty types of cereal. There won't be a hundred or a hundred fifty like a neighborhood store or Wal-Mart in the US. You can get the items you want but there will not be the huge selection you would find in a large supermarket in the US.  You can buy foods, drinks, nuts, cereals, and meats, etc. at the supermarkets.
 
The supermarkets here are not huge, nowhere like Giant or Kroger. They're smaller, perhaps one third the size.  They don’t have the huge variety, but they do have the basic items you need. You could walk into a Chinese (what the stores are called) here and you could pick up ingredients to do pizza, for example. Or you could walk-in there and buy the ingredients to do a pasta meal or something similar.
 
I buy my basic food in these supermarkets and then I buy vegetables and fruits at the farmers' market.  The farmer’s market has outdoor stalls and is open every day, even on Sundays.  You can buy fruits and vegetables at the supermarkets, but we choose not to buy because it's a little bit more expensive and if you go to the farmers' market it's fresh, mostly, it's fresh.  The big market day is Friday and Saturday, with Saturday being the bigger day. That’s when you get the freshest and best items.
 
For the most part, the fruits and vegetables you get at the farmers’ market were grown within Belize, but we do get some imported stuff like peaches, apples, and pears.
 
(Farmers' market Santa Elena, Cayo District, Belize, pictured.)

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