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US (805) 284-9410This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.About I Go Yucatan
Alfonso Galindo of I Go Yucatan – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Agua fresca made from watermelon in a traditional barrel -shaped glass container – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingFood is pretty affordable in the Yucatan, including Merida and Cancun.  Obviously, if you go the local mercados where growers come from the country bringing their food (what you can consider “the wholesale area”), it is always going to be a lot cheaper than going to Wal-Mart or a supermarket.
 
For example, in the mercado, you can get 2 pounds of tomatoes or 2 pounds of onions for around 50 to 65 cents and that pretty much runs the gamut on both fruits and vegetables.  (We use “kilos” as a unit of measurement here in Mexico, as opposed to “pounds”, so I’m converting everything to pounds.)  Compared to the US, you can get a lot of fruits and vegetables at a very affordable price, Avocados in California might be a little bit cheaper, but I have friends from Seattle and Vancouver and they’re always amazed at how much an avocado would cost here or mango because they always tell me avocado and mango in Seattle or Vancouver would cost US $3 to $5 which is quite funny and here you can pick them up literally for cents. They’ll grow in your neighborhood, they’ll grow around the roads, you can be driving down and see a mango tree, a papaya tree, and just pull over and grab some if you want, if it’s not on private property.
 
The prices in the store it will be a little bit more expensive than in the mercados. I went to the store the other day and purchased 2.2 pounds of avocados for about 81 cents and 2.2 pounds of mangoes for about 63 cents.
 
Here’s the difference between a mercado and a supermarket.  A mercado is usually at the center of town where the local growers of all the produce meet every day to do transactions and sell their wares, such as food, vegetables, meat, and chicken.  It’s one location where the local population makes their purchases. Now in the 21st century, we also have supermarkets – Sam’s, Costco, in this region there’s a market called Chedraui, etc., and they have grown and do well.  It’s like in the US where you have Vons, Ralphs, Safeway, etc.
 
If you purchase local Mexican products from these stores, they will be less expensive than if you purchased them in the US, but if you purchase a product that’s imported from the US you will pay about the same price, if not maybe a tad more.
 
If you eat the same staples here in the Yucatan as in California, obviously, fruits and vegetables cost a lot more in the States than they do here. Here, they’re actually very economical.  You can lower your food cost by 50% very, very easily, which is what I’ve done.   I’m surprised how little I spend on food sometimes.
 
I do eat on the street a lot when I can’t get home on time, but if I eat on the street, for my whole family (my partner, my daughter, and myself), I don’t think I’ve spent more than US $6 to US $7.  That includes food, and the local drinks here made out of usually fresh fruits, which we call aguas.  When you ask for an Agua Fresca, it is fresh water usually with some type of fresh juice.  As an example, they may have sandia, which is watermelon.
 
(Agua fresca made from watermelon in a traditional barrel -shaped glass container, pictured.) 
Roddrigo Sidney Whalesharkdaddy  of Cancun Whale Shark Tours – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Food costs in the resort areas by the Caribbean or Gulf are much higher than on the mainland. I live in Valladolid, which is inland, is a great place and prices are "dirt cheap". Tonight to celebrate our 17th anniversary, my wife and I are going to a new restaurant in Valladolid-- Adeleas.  Spotted shrimp pasta for 140 pesos  ( about $7.75 @ current exchange rate 18-1)  I’ll let everyone know when done!
 
Many places also have street taco stands where you can get a great taco with a variety of salsa for 8 -10 pesos (about 50 cents). Yumm yumm
 
Merida has lots of great restaurants and from experience the prices are better than Cancun, let’s say.
 
The more "resort," the higher the prices of course (high rents)
 
Food original to the Yucatan is sooo, sooo good!  I've never had a bad meal in 17 years!
Gustavo Cisneros of Petén – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Papadzules, a traditional Yucatecan dish – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe Yucatan Peninsula was divided into three states: Campeche, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo.
 
To determine the cost of food in a certain area, we have to first start in general terms with how expensive is the area. Cities like Merida (oldest city in the Yucatan Peninsula and part of the state of Yucatan) that are big, with more than 1 million people, is one of the cheapest places to live. Why? Because people have so many alternatives. We have a lot of the supermarket chains and the cost of living in the area is very cheap. You could live in Merida or in other parts of the state of Yucatan that have a high density of people for US $1,500 a month and you would be living a very nice life. 
 
Quintana Roo was a fisherman’s town that was incorporated into a state in the 1970s. It is young in comparison to Merida, which was founded in 1542. The gives you an idea that the Yucatan is very unique. Cancun, Cozumel, and Playa Del Carmen, which are in the state of Quintana Roo, are touristic markets, so everything is more expensive; starting from real estate up to the food that is brought in because food is not produced there. Most of the food that is being brought to those areas is brought from the central parts of Mexico and that causes the prices to increase.
 
(Papadzules, a traditional dish made from pumpkin seeds from Yucatan, Mexico, pictured.)
Mikki James – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Food set out for a party at Mikki James's home, Progresso, Yucatan, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe cost of food in the Yucatan depends. I live in the small fishing village of Progresso, in the state of Yucatan, about 30 minutes from Merida, a city of over a million.  Personally, I went native a long time ago so I don’t seek out all the things that I’m missing from the US, like a large jar of peanut butter, which they do provide to a huge degree up in Merida. Goodness gracious, a large jar of peanut butter down here is going to be 100 pesos (about US $5.75). And if you want specialty item foods like Blue Bell Ice Cream straight from Texas—that’s my favorite—it’s very expensive and hard to find here. So you have to go to the stores that cater to the American taste, where the items are imported, and cost much more than locally sourced items.
 
I go grocery shopping once a month and I spend a about $150.  For this amount, I’ve got my paper products stocked up; I’ve got my vegetable products stocked up; I’ve got all my meat products stocked up; all my cleaning—everything that I need.  Here in Progresso, the majority of the population are fishermen and they rely on the sea for their income.   In general, we could expect that the prices in other less developed areas in the Yucatan Peninsula, even in the non-tourist and less well-known areas in the state of Quintana Roo (where Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum are located) to be about the same.  The prices in Merida are different.  In Merida we have Dairy Queen, Burger King, McDonald’s, TGI Fridays and iHop; it’s not like it’s a Third World country anymore. 
 
I recently invited a friend of mine from San Francisco to dinner who said, “I’ll pick up a couple of steaks when I go to the Costco and then we can throw them on the grill.” He came back with two pieces of US grade A Choice prime rib or T-Bone, for which he paid 650 pesos (US $38). In contrast, I would go right over here to Bodega, which is an offshoot branch of WalMart, walk-in and pay 45 to 80 or maybe 100 pesos (US $2 to $4) for the same cuts of beef that he bought imported to Costco. So it all depends on how you want to spend your money.  
 
(Food set out for a party at Mikki James's home, Progresso, Yucatan, Mexico, pictured.)
Gary De Spiegelaere of Celestun Properties – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Sam's Club Mexico ad for butter and hot chocolate during the Christmas season – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI do most of the cooking in my house and every day I feed my wife, my 3 and a half-year-old son, the nanny, my son’s aunt, and myself. It costs us about US $40 per day and we eat quite well. We eat steaks when we want it. We have pork chops all the time. We do not eat the typical Mexican fare. When we lived in Canada, just my wife and I spent about $60 a day on food back then. The cost of food here in Yucatan is about 1/3 to ½ less than it costs in Canada, where I come from. 
 
We buy most of our food from American-style supermarkets such as Costco or Sam’s Club, which is why we spend more than others here where we live in the state of Yucatan. But if you want to eat more economically, you could spend about $15 a day on food, which I know some couples here do. They spend so much less because they do not buy the US beef. They buy the Mexican beef because there is quite a difference in price, but there is also a difference in flavor.
 
(Sam's Club Mexico ad for butter and hot chocolate during the Christmas season, pictured.)

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