One comment that Global Perceptions staff often hear from clients who have relocated to Puerto Rico is that they prefer the grocery stores back home. Usually this is due to what they perceive to be a lack of selection. Those accustomed to shopping at World Market or Trader Joe’s will not find that type of store here. Remember, this is an island in the middle of the Caribbean where the intense humidity makes food spoil much more quickly than in cooler climates, preventing people from buying in bulk. If you don’t want to give up high quality, fresh, or even organic foods, there are a number of alternatives. Read on for details on meat markets, organic food stores, and farmer’s markets across Puerto Rico.
To purchase high quality cuts of meat, visit La Hacienda Meat Center. Their selection includes chicken, ground beef, churrasco, pork, steak, fish, lamb, and more. They also carry fresh fruits and vegetables and offer a nice selection of foreign foods including Mediterranean and Middle Eastern products like hummus and tabouli. Juices and wines from across the world are also available.
La Hacienda Meat Center has 3 locations: one on Ave. De Diego near Logan’s Pub in Cupey, another in the Garden Hills Shopping Center on Carretera 19 in Guaynabo, and a third store in Dorado on Carretera 693 between the Walgreen’s and CVS Pharmacy.
You can also find quality cuts of meat and fresh produce in bulk at Cost-co and Sam’s Club stores throughout the island.
FreshmarT was founded in 1995, establishing itself early in the race to provide natural foods in Puerto Rico. With 5 stores across the island (Aguadilla,Caguas,Carolina, Hato Rey, and Manatí), it’s easy to find healthy substitutes that may not be available in major grocery stores. Whether you’re looking for gluten-free, dairy-free, or sugar-free, they have it. FreshmarT stores also offer a variety of baby food products, bath and body products, vitamins, supplements, snacks, beverages, and even pet products.
Many smaller stores also exist across the island some of which include restaurants where they serve vegetarian and/or vegan meals. For a list of these stores and their locations, click http://www.happycow.net/north_america/caribbean/puerto_rico/.
Río Piedras is well-known for its market in the center of town. All types of local products including: yuca, plantains, pineapples, mangoes, yautía, ñame, avocados, fresh fish, chicken, and much more line the booths of the kiosks. The incredible variety of products can be overwhelming, but the overall experience can be more than overwhelming for those who are not accustomed to such a sight or don’t speak much Spanish. For those who are adventurous, it’s definitely a great place to learn more about the Puerto Rican culture and its foods.
In La Placita in Santurce there is also a market much like that in Río Piedras, but smaller. For those in the Condado, Isla Verde, or Santurce areas, that one is closer.
Those who prefer to stay in tourist areas where more English may be spoken, should consider the different Farmer’s Markets that take place during the month. On Saturday mornings in Old San Juan, make your way to the Mercado Agrícola Natural at 150 Calle Norzgaray in the Museo de San Juan. There you can find organic foods, plants, homemade cards, and other local specialties.
The first and third Sundays of the month showcase organically-grown foods at the Placita Roosevelt in Hato Rey. Additionally, Plaza las Américas has nearly 100 vendors selling foods, cheeses, honey, soaps, salsas, plants, breads, and candies the last Thursday-Sunday of each month. Go to the third floor near the JCPenney entrance.
As you can see, there are several alternatives to the chain supermarkets in Puerto Rico. Many more vegetarian restaurants and stores are popping up all the time so be sure to visit them and try all the delicacies that Puerto Rico has to offer!
For more information on the products and services offered by Global Perceptions, your relocation specialist in Puerto Rico, please visit www.globalperceptions.net.