Visiting soon; have some questions

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    Hi all,

    My church and I have been to Nicaragua for the last several years — totally love this place! We are wanting to put together food bags to give to each household in the community we serve and are wondering what the cost of a few things would be at, say, PriceMart in Managua. We’re just trying to budget what we have:

    small jars of peanut butter
    rice and beans (we would buy the huge bags of these — do they come in anything other than 50 pound bags? we’re looking to buy between 100 and 150 pounds of each)
    Huge bags of sugar

    And a random item, potting soil

    Gracias, mi amigos!



    We buy potting soil in La Caterina outside Masaya. A huge white bag sells for not much. The plant sellers have them stacked by the road. You can cut a deal for several bags. I don’t think I have ever seen potting at PriceSmart.

    I am not sure PriceSmart is the best place to buy in bulk for some of what you want. I would ask around for a vendor at one of the mercardos who might give you a better deal on the rice and beans. The red beans are currently very expensive as there is a shortage. The government is encouraging people to buy black beans, but they are not having much luck. Ask a Nica who works with your group about buying in the mercados, or, make friends with a taxi driver.



    thanks so much, RA! When you say “a big bag of potting soil” for not much, how much is not much? :) I’ve budgeted $40 — is that an overestimate?

    We will probably go to other places besides PriceMart. Our friends I”m sure know where all the best places are, but PriceMart is the only place that I’ve personally ever gone. There’s apparently a market somewhere in Managua that’s a bit “shady” and so our friends won’t let us go to that. Is that by any chance the market you’re referring to? I may just give him our money and a list. He has told us in the past that he’ll be able to get better deals without us being there because of our white skin.

    I mainly need a ball park estimate of how much things cost. It’s really hard to budget when I know nothing about the food situation there. we have $375 to make 135 bags of food, basically. Last year, we brought baggies and measured out 1 pound of rice and 1 pound of beans and filled our baggies. And I think we bought some cheap soup mixes, some bags of oil, laundry soap, and packs of cookies. I think we’re nixing the laundry soap — that stuff is powerful and sort of tainted a lot of the food around it. And we’ll probably swap out the cookies for peanut butter crackers. Any other suggestions on what we could include is GREATLY appreciated!



    A pound of rice goes for 10-15 cordobas a pound. Red beans are expensive at the moment as said before. They go between the 19-27 cordobas a pound. I found the cheapest ones at Pali (supermarket owned by walmart). But any local Managuan will know where you can get the cheapest things. And you help the local economy if you buy it at the market. The market is also the best place to buy cheap oil, body-soap, consume, cookies, etc….I find pricemart expensive if you don’t need anything American.

    Managua has several markets. El Mercado Oriental is the cheapest they say, and most dangerous for foreigners. Other markets (like Roberto Huembes) are more safe but I would definitely send a list with a trustful Nicaraguan so you are sure you get the best price. I normally go to the market and if I need something I don’t know the price of my husband will buy the stuff and I will go somewhere else.



    Hi Carrie,

    Try a search for
    You can view pricing on some items.

    You might also try

    The City Market pricing is higher than most other markets, but may give you an idea of what’s available.


    • This reply was modified 2 years, 6 months ago by  .
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