We have it All
You can expect the initial cost of living to be a little higher when you first arrive, until you have discovered the alternative locations to shop and feel comfortable in the Mexican markets. There are thousands of traditional markets (mercados) and outdoor markets (tianguis) throughout Mexico. Most towns have at least one permanent market as well as weekly street markets. The wise consumer will check out prices on domestic products before purchasing the imported goods you are more familiar with. In addition to saving you money, it causes you to sample Mexican goods that you will be totally unfamiliar with.
Tianguis (Outdoor Markets)
from U.S.$3.50 – a weekly luxury!), paintings, art, cosmetics, clothing, shoes, dishes, pots and pans, and Mexican handicrafts at incredible prices. Most fruit and vegetables and bulk products (like nuts, cereals, grains, and legumes) are sold by the kilo.
You will be amazed that the domestic produce is fresher, has no long storage time in warehouses and is vine-ripened and more flavorful. They are set up each morning in a different village at about 8 a.m. and taken down around 3 p.m. of the same day - Monday in Chapala, Wednesday in Ajijic and Thursday in Jocotopec.
Supermercados (Super Markets)
Shopping in the local supermarkets (supermercados) for your produce is considerably more expensive; these stores generally cater to the foreign community. Having said that, the reality is most of us do frequent these stores to buy some of the imported goods we just can’t seem to live without. Imports, of course, cost more, and you can keep your grocery bill down by buying local.
The advantage we have here is we can choose; the infrastructure is in place. Whatever you are longing for, likely you will find right here on the Lakeside, from Cajun spices, Campbell’s tomato soup, Wasabi and pickled ginger for Sushi and just about anything you can imagine – even Eggnog and Mincemeat at Christmas – Superlake in San Antonio and El Torito in Ajijic both specialize in imported goods and there is also a Wal-Mart which carries many imported goods that many of us have come to rely on. It is really quite amazing what we have access to. We feel we have the best of all worlds.
Shopping in Guadalajara
And, did I mention many Mex-pats also make a monthly trip into Guadalajara (2nd largest city in Mexico, a 50-minute drive) to visit some of the major department stores: Price Club, Costco, Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club, Office Max, Home Depot, Office Depot, Staples, Sears, Liverpool and more. Now, there really isn't much that you can't get either on the lakeside or in Guadalajara.