Cost of Groceries in Mexico (and Costa Rica, too)

One of the first things we have to do when we travel anywhere new is buy food, unless we go to visit my Mom and Dad and she's got her pantry and fridge stocked with everything we'd ever want and more several days in advance.  Gotta love Grandma! 

While there are times when our children act like they're going to miss a meal if they don't ask "What are we having for dinner?" or "When's supper going to be ready?" 100 times, they are fed 3 meals a day, without fail, unless they're sick.

Buying, planning and fixing meals is something that is never far from my thoughts.  So when we land in new cities, I am always anxious to hit the local grocery store and market to see how much it is going to cost to feed our crowd.  Groceries never last long in our house. 

So this past week, I got almost all my fresh produce from one stand at the weekly market.  I had enough on my list that the vendor made his own list, with prices beside each item and I was able to bring the list home to analyze what a great deal I got.

But I also bout 3 quart sized containers of berries: 1 strawberry, 1 raspberry and 1 blackberry.  Each one was $20 MXN pesos, for a about $1.50 US each or $4.50 total.  Not bad considering the last pint of blackberries I bought in the US was around the same price!

Here is the list of the other groceries I bought with their prices beside them.  The current currency conversion rate is about 13.25 MXN to $1 USD. 

Weight (in kg, 1kg=2.2 lbs) & Produce Item
1 kg Bananas (about 8-9 med. sized)
1 kg Grapefruit (about 4 med. sized)
1 peach
.5 kg cucumbers
1 bunch cilantro
.5 kg lemons
.5 kg tomatoes
1 kg avocados (about 4 ripe ones)
.5 kg green seedless grapes
.5 kg carrots

Let me just say that this was enough produce to fill one backpack AND have another plastic bag full of goodies.  And I spent about  $7.26.

For other numbers, here is what some meat prices are currently:

Weight (in kg, 1kg=2.2 lbs) & Produce Item
Dollars per pound
1 kg Pork Roast 59/kg $2.02/lb
1 kg Whole Chicken 59/kg $2.02/lb
1 kg Ground Beef (probably 80/20) 65/kg $2.23/lb
1 kg Pork chops (bone-in) 71/kg $2.44/lb
1 kg thinly sliced steak 119/kg $4.08/lb
1 kg thinly pounded chicken breast
62/kg $2.13/lb
1 pkg Johnsonville mild Italian sausage (6 links)

Want to know more?  Ok, but ONLY because I still have my grocery receipt handy.


Gallon of store bought milk
Donuts (includes Angry Birds LOL!)
5 ea
Smucker's Strawberry Jelly
Bag of 3 Hearts of Romaine lettuce
Small package of bacon
Bag of Hershey's Chocolate Chips (~12oz)
Ranch salad dressing
8 oz dry spaghetti
Extra large loaf of white sandwich bread
Large box of Nesquik cereal
Wholesale club sized jar of Skippy peanut butter
Clorox Cleaning Wipes
Wholesale club sized block Yellow Cheddar Cheese
Pack of Mint Trident Gum


I've been meaning to do a post like this for quite some time.  Now you can see that we eat junk food and that chocolate chips are VERY important to us, as is peanut butter and cheddar cheese.  I was never able to find decent cheddar cheese in Costa Rica, so I guess we're making up for it here!

Do you think groceries are cheap in Mexico?  They certainly are compared to the US and especially compared to Costa Rica. 

The produce in Costa Rica was somewhat comparable, but everything else was MUCH higher. 

An average sized jar of peanut butter easily cost $5. 

A loaf of bread was about $3 for a medium sized one. 

Donuts were about $0.80 to $1.00 each. 

A loaf of bakery bread was around $1, and in Mexico, a similar size and style is $0.65.

A bag of chocolate chips was always around $5, not that it ever stopped me! 

A bag of spaghetti or random pasta was about $0.70 each (about 8 oz). 

Bacon?   Forget it.  Found a package once, it had 5 slices and was $3+. 

A whole chicken was around $7. 

1 liter of milk was $1.

$4.25 for Dove deodorant.

$5 for non-local shampoo/conditioner, like Herbal Essences.

$1.50 per razor, Gillette.

Packs of gum were always around $1 each, as were Snickers candy bars…not that I ever bought those. *cough* *cough*

So, what do you think? How do these grocery prices compare to where YOU live?

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10 Responses to “Cost of Groceries in Mexico (and Costa Rica, too)”

  1. Paz Says:

    Great information on the cost of groceries. This helps us so much in planning. :) Thank  you!!

  2. Micki Says:

    Thanks for the detail in this! We found that we got much better prices for veggies at the local (usually Sunday) markets, but convenience food at the supermarkets was about the same as at home.  

  3. Mom Says:

    No problem. It was actually very interesting to sit down and look at the numbers so closely. I don’t want to do it again for a while, but it was interesting! :)

  4. Mom Says:

    You’re welcome Micki! (Love your website name, by the way!) I always thought farmer’s markets in the US were overpriced and was pleasantly surprised when we moved to Costa Rica and now Mexico. An entire backpack + additional bags of product and I spent about $14! Wow!

  5. Living Outside of the Box Says:

    I love how you charted them all out. I've always WANTED to do that, but never have had the discipline to!!  Hahaha!!
    Gotta love that Mexican produce—wahooo!!

  6. Karen Says:

    Was thrilled to see this as we hope to head to Mexico in the New Year.  Grocery savings is a huge motivator for us with 9 kids, and we go through soooo much produce I want to live/travel where its warmer and fresh produce abounds.

  7. Mom Says:

    Oh, you would love the weekly markets. Where we live, there’s actually 2 within a short distance. One on Monday, another on Wednesday. You can get pineapples for about $1, avacados are about $3 per kilo or about $1.50/pound, give or take. Non-local stuff isn’t that cheap, but not as high as Costa Rica was. I went back to the US between CR and Mexico and was shocked at how high produce is there…especially bananas! The photo from this post is Costa Rican produce and that big bunch of bananas was about 80 cents!

  8. Jennifer Says:

    Hello, I just wanted to say thank you for posting the prices in a chart format easy to read!  I'm not planning to travel to Mexico.. but I was looking for the cost of groceries for my daugther who is studying Mexico right now.  Thank again!

  9. Mom Says:

    Glad to help, Jennifer!

  10. Wandering Educators - Reasons to go to Mexico Says:

    [...] pesos. Milk is also cheaper here, one half gallon is about 20.40 pesos. You may be surprised at how much groceries cost in Mexico compared to what you’re used [...]

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