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Cost of food, drinks, groceries & restaurants?

Chicago, IL
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Cost of food, drinks, groceries & restaurants?

I am considering visiting Barbados and rent a small apartment. I was wondering how are the prices there in general compared to other vacation destinations (like Riviera Maya for example) or compared to the USA.

What would be the typical price for a meal at a moderate restaurant?

What would be the price to buy a pound of chicken? Fish?

How much for a bottle of soda or water?

Thank you in advance - I am trying to avoid a steep surprise on prices!

:)

I look forward to hearing your opinions!

Burlington, Canada
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1. Re: Cost of food, drinks, groceries & restaurants?

Your question is frequently asked and there are many answers in the search box. Try grocery stores, inexpensive eating, cost of meals and you will find pages of information that will be quite helpful. Barbados is a place where you can find whatever you want to eat at all price levels. Food shopping is more expensive as everything is imported and taxed on arrival and when sold.

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2. Re: Cost of food, drinks, groceries & restaurants?

Zabka78

Moderate restaurant, anywhere between $10 USD to $25 USD for a meal per person.

I don't recall the cost off-hand of a pound of chicken as most supermarkets sell it by the kilogram. None the less, a whole chicken ranges from $9.50 USD to $11.50 USD in most supermarkets.

Fish varies in price depending on season. Right now red snappers, jacks, blue marlin and swordfish are abundant. These range about $3 USD per pound.

A bottle of soda is $0.90 USD in supermarkets, the smallest bottle of water is about $1 USD. American bottled water is much cheaper than the European ones like Volvic and Evian.

Super Centre is our leading supermarket and you can view their prices here: www.supercentre.com

In general as a rubric, I find most items in Barbados imported from the USA are about 2.7 times the cost in Barbados. For example, I can purchase a box of Special K for $2.99 in Walmart in the USA, but it's $8 USD here in Barbados. Same goes for items like Yoplait Yogurt, Gatorade, etc.

If there are any specific items you require prices on feel free to ask them here. As I live here I could easily get you the current information you require.

Happy Planning!

Regards

Chicago, IL
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3. Re: Cost of food, drinks, groceries & restaurants?

Genetic Sniper-

Thank you so much for the response! I am not interested in any particular item - more than just understanding what I will be getting myself into. I love cooking and also going out to experience the culture of the places I visit... but since I dont know much about the island I thought I would ask before I commit.

:)

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4. Re: Cost of food, drinks, groceries & restaurants?

Zabka78

You're welcome! Definitely look into going to Oistins on a Friday night. They sell incredible local food in a great atmosphere. Lots of fish, chicken and pork available. Barbadian culture at it's best.

Regards

Oakville, Canada
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5. Re: Cost of food, drinks, groceries & restaurants?

If you enjoy eating fish, wherever you decide to stay, you can go to a local fish market and purchase fish very inexpensively and cook it up in the apt. you will rent.

The fish mongers are very helpful (we usually buy fresh fish at Oistins fish market), and if you're not sure how to cook a certain fish, they can be very helpful.

As GS has mentioned, Supercentres also have a 'cooked food' section where you can purchase a variety of local foods.

Edited: 04 December 2011, 20:46
Idaho Falls, Idaho
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6. Re: Cost of food, drinks, groceries & restaurants?

Food is VERY expensive. 2.7 times the cost for American brands is probably about right, if not modest. Some US food items are 5 times the US price (i.e., ice cream, snack foods, etc.) Local (Caribbean) brands are a bit cheaper. Bajans do not eat a lot of American junk food items b/c they are so very expensive. However, even the basic (egg, bread, cheese, butter, milk, etc) are very expensive.

Touristy restaurants are also very expensive. Restaurants that cater to the local population are cheaper. The only major fast food restaurant in Barbados is KFC and the food prices are ridiculous. Ditto for all chinese restaurants. What you can get in a city like New York for $10 will cost about $25 for chinese food that is not very good.

Barbados is a great place to spend your vacation but food will be your highest cost. Liquor is cheap, both in the supermarkets and in the bars with most bars charging $5US for a drink

Everything you can purchase (clothes, food, household items, electronics, etc.) is at least double the cost in Barbados as in the U.S. This is because the government heavily taxes EVERYTHING that comes onto the island. Bring with you as many personal use items as you can and keep your purchases to a minimum.

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7. Re: Cost of food, drinks, groceries & restaurants?

Netta1465

Just a few minor corrections. We have KFC, Chefette, Island Grill and SUBWAY, TGI Fridays in Barbados... all major brands.

I wouldn't say that eggs, bread, cheese, butter and milk are expensive. It depends where they were produced. American milk, bread and butter will cost much more than that produced here in Barbados. With the cheese, it depends on the type and where it's from. Our most popular cheese, Anchor Cheddar is imported from New Zealand so that's quite a distance. Gourmet cheeses such as gouda, brie and stilton from Europe will also be pricy. But the American cheeses such as Kraft Cracker Barrel and American Singles are cheaper than the European ones. Eggs are quite affordable. One can have 30 eggs for $8 USD.

In terms of drinks, the average price for a cocktail is $9 USD. $5 USD would get you a rum and coke. A beer in most bars and restaurants will be $3.50 USD. But anything like Vodka/Tonic, Gin/Tonic, Sex on the Beach etc will be around $9USD. Also, liquor is actually quite expensive in Barbados because of the duties imposed upon it. For example, as an arriving passenger you can purchase a bottle of Smirnoff Vodka for $11 USD in the Cave Sheperd at the airport, however, that same vokda will cost you $35 USD in the supermarkets as it won't be duty free there. That is very expensive. Local liquors such as Mount Gay and Cockspur... one can call those cheap I suppose.

You're definitely spot on in saying one should bring as many personal use items as possible to keep purchases to a minimum. I advise this to everyone.

Regards

Edited: 05 December 2011, 01:05
Idaho Falls, Idaho
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8. Re: Cost of food, drinks, groceries & restaurants?

KFC is the only U.S. fast food restaurant on the island unless you consider Subway fast food. The rest are chains but not fast food.

$8.00 for eggs is at least double the U.S. cost. A doz eggs in Bd is approx $7.65Bd which translates to around $4 US. This same eggs are around $1.79US in the states. Milk is at least double ($4.75bd for a quart or about $2.50 US. It costs $1.14US in NYC). Ditto for cheese, butter and bread.

It is not unusual for me to see customers drop $300-$400+Bd in Barbados for the same grocery items that would cost approximately $75-$100 in the US. Bottom line, a walk through their major supermarket will leave a visitor in complete shock and awe. Hagen Daz ice cream is $60bd for half a gallon. That is $32 or so in $US. Store brand paper towels one roll is $4.00Bd for the kind you get in the US on sale 2/$1.

It really depends on what you buy. I bring a roll of paper towels with me and just about everything I think I will need. Barbados is simply not the place to have to keep running in and out of the health and beauty aid department.

As for liquor, I drink Absolute or Keitel One vodka and they are $5 and maybe $6 per drink. The liquor in the supermarket is cheap compared to U.S. prices, unless you go to a gas station or convenience store. Never paid $17-18Bd for any cocktail anywhere but I guess there are locations that charge that. However, the Gap clubs/bars and Oisten charge $5US for Absolut and maybe $1 more for Keitel One both with Tonic.

Again, Barbados is my most favorite place to vacation. The people, beaches and day/nightlife cannot be beat. However, the prices on everything is one of the things that holds Barbados back from being the No. 1 vacation spot in the Caribbean which is truly deserves.

Burlington, Canada
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9. Re: Cost of food, drinks, groceries & restaurants?

Quite simply go to this website for the Supercentre stores and look at the price of the products, then divide by 2 for the US value and you'll be able to compare prices to where you live.

http://www.supercentre.com/shop.html

Atlantic Shores...
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10. Re: Cost of food, drinks, groceries & restaurants?

Subway is definitely fast food. According to the Wall Street Journal, it has become the world's largest fast food outlet, surpassing McDonald's. Chefette is also fast food, but I'd argue it's superior quality to most US chains and offers some local touches/flavors like rotis.

To the OP: I find Barbados prices much more expensive than anywhere in Mexico but not that much more than Hawaii, for example. Not that different from the rest of the Caribbean, for that matter. It's an island destination -- most things will be imported. A little judicious shopping can help you minimize expenses.

The Supercentre link is a good resource for comparison.