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Groceries on PR vs Vieques?

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Chicago
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Groceries on PR vs Vieques?

Hi - My extended family and I will be traveling to vieques in early August. There are 16 of us, so we planned to arrive in PR a day early, get a rental car and go to sams club or super walmart for groceries. We are taking the ferry over - do they limit your baggage? We will have our luggage, plus groceries. What are prices like on Vieques? Is there a large grocery store? I read that there is a bakery - are the prices reasonable? What about fruit and vegetables - is there a farmers market or anything?

Thanks so much!!

San Juan
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1. Re: Groceries on PR vs Vieques?

there are grocery stores in vieques that sell everything you need, same prices as mainland Puerto Rico.

Supermercado Morales is the biggest one. Beer and alcohol is more expensive in vieques, that is the only item i see more expensive there.

2. Re: Groceries on PR vs Vieques?

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DC
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3. Re: Groceries on PR vs Vieques?

My advice: don't bother shopping for groceries on the big island. If you can't find what you want in Vieques, you don't really need it...at least not for the few days you'll be there. Just kick back and enjoy!

Toronto, Canada
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4. Re: Groceries on PR vs Vieques?

Hi, MyLtPny;

"Is there a large grocery store?"- certainly nothing even close to a Sam's or Walmart. Super Descuento Morales is the biggest, and while you will find everything you need there, you may find it lacks a variety of choices, if that's of any importance to you.

Regarding fruit & vegetables, the quality & availability will vary depending on what days of the week you are on the island. If you arrive on Saturday or Sunday you will find the spoil-able produce to be pretty depleted at Morales. (The basic starchy vegetables, etc will all be fine) You may have to visit the cold truck at the corners of rts. 200 & 997. There is a really good street market for produce on Tuesdays & Wednesdays just south of the intersection of Rts. 200 & 201. There is also a great little shop called Buen Provecho in Isabel II that carries a lot (in very limited quantities) of what we might refer to as "gourmet" supplies.

Having given you the above 'warnings', we still agree with the other posters. Don't trouble yourselves with schlepping a lot, unless you really have your heart set on 1 or 2 key ingredients. Part of the Vieques experience is letting yourself bend to her terms!

Puerto Rico
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5. Re: Groceries on PR vs Vieques?

Hi MyLt!

Agree totally with Bruce & John excellent descriptive advice., not much to add other than .,

Enjoy Vieques and its people!

HOC

Vieques
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6. Re: Groceries on PR vs Vieques?

I recently had a lot of family members come for a special celebration, I did go to Sams , on the main island and bought a tenderloin and a few treats for a couple of meals we cooked at their rental villa over the course of 9 days. I ordered a wonderful cake locally for our special meal .Other than at Buen Provecho (and possibly only by calling ahead) you will not get good steaks on Vieques.There is plenty of Chicken and passable frozen pork chops, no pork tenderloins or lamb (again except sometimes at Buen Provecho). Seafood has been covered extensively on the forum, do a search if you want fish or lobster to cook at the house.

In general I agree about getting everything you need here but you most definitely can not get everything you WANT

Wilmette, Illinois
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7. Re: Groceries on PR vs Vieques?

Howdy, MyLtPny,

Your question about Sam's Club or the like really cracked me up! You'll see why when you get there!

As other posters said, the day of the week you shop matters a lot. I think Descuento Morales (watch out in the parking lot: it's anarchy, and we found a huge iguana sauntering in our car's path) and likely Supermercado Morales (hard to park), get meat on Tuesdays. Ask anyone -- everyone knows which day. It's kinda awkward: it'll either all be gone or it won't be cut yet -- but if it's not cut and you know what you want, they will cut it for you -- if you're very nice in asking.

Buen Provecho in Isabel II gets what they get when they get it; if lucky, later that day (ie, 4:00PM or after): it all depends on the stuff actually getting put onto the ferry at Farjado. Best to order ahead. (I plan to order like a week before we go in November, '10, if possible.) They also have a frozen section, as do the Morales stores.

The Tuesday produce market by the electric company is by far the best way to get decent produce, but get there early! Also, a fabulous baker (I've forgotten her name) sells breads, etc., a few yards down -- she also bakes to order, eg, rice bread so it's gluten-free, etc.

It's really hard to find her house the first time, but "Yvon the Flan Lady", as we call her, makes truly amazing flans. She posts the day's flavors (eg, vanilla, cheese) on a fence in front of her house, which is in Esperanza on kind of an extension of the Malecon toward Bioluminescent Bay tours headquarters, on the sea side of the street. There's a large refrigerator outside and usually clothes hanging out to dry. Needless to say, her "commerce" is quite informal.

Don't underestimate the colmados (like little corner stores): Colmado Mambo had lots of things, eg, Benadryl, sponges, decent tomatoes, etc. that can't be found elsewhere. Note: often there is no one who speaks English there, so brush up on your spanglish!

You can buy Coqui Sauce at tourist places, but it's much cheaper at Descuento Morales, but they don't seem to carry it at Supermercado Morales. We always buy numerous bottles at different degrees of "hotness" for ourselves and as true Viequense souvenirs.

As for bringing stuff down, we bring Trader Joe's Balsamic Vinegarette (3 bottles for 2 weeks: we're junkies); rice pasta (gluten-free); TJs breakfast bars; and my can't-live-without-it Greek Seasoning.

As someone mentioned, if you can't find it, you really don't need it. We have yet to eat at a restaurant in all the time we've been there (all told, about 6 weeks over 3 trips within about 2 years), but we plan to in November -- and we have a saying: it always tastes better in Vieques!

I'll be interested in how your feast goes! Buena suerte!

Massachusetts
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8. Re: Groceries on PR vs Vieques?

We stayed on the island and found mostly everything we needed there. The only thing I would bring with us next time from the main island (or have shipped) is meat. There was a horrible selection everywhere we went. If we were only there for a couple of days it probably wouldn't have mattered though.

Toronto, Canada
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9. Re: Groceries on PR vs Vieques?

It's funny;

we're finding here in the big city that there's a movement of late on the restaurant scene towards cheaper cuts of meat that pack a lot of flavour (to the point that some restaurants take a head to tail approach- they use the entire animal so as not to be wasteful). This is a direction we strongly support because, frankly, most factory processed meat these days seems to have sacrificed taste for tenderness.

We've had some great steaks from Kiki at Superdescuento Morales. We may not have been able to cut them with a spoon and we may have had to chew a bit more that we're used to, but they tasted great! (in fact, as an aside, we found that in Argentina, arguably the best place on the planet for beef, steaks were universally a little chewier that our norm in North America- maybe it's a Latin preference?)

Also, all the chicken we've had in Vieques including that from the supermarkets has tasted the way we remember chicken tasting as kids. (We seem to recall them being labelled as having come from the main island. Maybe it's the feed used, because it's hard to believe they wouldn't come from a big processing plant just like on the mainland.)

Anyway, all this to say that in our opinion & according to how we like to eat, there is really no need to bring meat from Puerto Rico to Vieques.

Chicago, Illinois
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10. Re: Groceries on PR vs Vieques?

MyLtPy and the rest of our family ended up buying meat at the Sam's Club in Carolina on our drive down to the ferry. My family were the ones traveling on the ferry; the rest took flights over from Ceiba. It was the best thing we could have done with a family of 16 on the island arriving on a Sunday afternoon. The supermarkets were great for everything from shampoo to cereal. Meat was never in good supply, nor did the vegetables and fruit look too good. We did visit one of the produce trucks, but still not really fresh. We missed the one that has produce available only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays behind the GE plant. If taking the flights from Ceiba, it is not worth going over the weight limit, since you pay 60 cents per pound. At that rate it is better to just buy your shampoo, sauces, etc. on the island, than pay for the extra weight, unless you really need a certain brand from home.

We did end up making all of our meals there. Bread is readily available and the fresh made bread from the bakeries is heavenly.

We did buy fish and lobster from the fish market by the ferry dock, as well. Buy the Coqui sauce when you see it. We bought one bottle on Monday when we went shopping, and it was sold out by Wednesday, and never restocked.