Getting Used To Grocery Shopping in Utila

Today we headed to the grocery store. This isn’t a “normal” American trip to the grocery store where you jump in the car go to 3 stores to get every thing on your list and then head home. We get on a boat, take a beautiful 15 minute ride to town and then cross our fingers and head in to the store. The store is not air conditioned, and often has more empty shelf space than products. We grab what we can and then head out to wait for the boat to take us back to the dock, to hop on the four wheeler to take us next to our house and then carry our boxes home. What is amazing is, that it is so much less stressful, and more enjoyable than shopping in the states where we actually got what we set out to get.


Grocery List America:

Bulgarian Feta

Red & Yellow Bell Peppers


Non-GMO Organic Soy Sauce


Cilantro (fresh)


Mint (fresh)

Chocolate Chips

Hemp Milk

Organic Local Chicken

Organic Local Milk


Charmin in the red wrapper

Non-Toxic Dish Soap

Yummy Ice Cream

No High Fructose Corn Syrup Whole Grain Bread

Corn Starch


Grocery List Utila:

Anything that says cheese

Whatever they have in the produce section today

Some kind of soy sauce

Just get some spices/herbs

They said they would have chocolate chips 4 weeks ago, can you ask again today

Chicken, 2 breasts

Rice, 1 ½

Bananas are supposed to be on the ferry today so please grab as many as you can if they arrived

The only toilet paper they have

Some dish soap that is the most natural looking with the least amount of smell

No ice cream, last time it started melting before we even got on the boat, so just skip it

Bread, the ferry came yesterday so we should be able to get more now

Find a substitute for Corn Starch


Recently to offset the trips to town and to support the islands economy where I teach I have started shopping there. At these stores you walk to the counter tell them what you are looking for, cross your fingers and wait for them to either get it for you, tell you it will be there in a few days, or look at you like the crazy Gringo you are for even thinking they would have that on a tiny island in the middle of the sea.

I still get to ride to the grocery store and back by boat, and still have much less stress than I did in the States getting groceries. Now, I just accept what I can get and make it work. The funny thing is, it really doesn’t affect us either way if we can or can’t have the things we were so used to getting before.

Full disclosure: I did almost cry today at the store when I saw fresh cilantro, strawberries and pears…

3 thoughts on “Getting Used To Grocery Shopping in Utila

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  1. Great note. We were on diamond Nd jewel key in January. I thought it was fun you could buy part of a piece of fruit, ie we needed half a lemon and a portion of something else, they just cut it and adjust the price.

    1. It is such a different way to live isn’t it? I found we actually really liked it after a while and weren’t wasting food like we do in the U.S. by having to buy more than we need.

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