There is plenty of grocery shopping in Mexico to meet all your needs, including a Home Depot and a Sam’s Club! The two major grocery store chains are Mega and Chedraui (also known as El Super if you are in the United States of Nevada, Arizona or California). Mega is where we did most of our shopping and at first we thought it was the Mexican version of Walmart with a different name. We found out later the two stores are actually in competition with one other, but like Walmart, Mega has a huge surplus of items in all varieties, sizes, shapes, colors, and flavors.
► Ranking: #cleandiaper
MEGA Soriana Grocery Store
Grocery Shopping in Mexico
Playa del Carmen
Avenida Constituyentes, Gonzalo Guerrero, 77720
Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
Phone: +52 984 803 0690
Hours: Sunday – Saturday 7a – 11p
Mega is, well, mega. It’s a massive store. Located along the main drag of Avenida Constituyentes in Playa del Carmen you’ll notice it immediately once you get off the highway. The vast outdoor parking lot continues underground and feeds into the lobby of the grocery store.
Outside you’ll find Marquesita bicycle vendors in the parking lots that sell confections made straight from a box on wheels. Waffle cone shells that are filled with Edam Cheese and Caramel. Supposedly, it’s delicious. We still regret not trying one. Inside, smaller stores are located in the basement including an ice cream shop, shoe store, and kiosks peddling tickets to adventure parks located throughout the Yucatan.
A magnetic escalator will take you and your shopping cart up to the giant warehouse. We also saw these magnetic escalators at the local grocery store in Japan. Your shopping cart locks onto them in both directions, up and down, so there is no threat of crashing the heavy cart and losing your newly preciously purchased items.
When it comes to grocery shopping in Mexico at the MEGA Soriana, everything is mega. The selections are mega. The piles of goods are mega. The stacks are mega. The abundance is mega. The number of mattresses are mega.
Yes, mattresses at the grocery store. Once you reach the top of the escalator you will be accosted with an enormous presentation of mattresses. Stacked 12 feet tall in rows upon rows horizontally, and in rows upon rows vertically along the walls. I never knew Mexican’s needed so many mattresses when they bought their apples and oranges.
Once you’ve explored that entire section of the store, and assuming you didn’t get lost or buried, you’ll then find all the department store items. Clothes, shoes, swimsuits, swimming toys, etc. This makes up the front half of the store.
Behind that is an amazing assortment of fish. Shrimp, scallops, mussels, and slimy creatures with their eyes staring up at you. And they smell. The fish is located next to the cheese. Cheese and fish. That’s probably a good combination on a normal day, but I hightailed it out of there and made my way to the cookies. Or, maybe that is just the pregnancy talking.
We didn’t buy a ton of treats during this trip as we were having way too much fun at the cenotes and ruins, but one thing we did love were these little Mexican caramels that were named Butter Toffees. I’m not even really sure they were Mexican at all, but they were sooo good. We would give each of the children a few to keep in their pockets at the ruins and they got to eat one whenever they felt like complaining.
We also couldn’t get enough of these shortbread cookies: Gamesa Galletas Marias Cookies. They don’t look like much, in fact, we were surprised at how unappetizing most of the pictures of the cookies looked in their packaging, but these are buttery, smooth and soft. We ate them all during our drive from Ek Balam to Chichen Itza and then were disappointed we only had lemon filled cookies to eat instead of more Galletas Marias.
But nothing was as good as the Penafiel Fresca Strawberry Soda. This yummy soda drink is kind of like a Jarrito, but so much better. There are quite a few flavors, like orange, lime and pineapple, but the strawberry is the absolute best!
A few aisles over you can’t miss the baked goods sections. As opposed to the states where the cookies, cakes and donuts are all packaged in appetizing and inviting clear plastic boxes, in Mexico everything baked is just out on racks and shelves presented on giant aluminum cookie sheets. There are no containers, or plastic boxes, or display cases. There are even giant sheet cakes and flans out there for patrons to simply cut a slice out of – at least I presume that’s the idea. We tried to wait around to see what others were doing but never had the good fortune.
On your way out of the store you might be enticed by the giant jugs of cleaning products that exactly mimic the look of lemon lime juice. These mega cartons are so pretty, but likely highly toxic if ingested mistakenly.
► For Kids: We love visiting grocery stores in other countries and cultures, and grocery shopping in Mexico was no exception. It’s such an integral part of human life but the way we do it varies every place we go. Not only do you get to see the different varieties of goods sold in different regions of the world, but the way they are displayed is always culturally stimulating.
Do you know the secret of the mattresses? Should we have hit up the Chedraui instead? What are your favorite Mexican goods that you can’t go without when making a trip to Latin America? We’d love to hear all about it!
► Nap-Time Version: Grocery Shopping in Mexico at the local Mega Grocery Store in Playa del Carmen offers a different cultural experience with lots and lots of mattresses.