Cost of Fruits & Vegetables in Ecuador

Last Updated: 22nd October 2020
Written by Jason Scott
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Fruits and vegetables are abundant and cheap in most Ecuadorian cities. The low cost is a key input into the overall cost of living in Ecuador and you should pay considerably less than in your home country. 

However, there is a big difference between the cost of fruits and vegetables in local markets vs the supermarkets (ie Supermaxi).

Our regular weekly fruit and vegetable shop at a market costs around $20. But, we still end up spending about $80/week at Supermaxi on items the markets either don't stock or we just like better from Supermaxi such as chicken.

Weekly Fruit & Veg Costs Cuenca
Our weekly fruit & veg shop for 2.5 adults and 2 kids is normally $20-$25

Everything you see on the table in the above pic cost $23.50. Laying everything out like this actually makes me feel good about all the great food we're going to each in the week ahead.

We have included several non-fruit & veg items in the $23.50 cost (honey, cheese and flour). Take these out and you're looking at a cost of $20 even.

Cost of Fruits and Vegetables at Cuenca Markets

We try to do as much of our weekly shopping at our local markets in Cuenca because it's cheap and I find it more enjoyable and stimulating than a supermarket. 

The below table shows a summary of the various fruits and vegetables, along with their costs and where we bought them. 

Fruits

Name (ENG)Nombre (ESP)QuantityCost Where?
Lemons
Limones
10
$1
Cuenca, 10 de Augusto

Bananas

Plátanos

12

$1
Cuenca, 10 de
Augusto

Tomatoes

Tomates

2 Pounds

$1

Cuenca, 10 de Augusto

Apples

Manzanas

6

$1

Cuenca, 10 de Augusto

Passion Fruit

Maracuyá

6

$1

Cuenca, 10 de Augusto

Strawberries

Fresas

2 Pounds

$2

Cuenca, 10 de Augusto

Kiwi Fruit

Kiwis

6

$1

Cuenca, 10 de Augusto

Plantains

Verdes

5

$1

Cuenca, 10 de Augusto

Mountain Papaya

Babaco

1

$1

Cuenca, 10 de Augusto

Cost of fruits in Cuenca

Vegetables

Name (ENG)

Nombre (ESP)

Quantity

Cost

Where?

Potatoes

Papas (Cholas)

1 Bucket

$3

Cuenca, 10 de Augusto

White Onions

Cebolla Blanca

7

$1

Cuenca, 10 de Augusto

Leeks

Cebolla Larga

1 Bunch

$0.50

Cuenca, 10 de Augusto

Spinach

Espinaca

1 Bunch

$0.25

Cuenca, 10 de Augusto

Peppers

Pimientos

3

$0.50

Cuenca, 10 de Augusto

Green Beans

Vainitas

1 Pound

$0.50

Cuenca, 10 de Augusto

Carrots

Zanahorias

6

$1

Cuenca, 10 de Augusto

Cassava

Yuca

2

$1

Cuenca, 10 de Augusto

Turnip

Nabo

1

$0.25

Cuenca, 10 de Augusto

Canna Indica

Hojas de Achira

40

$2

Cuenca, 10 de Augusto

Cost of vegetables in Cuenca

Other Market Produce

Name (ENG)

Nombre (ESP)

Quantity

Cost

Where

Honey

Miel

200 ml

$1

Cuenca, 10 de Augusto

Fresh Cheese

Queso Fresco

1 Pound

$2

Cuenca, 10 de Augusto

Corn Flour

Harina de Maiz Blanca

1 Pound

$0.50

Cuenca, 10 de Augusto

Cost of various market produce items

Ecuadorian Fruits

As you can tell from the summary pricing, fruits are generally purchased from the market in amounts of $1. 

ie:

  • 6 passion fruits for $1
  • 10 lemons for $1. 

This also makes it easy to remember pricing over time.

But, the supermarkets generally use pricing per weight so it is a little more difficult to compare prices in the markets vs supermarkets. 

Weekly Fruit Costs

Our weekly fruit bill generally costs around $12 for a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children & nanny). We have a nanny Mon-Fri and we provide lunch for her, so we make sure there's more than enough to go around. 

Lemons (Limones)

Lemon (Limón) Cost Ecuador (1)

Fruit

Quantity

Cost

Lemons

10

$1

These are the larger lemon variety that are a little more difficult to find in Cuenca. We mainly use these for making lemonade or guacamole. 

Bananas (Plátanos)

Banana (Plátano) Costs Cuenca

Fruit

Quantity

Cost

Bananas

12

$1

These are just your standard bananas. I'm not even sure if they are Cavendish. We generally alternate between the different types and be sure to try the red bananas!

Tomatoes (Tomates)

Tomatoe (Tomates) Cuenca Cost

Fruit

Quantity

Cost

Tomatoes

2 Pounds

$1

Whilst we try to eat our own hydroponic tomatoes when we can, we normally need to supplement by purchasing some at the markets. 

Apples (Manzanas)

Apple (Manzana) Costs in Ecuador

Fruit

Quantity

Cost

Apples

6

$1

These are Ecuadorian produced apples. There's normally also a steady supply of several different types from neighboring countries such as Peru and Chile.

Passion Fruit (Maracuyá)

Passion Fruit Cuenca Market

Fruit

Quantity

Cost

Passion Fruit

6

$1

Passion fruit grow like weeks in some parts of Ecuador. And this means low prices for consumers. We use these large passion fruits for juices, smoothies and on our morning granola.

Strawberries (Fresas)

Strawberries (Fresas) 10 de Augosto

Fruit

Quantity

Cost

Strawberries

2 Pounds

$2

Strawberries are available year round and are a common staple in our house for weekend pancakes. We also have a few plants growing and produce a good harvest. 

Kiwi Fruit (Kiwis)

Kiwi Fruit (Kiwis) Cuenca Mercado

Fruit

Quantity

Cost

Kiwi Fruit

6

$1

The quality of kiwi fruits can vary a lot throughout the country. But, we've normally found at least one or two vendors at each market have good quality. This is a favorite of mine in smoothies. 

Plantains (Verdes)

Plantains (Verdes) Bolon Cuenca

Fruit

Quantity

Cost

Plantains

5

$1

There's a large variety of plantains to be found in Ecuador. These ones are commonly just called verdes (ie 'greens') because they are not ripe. We boil these and use for tigrillo, bolones or even soup. You must give them a try if you haven't already. 

Mountain Papaya (Babaco)

Mountain Papaya (Babaco)

Fruit

Quantity

Cost

Mountain Papaya

1

$1

The Babaco is a large, popular Ecuadorian fruit that we mostly stew and have as a dessert or use as a pie/tart filling. We also have a young tree growing that does well in Cuenca's altitude, but is too young to produce fruit. 

Ecuadorian Vegetables

Pricing for vegetables is not quite as standard as it is for fruits as it's quite common to buy in bunches or buckets (for potatoes). I've found pricing doesn't generally vary too much between market vendors. Be prepared to pay around double the price at Supermaxi. 

Weekly Vegetable Costs

Our weekly vegetable bill comes in at around $8. We do have a little garden where we try to grow at least a few crops year round such as potatoes, onions, zucchinis and broccoli. This helps reduce costs a little, but without it we'd still only pay around $10/week for an abundant supply of fresh vegetables.

Leeks (Cebolla Larga)

Leeks (Cebolla Larga) 1 Bunch Cost

Vegetable

Quantity

Cost

Leeks

1 Bunch

$0.50

These are generally not as fat as the leeks you may be used to but I've found the flavor to be close enough for substituting into my favorite leek recipes such as potato and leek soup. 

Potatoes (Papa Cholas)

Potatoes (Papas) Cost in Cuenca, Ecuador

Vegetable

Quantity

Cost

Potatoes

1 Bucket

$3

Ecuador is a potato lover's dream. There's a massive variety grown here, but our standard potato is the papa chola and we use it a lot for soups such as locro. 

White Onions (Cebolla Blanca)

Onions (Cebolla Blanca) Cost Cuenca

Vegetable

Quantity

Cost

White Onion

7

$1

Slightly milder than the purple onion, the white onion is still very common and we use it most days as the base for our lunches and salads. 

Spinach (Espinaca)

Spinach (Espinaca) Cost Ecuador

Vegetable

Quantity

Cost

Spinach

1 Bunch

$0.25

This common variety of spinach is available everywhere and is super cheap. It grows as a ground cover and our neighbor lets us take as much as we generally need so we don't normally need to buy much. Great for salads and I even add it to my morning smoothie if I'm feeling wild.

Peppers (Pimientos)

Peppers (Pimientos) Cuenca Cost

Vegetable

Quantity

Cost

Peppers

3

$0.50

I'll admit that I still haven't completely figured out pepper pricing. Some vendors charge the same for red and green peppers, whilst some charge slightly more for red peppers. I do wish there was more of a demand for different types hot peppers here. 

Green Beans (Vainitas)

Green Beans (Vainitas) Cost Pound Cuenca

Vegetable

Quantity

Cost

Green Beans

1 Pound

$0.50

Another weekly staple at our house is green beans. I love cooking Thai food and add a handful to many Thai (or local) dishes. I've tried to grow snow peas a few times but haven't had much luck (yet).

Carrots (Zanahorias)

Carrots (Zanahorias) Cost Ecuador Market

Vegetable

Quantity

Cost

Carrots

6

$1

This is one vegetable I normally have to inspect at multiple vendors because the quality can differ a lot. They normally sell them with the leaves on, which I like because I can add it to my home compost. 

Turnip (Nabo)

Turnip (Nabo) Cost Ecuador Soup

Vegetable

Quantity

Cost

Turnip

1

$0.25

Can't say we buy a lot of turnips. We only really use them for some soups. 

Cassava (Yuca)

Cassava (Yuca) Cost Ecuador

Vegetable

Quantity

Cost

Cassava

2

$1

This root vegetable is used a lot by Ecuadorians and I understand why. My favorites are tortillas de yucca and little panes de yucca (with yoghurt), but they also make a good soup and fried chips (chifles). 

Canna Indica (Hojas de Achira)

Canna Indica Leaves (Hojas de Achira) Cost

Vegetable

Quantity

Cost

Canna Indica Leaves

40

$2

These edible leaves are used to make delicious dessert cakes called 'quimbolitos'. The cake is boiled in these leaves for 20 minutes and served in the leaf. We normally have to wait until Michelle's mom is in town to make these as we haven't stolen her recipe yet!

Quimbolitos are commonly enjoyed in the afternoon with a coffee. Here's the finished result:

Quimbolitos Cuenca

We're updating this list of fruits and vegetables as we buy different things.

I'm always on the lookout for fresh new ingredients, so let us know if there's any fresh produce that you'd like to know about availability and prices.

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