Margarita Tropical Villa Pool
Margarita Tropical Villa bed and breakfast (posada), Playa el Agua, Margarita Island, Venezuela
Bed & breakfast in Playa El Agua. 10 rooms with king size beds, A/C, pool, fridges, DirecTV with HBO & CineMax, free Internet & breakfast
From US$40 - See www.casatrudel.com for info!


Pool Side Room

Living on or retiring to the tropical island of
Isla Margarita or Margarita Island, Venezuela
Tropical Island Living!

This is the second page of our information on Living, retiring to
and Working on Margarita Island or Isla Margarita.

On this page you will find Supermarket food prices, Utility information
including Phone, Internet, Electricity and Water prices

 

Because of the total amount of information on living in Margarita Island we have broken it down into 4 separate pages:

Page One:
Climate and Weather, Property Ownership, Exchange Controls,
Starting a Business and working on Margarita Island

Page Two (you are here):
Supermarket Food Prices, Utilities including phone, Internet, Electricity & Water, Cellular phones (handies).

Page Three:
Language, Banking, House help, Nannies, Gardeners, Political Situation,

Security guards & Security

Page Four:
Schools, Doctors, Hospitals, Medical Insurance, Buying a Car and Insurance, Driving

Food Prices

The cost and choice at the larger supermarkets is not much different than North America or Europe. You will pay more for imported products however they are generally available. Here are some prices from this week's (December 12, 2014) shopping trip to one of the largest supermarkets* on the Island (Sigo Sambil). Keep in mind that the prices of the vegetables vary according to season and availability just like at home.
We'll try to update this list every few weeks.

*Note: Due to continuing shortages of some products prices now reflect what we are able to buy in whatever location.
It is no longer possible to just shop in one supermarket.

Venezuela has both exchange controls and some price controls on basic items.
The official Sicad 1 rate is now Bs.12,0 to US$1 (December 12, 2014) however if you have US$ cash
you may be able to change at banks or exchange houses for the new SICAD 2 rate which is Bs.49,99 to US$1.
To date there has been no official attempt here in Margarita to control the parallel market.
It is possible to get more Bs. for your dollar. Unfortunately the government now forbids anyone from mentioning
the rate of the unofficial or street dollar. Kind of a "head in the sand" approach but there you are.
The Bolivar Fuerte prices are listed below.

(A kilo is 2.2 lbs.) We don't buy each product every week so they don't get updated all at once.
There are a number of basic products that are price controlled which has caused general shortages.
Historically price controls do not work - they just produce shortages.
Ultimately these shortages are becoming more general and things like coffee are in very short or non existent supply.
Other things like rice, chicken, sugar, milk, coffee, tea, margarine, flour, 1st quality meat, etc., etc.
are not on supermarket shelves at various times.

We will post the price increases that we encounter starting with Jan. 1, 2011.
It will be interesting to see what kind of increases in Bs. we see during 2014 keeping in mind
that some products are priced controlled (& mostly in short supply) or seasonal.
The chart below was updated on December 12, 2014.
The price increase for 2010 was 59.7%
The price increase for 2011 was 18.1%
The price increase for 2012 was 17.6%
The price increase for 2013 was 113.0%

Date Category Product Size Price in Jan. 2011 Price in
Jan. 2012
Price in
Jan. 2013
Price in
Jan. 2014
Price during
2014
% Increase
2014
Availabilty
11-Dec-2014 Alcohol Beer Polar light 36 returnable 55.00 70.00 94.00 180.00 500 177.8 not available
18-Nov-2014 Alcohol Beer Polar light 295 ml can 3.40 5.50 7.00 12.00 22 83.3 not available
11-Dec-2014 Alcohol Rum Cacique 750 ml 37.00 43.00 51.00 120.00 480 300.0 scarce
11-Dec-2014 Alcohol Rum Carupano 8 yerrs 750 ml 77.60 87.10 107.00 180.00 344.50 91.4 not available
11-Dec-2014 Alcohol Vodka - Finlandia 750 ml 78.49 93.00 121.00 445.00 778.52 75.0 ok
11-Dec-2014 Alcohol Vodka - Absolut 750 ml 119.68 119.68 140.00 900.00 1000 11.1 ok
11-Dec-2014 Alcohol Scotch Chivas Regal - 18 yrs 750 ml 350.00 380.00 460.00 2080.00 3300 58.7 scarce
11-Dec-2014 Alcohol Scotch - Dewars White label 750 ml 110.00 118.00 131.00 500.00 1150 130.0 ok
11-Dec-2014 Beverage Orange Juice 100% 1.8 Liters 20.00 30.00 20.09 20.09 58 188.7 not available
11-Dec-2014 Beverage OJ Naranjada 60% orange 1.8 Liters 18.00 28.00 20.09 28.00 58 107.1 scarce
11-Dec-2014 Beverage Coffee, Ground 500 grams 9.95 18.72 23.29 37.50 240 540.0 scarce
11-Dec-2014 Beverage Lipton Tea Bags 100 bags 48.65 61.70 61.70 61.70 224 263.0 not available
11-Dec-2014 Beverage Milk 2% Long duration 1 liter 7.50 11.25 12.90 24.50 30.20 11.3 scarce
11-Dec-2014 Beverage Coca Cola 2 Liters 11.50 15.50 19.00 28.00 60.50 116.1 ok
18-Jul-2014 Beverage Mineral Water (agua mineral) 5 Liters 13.50 23.00 17.89 17.89 28.04 56.7 ok
11-Dec-2014 Cheese Edam / Gouda from Holland per kg 50.00 60.00 90.00 160.00 490 206.3 not available
11-Dec-2014 Cheese Mozzarella per kg 48.00 203.00 203.00 203.00 411.80 102.9 ok
18-Nov-2014 Cleaning Softener Soflan 1 liter 20.32 23.34 24.50 24.50 24.50 0 not available
11-Dec-2014 Cleaning Detergent 5 kg 85.47 104.17 87.70 94.44 400 323.5 not available
11-Dec-2014 Fruit Apples Granny Smith per kg 21.50 20.95 46.90 156.00 296 89.7 not available
11-Dec-2014 Fruit Bananas per kg 6.90 8.35 8.95 17.00 49 188.2 ok
29-Jul-2014 Fruit Melon per kg 14.95 20.00 18.95 35.00 90 157.1 ok
11-Dec-2014 Groceries Bread Whole Wheat 500 grams 15.00 22.50 32.00 47.00 118.04 151.1 ok
11-Dec-2014 Groceries Eggs 1 dozen 9.75 13.60 19.60 47.00 128 172.3 ok
15-Oct-2014 Groceries Cereal Kelloggs Corn Flakes 350 grams 17.21 17.21 45.00 45.00 65 44.4 not available
11-Dec-2014 Groceries Olive Oil 1 liter 79.45 79.45 42.50 92.00 3334 3623.9 scarce
18-Sept-2014 Groceries Vegetable Oil 1 liter 4.73 6.54 17.90 37.00 72 94.6 scarce
29-Jul-2014 Groceries Margarine 250 grams 2.76 5.15 5.45 16.00 28.72 79.5 scarce
30-Apr-2014 Groceries Sugar - white refined 500 grams 2.71 4.89 4.89 4.89 20 309 not availabe
15-Oct-2014 Groceries Mayonese - Mavesa/Kraft 445 grams 6.00 12.50 14.00 21.00 36.30 72.9 scarce
11-Dec-2014 Groceries Spaghetti 1 kg 7.50 14.62 17.40 30.00 41.88 39.6 ok
11-Dec-2014 Groceries Rice 1 kg 3.66 5.62 5.62 7.70 45.47 490.5 ok
11-Dec-2014 Groceries Ketchup - Heinz 397 grams 4.43 9.26 9.26 13.39 65.00 385.4 scarce
27-Sept-2014 Groceries Mustard - French's 397 grams 25.92 21.00 38.48 38.48 312 710.8 scarce
11-Dec-2014 Meat Chicken pieces per kg 13.63 18.87 25.00 41.90 129.90 210.0 scarce
9-Oct-2014 Meat Chicken Breast w bone per kg 17.41 48.00 48.00 48.00 83 72.9 scarce
10-Nov-2014 Meat Beef - 1st quality per kg 37.90 65.00 87.90 150.00 449.90 199.9 scarce
10-Nov-2014 Meat Beef - minced & 2nd cuts per kg 17.60 17.60 59.90 99.00 229.90 132.2 ok
5-Dec-2014 Meat Pork Chops per kg 63.00 63.90 74.00 120.00 363.90 203.3 ok
11-Dec-2014 Meat Bacon - Oscar Mayer 300 grams 35.00 50.73 58.00 106.00 176 66.0 ok
9-Oct-2014 Meat Tuna in oil 354 gram 18.53 22.66 42.00 42.00 42 0 scarce
11-Dec-2014 Meat Ham - turkey or Chicken per kg 84.00 84.00 87.00 167.00 340.75 104.0 ok
11-Dec-2014 Personal Colgate Toothpaste 133 gram 12.60 13.99 14.73 18.32 18.32 0 ok
11-Dec-2014 Personal Shampoo Pantene 400 ml 26.92 33.92 25.29 27.70 75 170.8 not available
11-Dec-2014 Personal Antiperspirant - Gillette  100 gram 57.23 57.23 57.23 57.23 57.23 0 not available
11-Dec-2014 Personal Razors - Schick disposible 4 pak 36.96 57.23 57.23 50.27 50.27 0 not available
11-Dec-2014 Personal Shaving Cream - Schick 250 ml 48.30 61.32 61.32 79.27 79.27 0 not available
11-Dec-2014 Personal Toilet Paper 12 pak 33.50 50.00 50.00 50.00 200 300.0 scarce
11-Dec-2014 Personal Cigarettes - Belmont 20 pack 18.00 22.00 30.00 45.00 75 66.7 ok
11-Dec-2014 Services DirecTV
incl HBO, CineMax
2 decoders 256.24 299.11 344.64 400.90 566.96 41.4 ok
30-Apr-2014 Services Auto Insurance Legal Minimum 422.50 422.50 494.00 585.00 696 19.0 ok
11-Dec-2014 Snacks Pringles Natural 140 gram 17.50 17.50 33.85 78.00 240 207.7 ok
11-Dec-2014 Snacks Pop Corn Act 11 microwave 1 pkg 10.05 13.00 10.91 18.00 94 422.2 not available
27-Nov-2014 Snacks Arturo's Chicken - Jumbo 3 pcs, fries, salad 49.00 68.00 87.00 160.00 285 78.1 ok
11-Dec-2014 Snacks Ice Cubes Johnny Large bag 16.00 20.00 20.00 45.00 75 66.7 ok
11-Dec-2014 Vegetables Tomatoes per kg 35.75 16.95 41.95 55.00 166.73 203.2 ok
5-Dec-2014 Vegetables Onions per kg 26.75 21.75 35.00 105.00 110 4.8 ok
5-Dec-2014 Vegetables Cucumbers per kg 12.50 10.95 8.50 8.50 35 311.8 ok
26-Jun-2013 Vegetables Cauliflower per kg 13.75 13.75 21.95 42.00 42 0 ok
5-Dec-2014 Vegetables Potatoes per kg 12.50 19.75 22.40 45.00 95.50 112.2 ok
5-Dec-2014 Vegetables Carrots per kg 13.95 16.50 16.50 25.00 117 368 ok
11-Dec-2014 Vegetables Avocado per kg 39.50 17.50 18.95 36.00 65 80.6 ok
5-Dec-2014 Vegetables Green Pepper per kg 39.90 19.95 57.40 59.50 160 168.9 ok
11-Dec-2014 Vegetables Lettuce - Romaine per kg 25.50 23.50 23.50 39.00 81 107.7 ok
TOTAL       2,898.50 3,423.76 4,032.21 8587.67 19501.10 127.1%  

 

Utilities

Phone & Internet information

In many ways this has greatly improved in the years that I have been here. Certainly telephone service as provided by the main company CANTV including Internet and Cellular are nothing short of a miracle in change.
Everybody has a digital cellular phone and internet connections are reliable and fast even with a dial-up modem.
In the areas of the Island where it is available DSL service costs from around US$5 per month (1024 Kbps) to US$10 per month (1536 Kbps).
DSL is now generally available in most areas of the island.
See http://www.cantv.com.ve/seccion.asp?pid=1&sid=1377 for the latest rates.

Current costs for normal residential telephone service run about US$5.20 per month with every minute of local time at an extra cost.

Cellular Phones

Everyone here has a cel phone - I mean everyone. They are really cheap and can be bought on a pre-pay system where you buy phone cards and apply the amount to your account. If you have a local credit card you can also buy one that will be billed monthly. We recently purchased a Nokia N8 and arranged a "Post Pago" plan that costs around US$5 per month and includes 1 gb of net surfing. Phone cards are available in all sorts of denominations from Bs.15 right up to Bs.120. Call costs are around Bs.0.50 per minute for outgoing calls.
There is no charge for incoming calls.

In order to activate your foreign cel phone or handie you would have to visit one of the cel phone companies and
buy a SIM card for your "unlocked" cel to work here. If not you can buy a "throw away".
There are a number of offices in the Sambil Shopping Center that do this.

There are three large cel companies here that control 100% of the market. The biggest is Mobilnet which is owned by the national phone company CANTV (owned by the government) - the other is Movistar
(formerly Telcel) (owned by Bell South) and a third called Digitel which is growing.

Our experience in dealing with these companies is that Mobilnet is cheaper in per minute costs and easier to deal with. Others may not have had the same experiences as we have had. Since the government took over Mobilnet the service has deteriorated.
Note: Dec. 2013. Mobilnet service now is really bad with poor internet connection & areas of no service.
Would recommend either of the other companies.

Electric in Margarita Island - Fall 2014

Due to 16 years of neglect & no investment the Venezuelan electrical & water systems are on the point of collapse.
A drought was being used as an excuse for some of the electrical problems however that excuse no longer exists.
The problems continue throughout the country

Here in Margarita we have sufficient electricity for normal times outside of national holidays
when the population swells by hundreds of thousands of visitors.

July 2011. We have had intermitent rationing with cuts of
around 2 hours duration 2 or 3 times a week for the last 4 months.

Sept. 2011 - Now with the summer vacation period over the service has returned to normalcy.

August / September 2012 - The whole Island has been suffering from numerous cuts due to rationing on the part of the electric company, Corpolec. Cuts usually last 1½ hours & happen 2 to 3 times a week.

December, 2012: There have been fewer cuts during the Christmas vacation period.

September 2013: We have been getting intermittent outages here on the island
& throughout the mainland there have been many problems even in Caracas.

March, 2014 Electrical service is more or less stabilized in the last few months.

August / September / October / November 2014: Almost daily outages from 30 minutes to 2 hours
due to a failure in the undersea cable from the mainland.
This is expected to be replaced by December, 2014
and they say the problem will be resolved. I have my doubts.
Just look above to see that the problems have be ongoing since I started tracking in 2011

Electricity

Electricity is by a company called Corpolec which is now owned by the national government and the paying of the monthly bill and dealing with problems continue to be the dread of all who live here.
Long payment lines and insensitive service reps continue to be a major problem. I use between 1500 - 2200 kw per month at costs running between US$10 - $15 monthly. The more power you use the higher the kWh charge is. You can multiply these amounts many times if you are going to have A/C. If you live on the north side of the Island and have a little air flow in your house you shouldn't need A/C. (Have to add that we added A/C in 2008 & with global warming are glad that we did). Garbage pick-up is also charged now on your electric bill.
Mine runs less than $2.00 per month and is based on electrical usage - use less, pay less.

Water

The water service is the worst run company in the country. HidroCaribe is still a government entity and is totally inefficient and difficult in the extreme to deal with. I have been receiving monthly bills for more than 7 years for one connection that was closed and more monthly bills for a connection that doesn't exist. Many visits and letters have been unable to resolve the problems as no one seems to have the power (or wants to accept the responsibility) to correct the errors. 
You are always best to buy a property or business that already 
has water service installed & working that is being billed correctly. 
The actual charges for water are now much higher than previous years (July 2014)

If you need some time to find a rental place I can recommend my vacation property as an affordable & comfortable place to stay for a couple of weeks / months while you are looking around and getting oriented. Have a look at Margarita Tropical Villa (Casa Trudel Bed & Breakfast) which offers rooms with private baths, A/C, DirecTV LA, pool, fridge, microwave and king size beds. The property is close to Margarita Island's most popular tourist area and beach, Playa El Agua . You can just send me an e-mail at margarita.island@gmail.com .

B&B (posada) / hotel / large house for sale
in Playa El Agua beach!
 

Living, Working & Retiring In Margarita Island, Venezuela - Page Index
Page One
Climate, Property, Exchange, Business & Working
Page Two
Food Prices, Utilities, Phone, Internet
Page Three
Language, Banking, Help, Security, Political
Page Four
Schools, Hospitals, Doctors, Car Buying, Insurance

 

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Contact: Dan & Kira O'Brien, Playa El Agua, MARGARITA ISLAND, Venezuela,

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Telephone: Please call ONLY between 8 AM & 7 PM Venezuelan Time
We do not give quotes by telephone. Please send an email.
(58) 295-249-0558 or Cel (58) 416-695-3704

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This site was created by Dan O'Brien...your comments & suggestions are welcome.