PriceSmart had announced plans to open its eighth warehouse club in Costa Rica—this time in Liberia! It is expected to open in the summer of 2020. The Good News is it is under construction and right in front of the Liberia International Airport.
What is PriceSmart? And why is this exciting news for those of us who live in the northwest region Costa Rica? Because PriceSmart is a membership warehouse and is very similar to Costco or Sam’s Club, and offers similar benefits. One can buy in volume, thereby reducing trips to the store. Often imported items are available at lower prices than in Costa Rica’s other grocery stores. Considerable savings can be found on cheese, pickles, olives, peanut butter, pet food, and so on. And most products are high quality. In many instances, one can get better pricing on items than in other stores in your area.
Membership costs $35 annually, but if you shop wisely, you will recuperate that amount compared to what those items would have cost at local grocery stores.
With the membership you can shop at the other PriceSmart stores in Latin America. Those living near the Panamanian border often take advantage of the David location. To use your card outside of Costa Rica, head for the customer service counter to see if your card will scan. If it doesn’t, you will be issued a temporary pass. Though PriceSmart and Costco were related at one point in their past history and carry similar products, they are no longer affiliated and your PriceSmart membership will not be valid at a Costco. Conversely, your Costco card is not valid at PriceSmart.
PriceSmart doesn’t have sale or offer discounts. There are no express lines, and the lines can be pretty long on weekends or after pay periods. Completely avoid the place in December if at all possible. There is no hassle with returns and refunds.
The city of Liberia continues to attract investment; the presence of the Daniel Oduber International Airport and its proximity to some of the country’s most beautiful beaches and large expat communities make it an excellent hub for business. Other retailers who have established themselves in the area are DoIt Center and WalMart. PriceSmart is yet another notch on Guanacaste’s belt making it more convenient and liveable—it was always gorgeous!
For those that want to know some of the down and dirty of PricemSmart keep reading!
PriceSmart is headquarted in San Diego, California, and owns and operates U.S.-style membership shopping warehouse clubs in Latin America and the Caribbean. In fact, it is probably the only U.S.-headquartered retailer without a single outlet in the States. PriceSmart was founded in 1976 by the father and son team of Sol and Robert Price and opened its first store in Panama. The company began its big push into the rest of Latin America in 1996, opening 7 stores that year, one in Costa Rica. In 2009 PriceSmart was on Fortune Magazine’s list of 100 fastest growing companies.
Some negatives are that stocking at PriceSmart is hit and miss. Your favorite item may not always by available. Just like at a Sam’s club or Costco Also, do not expect the inventory to be identical to the warehouse store you frequented back home. PriceSmart tailors its catalog to Latin American tastes and stocks many local brands. For example, you may prefer Philadelphia cream cheese, but you will find Dos Pinos or Monteverde cream cheese in PriceSmart’s refrigerator case.
Either way the important thing is a PriceSmart is going to be close by and no more having to drive to San Jose to do club membership shopping!