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Even though Las Tablas has about 7,000 inhabitants the pickings for supermarkets are slim. There is really only one true "supermarket" in Las Tablas, that is the: Compleo Comercial Fundado por Antero y Aquiles Espino Acevedo or as the locals call it; "Super Centro Rosa". There are many corner shops that one can run in and buy a few things, but few stores in town that carry a wide range of products. Espino has almost all the items one would expect to find in a US supermarket, everything from produce to shampoo.
There is an ATM on the premesis, but then there are ATMs all up and down Ave. Porras as there are four or five banks on this street as well and each has an ATM.
S/C Rosa is moving into a new building being built now, I guess to compete with the gigantic, new Super Carne up the street next to the Texaco station on the road to Pedasi. Even tho Super Carne has been around about 2 yrs now, Rosa seems to be thriving and expanding. Which is nice to see. The area is growing and there are more gringos moving into this area as it is still very cheap to live here.
What to buy: Even though Espino has produce, one usually can get a better price and quality from the vendors directly across the street from the supermarket. If you speak Spanish fairly well, you should do this, otherwise just grab what you need and make sure you have the attendant weigh your purchases before you go to the checkout.
Also, on Wednesday and Saturday there are two men who sell fish and shrimp on the corner outside of this supermarket. You can get some excellent deals. But be prepared to haggle, they charge more to gringos. You shouldn't pay more than $1 for a fish or more than $1.50 a pound for small-medium shrimp, $3-4 a pound for larger shrimp, or $5 a pound for the langostinos.
What to pay: Prices for produce are much less than in the US. But one doesn't find the variety. Most other items are about the same as the US, some are more expensive. Stay away from packaged products or US/ European business brand names, (i.e.; Hunt's, Nestle) they are more expensive. Local meat is much less expensive than in the US and is much better quality!
Updated Aug 28, 2010
Address: Avenida Belasario Porras
As I said on another tip page, all towns in Panama have at least one Patron Saint. In the village of Peña Blanca, which is a few miles south of Las Tablas, they recently celebrated a fiesta of their town´s patron, St. Anthony of Padua, or San Antonio de Padua. He is the Patron Saint of fishermen, also, and since Peña Blanco is close to the Pacific, that is appropriate, although, I doubt if any men in the town are engaged in commercial fishing, because it is far enough inland that it wouldn´t be feasable for the locals to be engaged in fishing. But they had a nice fiesta, with a candlelight procession that wound it´s way all through the town. Again, this was not a wild party, but a religious celebration, so no borrachos were dancing in the streets, it was a colorful, subdued celebration.
Written Jun 16, 2007