Coral Hipermercados (pronounced "CorRAL Eeper-mare-COD-os") in Cuenca is the only one-stop shopping location for just about everything you need for your home, including groceries. We discuss the food (or "supermercado") section on this page.
Each of the Coral Hipermercados in Cuenca carries a wide range of food products. You won't as many imported products because Coral's demographic is looking for lower cost foods. But you'll find just about any food made or produced in Ecuador.
You'll find lots of meats and meat products. Unlike the Supermaxi stores, you won't find fresh meats already packaged. Coral meats are served from a butcher counter.
There's also a pretty good produce department, although it's not as extensive as what you'll find at the indigenous mercados.
One thing you'll need to get used to at Coral is having your bag of produce weighed in the department, where they price it for you. It seems that Coral's fundamental belief is that everyone who comes to the store will steal from them if given the chance, so they reduce the chances.
The bakery department is disappointing in the Coral stores. Consider it more of a prepackaged baked goods department. There's not much in the way of freshly baked items.
The rest of the store has all the usual items, including household cleaning products, grains and flours, pasta and sauces, canned goods, pet foods and treats, coffees and teas, and candies and snacks.
One thing you'll find at the Coral Hipermercados that you won't find at Supermaxi is a large selection of calorie-reduced and fat-reduced products.
Overall, the Coral prices are lower than at Supermaxi. However, we've found some products are more expensive than at Supermaxi, so if you're on a budget, it could save you some time to shop at both stores once or twice until you get a feel for which store is best for you.
You can apply for the Coralcard, which gives you discounts on everything in the store, plus four months interest-free on large purchases. Consider it an in-house credit card with a discount.
There are four locations in Cuenca.
There's now also a location in Guayaquil.
If you're on a budget but still want a wide variety of foods to choose from, and you're willing to endure long lines at the checkouts, Coral Hipermercados will serve you well. The logo says it all—Everyyything, and cheaper!
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I just want to thank you both soooo much for creating this web site. I am originally from Cuenca but moved to New York 11 years ago and have not being back since. My husband and I are planning on visiting Cuenca over the Summer and this web site has helped me a lot.
When I came to the US we still had the "sucre," the bus ride cost 1,000 sucres and a pack of trident gum would cost 3,000 sucres. I am very nervous to go back, but thanks to your web site I now know what to expect.
My husband is American and Captivating Cuenca has taught him a lot about what my great city has to offer, things that I had forgotten about myself! :)
Thank You both so much! I cannot wait to visit Cuenca!!