Supermaxi is the best known supermarket chain in Cuenca. This national grocery chain is owned by a company that also owns hardware, housewares, toy and book stores across Ecuador.
Each Supermaxi has a deli with a wide selection of meats, cheeses, seafood and fish, and bulk pickles and items.
There's also a wide selection of meats in each store, including some of the less appetizing parts (well, to many North Americans).
These include tongue, brains, kidneys, livers, hooves, and, in the case of whole chickens, heads and claws. You can even buy a bag full of chicken feet!
Friday is 10% discount day on meat and seafood.
Supermaxi also has a decent produce department, although it's not as extensive as you'll find at any of the indigenous mercados.
You'll find mushrooms, beans, vegetables, fruit and fruit juices, potatoes, and flowers. Wednesday is 20% discount day on all produce items, including flowers.
All three of these grocery stores in Cuenca have an in-store bakery with a wide range of products, including cakes, as well as packaged breads, pitas, cookies, etc.
The rest of the store contains your usual supermarket products:
Most of the products are made in Ecuador. However, for just about every product, there's one or more made in North America (e.g., Hunt's spaghetti sauce, Safeway organic popcorn, Peter Pan peanut butter) or Europe (Nutella, and Spanish olive oil, for example).
These imported items are very expensive compared to in-country products, due to shipping costs and import taxes.
As mentioned above, Supermaxi offers 20% discounts on produce and flowers on Wednesdays, and 10% discounts of meat and seafood on Fridays. There are no weekly specials, however.
You'll find prices here are higher than just about anywhere else in the city, except perhaps the specialty meat shops.
The card does save you at other locations, though, including Budget car rentals, hotels and hostals, chocolate at Godika Chocolatier, several restaurants, Curves fitness center, Sukasa high-end housewares store, and the Tventas electronics shops.
There's no charge to apply for or use the card (after the Ecuadorian government stepped in and made charging for the privilege of saving money illegal).
There are three Supermaxis in Cuenca. There's one at Plaza de las Américas, on Avenida de las Américas, just north of the Gran Colombia/Ordóñez Lasso overpass.
Another location is Centro Comercial Miraflores, on Avenida Elia Liut, just around the corner from the airport.
The third location is not far from Cuenca's futbol stadium, on Alfonso Cordero at Avenida Manuel Calle.
Supermaxi is an excellent place to shop if you need convenience and a wide variety of items (over 16,000 of them), and don't mind paying extra for them. If you plan to do a lot of shopping there, obtain the discount card, or you'll be paying much more than you need to.
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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!!