Shopping could either be the hardest or easiest thing to do in Nicaragua. Most people sell food, bath necessities and batteries in little shops they call “ventas” or “pulperias.” Yes, everything they sell in these little stores are completely random. These stores are run out of people’s homes and mostly take up the entire front porch. Because of this, finding exactly what you want isn’t always the easiest task.
Ventas are all around Nicaragua, with there being at least 4 to 5 in each neighborhood with only about 5-6 houses in between each shop. Each shop has mostly the same things with a couple different offerings here and there. These ventas bake their own pastries and breads to sell for the day as well as have vendors bring milk, sodas and other drinks to be sold at their store. There is a wide variety of food options, including chips, cookies, or even meats to sell for the day.
Another form of “shopping” in Nicaragua is probably the easiest and most convenient way to get a hold of some goods. There are men and women around the neighborhood whom carry a basket on their head filled with their specialties. These men and women walk up and down the street yelling what they are carrying in their basket. Some carry warm and fresh tortillas, some freshly baked bread, and others carry the grains to make some of Nicaragua’s traditional drinks. If you hear what you want from the street, you make sure to stop them in their tracks and buy whatever you need. It’s like the ice cream truck in America, just more ethnic and accessible. The selling is non-stop and starts from 4AM until 9PM.
These stores don’t have much signage but are extremely easy to find. Walk into any neighborhood and ask for the nearest venta, locals will be more than willing to direct you. Don’t you wish we had more personalized stores like these? Or even have people that walk through the neighborhood carrying just what you need and easily accessible? I do!