Besides a roof and a bed the most important commodity we all need is of course food. Since most of us are by no mean self-sufficient, this means "tienda" (grocery store), market or supermarket.
Here in Ecuador, especially in small places like Vilcabamba, it is the local people's custom to do their shopping as close as possible from their home. Call it lazyness or superior intelligence.
This is why we usually find a small grocery store at every corner.
The expats and travelers don't operate the same way at all. They know what they are after and go where they can find it.
One important factor to consider is that what they want is often not what the locals normally want nor are used to shop for, e.g. raw honey, organic cacao powder or tumeric.
The "Supermercado Galtor" in the street 18 de Noviembre almost facing the entrance of the "centro comercial" is a small supermarket where most can be found at an attractive price. The service is first class, the employees always courteous and ready to help.
Many expats go to Supermaxi it is true. It is more convenient to park the car but the prices can be much higher, e.g. extra virgin olive oil: Supermaxi $12.9, Galtor $9 for exactly the same bottle.
BIOregenereC - Organic Supplies - Neural Therapy - Vitamin C
To buy organic products there is a nice place in Loja close to SuperMaxi called BIOregenereC. It is a center run by an Ecuadorian couple, Daniel and Claudia. She is odontologist by the way. They offers things like tumeric, amaranth, quinoa, sea salt, quinoa pasta and much much more.
Learn more about them in our review here or watch the video (in Spanish).
One benefit of the concentration of tourists and expats in Vilcabamba is the avalability of a large selection of food that would normally not be found in such a small place.