I wanted to share with you that if you live abroad and are missing your favorite health and beauty products from North America or Europe, there is a great US based company called Vitacost that supplies online customers all over the world with the best brands in vitamin, supplements and healthy foods at discounted online prices.
I discovered Vitacost.com when I lived in the US six years ago, and have since then purchased all my favorite vitamins, beauty care, probiotics and numerous other essential personal care items on their site. The savings at Vitacost are huge. If you walk down the aisles of your local health food store and then compare the prices of those same brand names at Vitacost and you will see what I mean.
Now that I live outside of the United States in Nicaragua, I also greatly prize their other unique service: $9.99 DHL worldwide shipping.*
I love that Vitacost is one of the few companies in the world that will do you the favor of putting your online order into a DHL Global Flat Rate Shipping box and mail it to you on any continent in which you might be. You can order food, toiletries, vitamins, supplements, cleaning items, water filters, items for your kids and for your pets (etc., etc.) and it all goes right into the box and straight into standard international mail. No freight forwarder involved, no higher prices for non-US orders, no express mail service that might get red-flagged for a customs search.
I know from living in Nicaragua what it is like to struggle to find all these quality products abroad that contribute to better health and well-being for your family. There was a year that I was disconnected from Vitacost when I first moved to Nicaragua and I didn’t realize that they would ship to me anywhere I traveled. I had completely stopped taking vitamins and supplements and did not feel at all at my best.
One day I lingered on the Vitacost site pondering if I could have some products freight forwarded to Nicaragua through Miami and then I saw it that Vitacost ships internationally! Everywhere. To all four corners of the world!
Would they really ship to India and Iraq… to Mozambique and Tajikistan? But more importantly would they ship to Somoto, Nicaragua?
I had to see if I could get a delivery through! I prepared a daring Vitacost order of highly sensitive, coveted items that I was missing and I noted with relief (and skepticism) that I was charged only $9.99 USD for DHL Global Flat Rate Shipping to get my package all the way to my little town four hours from Managua.
I waited expectantly. I did what nervous expats do when they are waiting for something of importance to arrive by a precarious mail service. I patrolled our local post office to chat up the post master and sheepishly ask them again to look over their books for any recent arrivals.
And then, four weeks later, it was there! A Vitacost package arrived to the edge of civilization and it was magical. All the logistical things that had to go right did. Twenty córdobas ($0.60) in fees and it was in my possession.
It was so exhilarating to reconnect with the things we wanted.
We celebrated our restocked medicine cabinet and cupboards and I noticed that it made me feel not so far from home. I repeated the experiment every six weeks, enjoying the convenience of ordering online again in a country that has no online retail at all.
A peak at some of what was in that care package…
As many of you know, I now live in Granada, Nicaragua which is a mere 45 minutes from the capital city of Managua. I have been ordering my Vitacost care packages to Nicaragua for over three years now and the arrival time on my care packages has been reduced to 3 weeks now that I live in the south.
Being closer to Managua hasn’t changed my dependence on Vitacost products. When I have been able to find similar products in the capital, it rarely has the price anyone should be willing to pay for it, nor does it have the quality to which we are accustomed.
This is particularly true regarding good vitamins and probiotics for adults and children (so important after parasite treatment), quality sunscreens and bug repellents, food supplements and natural beauty products.
The first time you see basic bottles of Banana Boat sunscreen for $12-18 abroad, you’ll know what I mean. For that price those bananas had better be organic! I’d much rather spend my money on an Alba Botanica Sunscreen that smells amazing and has a grocery cart’s worth of natural antioxidants in it.
Before I tell you about my Top Ten Essential Vitacost Products that we do not have to live without in Nicaragua, I should add that Vitacost has excellent customer service. If I am unsatisfied with any of my items or anything arrives damaged, I simply use their online chat feature and they refund my purchase.
In three years of frequent ordering abroad, I have had a few things go wrong: a box that ended up in Nigeria, a Bragg’s apple cider vinegar bottle that cracked en route- problems that required attention. The issues were resolved online with courtesy and understanding and I am still a loyal Vitacost customer with a lifeline to the best of the US in health and beauty.
And for that reason without further ado, I give you my 10 Essential Vitacost Products that we don’t have to live without in Nicaragua.