As discussed in detail in the “Base Services” section of the Spain Tours website, the Commissary and Navy Exchange are available to all civil servants and families with orders while on tour in Rota.
MWR Rota Spain Commissary Information
NEX Store Locator Rota Spain
MWR Rota Spain Navy Exchange
MWR Rota Spain NEX Services
Though the commissary stocks most everything needed, off-base supermarkets, or “supermercados,” are plentiful and provide a rich selection of local and international food items. Some of the freshest produce and fish can be found there. Special features include a full aisle of various olive oils and wine selections. These in-town stores also carry many European products not found in American supermarkets. The product labels are in Spanish, but there are apps that can easily help you translate product information. In the Rota area there are three main supermercados: Mercadona, Carrefour and Supersol. The El Paseo Mall in nearby El Puerto de Santa Maria has a Carrefour with products similar to big American box stores in addition to its grocery section. Most neighborhoods also have mom-and-pop shops. These are the best places to find fresh bread (panaderia), fresh produce and perhaps sample the day’s melon or ham (jamon) at the carniceria.
Hours for shops can vary but usually they will open between 8-10am and close around 6pm. Some larger stores stay open later than some of the local shops. It’s best to check the hours before you go.
Shops are closed most Sundays although larger supermarkets may still be open. “Siesta hours” are also common with many stores being closed in the afternoon for a few hours (the actual times can vary by town or region). Customer service tends to be more relaxed than you might be used to in the States. If someone is in a conversation when you arrive at their store, they may not wrap up the discussion quickly to serve you right away. Be patient and they will eventually get to you and be very friendly and welcoming when they do. Additionally, waiting in line in Spain can involve some pushing. You may be pushed in front of or shoved to the back of a seemingly nonexistent line. They don’t mean to be rude, but this is just the culture. Knowing what to expect before you shop may help alleviate some feelings of frustration.
To learn more about shopping in Spain, click on the links provided:
Rota Welcome Guide (page 2)
Lonely Planet Shopping in Spain
What You Should Know Before Shopping in Spain
Shopping Guide Blog from a Military Family in Rota
Soldiers Wife, Crazy Life Blog