I often get asked whether I find it difficult to stick to a vegan diet whilst travelling. Some countries can be harder than others but through perseverance, you will be sure to find a vegan alternative just about anywhere you may roam. I have compiled this blog post to help fellow vegans, vegetarians, and the ethically conscious alike to help prepare expectations on meals and what to expect when travelling vegan in Guatemala.
In this blog post you will find 8 vegan friendly eateries where you can find a delicious meal during your travels in Antigua, Guatemala. Scroll down towards the end to get some helpful tips, Spanish translations for vegan food ordering and suggested apps to make vegan eating while traveling easier.
La Bruja is a mostly vegetarian cafe situated in a courtyard circular to a botanical French style garden. This makes for the perfect view if you choose outdoor seating. La Bruja offer a variety of vegan dishes including salads, sandwiches, buddhabowls and burgers. La Bruja also have a design your own burger menu called the ‘Veggie Burger Club’. This menu allows you to choose your patty (options like felafel, lentil, quinoa, bean etc), your bun, salad, sauce and side dish (fries or salad).
I ordered a burger using the ‘Veggie Burger Club’ menu with a side of chips and a ‘Vegan Chorizo Sandwich’ – both were delicious. This was a lovely cafe to relax and re-coop from the ever so busy tourists flooding the cobblestones of Antigua. The cafe also sells vegan activism shirts which I thought was fantastic.
Samsara is a health conscious fully vegetarian cafe with dishes inspired from local cuisine around the globe. This is one of the most popular cafes in Antigua for its creative food, acoustic vibe and bohemian interiors. About half the menu is vegan featuring gourmet dishes like Zoodle Salad, Black Tempeh Tacos, Cacao and Macadamia Pancakes with blueberry jam.
The cafe even has vegan cheese! If you visit be sure to check out their sales section as they also sell vegan toothpaste and bamboo toothbrushes (the cheapest I’ve ever seen), coconut oil, granola, vegan raw cakes and more.
Wachuma is a fully vegan whole foods cafe hidden in a narrow space off the bustling streets of Antigua. I remember discussing my quest for vegan food with the manager of this place in June 18 and he was full of passion. As this was a chance discovery on a full belly I was not able to try a complete meal ,but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to grab a snack for later. The raw slice was delicious and I wish I could have tackled a few of the dishes. Wachuma have a menu of salads, bowls, acai, smoothies, teas and raw delectables. For a quick and healthy meal Wachuma sounds like the place to be.
The Rainbow Cafe is a vegan friendly meat serving restaurant with fun live acoustic nights, open mike nights, NGO presentations, book readings and even karaoke. Although they have only have a few known vegan options for dinner, this restaurant is well worth your time for its upbeat entrainment and welcoming community focused vibe. Self described as a restaurant bookshop and bar there is something for everyone. Known vegan options are Israeli falafel with hummus, salad, pita bread, beans and rice, fruit salas & a tofu stir fry with vegetables and white rice.
Although I did not personally visit Sat Nam I have seen raving reviews on Happy Cow so I thought it would be helpful to bring it to your attention. From what I read online it appears to be a Vegetarian cafe with plenty of meals that can be customised vegan. They describe their cafe with the following: “To offer a new concept of nutrition, with healthy and balanced foods, combined in such a way that they become a surprise in your body and your being.” The food looks wholesome and I’m sure Sat Nam would be worth the visit!
Organica – Health Food Store
Organica is a health food store selling organic fruit and vegetable produce and eco friendly beauty and wellbeing products. Great for those looking to cook from the comfort of your accomodation or wanting to stock up on snacks. PRO TIP: If you are planning to hike any of the three volcanos nearby Antigua this store is your best bet at finding a healthy snack or bar for the hike! I stumbled upon the store on my quest to find aloe vera for a sun burn and found it to be very well stocked and convenient. They also sell gluten free products for celiacs.
Fast Food In Antigua
As Antigua is very tourist oriented there are many fast food locations that have dishes that can be customised to be vegan. The chain restaurants that I believe would serve a customised vegan option include Subway, Taco Bell and Go Green salad bar.
Guatemalan Vegan Facebook Group
For further recommendations and local support I highly recommend joining the Vegan & Vegetarian Guatemalan Support Group. Find it on Facebook through the link here or search for it on Facebook by typing ‘Veganos y Vegetarianosen Guat
The most common Spanish phrases I used to order vegan abroad are the following:
I am– soy Vegan– vegano (male pronoun but most common) or vegana (female pronoun)
Vegan diet is without– vegan dieta es sin Without animal products please– sin animale producto por favor
What on your menu is vegan– que en el menu esvegano? Do you have – tu tienes
Vegetarian– Vegetariano (many will not understand vegan – try ask for vegetarian options when in sticky situations then order without the animal products)
With– Con Without– Sin Water – Agua Eggs– huevos Butter– mant
Meat– cares Beef– res Chicken– pollo Salad– ensa
Ingredients– ingredientes Stra
Beans (usually black beans served cooked as is or refried) – frijoles
Just like back at home you’ll find plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables at your local grocery store in Guatemala. Expect all the pantry staples but don’t think you’ll find mock meats. Purchasing packets of nuts, chips, pre made tortillas or avocados are always great snacks for the road. You’ll also find a variety of soy milks too.
Download the Happy Cow app– This app is a public service hub for vegans and vegetarians to source plant based animal friendly meals whilst traveling. Simply put in your location and Happy Cow will search and provide peer reviewed eateries which cater to your requirements. Searches can be done to find vegan restaurants, vegetarian restaurants or eateries with vegan options that also cater to meat eaters, which is useful for group dinners. You can also use the app to list your own restaurant or review a place you have been to. I cannot recommend this app enough as a necessity to all veg travellers! I use it in every country I visit. Download Happy Cow here!
Download Google Translate– While google translate is amazing for fast translation to break the barrier of communication, not only will it help you explain to your waiter what you wish to order it can also TRANSLATE MENUS USING CAMERA. All you need to do is download Spanish onto your phone. This will allow you to not only use the camera to translate menus in real time but it will also allow you to translate conversations or your sentences without the use of internet. Mind = Blown. Download here!
Final Parting Notes
Although it can be just that little bit more complicated to order a dish vegan in a country which does not have your native tongue -sticking to your ethical values as a vegan eater IS very possible and rewarding no matter where you are in the globe. There is no need to break your veganism just to travel, and, with a little research and guidance from locals you’ll find that many traditional dishes around the globe are by default vegan or can be made vegan with the simple removal of meat. It is also not as common in local delicacies to add unnecessary milk products or egg so in many cases you may find it EASIER eating traditional cuisines abroad where unnecessary additives is not as common as they are in western countries haha! I wish you all the very best in your travels and hope you stay safe, well fed and curious. Happy Eating!