As more and more people recognize the health benefits of adopting a vegan diet, veganism is being embraced by people more than ever before!
If you happen to live in the United States of America or most of Western Europe, you’ve probably not encountered too many issues with maintaining a Vegan diet.
With plenty of Vegan restaurants available at every corner and most other restaurants having dedicated Vegan dishes, going vegan is fairly simple if one is dedicated enough to the cause!
However, if you are a frequent traveler like me, things are not as simple. The very nature of my job often requires me to spend prolonged periods in foreign countries, particularly in South America!
Peru is one of the most touristy destinations on the continent, and several of my Vegan friends have complained of not being able to find vegan meals while traveling or living in the country.
With my years of experience of traveling and living in Peru, I have successfully managed to figure out how you can maintain a vegan diet in Peru and not have to pay exorbitant amounts of money to do so!
So today, I’m going to share with you my experiences on how I managed to stay Vegan in Peru and show you how you too can maintain a cruelty-free diet in this beautiful country!
The Best places for Vegans in Peru
Peru is a country that is very close to my heart, and I’ve been traveling to the country for more than a decade now. I’ve traversed through the entire country, and have been to most of its major towns and cities.
While I agree that certain places in the country can indeed be challenging for vegans – thanks to a lack of vegetarian options in the local cuisine. There are also plenty of places where you can enjoy delicious regional cuisines that are entirely plant-based!
So to serve as a guide, I’ll list a few of the best places in Peru to be a Vegan!
Out of all the towns in Peru that I’ve visited, Huanchaco is right at the top of my list when it comes to finding delicious and affordable vegan cuisine. In fact, this town has recently developed a reputation for being an attractive destination for foodies, especially for native vegetarian food.
There are plenty of vegan and vegetarian restaurants in and around the town, and they all use native Peruvian ingredients to create some of the most unique flavors I’ve ever tasted anywhere in the world!
Moksha and Oltra Cosa are two of my favorite go-to places whenever I’m in town and wish to have a filling vegan meal.
If you’re ever in Lima, make sure you do not miss out the opportunity to explore this fantastic little district filled with colorful buildings and walls full of magical street art!
Finding vegan restaurants and shacks is quite easy in this colorful district. The seaside neighborhood has plenty of small restaurants that offer vegetarian menu de Dias, along with several more luxurious options scattered throughout the town.
There are plenty of small markets across from the Feria Barranco where I used to get delicious vegan meals for surprisingly cheap amounts. You have to keep an eye out for some small no-named stalls that sell delicious local vegan food.
Finding vegan food in Cusco is extremely easy thanks to an abundance of all-vegan restaurants and stalls scattered throughout the city!
The city has always been famous with tourists due to its proximity to the Sacred Valley, but has seen an even greater rise in tourism with lots of people from the West coming to visit its ‘Healing Centers.’
This has led to a seemingly countless list of options when it comes to finding vegan food in the city!
One of the most popular vegan restaurants in the city, which also happens to be my personal favorite, is the Green Point My Vegan Restaurant. They have a wide variety of vegan options in their menu which includes soups, salad buffets, two different main courses, a dessert option, and a drink.
Being the flagship upscale area in Lima to live in, Miraflores is not short on options when it comes to vegan food!
Miraflores is a hotspot for some of the most luxurious and world-class restaurants in Lima with an endless list of vegan and vegetarian options on offer. A few of my favorite places in the district include the El Vegetariano, Madre Natura and El Paraiso Bio Leben.
While you do have plenty of vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Miraflores, be ready to shell out quite a lot of money since the restaurants here can be quite expensive.
When it comes to fruits and veggies, Peru has an endless list of selections for you to choose from. And Trujillo is where you want to be if you’re craving an exotic concoction of fruits.
We, vegans, swear by fruit juices, and while we’re on the go, we often don’t get the chance to have as much of it as we’d like.
But worry not, when you’re in Trujillo, you can get as much of it as you like. In fact, there is a dedicated fruit juice bar called El Paititi Natural in this town which I used to frequent a couple of years back.
They had a unique way of preparing their fruit juices of which I was always curious about. A guy that used to work in the bar decided to show me how it’s done, and I was pretty convinced that it was definitely the best way to make fruit juices!
A few tips and tricks for maintaining your vegan diet in Peru
So now that we’re done on the best places to be a vegan in Peru let us now concentrate on a few little things you can do in order to survive in this country which is primarily non-vegetarian.
Let’s face it, there are going to be times in this country when you’ll not find a single vegan restaurant around, and local eateries will be your choice. Peruvian cuisine being primarily meat and fish based, there is a high possibility of not finding a single vegetarian option on the menu!
Here are a few small tips and tricks which I figured out during my stay in the country that helped me out a lot.
Always carry Snacks!
Well, this ‘trick’ isn’t really limited to vegans but from my own experience, carrying snacks has spared me the pain of having to bear starvation for hours because I couldn’t find any vegan food.
There are times when you’re flying, and the airlines serve absolutely no special meals. So instead of having to starve for a good couple of hours, it’s an infinitely better option to munch on some snacks till you can get yourself a meal!
Personally, I prefer carrying some trail mix packs along with dried fruit strips. They are great at keeping hunger at bay. I also carry a bottle of all-natural vegan protein shake which delivers a well-balanced line-up of nutrients to keep me going!
Always explore the markets
If you’re staying in a Peru, and you’re having a hard time locating a vegan restaurant – go and explore the local markets. There is a pretty decent chance that you will end up finding a small stall or an eatery that serves vegetarian dishes.
Not everyone in Peru can afford meat, and it is considered a luxury in certain small communities. In the Andes, most of the local cuisine is based on potatoes, corn, and grain.
So in case you fail to find a proper vegan restaurant in the more upscale parts of the cities, go and explore the local markets. You are almost guaranteed to find at least one eatery that serves vegan food. That’s how I found most of my favorite places to eat vegan in Peru!
Learn a few local Phrases
Learning the local language of a country you intend to live in is always helpful. So if you’re planning on staying in Peru for a long time – learn Spanish!
However, if you’re going there on a short tour, here are a few phrases in Spanish that can prove to be extremely helpful for Vegans!
Yo no como carne, queso, huevos o leche – This roughly translates to “I do not eat meat, cheese, eggs, and milk.”
Soy vegana – This just means “I’m Vegan.”
Voy a tener la ensalada de frutas por favor – This translates to “I’ll have a fruit salad, please!”
There you have it, a small guide on how to survive as a vegan in Peru! While it definitely can be challenging, maintaining a vegan diet is not entirely impossible in Peru.
So I hope that by sharing my experiences of traveling as a vegan in Peru, I have been able to help out a few of you guys that have doubts regarding their travel plans. I wish you a safe and happy journey to this amazing country!