Following up on my posts Best Vegan Cities in the World, part 1 part 2, and 3, today we are going on a virtual trip to Central America and explore vegan restaurants. We will start with Costa Rica and Guatemala, two favorite travel destinations that have plenty to offer. Costa Rica is an environmental haven and a lush paradise while Guatemala has a rich history displayed in their ancient Mayan ruins. A trip to either of these places is an adventure, complimented by some amazing culinary experiences.
Everyone who goes to Costa Rica always says the same: “it is so beautiful”, “what an amazing place”, “you must go there.” One day, I will, definitely. Costa Rica is an incredible country. Covered by a lush jungle and flanked by the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean, it provides a small refuge for many protected species.
The capital, San José, is not only vegan friendly, but the whole country is focused on animal conservation, with many laws that protect animals, laws that are missing in most other countries. I hope that we will follow Costa Rica’s example soon.
Naturally, there have to be plenty of vegan eateries in Costa Rica, right? One can only assume that they do, given that it is so focused on environmental protection.
So, let’s look at a few vegan restaurants in Costa Rica.
Mantras San Pedro – in San Pedro, Costa Rica
This is a mostly vegetarian restaurant, but anything on the menu can be veganized. Customers rave about the vegan pizza and the nachos. The only negatives I found were two not so stellar reviews about the Pad Thai, but everything else on the menu is great. Most customer reviews are either 4 or 5 stars, with two exceptions who gave it 2 stars.
The negative reviews complained about the Pad Thai and the prices. So, I suggest, you try anything else on the menu when you happen to go there. 😉 There are plenty of delicious meals available.
Customers describe this restaurant as a gem, and find the food delicious and to die for. Judging by the reviews, I will definitely try this out when I get to Costa Rica (it’s on my bucket list). It looks like a great place, offering pizza, pasta, falafel, wraps, sandwiches, veggie sushi, vegan pastries, and noodles. Cheese can be replaced with cashew cheese when requested.
Arbol de Seda, San Jose Province
Arbol de Seda, which was rewarded Traveler’s choice, is a vegetarian and vegan restaurant, open for breakfast and brunch. It offers local and international dishes, including Mediterranean, Asian, and Peruvian Fusion.
Note: if you have ever been to Peru you will know that their food is amazing, and it is also considered one of the best cuisines in the world. So, I was hooked the moment I saw the words Peruvian Fusion. 🙂
Customer reviews on Trip Advisor are all 5 stars with only one exception of 2 stars. I think that one negative review among a list of glowing, positive reviews is not really a bad sign. You can’t please everyone, can you? Judging from the great reviews, this is definitely a must visit in Costa Rica.
For translation, see below the pictures please.
Delicious! We loved the menu and the waitress´s recommendation was spot on. Excellent presentation and taste. Highly recommended!!!
Recommended! My wife, two small children, and I went for brunch on a Saturday. We simply loved it!!! The balance of flavors and meal preparation was exquisite. We asked for pasta with a sauce that was full with high quality mozzarella cheese, a vegetarian wrap and … More
And there are more of these wonderful reviews.
Astro, San Jose
Astro, “not a bar, it’s better” is the slogan on their Instagram page. This place offers mouthwatering pizzas and cocktails. They also host many musical events, with DJ´s, dancing, and live music and galleries by local artists. Definitely a fun place to visit when you are in Costa Rica.
I couldn’t find any negative review. All reviewers recommend Astro highly.
Looking at these pizzas, I will believe this reviewer 🙂
Besides these restaurants, there are also other great ones that are worth a visit, such as Pachamama and Que Rico Lo Bueno. The good thing is that they are near Astro Bar, in Barrio Escalante, San Jose.
Pachamama Macrobiotica is a vegetarian health food store that also features vegan products, for example cheese, ice cream, and more. The jewelry you see in the below photo is made from recycled material by local artists.
Guatemala, also called “the land of the Maya”. The Maya were spread over part of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador, but the majority live in Guatemala. Around 51% of the Guatemalan population is Mayan, and at least 40% of the population are from Mayan descent. This country is home to Tikal National Park, a site of the ruins of the ancient Mayan city of Tikal.
Their history is fascinating, but no worries, I will stick to vegan restaurants. That’s why you’re here after all 🙂 I just love history and I usually dive right into it whenever some of it is mentioned.
In Guaemala City you can find a good choice of vegan restaurants.
The first vegetarian restaurant in Guatemala, Rey Sol also offers vegan options, gluten or gluten free, and no sugar. It got 4.5 stars out of 388 Google reviews, which is excellent.
Delightful meals such as aubergine lasagna with tricolor sauce; vegan broccoli cream with potatoes; piloy beans roast with seitan; capresse lasagna with spinach, kale, and ricotta pesto; roasted garbanzos with vegetables, topped with toasted sesame seeds; Quiscuil chilaquiles with tofu, vegetables, and herbs; tomato cream with basil and Parmesan; and many more mouthwatering items are on the menu.
It looks like this is a must visit when you get to Guatemala.
Mykonos del Griego
Mykonos is a Greek restaurant, and although it is not vegan or vegetarian, it offers a good array of veggie meals. Spanakopitákia (spinach empanadas) are a favorite, and on the menu you can also find vegan and vegetarian dishes such as tzaziki, the Spanakopitákia I just mentioned, tabule, avohummus, falafel, eggplant entrée, sweet roasted chilies, Tiropitakia (cheese empanada), garlic mushrooms, and some more vegetarian cheese dishes.
Wachuma is a vegan restaurant and boasts many wonderful 5 star reviews on Google and Trip Advisor. It has also been awarded the Travelers’ Choice 2020 award.
The menu features a varied selection of delicious recipes that will also please non vegan palates. As many customers claim in their reviews, you don’t have to be a vegan to enjoy the food in this restaurant. Many reviews describe the meals as “exquisite”.
I couldn’t find any negative reviews about this restaurant, not even a 3 or 4 star. All reviews were given a generous 5 stars! Food and staff were highly praised. This looks like a place worth visiting when you are in Guatemala.
Even if we cannot travel as much as we used to, I love reading about these places and do some “virtual traveling”. It makes me daydream and it adds places to my bucket list. Guatemala is a place that is rich in history and the Mayan ruins seem nearly magical. Tikal is one of those ancient Mayan cities I would love to see one day, and I will be sure to visit the restaurants I showed in this article. It’s going to be even better when I write about my personal experience there, isn’t it?
A long time ago I nearly moved to Costa Rica, but plans were changed at the last minute and I ended up in Mexico instead. That is a long story summarized in one single sentence and that story may be for another time 😉
Nonetheless, Costa Rica hasn’t escaped me yet 😉 I still plan to go there. I don’t know when, but hopefully as soon as it is possible. Besides the capital San José, I also want to see the coastal region. I met a few people who live there (whom I met while they were in Los Cabos, Mexico, on vacation) and they showed me photos and told me about the place, urging me to go and see it for myself. So, one day, I will.
I hope that you will too. Hopefully, when covid is under control, we can travel again and enjoy the culinary delights our destinations have to offer.
Thank you for reading! If you have any traveling experience in Central America and/or recommendations for Costa Rica and Guatemala, or if you have any questions or comments, please let me know in the comments below. I’ll be happy to answer.
12 thoughts on “Vegan Food in Central America – Part 1 – Costa Rica and Guatemala”
I really enjoyed this post! Costa Rica and Guatemala look like beautiful parts of the world. I have never ventured over those sides before, but would love to do so. I have only made it as far as Europe. Costa Rica especially looks amazing! The food looks great too!
This was a really informative post!
Al; the best,
Thank you, Adam! Hopefully one day you’ll get to visit this side of the world 🙂
Hello there, Costa Rica has long been known as a great vacation destination, featuring amazing landscapes from
beaches to mountains to incredible rain and cloud forests, with a varied the climate that does that always the best time to visit Costa Rica, and more flora and fauna than you’ll know what to do with.Thanks for sharing this awesome article
I love history especially when it comes to people and places. I really would love to visit the city of Maya – Guatemala. I am really fascinated by the spread of the Maya and top of it I would love to visit wachuma, with a rating of 5, it must be a perfect environment for vegans, in terms of both food and environment
Wow, so many vegan and vegetarian friendly options. I think the Astro in San Jose has my attention the most, that and Guatemala. I am also a big fan of history and loved learning about the Mayan culture when I was younger. The pizza from Astro sounds and looks amazing. I would love to try it. I’ve never had a vegan pizza, but I’d be willing to try it. I’ve been trying to be more open with foods lately especially since my taste buds are changing. Most of my family has traveled south and has enjoyed their time. My grandparents, for example, traveled from Florida to Antarctica, taking stops in places such as Guatemala, Peru, San Jose, and several other spots before going to the south pole. They loved this experience, and all the foods they would take images of made me want to go visit that much more. This post has renewed my hope to one day travel south.
Wow, your grandparents must have had an amazing trip with many great experiences. They probably have lots of stories from those trips 🙂
Hopefully one day we can travel again and visit these wonderful places.
Thank you so much for this tasty article, Christine (you know me so well! I love to eat. Haha)! I have always wanted to travel to both Costa Rica and Guatemala (if possible, I’d like to take a global mission trip to every country in the world), and I’m also devoted to becoming a complete, 100% vegan (it’s time! It’s time!). I love the fact that there are so many delicious vegan dishes to try in Costa Rica and Guatemala; a nice, full stomach will make it much easier for me to dive into the history and culture of both countries. I especially want to visit Mykonos del Griego-your entire paragraph on that restaurant made my mouth water! Haha. I will definitely go there and try the food asap! Great read! God bless you!
I’m happy you enjoyed my article 🙂 I also hope to travel to Costa Rica and Guatemala one day and try out these amazing restaurants.
Thank you for your comment!
Thanks for this making-my-mouth-watering article when I read this before my dinner. You did an excellent job describing those vegan restaurants, to be honest.
Among all the recommendations, I love the Buddha bowl from Wachuma, which looks yummy, not to mention it gets all 5-star ratings on the internet. So, I will mark this one on my google map if I have a trip to Guatemala in the future.
I’m happy my article wet your appetite 🙂 Hopefully soon we’ll get to travel again.
Have a nice day!
WOW these restaurants look incredible!! I was completely unaware that central America had such a strong vegan/vegetarian offering and after reading this post, I am more excited than ever to go. The photo of the ancient Mayan city is beautiful followed by a visit to Rey Sol is a must add to our trip itinerary. Thanks for taking the time to share these restaurants with us, it will certainly make my dining choices a lot easier when I get to visit!
That’s great, I’m happy that this was helpful! 🙂