Vegan Food in Central America – Part 2 – Panama and Belize

Welcome to part 2 of my vegan food journey in Central America. If you’re wondering what happened to part 1, not to worry, here it is: Vegan Food in Central America – Part 1 – Costa Rica and Guatemala. I published that a few weeks ago 😉 Since I’m also working on my Vegan Heroes Series, part 2 remained on the backburner, but here it is now. 🙂

Central America is that thin strip of land that connects North America with South America, and it holds some fascinating history and ancient sites. Guatemala – also known as the Land of the Maya – hosts the famous Mayan ruins at Tikal, in the middle of the jungle. It is an amazing place to visit, and everyone who has been there and told me about it says the same, “You have to go and see it.”

Vegan Food in Central America - Part 2 - Panama and Belize

Costa Rica is an environmental haven and one of the world leaders when it comes to conservation and protection of endangered species. We can all take a leaf out of Costa Rica’s book when it comes to taking care of the environment and our furry, scaly, and feathery co-inhabitants, if you ask me.

So, next on my list are Panama and Belize, also two wonderful treasures of history and natural beauty.


Many years ago I nearly went to Panama, but then that trip was cancelled. One day, though, I will visit that little gem. It is now so much easier to travel as a vegan. Most cities have vegan and vegetarian restaurants, and many places also offer vegan variations on their menu.

Some good vegan and vegetarian eateries in Panama are Purolove Vegan Café, El Jardin Vegetariano, Veganissimo, and Loving Hut.


PuroLove offers gourmet vegan food and has received glowing reviews. Besides the menu, it also offers combo options, desserts, and juices.

Puro Love - Panama

Some reviewers complained that it was too expensive and that the portions were small, but in general it still has mostly 4 and 5 star reviews on HappyCow.




This restaurant serves traditional Panamanian meals. The menu changes every week. I only found one review of this restaurant on Google, but it looks like a good restaurant, and it’s a must if you want to try out local food.

veganissimo review

El Jardin Vegetariano

El Jardin Vegetariano (The Vegetarian Garden) offers a large seating area, cafeteria style. Food is freshly made every day at 7 am, and it is recommended to go at lunch time, which is when they still have most dishes available. Owned by a Taiwanese family, this restaurant serves Asian and Panamanian food, + a buffet and a juice bar.


Prices are great, but make sure you bring cash, since they accept only cash as payment.

Reviews about this place are mixed. Although the food is highly praised, some reviewers commented that it wasn’t hot but lukewarm and that the atmosphere at the restaurant was cold.


Loving Hut

This vegan restaurant has a variety of Western, Asian, and take out. Although it is part of a chain, each location is owned and operated by a family, which gives it a more personal touch. Reviews are great, and many recommend this eatery. It is also conveniently located in the center of Panama City.


One reviewer commented that their vegan pork tasted close to the real thing and that the dim sum was great. According to another reviewer, the food is delicious, staff are friendly, and the portions are huge. Additionally, there are also gluten free options.



Another great restaurant that comes highly recommended is Karma in Panama city, but it is unfortunately closed, probably due to the pandemic …


Karma is located in the heart of Panama city and it offers nachos, “fish” fingers, broccoli tempura, crispy cesar, club sandwich, gyro, burgers, and more. Hopefully it will open its doors again soon.



Belize is the only Central American country where the official language is English. It is also a little gem for nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries. Belize is home to the world’s second largest barrier reef, beautiful beaches framed by tall palmtrees, coral atolls, rivers, and caves. It is a diving and snorkeling paradise.

There are dense jungles with howler monkeys and jaguars, and mountain pine forests. Belize has a lot to offer.

Of course, you can also find a selection of vegan restaurants, such as Martha’s Café, Vegan Bites, and Veggie Garden.

Martha’s Café


Stunning views, right on the water, great vibes, an extensive menu, and delicious food, this place has received raving reviews. I couldn’t find any negative comment about Martha’s Café, this one definitely comes highly recommended, and when I ever make it to Belize, this will be on my list.


In Belize City

Vegan Bites

Vegan Bites is a food stand and it’s a popular place to stop by. Judging from reviews, they are a busy spot and usually run out of food by 3 pm, due to their popularity.


With a beautiful ocean view and exceptional food , served buffet style with a Caribbean twist, you can’t miss out on this one.



In Belize City

Veggie Garden

This is a vegetarian restaurant which serves homemade food. Buffet, burgers, regular meals, fast food, hot pots, pizza, combo meals, Chinese and Belizean food is all available at the Veggie Garden.

As their menu suggests, you can inform them if you’re vegan, so that they can offer you vegan options. 🙂

veggie garden menu

Reviews are all 4 and 5 stars with the majority of them 5 stars, praising the delicious food, relaxing atmosphere, the decor, and the great service.

veggie garden food

In Belmopan

Final Thoughts

Even though travelling is restricted now during this pandemic, I hope that one day we can visit these places again, see the sights, relax, and enjoy local delicacies. I love traveling, and whenever I visit another country I try out the local food.

How about you? Do you stick to your own meals, international food, or do you eat local meals? Sometimes the latter can be an adventure in itself 🙂

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23 thoughts on “Vegan Food in Central America – Part 2 – Panama and Belize”

  1. Really liked this blog. I initially clicked on it because I’m from the Caribbean and was attracted by the very colourful and island like home page. I thought the content was explicit, just the right amount and the visuals were also very attractive. Definitely in my opinion, a blog that would attract a specific audience of vegan travellers. Good job!

    • Thank you! What part of the Caribbean are you from? I’ve been to a few places, but I would love to go back and see more one day. 

  2. Finding your article was especially timely. My college roommate was visiting in-laws in Panama when the travel restrictions because of the pandemic were begun. He’s from New York, which has been hit hard by the virus; but, he can do his work remotely. So, he and his family just stayed down there. He, his wife, and their kids are ALL vegans. I will be passing a link to your article to him. He is a “connoisseur” of both gourmet vegan foods (who knew such a thing even existed) and traditional Panamanian vegan foods. I know he is going to love the information.

    • Hi William,

      Thank you for sharing this information with your college roommate and his family. So, they’ve been in Panama all this time? It’s indeed a good thing that he can work remotely.

      Thanks for your comment!

  3. Hi Christine,

    Awesome article. I loved the reading!

    Not long ago, I became a Vegan. I couldn’t stand anymore eating meat, thinking it’s an animal on my plate. 

    However, I plan a trip to Belize on a boat in a few months, so I am looking for places to eat Vegan food. I am so glad I found your article. The food looks so delicious and what a surrounding, beautiful! Are these eateries expensive? I didn’t see any price.

    Thank you for this useful post!

    • Hi Daniella,

      The prices are reasonable, especially Vegan Bites seems to have great prices. That’s so awesome that you are going on a boat trip to Belize! I would love to do that one day 🙂 Enjoy your trip!

  4. Hey Christine,

    Central America is on my list of places to visit.

    Loved the article and will check out more of your articles.

    I have always been a meat eater but in recent times have lost interest in meat and whilst I don’t think I could be totally vegan its a step in the right direction.

    What helps to push me in the right direction is looking at the food displayed in this article.

    Thank you for sharing.

  5. Hi Christine!
    Great article, just made me so jealous to go these places!
    I have been only to Mexico in 2017, but I love Central America and the Carribean sea. All these counties on my bucket list, and I didn’t know that official language in Belize is English, such a surprise!
    I’m vegetarian myself, and it is so good that these vegan restaurants appear, so now it is really easier to travel for vegans!
    All the best,

  6. Wow. These foods look delicious. I’m not a vegan, but I can appreciate the foods eaten by vegans. I especially love the picture with the green peppers and what looks like tofu. You opened my mind with this post. I live in NYC, and I tend to think only people in America eat vegan. I guess I need to get out more. LOL. I’ve eaten Panamanian foods though, and it’s delicious. I just didn’t know they had vegan food as well.

    • Hi Shalisha,

      Vegan food is eaten everywhere around the world 🙂 It’s a growing movement and it’s a little easier now to find a vegan (or vegetarian) restaurant than it used to be. I would love to visit these places. Vegan Bites looks like a great place.
      Thanks for your comment!

  7. Hi Christine. Very interesting article. Im traveling a lot (at least I did in more normal times) and I often had a challenge to find a decent vegan restaurant. I’m planning trip to Panama this year and already looking forward to test some of your recommendations. Thank you for your advices, all restaurants looks great.

  8. Hi Christine!

    You have such a great website. I love reading articles from other vegans. I have never been to Central America but would love to visit and once I am able to I know where to go eat now!

    I love this post series idea and hope that you do more in the future for other parts of the world!

    I cook A LOT at home and dishes from many cultures. My biggest issue with finding vegan options when going out to eat is mainly finding vegan options that are also gluten free. I’m hoping this becomes a bigger trend in 2021! It’s nice to see that some of these looked gluten free as well. North America needs to take notes!

    • Hi Haley,

      I have noticed that more vegan products are now also gluten free. I also hope it becomes a bigger trend, it would make it make it more accessible for more people who would like to follow a vegan diet.
      I will do more posts about vegan restaurants in different parts of the world. I already did a few about top vegan cities in Europe, South Africa, Middle East, and Asia; if you’d like to read them, here is part 1, part 2, and part 3. 🙂
      Thank you for your comment!

  9. Christine,

    I went to Belize with a cruise my husband and I took a couple years back – it was beautiful there! We were on a little island I think, or maybe a small outcropping that was geared only for the cruises, so we didn’t eat while there unfortunately, but I wish they had these gems where we went. I had drinks, but that doesn’t count!

    They do value their wildlife there – that I could tell. There was a place for the butterflies in a garden as well as a bird refuge and even a huge snake! It was so much fun there, that we want to go back.

    I’ll have to visit the city next time and take some pics of the food!

    Thanks for sharing this!!


    • Hi Katrina,

      Belize sounds like a must visit. I hope I will go there one day. Maybe next time you go back you can try out these restaurants 🙂
      Thank you for your comment!

  10. Hello there! I am not actually vegan since I pretty much eat all types of foods. But while reading this article and encountering the images in it, wow, the food looks really amazing and tasty. This article will definitely come in handy when I visit Belize one day. I will take time to look at your part 1 post as well. Thanks for this informative post!

  11. Hi Christine,

    The photos you attached in this article do trigger my interest to read more from you because they are all eye-candies. It’s surprising to know that a Taiwanese family owns El Jardin Vegetariano since I am also a Taiwanese. 🙂

    Among all the choices, I like to visit Martha’s Café the most. It has an ocean view, delicious food, and no negative comments. What else can we expect from a vegan restaurant like it?

    When traveling abroad, I like to try local food. It will help me memorize the time that I spent in a particular country. Sometimes, delicious or special local food can bring more flavor to my voyage.

    Thanks for sharing.

  12. Great article I’ve always wanted to visit Panama it’s a very beautiful place to travel to thank you for the helpful information on the different types of vegan food you can enjoy while in Panama. You’ve done a great job explaining all the places and provided reviews of these places. This article provides lots of value for people.

    All the best,



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