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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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. 🙂
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.
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 🙂