Best Vegan Food in Guatemala
One of my favorite ways to explore life and learn about other cultures is through food. Thankfully, much of Latin America is very vegan-friendly, so you won’t have to miss out on any of the bomb food that Guatemala has to offer!
Below, I’ve listed some common Spanish words and phrases that have been helpful to know during my time in Latin America, followed by what I consider to be the best restaurants in Guatemala City, Antigua, and Quetzaltenango (Xela) for vegan food.
Spanish Words & Phrases Every Vegan Should Know
Language barriers can make it tough to order as a vegan. I got you though! Spanish is the most commonly spoken language throughout the country, so I’ve translated some common words and phrases that we use as vegans while ordering.
Foods To Avoid
Below are some of the common foods that we avoid as vegans. It is not comprehensive, but knowing these words and phrases has served me well during my years of traveling throughout Central and South America.
- Caldo de pollo – Chicken broth (substitute “pollo” with the food of concern based on the list below)
- Camarones – shrimp
- Carne – meat
- Cerdo – pork
- Crema – cream
- Huevos – eggs
- Leche – milk
- Manteca – lard
- Mantequilla – butter
- Note that “maní” means “peanut”, so “mantequilla de maní” means “peanut butter”
- Mariscos – seafood
- Pescado – fish
- Pollo – chicken
- Queso – cheese
Foods That We Can Eat
Below are some of the common foods that we can eat as vegans. It is not comprehensive, but knowing these words and phrases has served me well during my years of traveling throughout Central and South America. As always, be sure to check if any of these items are cooked with animal products, especially beans and rice.
- Aceitunas – olives
- Aguacate – avocado
- Ajo – garlic
- Arroz – rice
- Aubergine/berenjena – eggplant
- Calabaza – pumpkin
- Cebolla – onion
- Champiñónes/hongos – mushrooms
- Fresas – strawberries
- Frijoles – beans
- Fruta – fruit
- Lechuga – lettuce
- Lentejas – lentils
- Papas / patatas – potatoes
- Pepino – cucumber
- Plantanos – plantains
- Semillas – seeds
- Tomate – tomato
- Vegetales/verduras – vegetables
- Zanahorias – carrots
I have encountered extremely helpful and kind waiters during my time traveling throughout Guatemala. Be sure to reciprocate the kindness of the country by using polite phrases when you order.
- Me gustaría…
- I would like…
- Muchas gracias
- Thank you so much
- Podría traerme…
- Could you bring me…
- Por favor
Stating That You Are Vegan Or Vegetarian
Sometimes, all that you have to do is let them know that you are vegan or vegetarian, and they’ve got you from there!
- Soy vegana/o
- I am vegan
- Somos veganas/os
- We are vegan
- No como/comemos leche, carne, pollo, cerdo, huevos ni queso. Nada de animales.
- I don’t/we don’t eat milk, meat, chicken, pork, eggs, or cheese. Nothing from animals.
- Soy vegetariana/o
- I am vegetarian
- Somos vegetarianas/os
- We are vegetarian
- No como/comemos carne, pollo, ni cerdo. No animales.
- I don’t/we don’t eat meat, chicken, or pork. No animals.
Below are some common questions that you may want to ask when dining at a non-vegan restaurant.
- Hay manteca en esto?
- Is there lard in this? (substitute “manteca” with the food of concern, based on the list above)
- Puedo tener aguacate en lugar de huevos?
- Can I have avocado instead of eggs? (substitute “aguacate” and “huevos” with the food of concern, based on the list above)
- Hay opciones veganas?
- Are there vegan options?
- Es esto vegano?
- Is this vegan?
- Hay opciones vegetarianas?
- Are there vegetarian options?
- Es esto vegetariano?
- Is this vegetarian?
- Podría cocinar eso sin huevos?
- Could you cook that without eggs? (substitute “huevos” with the food of concern, based on the list above)
Guatemalan Foods That Are Often Vegan
A typical meal in Guatemala may consist of some combination of handmade corn tortillas, beans, rice, plantains, eggs, and cheese or cream. Once you omit the eggs, cheese, and cream, the remaining items are often vegan. Be sure to confirm that no animal-based broth or lard was used to make the beans and rice.
Best Vegan Food in Guatemala: Guatemala City
Moonrise – Vegan
Location – Zone 4: Vía 6, 3-09 Zona 4, Edificio Rue 3, Local 1, Guatemala City , Guatemala
Moonrise was my go-to spot while I was in Guatemala City (aka, “la capital” or “Guate”), as you can probably tell by the multiple pictures. Trust, there are more where those come from, I just couldn’t include them all in here!
The menu at Moonrise mainly features burgers and sandwiches, but my favorite item there was their Nuevas Papas Moonrise. These are well-seasoned fries that come topped with soy meat, pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, and green onion. I ate every last bit of that plate!
They also have an on-site store that is available online, and sells some vegan delicacies that are tough to find in Guatemala! They have items like Beyond ground beef & sausages, Impossible ground beef, soy ham, vegan mayo, vegan cheese, and much more!
Best Vegan Food in Guatemala: Antigua
Sat Nam – Vegetarian
Location: 4 Avenida Sur casa 5 4 Avenida Sur casa 5 Antigua, Guatemala 03001, Guatemala
Sat Nam turned out to be one of my favorite spots in Antigua because the food was bomb and the service was unmatched! After all of the hustle and bustle of running around Antigua, it was refreshing to slow down and chat with the owner, Karla.
It felt like I had just popped up at my auntie’s house. Karla personally welcomed me, sat me down, and prepared my food for me after chatting for a bit. She even sent me off with a cooking and well wishes when I left! I’ll definitely be back to visit Auntie Karla next time I’m in Antigua!
Once:Once – Vegan
Location: 2a Calle Oriente #22, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala
Of all of the vegan and vegan-friendly spots in Antigua, I would say that Once:Once is the most upscale. It’s perfect for a lil’ Saturday brunch, courtyard lunch, or cute date night.
They have a menu packed with so many great options, that it actually took me 15 minutes and a few recommendations from the server to choose a dish. They feature Mexican, Italian, and Asian food, but also have special plates that scream Spanish tapas and American BBQ.
La Bruja – Vegetarian
Location: 4 ta calle Oriente dentro del CC La Fuente, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala
If you have ever been to a mall food court, think of that, but multiply it by Guatemala and be sure to carry the beautiful garden. The answer to that equation is a gorgeous outdoor food courtyard, like the one inside Centro Comercial La Fuente, which is home to La Bruja.
La Bruja is a vegetarian restaurant that serves smoothies, salads, and finger foods like burgers, tacos, and empanadas. Aside from dairy cheese, their menu is vegan.
Rainbow Cafe – Vegan-friendly
Location: 7a Avenida Sur, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala
After having rice, beans, plantains, and tortillas with my host family every day for two weeks straight, ya girl was missing my Guatemalan usual by the time I made it to Antigua. Thankfully, Rainbow Cafe had exactly what I needed on their clearly marked vegan-friendly menu.
Like many other places in Antigua, they also have a beautiful outdoor courtyard smack dab in the middle of the restaurant.
They also have a bookstore at the entrance if you’ve been yearning for some literature to increase your Spanish comprehension.
Not your cup of tea? Please at the very least, read the Spanish words and phrases at the beginning of this post so that you can be sure to let them know that you are vegan and what foods you avoid!
Earth Lodge – Vegan-friendly
Location: Pila El Tambor, El Hato, Guatemala
Earth Lodge is an eco-friendly lodge, restaurant, avocado farm, and yoga destination that has vegan options on its menu.
The journey to and from Earth Lodge takes true dedication. The required 15-minute walk truly took my breath away for various reasons. One, there are amazing views along the walk and two, the almost strictly uphill trail that I had to conquer after loading up on food.
I must say that the volcanic views and home-cooked meal were well worth it though!
Best Vegan Food in Guatemala: Quetzaltenango (Xela)
Xela Green – Vegetarian
Location: 14 Avenida 3-39, Quezaltenango, Guatemala
I found out a little too late that Xela Green was my favorite spot to grab vegan food in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. This sandwich hit in all the right ways, so let me go on ‘head and break it down for you.
The bread was perfectly toasted and lightly crispy on the outside. The seitan was seasoned to perfection and just moist enough to be juicy and tender without making the sandwich soggy.
Then the spicy green sauce paired with the onions, red peppers, lettuce, tomato, and hummus… it was a wrap! It’s probably for the best that I discovered this place during my last day in town because I surely would have eaten here every day otherwise!
Sabor de la India – Vegan-friendly
Location: 15 Avenida, Quezaltenango, Guatemala
Sabor de la India is THEE spot for vegan Indian food in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala! They don’t have many options on their menu and they are a bit pricey for Xela, but they have large portions that make for great leftovers.
The staff is super knowledgeable about what their vegan options are, so don’t be shy! Practice your Spanish a little bit and let them know that you are vegan!
Mandarina – Vegan-friendly
Location: 7 calle 13-21, Quezaltenango, Guatemala
Mandarina is a vegan-friendly restaurant in Xela that has a vegan option for everything from beverages down to baked goods.
Don’t be fooled by how the scrambled tofu looks. I usually shy away from scrambled tofu because if it isn’t seasoned well, you might as well throw the whole plate away. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the tofu AND the mushrooms, which were both well seasoned!
Punto Vegano – Vegan
Location: 7 calle 13-21, Quezaltenango, Guatemala
Punto Vegano was the only vegan restaurant that I managed to find in Xela, and it also just so happened to be a 5-minute walk away from my Spanish school and homestay! Their food is extremely affordable for anyone that is used to paying for food in America. I’ve easily had a full hearty meal there for less than $5 USD!
They don’t have a website at the moment and their menu changes daily, so you’ll just have to show up and see what they’ve whipped up for the day!
Conclusion: Best Vegan Food in Guatemala
Well, that was a mouthful! I’ve only included what I consider to be the best vegan food in Guatemala City, Quetzaltenango (Xela), and Antigua, but if you want to see some more options, check out my posts for each city.
Related Vegan Guatemala Posts
Go ahead and book that flight! Just be sure to have quick access to this post, especially the Spanish translation section, and you should be all set!