Vegetarian food in South America

Being a vegetarian while travelling can be hard sometimes, but most of the time you just have to ask and people are happy to make you something if there’s not an option on the menu. People always ask me what the food was like in South America, as I’m a full time vegetarian and part time vegan.

South Americans diet does mostly revolve around meat, beans, rice and cheese. Though the cuisines vary all over the continent! But honestly the food I had was amazing and I had no trouble at all being vegetarian. There was usually something on the menu for veggies and even sometimes for vegans. So there’s no need to worry if you are Veggie or Vegan and you’re going to be travelling to South America.

Vegetarian Food in South America

Vegan Empanadas

I had all kinds of comments before the trip like:

“What are you even going to eat? Rice and beans all the time!?”

“Good luck with that, you’re for sure going to end up having to eat meat you’ll be starving”.

Well it wasn’t actually that difficult. I never ate meat once and I wasn’t starving hungry that’s for sure!


Best Vegetarian Food in South America

I did end up with some standard plain meals but I also ate a lot of delicious meals aswel! Some of the best food I had for veggies was in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia, maybe due to their being a high amount of tourists. There were veggie/ vegan options on most menus in restaurants and cafes and sometimes entire vegan restaurants! In Lima I had some of the best food on my trip. (which I didn’t take photos of as I had already scoffed it down before thinking about my blog) Opps…

Here’s some of the meals I had and where:



Amazing fresh sandwiches, burgers and lots of more western world food. Cool food markets in Buenos Aires and stocked up supermarkets everywhere.


Surprisingly better than I expected! I ate in the coolest cafe’s in La Paz so many tasty sandwiches and juices. The most amazing vegan food from Eco Joshua Hostel in Copacabana (you must stay here). Even on the 4×4 Tour to Salt Flats we had quinoa, vegetables, fruits it was great!


I ate lots of pasta, rice, beans lots of cheese sandwiches and so so so much juice. I love the beans they go with everything. In Rio I ate out alot but somehow took no photos! Vegan pizza, pasta, plates of veg, falafel wraps so much to choose from!


Santiago is a Vegans food heaven in South America! Lots of vegan shops stocked with the kinda things you can get in the UK. Vegan empanadas, cakes and deliveroo with vegan restaurants! Ask for a vegetarian version of the famous Completo!


So much option in Colombia! my favourite South American dish Is Vegetables, rice, Avocado, Arepa, Plantain and beans (I don’t think it has a name). They dont always have a veggie option so just ask for it without meat and egg if you want the vegan version. Lots of cool cafes in the big cities with lots to taste!


My friend showed me around Quito and got me to try all the local foods and made sure I could have ones which were Veggie. I had Corn and Avocado Ceviche (you have to try it) at Pim’s Panecillo, an amazing restaurant with great views over the city! I tried lots of different friend things with cheese and potatoes. My other favourite thing is an Arepa, these are originally Venezuelan but I had the best one in Banos.

The Guyana’s

A mixture of everything from around the world! Caribbean, European, Asian, American. I had the nicest Pho in Cayenne, French Guiana where there’s so many restaurants. Got my first taste of plantain. Had some american pancakes and ice coffee in Georgetown and then a local pumpkin curry aswell (which again no photos of).


Peru’s got a strong food game! Especially in Lima which is a culinary capital! Again I had some amazing food all of which I took 1 photo of. I had vegetarian burritos, wraps, salads lots of tasty food. Everywhere else you can find great menu del dia’s where you can eat so cheaply!


The best Vegan/Veggie empanadas from La Molienda which is a health store in Montevideo with cakes and so much more! Montevideo is great for Veggies I could have stayed longer to visit all the cool organic cafes. Great homemade wine and hostel meals from El Diablo Tranquilo Hostel.


Probably didn’t visit in the best time during a political crisis and food shortage. But the food I did have was also nice. I had my first Arepa with some fresh Mozzarella and yummy food during my tour to Angel Falls. Which you can read about here!

Buffet full of veggies, rice and potatoes

Don’t worry about what you will eat!

In every country I ate something that was tasty. Mostly it was down to me asking especially if I wanted something local. But the people are so friendly they are happy to make you something, though they might give you a weird look as they think you’re a crazy hippie person (not always). I had my fair share of crackers during bus trips and cheese fried things.

At the start of my trip I was buying lots of vegetables from markets and cooking in hostels to save money but ate the occasional meal out. I tried to take pictures of my meals but most of the time I forgot as I was probably hungry and the food was eaten up quickly!

So if you’re a Vegetarian or Vegan there’s honestly no need to worry about what you’re going to eat! You will have to learn some lingo if you want a veggie version of something local but it’s no trouble! Enjoy your travels and taste all the yummy foods!

About Hayley Crone

Hayley is a Digital Nomad who has spent the past few years turning her love for travel into a full time income & lifestyle. Head for Horizons is designed to give you the BEST tips to help you travel better and work online. CLICK HERE to read more about me and how I could help you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.