How to Take a Vegan Trip around the Caribbean
Vegan travel is easier than you may think in the Caribbean. It’s not all cruise ships and high-end resorts serving platter after platter of meat and fish. There are lots of restaurants that serve vegan options. And if you can’t, you can just buy local produce and cook at home. The best Caribbean villas and apartments all have cooking facilities. People in this part of the world eat a lot of fruit, rice, and beans making it easy to find your own ingredients for a meal. And, you can find fresh coconuts at the side of the roads for less than a dollar. This article is here to offer you advice and suggestions on how to be a vegan in the Caribbean.
Why You Shouldn’t Be Worried About Visiting the Caribbean:
The Caribbean is home to thousands of islands with different people and cultures inhabiting each one. Most people that live here like to eat chicken or fish with their meals. But you can find some parts with more vegetable based diets. With the vastness of the places you can visit, you’re sure to find somewhere that can give you the best experience as a vegan. It just takes a little bit more research.
Another benefit of the Caribbean is that the climate is tropical and a wide variety of exotic fruits and vegetables grow all throughout the year. You can visit the farmer’s market in any town and get fresh ingredients to cook at home. People also sell fruit along the side of the streets. Regardless of what island you visit, it’s a certainty that you’re not going to be hungry.
What are the Best Islands for Vegan Travelers?
Jamaica is a good place for vegan travelers. If you go to any restaurant on the street, it can be a challenge to find something on the menu that doesn’t have meat. The Jamaican’s like their steak and chicken. But, the country also has a large group of Rastafarians, who by nature tend to be vegetarians. This means that throughout the country you can find restaurants that cater to them. When you visit, you’ll always find vegan options on the menu and get a glimpse into the culture of this small group of people.
Puerto Rico is another popular destination for American tourists who want to soak up some sunshine in the Caribbean. But it’s not one of the most budget-friendly places to visit. The good news is that the island has plenty of vegan restaurants that cater for both the locals and tourists. You can find quite a few of these in San Juan and also the vendors selling their fresh produce. The island is known for its sustainable tourism with a few green hotels throughout the island, which are an ideal place to stay if you’re a vegan traveler.
Costa Rica is another destination that’s quite easy to visit as a vegan. When you come here, you have the beaches, water sports, and rainforests to keep you busy. The coastline has some gorgeous stretches that rival the best islands out in the Caribbean Sea. Rice and beans are the staple food in this area along with vegetables and fruit. You can also find restaurants that cater specifically to vegans. Western expats come here to retire or to start up a business. Some of them promote sustainable tourism by opening vegan restaurants or green hotels. You can probably find more in Costa Rica than any other place in the region.
Tips and Tricks for Vegan Traveler:
A lot of people from the Caribbean eat meat or fish with pretty much every meal. And when you ask them for an alternative, you may be greeted with strange looks. Some may not even understand what you want. But, you need to be patient with them and explain clearly that you don’t eat meat.
Find out what the place is like before you make any commitments to visit. In today’s world with Instagram and Pinterest, it’s easier than ever to get up to date information on what a place is like for vegan travelers. Use this to your advantage and find out the best places from other vegans to get a good meal. You can even reach out to local groups and try to contact people who live in the country. Again, take advantage of Facebook to find the people that you’re looking for. This gives you a chance to ask the locals on the island that you’re visiting for suggestions on where to eat.
Another tip is to be careful with your accommodation. Some hotels won’t cater for vegans at all, but the more sustainable places will. And even if this isn’t an option, you could always find a villa or apartment to stay in so that you can prepare your own meals. Fresh ingredients are available all year round on every island in the Caribbean.
The most important thing, however, is to do your research before you go. Don’t just choose a place at random and then expect everything to be perfect and available when you arrive. The more you research, the better equipped you are to having the best vacation possible.
The Bottom Line:
If you’re a vegan and want to visit the Caribbean, the good news is that you can find plenty of restaurants that will cater to your needs. Some are better than others and have more places that will suit your requirements. And if all else fails, there’s lots of fresh tropical food available to fill up on.