Traveling While Vegetarian in the Caribbean

With the help of HappyCow.net, I am usually able to find a great vegetarian restaurant no matter where I travel. This is more of a challenge in the Caribbean and Latin America, but I’ve managed to find some great places almost everywhere. Hopefully this will help other fellow or aspiring vegetarians maintain the diet while traveling and also experience some local flavors. These are places I’ve been to more than once…mainly because the food was so good I just HAD to visit again before I left any of these islands.

Gasparito’s in Aruba
http://www.gasparito.com/9e4320046a673c1f8884f8b362c8885f

I visited Gasaparitos about 8 years ago. Aruba had fewer big resorts then and more of a small town feel. This restaurant specializes in seafood but has a wonderful vegetarian plate: Crioyo Vegetable Platter. It’s not your typical “here’s a mushroom and a carrot with your salad” vegetarian plate you’ll find at most places.
Full of local flavors and vegetables, everything was seasoned to perfection and melted in your mouth. They even made a plane ol’ tomato taste awesome!

Cafe Berlin in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
http://www.cafeberlinpr.com/

header-cafe-berlin-vegetarian-international-restaurant-old-san-juan-puerto-ricoIn the past 5 years, I’ve been to Puerto Rico 3 times and to Cafe Berlin 5 times. This should give you an idea of how much I love both :-). Cafe Berlin sits on a main street facing a courtyard in Old San Juan. You’ll feel like you’ve visited a small Spanish town from another era being there, and Cafe Berlin is the perfect place to stop after touring the forts and checking out all the shops. My favorite dish is by far the Veggie Guava Loaf.  The sauce has a unique flavor and is absolutely delicious.  They also have good breakfast.

La Casita Vegetariana in Santiago, Dominican RepublicWP_20130714_022
http://www.casitavegetariana.com/

I thought when I visited the DR, I would be hard pressed to find anything vegetarian at all.  I had been accustomed to the odd looks when I told people “soy vegetariana.”  They would immediately ask “Come pollo? (Do you eat chicken?).”   I had almost given up on the idea until I found La Casita Vegetariana.  It’s an informal cafe with some great entrees.  It’s not a place where you go grab a veggie burger, they serve authentic Dominican food (well, at least the meatless version).   They even had a soup with similar flavors as the signature Dominican stew sancocho.  I had the best meal of my trip while I was there, and felt stuffed in a healthy way.

WP_20130714_021[1]

“Sancocho”

~  ~  ~ 

Hopefully you’ve found some of these recommendations helpful.  The next time you are traveling in the islands, vegetarian or not, these places are worth checking out.  I always have my meat eating friends tag along and all places have gotten their stamp of approval.

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