An oasis for vegan tourism in Central America

The tourism industry has changed in the last few years due to several factors, including the Covid-19 pandemic effects, environmental issues, and shifting lifestyles. The individualization of the travel experience to a one focused on each person’s needs has grown in the vegan lifestyle.

The different ways in which travelers can face some difficulties, especially around food, sometimes are overlooked. Like where to stay and where to eat, adding up cultural differences and sometimes a language barrier can worsen those issues. Different alternatives are emerging in the panorama, and more destinations are creating options suitable for vegan people.

In recent years Costa Rica seems to be growing in this sector. New options are popping up, encouraging vegan tourists to explore the country in a friendly way. Costa Rica is one of the most environmentally friendly nations in the region. And now the vegan culture is growing up vibrantly, vegan options are getting common all around the country, including coastal areas. Guanacaste is not the exception. The northern pacific side of the country is known for its beaches, sunsets, and magic scenes that capture the imagination of travelers looking for a place to disconnect from the city bustle and reconnect with nature and themselves.

Animal-based products are something that characterizes the region of Guanacaste. But the mesoamerican cuisine influence in this region let us some traditional foods that happen to be vegan and non-vegan recipes are easy to veganize. Thanks to important ingredients such as corn, grains, beans, and lots of veggies.

The Airport of Guanacaste is within the capital of the province, Liberia. The vegan travelers will find restaurants with vegan options and different products that they may need. In the supermarkets of Liberia, you can find daily use plant-based products like La Mae Veggie, a group of women from Guanacaste that produce and sell frozen vegan patties, falafel, and vegan meatballs. You can also find their products in several other cities throughout Costa Rica

I talked to a Venezuelan blogger living in Costa Rica; in her blog Tofu Bendito, she tries vegetarian and vegan restaurants inside and outside the country. She also helps vegans and people with allergies finding friendly options in non-vegan restaurants. A good tip she shared with me for those looking for veggie food while traveling in Costa Rica is that you can always find a Casado and veganize it (Casados are one of the staple dishes around the country that consist of rice, beans, different sourced protein, a salad).

Patricia is usually looking for options in the coastal region; she recommends doing some research on the places you are planning to visit. You can find places with more options than others, and some places are worth visiting.

One of the accommodations in Guanacaste aware of veganism is Mother Earth Vegan Hotel in Tamarindo; this hotel caters to a vegan lifestyle, ensuring that every single element comes from cruelty-free and sustainable sources in their restaurant called: Off the Grid.

You can look at blogs or websites like Tofu Bendito and Happy Cow for international trips. Another good option to visit is the “Sodas”, traditional and affordable dinners. They might be able to adapt your meal to your needs based on local specialties.

Healthy Restaurant Meals usually offer a vegan option on their menus. Food halls like “Mercadito de Tamarindo” are excellent if you travel with a group and need mixed options. Visiting the farmers’ market is an incredible way to bond with the people who provide fresh vegetables, greens, and fruits. There are plentiful options to choose from, like plantains in a different state of ripeness and the most delicious mangoes.

When people visit the country is a must to try the tropical fruit directly from the source, even though you heard local vegans consider Costa Rica a vegan paradise because of the year- round availability of fresh products, and that’s no exception for the region of Guanacaste.

The environmentally conscious tourism linked to vegan lifestyles seems to grow in the recovery of the pandemic. Tourism centered on the personal experience sustainably makes places like Costa Rica, already considered an example of natural preservation and clean energies, a must-visit.

I hope these recommendations could be handy if you are planning to visit Guanacaste as a vegan traveler. It is possible to experience this unique place with a growing vegan culture.

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