Tips for hunting out Vegan or veggie meals in the Caribbean

by Female Abroad

Having a bunch of family that are different levels of Vegan can be difficult to please while travelling but there is a way to do it. Pescatarians will enjoy the availability of seafood in the Caribbean, but finding authentic vegetarian food takes some effort. Fortunately, doing some little study can enable you to identify restaurants that are both appropriate and delectable.

Veggie Friendly Islands

If you are debating which islands to check out, these are ones that I find are usually easier to hunt out meat-free meals. For some Caribbean islands you can ask for or find "Ital" food / cooking (like "Vital" without the V) which is vegan, organic dishes but they may contain honey.

Home to the Rastafarian religion, here you will find tons of vegetarian and vegan options as they do not eat meat.

Puerto Rico
There are quite a few cafe's and restaurants that feature vegan or vegetarian meals and the food chain Pollo Tropical does not use any meat products in their rice and beans. You can also try Asiquesi and Cabo Rojo.

Trinidad & Tobago
This island has a strong immigrant background of Indians and Chinese so you can find a lot of restaurants that cater to those ethnicities which means you can also find a lot of veggie friendly meals. On Trinidad try Mother Nature, Port of Spain and on Tobago try Kariwak Village Restaurant, Crown Point.

British Virgin Islands
Sugar Mill Restaurant at Sugar Mill Hotel is constantly voted the Best Restaurant in the Caribbean by Caribbean Travel & Life. This gourmet restaurant is constantly updating its menu but you can always find multiple vegetarian dishes. Nature's Way on Town Road is a natural supermarket that offers veggie take away options. If you pop over to Nevis then check out Natural Livity and Newcastle Village.

While on Land

If you are staying on an island, then the easiest way to increase your chance of finding edible options is by staying at a resort with multiple restaurants, especially if they are a chain, as they will usually have at least one offering per restaurant. The nice thing is that menus change daily at the buffets, so you can always pick and choose what you eat as you may not end up with the same thing daily. You can also ask the wait staff if there is a way to make certain dishes meet your requirements.

Resorts in the Caribbean vary, so expect higher-end resorts and resorts that cater towards health to be the most likely to use locally grown or organic items and make things from scratch. If you do decide to stay at a cheaper resort, normally in the Caribbean most of the resorts are found along the same road so you may even be able to visit the other resorts and eat in their restaurants.

You may also be lucky and find vegetarian restaurants within your resort as well. For example Sirenis Hotel in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic has an all-vegetarian restaurant which is included if you stay in one of their Tropical Suites. If you are on the island then you can also check out Lotos Restaurant and Santo Domingo Restaurant for off resort dining.

While Cruising

If you are visiting the Caribbean and not staying on an island then a cruise is a fantastic option. There are usually a variety of veggie options and restaurants that will try to cater to dietary needs. Sometimes meals are prepared and then sent to the ship so it depends on what you are trying to change. This can be difficult for vegans but they will do their best to offer options. The menus in the buffet and main dining room change nightly so you don't have to worry about having a limited selection. Saying that however, sometimes they may have one veggie option per night.

When you book your cruise, tell them your dietary restrictions and ask the cruise planner about what options you may have. If they cannot cater to you then you will want to look for a different cruise line. I have heard stories about vegans being stuck with eating select bread, lettuce, and baked potatoes so make sure to ask before booking!

While we were on our cruise, we did take a look at restaurants while we were island hopping and did come across the following restaurants:

  1. St. John's West, Antigua

  2. Speightstown, Barbados
    Back to Eden

  3. Simpson Bay, St. Martin
    Top Carrot

  4. Christiansted, USVI
    Soul Vegetarian

Other Tips & Tricks

The internet is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to different dietary questions and restaurant hunts. Some trust worthy options to look at online are:

  1. Happy Cow - features a directory of locations
  2. Veg Dining - features a directory of locations
  3. Veg Source - features various forum threads, if you cannot find what you are looking for then ask!
  4. Yellow Pages - if you search restaurants on the island you are wondering about then you can always see what the individual restaurants say about themselves. Just keep in mind that businesses pay to be listed here so it does not cover every restaurant on the island.

If you are headed to a resort or a restaurant and you are not sure if they have anything that would work for you then you can always contact the business directly and ask.