Oh Peru, you little (well, not so little…) beauty you. Peru is such a brilliant country with such diversity. I arrived looking out onto rolling hills, stepped onto sandy beaches, swam in the ocean, sand boarded in the dessert, climbed mountains and finished with a boating tour of the incredible Lake Titicaca. It seriously has so much to offer and besides from scenery, the food in Peru was fantastic.
I left Ecuador and entered Peru with no expectations but the hope for fruit and easily accessible whole foods. Peru didn’t disappoint.
Peru offers vegetarian restaurants and cafes almost everywhere I visited, and with vegetarian restaurants there are always vegan options.
Secondly, not only does it have many veggie restaurants but, from my experience, your standard restaurants also offered a complete veggie section including vegan options!
Lima beans are big in Peru and are often on the menu with rice and a salad, or their local dish “Saltado” you can order a vegetarian option and it’s great. It’s like eating local just without the meat 🙂
Quinoa grows like wild fire here in Peru so everywhere you go you will have quinoa on the menu in some shape or form (soups, burgers, salads…). Quinoa is such an incredible food and in the UK it can be quite costly, here however, it’s served like rice. It’s brilliant. The quinoa soup is to die for!
Not only are the restaurants great but the people are also really accommodating. For example, if you have any home stays or excursions they will ask your dietary requirements and cater exactly to your needs. Not only do they cater to your needs but the food you get is really good and creative (they also have tons of avocado in Peru so you’ll eat avocado to your hearts content), so don’t worry about excursions and going hungry.
Supermarkets in Peru are also brilliant. They tend to be large Metro’s which are the equivalent to Tesco or Walmart, so offer everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to hot food counters, dairy free milk and great bread (yes, bread will forever be your saviour in South America, trust me).
Fruit markets; yes ! Peru offers many fruit markets with lovely fresh fruit and vegetables so pick up cheap fruits here when you can. I recommend their mangoes and papaya!
Lastly, the wonder that is Cacao (see my Cacao post in Ecuador if you missed it!). Cacao also grows here in Peru and you can find organic cacao chocolate literally everywhere; it is incredible. Have you tried dark chocolate with quinoa before? If you haven’t, you must! It’s heavenly! There are also Cacao museums in Lima, Cusco and Ollantaytamboa (maybe more places but here is where I found them) which offer everything you can imagine made from cacao: shampoos, body lotions, lip balms, alcohol, chocolates, tea, spreads and more. It’s an awesome museum and shop and you can even have chocolate making classes here. They give out free samples of everything and with a flyer you get 10% off whatever you purchase (and I guarantee you will purchase at least an individual chocolate piece, and then go back for more because it’s so damn good), so definitely go and check it out when you’re in Peru.
That was my vegan travel experience in Peru and I hope this helps to reassure any of you who may be travelling there. Do bear in mind that I’m staying only in hotels and do not have access to a kitchen, therefore everything I say or recommend is based around that rather big inconvenience. If you’re using hostels your life will possibly be a lot more simpler as rice is accessed absolutely everywhere and you’ve access to canned beans, corn etc. This is simply food on the go and making do without a kitchen.
But anyway, I hope this helps and have a wonderful time on your travels.
Love, happiness and health,