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Puerto Vallarta – From Healthy Eating to Vegan

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Traveling to unfamiliar cultural regions with vegan or specific dietary restrictions can be very intimidating, even more so when exacerbated by a potential language barrier. While I am not a vegan, I am an infrequent meat eater. I thought it would be a fun game to see what challenges I would face in trying to adhere to a vegan or vegetarian diet while in another country. Puerto Vallarta is a food mecca with extraordinarily diverse restaurants to choose from.

puerto vallarta vegan restaurants

Phrases to Know

During the course of my food journeys, I picked up a few key phrases important to making sure dietary restrictions are being met. While the general concept of veganism was known, there seemed to be a lot of misunderstandings on which ingredients are allowed. Chefs and servers were always more than happy to accommodate very specific requests and modifications. I found it incredibly important to double check all ingredients. But you know, I have the same issues with misinformation back home, too.

  • sin queso – without cheese
  • sin grasa – without fat/lard/grease
  • solamente – only
  • solamente frutas – only fruit
  • solamente vegetales – only vegetables

puerto vallarta vegan burger

Finding Healthy Food Options

As a food mecca, Puerto Vallarta has a foodie fusion from so many different cuisines and cultures. Whatever your palate is craving, there is something out there. Avocados are a staple with every meal.

puerto vallarta botanical gardens vegan salad

puerto vallarta healthy food

Vegan Restaurants and Food Carts

If you are seeking a pure Vegan food experience in Puerto Vallarta, you might be hard pressed to find one. However, there are plenty of vegan/vegetarian restaurants to choose from, as well as restaurants which have specific vegan dishes. Every restaurant visited, whether or not they served meat, was able to modify as necessary.

puerto vallarta vegan restaurant modified

Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants

This list includes restaurants in and around Puerto Vallarta which are vegan or vegetarian only.

Food Carts

I had amazing success in finding vegan food from popup stands and taco carts. The search was surprisingly easier and more prolific than querying restaurants. The place to go is the local farmers markets. There will most likely be at least two food vendors with vegan dishes. Whether you are the type of vegan whom prefers fresh and raw produce, or if you enjoy your food cooked and sauced, you will find tons of unique flavors and spices everywhere.

puerto vallarta vegan plate soy

If you find yourself at a taco cart, utilize the phrases above and get a taco (or 4) with “solamente” beans, rice, cabbage, grilled onion, cilantro, and of course salsa and hot sauce.

puerto vallarta vegan food truck

You’ll also find yourself walking by many many carts selling coconuts. You can choose how green versus ripe you want your coconut for varying levels of sweetness. Depending on how strict of a vegan you are, hot sauce and chili options allow you to spice up the tasty snack.

puerto vallarta coconut cart

Markets

puerto vallarta vegan farmers market

puerto vallarta vegan food cart shining sprouts

Neighborhood Stores and Mom & Pop Corner Markets

For food to take with you on the go, these small markets are full of tasty surprises. You can find many different packages snacks made by local vendors. They will almost always have ingredients listed in Spanish, so you will need a translating app or be very proficient in Spanish. I picked up a couple bags of dried bananas for a hike.

When asking around for these small stores, here is some lingo to help you navigate to the correct type:

  • La Tiendita or Tienda de Abarrotes – General corner store
  • Frutas y Legumbres or Verdurería – Fresh fruit and vegetables store
  • Tortillería – Fresh tortillas store
  • Panadería – Bakery for fresh bread

puerto vallarta la tiendita dried bananas

Tours and Adventures

Any reputable tour company sign up for an activity with will have a vegan or other dietary plate however. I’ve found they do require advanced notice – more than a day – to make sure they are properly stocked and prepared. This is a typical vegan plate from Vallarta Adventures:

puerto vallarta vegan plate vallarta adventures

The Journey is Never Over

Having found a seemingly infinite number of healthy food choices, whether vegan or not, in Puerto Vallarta, I found myself quite spoiled. It was so easy to navigate food options during the entire trip. The food is vibrant, delicious, and brings so many new flavors to the palate. I feel quite spoiled as to what good Mexican food can be. Nothing compares back home.

Of course, being able to enjoy amazing food on the beach might bring about a bit of a bias.

puerto vallarta vegan mexican food


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8 Comments
  1. As a Californian who spends three months a year in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, I can personally vouch for the accuracy of this valuable information for vegan options. The Mexican diet is full of fresh vegetables and healthy meal options. Puerto Vallarta is known as Mexico’s #1 beach destination for gastronomy and one-of-a-kind culinary experiences!

  2. Great post! Everything sounds so delicious. I may need to add Mexico to my “list”! I don’t know if I told you, I am currently working on a vegan Mexican menu. Wanna taste test?

  3. Everything looks so mouthwatering. As someone on a plant based diet this is encouraging. I will use these terms on my trip to Peru.

  4. as a vegan traveling to puerto vallarta soon i LOVE the keys phrases you shared and so great to know the number of options that will be available. thanks!

  5. Nice article. I eat oil free plant based whole foods. I live in Nuevo Vallarta and a few of my favorites are Burrito Mio in Paradise Plaza that makes a great vegetarian ceviche and an even better vegetable burrito. You have to ask for no sauce and no cheese. Panchos Takos in Valle Dorado does not have a vegan option on the menu but makes a great vegetarian taco plate if you ask. They also have a roasted avocado with mushrooms. There is a new OrganiK opening near 3.14. Adelitas in Fluvial makes a great vegetarian taco (sin queso) but is cooked on the grill with the meat. I love Playa Detox, but you have to ask about oil. Niksan has a few vegetable rolls and the miso soup is only miso, onion and seaweed. It’s delicious. Really great article Mike.

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