Best Vegan Travel Destinations 2018
Traveling as a vegan or vegetarian is now easier than ever with vegan-friendly destinations like Bali, Peru, New Zealand, Jamaica and India being well suited to vegan travelers who don’t want to let their dietary requirements stand in the way of discovering a new country through the local cuisine!
If you’re searching for the best vegan travel destinations for a vacation, or maybe even a vegan volunteer trip, check out our top picks for the best places to travel as a vegan below. We’ll tell you where you should go for the best vegan meal options, and which dishes you can’t go home without trying!
Keep in mind that while veganism may not be the cultural norm in these countries, there are no shortage of vegan-friendly dishes that you can try without missing out on the plant-based goodness of the local cuisine.
Vegan Travel In Bali
As one of the world’s top destinations for wellness and yoga retreats, plant-based cuisine is easy to come by in Bali. With tropical fruits like coconuts, pineapple, mango and papaya around every corner, Bali is a hands-down vegan paradise. While the staple local diet does incorporate meat and seafood, the abundance of fresh produce available on the island means that vegan travelers will be able to enjoy traditional salads, curries, stir fries and rice dishes that are vegan-friendly and delicious!
Vegan Dishes & Drinks To Try In Bali
- Nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice), prepared without egg, is a popular option for vegans in Bali. Cooking classes are also common so if you let your teacher know that you’re vegan, they can customize a class for you to learn how to create vegan-friendly Balinese dishes.
- Blessed with some of the world’s best tropical fruits, it’s a given that smoothies and smoothie bowls have taken off in Bali! If you’re volunteering in Ubud with IVHQ, you’ll be spoilt for choice with smoothie bowl joints.
- Don’t go past fresh young coconut water for a super cheap and hydrating thirst-quencher. One coconut won’t be enough, so come armed with a reusable straw to help minimise your plastic usage.
- Mango sticky rice is a game-changing (and most importantly, vegan-friendly) dessert that brings together some of Bali’s classic ingredients - coconut, rice and mango! It’s definitely a must!
Best Vegan Cafes In Bali:
- Ubud is home to the best options for vegan travelers, including Alchemy, KAFE and Sayuri’s Healing Food Cafe, which all serve up a wide variety of vegetarian and raw vegan food, putting a creative spin on Indonesian and international cuisine.
- If you’re in Seminyak, try Zula for an organic plant-based menu, based on advanced nutritional understanding and Macrobiotic principles.
Vegan Volunteering Abroad In Bali:
Bali is one of the most popular volunteering locations for vegan travelers, which means you’ll always be in the company of like-minded travelers from around the world.
IVHQ offers two volunteer programs locations in Bali - Ubud and Lovina with projects including Teaching, Kindergarten Support, Healthcare Education, Environmental Education and Construction and Rennovation. Volunteering in Ubud is perfect for volunteers who want to take advantage of the local health and wellness scene in their free time, while Lovina is a more chilled volunteering location that’s super close to the beach.
If you want to volunteer abroad with animal, our Turtle Conservation project is the perfect option for volunteers in Bali. On this project, you’ll be based on the island of Nusa Penida, supporting tasks such as feeding and cleaning the turtles housed at the conservation center. Additionally, you can assist with proactive conservation efforts, including beach clean-ups, waste management improvements, and educating local people about the issues facing Indonesia’s sea turtles and what can be done to help.
Vegan Travel In Peru
Peru is home to some of the world’s most nutrient-dense plant-based foods with the likes of quinoa being available at almost every restaurant without fail. This is super convenient for vegan diets because quinoa is an awesome source of protein, which makes it easy to eat a balanced plant-based diet while you’re away from home. With Cusco being a must for travelers to Peru, most diets are well catered for and a number of cafes have emerged in recent years, which fuse Peruvian cuisine with vegan cooking to make sure you can sample salads, soups and local produce like plantain, beans and rice with a creative spin.
Vegan Dishes & Drinks To Try In Peru
- Vegans and vegetarians won’t be disappointed in Cusco with the vegan movement on the rise and most menus making room for tasty vege-based meals that fuse traditional Peruvian recipes with veganized options.
- Try ceviche, which is typically fish “cooked” in a marinade of lime juice with salt, chili, cilantro and onion, however vegans can opt for a mushroom or mango based ceviche instead!
- Another easy dish to veganize is lomo saltado, a stir-fry of beef, tomatoes, onions and fries, served with rice. For a vegan option, the beef can be replaced with mushrooms or other vegetables.
- Peru is home to the world’s finest cacao - that’s unprocessed chocolate which retains all the antioxidants that makes cacao a superfood. Be sure to try a pure cacao hot chocolate, or cacao tea, which is infused with pieces of cacao husk then lightly sweetened for a satisfying and low-calorie chocolate fix.
- Don’t forget to keep the coco tea on standby to soothe any potential altitude sickness that you may or may not encounter in Cusco - this is readily available in accommodation throughout Cusco.
- If you’re partial to a sweet treat, make sure you try mazamorra morada, a dairy-free dessert made of purple corn that also contains fruits like peach, plum and quince.
- Picarones are another vegan dessert you have to try in Peru. This donut-like sweet treat is made of sweet potato and topped with a sweet syrup called miel de chancaca, which is a sweet sauce made of raw unrefined sugar from sugarcane.
Best Vegan Cafes & Restaurants In Peru
- Even raw vegan travelers will find a home in Cusco - visit Shaman Vegan Raw Restaurant in the heart of Cusco for an affordable vegan lunch or dinner fix.
- Green Point is another popular option for vegetarian or vegans with a Menu De Dia that scores you a three course meal for an epic vegan lunch.
- The vegan dining options in Lima just keep getting better and better with plenty of popular options in the metropolitan area of Miraflores. Try out the cosy Raw Cafe Club, which specializes in raw pizzas, burgers and game-changing raw desserts. Or try the vegan restaurant, El Jardin de Jazmín, which often hosts cultural events and plates up creative plant-based dishes, including vegan ceviche and 17 different varieties of vegan burgers!
- Stock up on dairy-free chocolate from the Choco Museum to enjoy some of the world’s best chocolate, straight from the source! Museum tours are available every day so if you want to get your head around the manufacturing process from bean to bar, the tours are free to book.
Vegan Volunteering Abroad In Peru
As a vegan in Peru, you can choose to volunteer in Cusco or Lima. Both locations cater well to vegan travelers as there are plenty of vegan cafes to explore in the cities. Our local team in Lima are particularly creative when it comes to catering for different dietary requirements, so vegans can still experience the legendary local cuisine at the volunteer accommodation.
If you’re interested in supporting projects like Childcare, Teaching, Healthcare or Construction, there are volunteer opportunities to suit you in both Lima and Cusco. However, if you’re wanting to volunteer with animals or join a conservation-focused project, Cusco will be the best location for you. In Cusco, you will have the option to join additional projects, such as Animal Care or a special Jungle Conservation project based in the Amazon.
Vegan Travel In New Zealand
Ask any foodie who’s traveled to New Zealand and the freshness of the local produce is a stand-out highlight. Stop off at a PYO (pick your own) berry farm while you’re road tripping down the country and you’ll catch my drift. While sizzling BBQs dominate the Kiwi summer scene, vegans won’t go missing out on a classic dining experience with our recommendations below. Plus some of Auckland’s most Instagramed eateries are plant-based hotspots, which is good news for IVHQ volunteer travelers who are based in Auckland.
Vegan Dishes & Drinks To Try In New Zealand
- Smashed avocado on toast is universally mouth-watering, but Kiwi avos have an extra edge - they contain the world’s highest levels of vitamin B6, which is good news for your energy levels!
- When dining out, be sure to seek out a side of kumara from the menu. Whether roasted, mashed or as chips, kumara rivals the potato in all forms and is New Zealand’s take on a sweet potato.
- Fish and chips on the beach is a quintessential Kiwi must-do and the good news for vegans is you can sub the fish for fried pineapple or a corn fritter to soak up the NZ summer vibes.
- New Zealand is world-renowned for its coffee, with more coffee roasters per capita than anywhere else in the world! - Many cafes and coffee bars have embraced the non-dairy movement, so you won’t have to settle for a black coffee if you’re after a creamy caffeine fix. For a true taste of Aotearoa, try Aotea Tonics which brings together traditional Maori herbs grown on Great Barrier Island.
- The classic kiwi dessert is without a doubt the pavlova (a giant meringue topped with fresh cream, sliced kiwifruit and berries) and while this rules out vegan diets, there are plenty of dairy free ice cream alternatives available in local supermarkets to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Best Vegan Cafes & Restaurants In New Zealand
- The Little Bird Unbakery in Auckland is one of New Zealand most well-known vegan eateries and pioneered the raw plant-based movement in New Zealand. If you’re a fan of raw vegan sweet treats, smoothies or creative vegan takes on classic dishes like burgers, bagels or tacos, this is a serious must.
- I’d also recommend the vegan ice cream from Giapo, New Zealand’s famous inner city gelato eatery - which is an experience in itself!
Vegan Volunteering Abroad In New Zealand
Volunteering in New Zealand is perfect for travelers with a passion for environmental conservation as the projects here are focused on working alongside an award-winning local charity to support their vision of fostering beautiful beaches, healthy waters, and inspired people.
New Zealand is one of the best destinations for vegans who want to volunteer abroad because the meals are largely self-catered. When volunteering in New Zealand with IVHQ, volunteers prepare their own breakfast and packed lunch using the ingredients available at the volunteer accommodation. For dinner, volunteers have the freedom to choose where they wish to eat dinner, or they can prepare their own meal at the volunteer accommodation. Because IVHQ’s volunteer program is based in Auckland (New Zealand’s biggest city), you’ll be spoilt for choice with the country’s best vegan eateries.
Vegan Volunteer Travel In Jamaica
The Rasta community in Jamaica follow a vegan diet which means you can find some tasty vegan eateries tucked away in Jamaica - if you know where to look (and we’re here to tell you where)! This is a dream result for travelers looking to sample the local cuisine with a vegan twist!
Best Vegan Dishes & Drinks In Jamaica
- Ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica and is traditionally served alongside saltfish BUT the good news for vegans is that ackee is integrated into other local staples like Patties - a vegan-friendly pastry pocket filled with ackee, or a combination of vegetables. It’s one of those dishes you can’t leave Jamaica without trying.
- If you’re eating out, a vegetable rundown is a staple on most menus - that’s a combination of vegetables steamed in coconut milk, often served with a Bammy which is a made from ground cassava, soaked in coconut milk or water and then fried.
- June plum juice, sugar cane juice, hibiscus juice - there’s a never-ending list of juices you need to tick off to get a true taste of Jamaica.
- You can’t leave Jamaica without trying coconut jelly water and the good news is, there are plenty of roadside stalls serving it up! Once you’ve finished drinking the coconut water, you can ask for your coconut to be cut in half so you can scoop out the jelly.
- And when you have the best tropical fruits around every corner, you can’t go past a fruit salad for dessert in Jamaica!
Best Vegan Cafes & Restaurants In Jamaica
- If you’re in Kingston or Ocho Rios, keep Mi Hungry top of mind - they make incredible raw vegan pizzas and burgers and freshly-prepared fruit juices and smoothies.
Vegan Volunteering Abroad In Jamaica
From volunteering with animals to working with local start-ups, schools or kindergartens, Jamaica is the perfect destination to get stuck into meaningful volunteer work within the local community.
Vegan travelers are easily catered for when volunteering in Jamaica with IVHQ - breakfast is included in your program fee and includes seasonal fruit, toast, cereal, tea and coffee. For lunch and dinner, you have the option to cook in the volunteer accommodation or enjoy a meal in one of the local eateries.
Vegan Travel In India
Following a vegan diet is the best way to eat your way around India and truly appreciate the rich aromas and flavoursome spice combinations that make this cuisine one of the world’s most loved. Indian cuisine is ideal for those on a vegetarian diet because it features nutritious staples like lentils, chickpeas, potatoes, cauliflower, and other hearty vegetables. This means that many of the best Indian dishes are vegetarian-friendly. If you’re following a vegan diet in India, the main ingredients to look out for are ghee and cream - you can ask your server what type of oil or butter is used in preparation of your meal to ensure it’s dairy-free.
Best Vegan Dishes & Drinks In India
- Wherever you go, you’re likely to find a saagwala on the menu, which is generally easy to order vegan because it’s prepared with tomatoes rather than cream. It’s an awesome nutrient-dense option because and it’s packed with plenty of spinach!
- If you’re in the South, you’ll no doubt cross paths with a South Indian lentil curry. This tomato-based curry is complemented with warming spices and often spinach, making it the perfect option for a nourishing and balanced meal.
- Don’t forget to try a lentil dosa, a gluten-free savoury pancake made with lentils and rice - another good source of plant-based protein.
- Mango Lassi is a North Indian drink made with yogurt, however you can still enjoy this Indian-style smoothie veganized by substituting coconut milk kefir for yogurt.
Best Vegan Cafes & Restaurants In India
- If you’re in Dharamsala, definitely check out Bodhi Greens, an organic vegan cafe that has everything you’d expect from a plant-powered cafe (think smoothie and buddha bowls), plus vegan-friendly local and international dishes.
Vegan Volunteering Abroad In India
IVHQ has three different volunteer program locations in India - Delhi, Dharamsala and Kerala. The projects across the different locations include Childcare, Healthcare, Dentistry, Women’s Education, Teaching, Special Needs Care and Eco-Agriculture Conservation.
While Delhi is typically the most popular location for volunteer travelers, volunteering in Dharamsala is an ideal option for vegan volunteers who want to join an organic farming-focused project. Our Eco-Agriculture Conservation project in Dharamsala works at a grass-roots level to help volunteers build an understanding of sustainable agriculture practices, cultivating edible crops, conducting community awareness activities on the importance of sustainable agriculture, and facilitating training around crop productivity. If you’re looking for something different, you can also join Childcare, Teaching, Healthcare Outreach or Women’s Education projects in Dharamsala.
Volunteering in Kerala is another great option to see an alternative side of India, while having a hands-on impact within the local community. Regarded as South India’s most beautiful state, Kerala’s coconut palm-lined coastline and lush green scenery will truly take your breath away.
Want to learn more about where in the world you can volunteer abroad with IVHQ?Discover the full range of volunteer abroad programs here.