Vegetarian Cafés for Healthy Eaters in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Lake Atitlan is a bit of a mecca for vegans and vegetarians travelling in Guatemala. I’m a self-confessed healthy eater. It doesn’t matter where I am in the world, I want to eat fresh veggies and good grains all the time. Being vegetarian in Lake Atitlan is amazing because you can find healthy and delicious vegetarian food everywhere from San Pedro La Laguna to Panajachel.

In this guide, I cover cafés in San Pedro La Laguna, San Marcos, Jaibalito and Panajachel that vegetarians in Lake Atitlan will love. I was excited to find that each of the towns around Lake Atitlan had some cafés with healthy, organic and veggie options to keep my belly full. Here are the most delicious of the healthy cafés I came across while travelling vegetarian in Lake Atitlan.

San Pedro La Laguna

Shanti Shanti 2, San Pedro

Shanti Shanti 2 is our absolute favourite restaurant in San Pedro. There are loads of vegetarian options, including lots of Israeli options. The shakshuka and the falafel lunch are both incredibly delicious. The restaurant is set in a beautiful garden courtyard and it’s often quiet. From the outside it looks a little ‘up-market’ and we expect that people think this will mean the prices are high but the menu is cheaper that most places in town! A full plate of food will cost between 25 – 40Q (£2.50 – £4). Great place for vegetarians in Lake Atitlan on a budget.

Note! There are two Shanti Shantis in Lake Atitlan. The most well-known is the one next to Hostel Fe on the lakeside, but it’s dark inside and when we visited we didn’t even get served (so we’ve not eaten there). We love Shanti Shanti 2, which is located in the backstreets of San Pedro opposite the school.

Shanti Shanti 2 falafel San Pedro - vegetarian at Lake Atitlan - Charlie on Travel

Kámui, San Pedro

Vegetarian in Lake Atitlan craving Japanese food? Kámui is the place to go. This small Japanese restaurant sits on the hill up from the San Marcos dock in San Pedro. Their vegan teriyaki tofu burger is talked about all over town and their vegetarian tempura sushi is equally tasty. The food here is really impressive and quite rich – so make sure you’re ready to eat. The owner is really lovely and smiley. They also sell homemade tofu.

Hummus-Ya, San Pedro

Hummus, falafel and pita bread lovers will be all over Hummus-Ya. Backpackers sing the praises of Hummus-Ya and the food is pretty good. I’d definitely recommend getting a falafel plate and there are plenty of other delicious dips on the menu to try if you’re feeling hummus-ed out. The only drawback is that if you’re a healthy eating fiend like me then there’s only white pita bread. Prices here are pretty good and you can eat for around 30 – 50Q (£3 – £5).

Hummus Ya falafel San Pedro - vegetarian at Lake Atitlan - Charlie on Travel

Fifth Dimension Home Cafe, San Pedro

Back in 2015, I thought it was one of the best cafés for vegetarians in Lake Atitlan. I had been super excited to try kefir – which is like yogurt but tarter in flavour, more nutritious and even better for your belly – for the first time back then. I had promptly ordered a banana and strawberry kefir smoothie. Unable to decide between all the incredibly healthy salad, stews and all-day breakfast options, I settled on fluffly, wholemeal seeded pancakes and they were the best pancakes I’ve ever had.

Fast-forward a year and Café Home has merged Fifth Dimension, the other vegetarian café in San Pedro. The cafe is now co-owned by the two original owners and called Fifth Dimension Home Cafe. Luke and I headed down and I was hoping to get a plate of those same delicious pancakes I’d been dreaming about but unfortunately they’re no longer on the menu. While the place was nice and the guy running it is lovely, the food just wasn’t as impressive as it used to be.

San Marcos La Laguna

Circles Café & Hostel, San Marcos

For simple and fresh vegetarian food in San Marcos, check out Circles Café & Hostel. This café and hostel is all vegetarian and has plenty of vegan options. We stumbled in after swimming in the lake looking to chow down on some veggies and hummus – and we weren’t disappointed. A vegan plate full of roasted veggies, shredded salad, avocado, hummus and brown bread costs 50Q (£5) which is a little pricey for Lake Atitlan, but granted that it was the most expensive option on the menu. It was also super yum.

Vegan plate at Circles Hostel San Marcos - vegetarian at Lake Atitlan - Charlie on Travel

Jaibalito

Posada de Jaibalito, Jaibalito

Jaibalito was a bit of an unplanned adventure for us. Having not booked accommodation far enough in advance, we ended up staying over in the rural town of Jaibalito. Eating places are pretty light on the ground, but the German-run Posada de Jaibalito is backpacker budget friendly and nutritious. Definitely grab some homemade falafel which comes with roasted potatoes and veggies. You can’t go wrong with a raw mixed salad either. If you’re just making a coffee stop, there are glass jars full of exciting biscuits including chewy coconut cookies and love heart shaped peanut and cacao cookies.

Panajachel

Deli Jasmin, Panajachel

Though only 20 minutes away by boat, Panajachel is a world away from Jaibalito. This crowded, buzzing and monstrously chaotic market town is filled with stalls frying meat on the street and overpriced pizza restaurants. Fortunately, the first place we saw when we were heading towards the market was the beautiful Deli Jasmin. The tranquil garden surroundings are idyllic and if you get there early (around 8am) you’ll be sure to have the place to yourself. The breakfast and brunch menu has everything from homemade granola and banana pancakes, to desayuno tipico with eggs (vegans can switch in scrambled tofu), black beans, plantains, tortillas and fruit.

Typical Guatemala breakfast at Deli Jasmin Panajachel Lake Atitlan - vegetarian in Lake Atitlan - Charlie on Travel header

Deli Llama de Fuego, Panajachel

Run by the owner of Deli Jasmin and with the exact same menu, Deli Llama de Fuego is just as scrumptious and thanks to the tree growing in the middle of the café it feels no less natural than it’s garden café counterpart. Located further up the main market street where there’s more of a buzz and open until later in the evening, I definitely recommend heading this way for dinner under the enticing glow of the lanterns. The raw salads with alfalfa sprouts and veggie medley on brown rice are amazing.

Salad at Deli Llama de Fuego Panajachel lake atitlan - charlie on travel

Travelling Vegetarian in Lake Atitlan

Vegetarians in Lake Atitlan won’t go hungry. I’d say that Lake Atitlan is one of the best places to travel as a vegetarian in Guatemala. There are loads of veggie-friendly options in all of the towns around the lake, and plenty of variety. You can get everything from a desayuno tipicio (traditional local breakfast of eggs, beans and tortillas) to Israeli specialities like falafel and shakshuka. There’s also a big healthy eating community and an excellent health food store called Salud Para Vida in San Pedro that stocks all imaginable health foods.

Has anyone else travelled vegetarian in Lake Atitlan and explored the veggie cafés there? I’d love to hear more recommendations for veggie food there!

Charlie Marchant

Charlie is a long-term traveller from the UK who writes about simple ways to travel sustainably, including how to become a house sitter and slow traveller, eating local and vegetarian, and making responsible travel choices.

10 thoughts to “Vegetarian Cafés for Healthy Eaters in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala”

  1. I was thinking about the fluffy seeded pancakes and being by the lake and then I saw the photos of the other meals and thought – wow! – they all look amazing. Enjoy the rest of your Easter travels….

  2. Oh, it all sounds delicious! I’ll have to remember these if I ever get to Guatemala. I’m like you, a total healthy-eater. I’ve given up being veggie (after almost ten years!) while travelling so that I can try food from all round, but still what I crave the most is healthy, vegetarian meals. Fortunately there’s no end of great veggie food here in Chiang Mai! Those pancakes look delicious by the way.
    Charlie recently posted…How much does it cost to travel in Myanmar?My Profile

    1. Yes, definitely do! I’m sure you’ll do Guatemala one day :D

      Glad to hear you’re a fellow healthy eater! Surprised to hear that you switched from vegetarian back to meat-eating! I’ve never had a problem trying local food from any country as a veggie – though admittedly it’s always taken a bit more research and effort. That said, even the look of meaty street food is usually enough to turn my stomach :/ It’s all veggie for me!

      I’ve still not made it to Chiang Mai, but am keen to go some time. Luke’s already been just a couple of years ago and we’re busy being hooked on Central America. But definitely in the future!
      Charlie on Travel recently posted…Cafés for Healthy Eaters at Lake Atitlan, GuatemalaMy Profile

  3. Hi Charlie,

    Thanks for your kind words regarding Home Cafe in San Pedro.
    We do our best to serve up as healthy food as we can so it’s always nice to hear such positive feedback in response to our endeavours. We’re very happy to hear you liked the pancakes – it took us a while to perfect the recipe so nice that all the work paid off! Also pleased to hear that you tried kefir with us for the first time & enjoyed it!
    Kudos on your skilled photographic work – you made our food extra delicious!

    Gracias & continued Happy Travels,
    Peter, Manager of Cafe Home San Pedro La Laguna, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.
    http://www.facebook.com/CafeHomeSanPedro

    1. Hey Peter – you’re more than welcome! I only wish that I was around San Pedro for longer so that I could come back and eat more pancakes!! Thanks for our kind words :) Wishing you all the best.

  4. Hi Charlie,
    I just ran across your post. I have the only vegan B&B on Lake Atitlan, and run the Lake Atitlan Vegan Community FB page . In fact, I’m putting together a vegan guide to Guatemala.

    The Deli in Panajachel (both locations) is certainly a favorite, and they have the best veg breakfast in town. Cafe Kitsch is inconsistent, but their falafel sandwich is usually good. For lunch or dinner, Tuscani is a great option. They have several veggie options, and the owner/chef is one of the few real chefs in the area. Believe it or not, the steak house, Guajimbos, has some great veggie options. They even make big salads for me (I eat there regularly because I perform there a couple nights a week). The Panajachel Center has several nice healthy dishes, too.

    In San Marcos, Circles is okay. The curry at Restaurant Fe is amazing! Blind Lemon’s has a nice veggie burrito.

    In San Pedro, I agree that Home is awesome. But they open a little late for us for breakfast, so we often go to Cafe La Puerta, just down the path. Between the two is The Buddha, which has some wonderful veggie dishes (Thai salad with tempeh…mmmm).

    One of the restaurant gems of Lake Atitlan is closer to me, on the edge of Santiago Atitlan. Las Lagartijas is a tiny place with a much bigger menu than you might expect, and many veggie options.

    Traci
    Lake Villa Guatemala
    Traci recently posted…A unique destination on Lake AtitlanMy Profile

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