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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!