My first stop in Guatemala was Antigua. This loud, busy, touristy city is only good for a stop-off of a couple of days at most. It does have cool historic buildings but it’s overpriced and a little too busy than what I was wanting at the time having just come from Mexico City. I found sanctuary at a small hostel called Sangha. They have vegan food, cheap yoga classes, clean dorm rooms, a large back patio away from the street, and nice staff. Totally recommend staying there if you don’t want the party hostel vibe. I walked in the door starving and grabbed these carrot and tofu tacos above, which were filling and very tasty (about $5.50 USD). I went to their sister restaurant, Samsara, a couple of times. The atmosphere is great but the food was just okay.
Stay at Sangha over the weekend because they do a vegan bbq that is out of this world on Sundays. I’m not going to spend too much time talking about the food in Antigua, but there is a cool farmer’s market kind of thing on Saturdays where I had a great plate with tamales, black beans, and salad. I had a gigantic, delicious smoothie at a place called Amanecer Juice Bar, and a horrible meal at Toko Baru. So really the food is hit or miss in Antigua but you will definitely survive a few days as a vegan.
Lake Atitlan – San Pedro
I spent most my time in Guatemala in San Pedro on Lake Atitlan. As you can see from my travel log I was doing Spanish classes and most my meals were included with my homestay. I didn’t realize that my host family wasn’t going to have internet so I spent my lunches working on my computer for a few hours at cafes. This wasn’t so bad because I love trying the vegan food in each city I visit. And thankfully food in Guatemala is relatively cheap, even in touristy places like this.
Even though San Marcos is known as a hippy town with yoga and vegan food I found the options in San Pedro more abundant. There was a good selection of vegetarian and vegan cafes and vegan-friendly food around town. More than you’ll find listed on HappyCow! Since it’s an area where a lot of expats live and travelers from all over the world come to take Spanish classes you’ll find everything you need here. There’s even a great natural food store with cheap, tasty sandwiches! I would often go to a cafe for a latte before my Spanish class that I can’t recall the name of but they make a great soy latte for under $2! You’ll easily find soy milk, which was a pleasant change from Colombia. I found that I could have easily spent a couple of months here in San Pedro. I will definitely be back!
I ate at Fifth Dimension many times. Mainly because of this view from their top floor balcony and their fast wifi. Not a bad place to hang out for a couple of hours! Their menu is varied and the food I got was all pretty good. Kind of hippy vegan food; some things were weird combo of ingredients and didn’t have a good flavor profile but overall good stuff at a reasonable price. I had a massive burrito one time and a nice veggie curry over brown rice another time. I paid about $8-10 USD on average for food here.
Hands down the best meal I had in San Pedro was a tiny cafe that used to be a food stall selling teriyaki tofu burgers. It’s a proper restaurant now with a different name that I can’t recall. You can order off a small menu that still offers their famous burger. I got the sushi special, which comes with miso soup, tempura veggie roll, and a kale salad. You can tell it’s made with love and the owner is sooo nice. Definitely go there! It’s closed on Sundays so plan accordingly. The meal above cost about $6 USD.
Shanti Shanti has a beautiful view of the lake and comfy seats. I grabbed this huge plate of falafel and it was really good. The meal above cost about $6 USD with drink.
Lake Atitlan – San Marcos
I only took a day trip to San Marcos with my friend Christine from Spanish classes. San Marcos is a trip! It’s seriously the hippiest, woo-woo place I’ve ever been. You’ll find the typical backpacker cruising the carless alleys and lounging at the cafes. If you want to get your qi aligned, have a cacao ceremony, Mayan astrology awakening, or a 5 element massage this is the place!
For lunch, after walking around town not finding anything that sounded great, we settled on Il Giardino. Even though it doesn’t have the best reviews on HappyCow, we quite enjoyed our meal at Il Giardino. It has a beautiful patio, the guy who owns it was very helpful in helping us get something vegan and the food was really good.
We had a curry plate with brown rice and salad, and a veggie burger sans bread that was topped with roasted veggies served with fried potatoes and salad. The meal above, which we split, cost about $10 USD per person with a drink.
Lake Atitlan – San Juan
Christine and I took a little afternoon trip to San Juan to explore. We made the trek to Mayachik, an eco-hotel known for it’s environmentally-friendly set up, vegan food, nice gardens, art, and just overall wholesome vibe. The menu didn’t have that much but thankfully we weren’t that hungry so we had big green smoothies. They have a center that does good work in the community so it was nice to check them out. I think the accommodations are a little bit too rugged for me but it does look like a lovely place to stay if you want peace and quiet.
Lake Atitlan – Panajachel
In order to catch a shuttle to my flight out of Guatemala that wasn’t at 5am for 9 hours, I moved myself to Pana for a couple of days. This area is the largest and most touristy with rows and rows of stalls to buy gifts. They have a few good vegan options here as well. We went to Jasmin Deli (there’s two but this one isn’t on the map and is better), which is a cute cafe with colorful decor and many vegan options serving tofu and tempeh. That was something special in itself! I had a tempeh sandwich one day and curry fried rice for take-out the next night. I spent about $7 USD for meals here.
The next day I had a lovely yoga class at La Galeria, if you are into yoga check it out! In the evening I spent way too much at the local Japanese restaurant called Hana. I was craving something different after eating mostly beans and tortillas for 2 weeks. It was just okay. That meal above cost me around $14 USD, so it was definitely the most expensive meal I had in Guatemala! Honestly, Pana has the most expensive prices for accommodations and food, but for shopping you can really haggle some great deals. A couple of nights is plenty!
As you can see it isn’t super cheap in Guatemala. As I explore Latin America I’m finding that every country is so different in terms of pricing. Colombia and Mexico are definitely the cheapest I’ve visited so far, with Costa Rica being the most expensive.
Have you been to Guatemala? How did you like it? Any food recommendations, leave them in the comments below!