Being a vegan in Colombia is quite rare and most of the locals are still unfamiliar with the term. But in the last few years things have definitely started to change. Vegan culture is growing in Colombia. Supermarkets and drugstores are selling vegan, gluten-free and organic products; new chefs are preparing vegan dishes and you´ll find some health food shops in the big cities. The activism in defense of animals has a lot of responsibility for this evolution and merits warm kudos.
The local restaurant menus do include some local food, that are mostly vegan corn-based dishes such as tamales and corn tortillas as well as salads. That being said it is likely that you will be hunting vegan and vegetarian restaurants before the first week is over. Good news! Even some small to medium cities have at least one vegan/vegetarian restaurant. To better know your vegan food options while traveling in Colombia, check out our Local Food tab.
Prepare yourself to have to eat a lot of noodles with mushrooms and tomatoes when you receive an invitation for dinner, as you most probably will, given that Colombians are very friendly people. Moreover, concerned people will tell you that you must eat animal protein to be healthy.
Colombia is a country rich in fruits, vegetables… and cows, with 14 million hectares dedicated to cattle raising and only five million hectares to crops. As a result, Colombia has to import some of its produce, though some groups are trying to change the agro-industry priorities. This means that you might pay high prices for groceries, much higher than what you’d expect, since restaurants are relatively cheap. But if you stick to markets and to seasonal fruits and vegetables, you’ll be in heaven!
Travelers planning to leave the vicinity of the larger cities should definitely stock up on vegan snacks to ease their way along the journey. Find all this under our Colombian Vegan Snacks & Stores tab. Also you should look to learn a few basic Vegan Words in Spanish to be better understood by the locals who outside of the city mostly do not understand English.
Still have questions? Visit our Colombia Forum tab to get all the answers.
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