Vegetarian or Vegan on Caye Caulker

While I was researching for my trip to Caye Caulker I found it difficult to find info about what to eat and where to eat for vegetarians and vegans. My friends who’d been to Belize went a long time ago and stayed on Ambergris, so they weren’t any help either.

So I decided to write this post for future travelers who could benefit from knowing where to go in search of vegetarian and vegan food on Caye Caulker.

There aren’t any totally vegetarian nor vegan restaurants on the island. If there were that’d be amazing! But surprisingly there were several restaurants with at least a couple of vegetarian or vegan options.

Vegetarian Definition: In this article I define vegetarian as, no meat and that also includes chicken, fish, and eggs.

Before I tell you about all the great food vegetarian and vegan options on Caye Caulker, a few photos =p

Samta-Ajay-Caye-Caulker-sign.jpg
My husband and I strolling around the island

thumb_IMG_4375_1024.jpg

Caye-Caulker-scene.JPG
Welcome to Caye Caulker!

{Vegetarian and Vegan Options}

Every restaurant I visited during my 5 day stay, had at least 1 vegetarian option which either was already also vegan or could be made vegan.

It’s helpful that traditional Belizean food is rice and beans and the way it’s cooked, with spices and sans chicken/beef stock, is really tasty.

{Personal Food-Related Stories to Share}

I want to share a food-related experience I had on Caye Caulker:

We went out for dinner at Chef Juan’s and I grabbed a couple of seats at one of the communal tables, while my husband went to the window to order our food. I struck up conversation with the family sitting next to me, who was visiting from DC. We talked about what dishes we ordered and I mentioned that I’m vegetarian. Their teenage boy looked at me and said, “why?” as in why are you vegetarian? I said, “I practice a small religion from India called Jainism. And we believe in non-violence.” His response, “that’s a good religion”. His mom followed up saying he’s gonna Google it now when we get back to the hotel.

I LOVED that simple exchange. Quick, direct and it’s nice to finally not be looked at like I’m weird. Growing up in Orange County, California in the mid 80’s and 90’s, vegetarianism was a completely foreign and unaccepted practice which lead to some awkward and unfortunately sometimes unpleasant social situations growing up. Thirty years later, the world has caught up and being vegetarian or vegan is spreading. In general, people are more aware of these diets, which is like a breath of fresh air.

Story from the flight back: 

So we were on our flight back to the states and my husband and I started chatting with the guy sitting next to us. We mostly talked about our respective trips, where we went and what we ate. And again I casually mentioned that I’m vegetarian. When the stewardess came by selling snack boxes, before ordering he asked me, “is it ok if I eat meat in front of you guys?”. I’d never impose my values on someone else. Of course it was ok. The fact that he asked was super courteous and again I couldn’t help thinking how far the world has come!

{Where to Eat on Caye Caulker
for Vegetarians and Vegans}

Ok let’s get to the good stuff, where to eat on Caye Caulker!

Il Pelicano: Arguably the fanciest restaurant on the island. It’s open for dinner-only, from 5:30pm-9:30pm Tuesday-Sunday (closed Mondays). On busy nights, such as public holidays, make a reservation. We tried to go there on New Year’s Eve and they were completely booked for the whole evening! Turned out they had a pre-fixe menu, with mostly non-vegetarian items anyway, but unexpected in such a laid back place. We did eat there our 1st night on the island and I ordered a delicious funghi pizza and my husband had the eggplant lasagna. We both really enjoyed our meals.

Il-Pelicano-Caye-Caulker.JPG
Il Pelicano Italian restaurant on Caye Caulker, open for dinner only.

Chef Juan’s: I forgot to get a photo, but it’s a stall with a few outdoor, communal tables. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. We went there for 1 lunch and 1 dinner and enjoyed the vegetable coconut curry with white rice, plus a side of your choice – we got salad.

They’re light but filling meals, that are packed with flavor.

Chef Juan’s is cash only. There are ATMs on the island.

Caribbean Colors Art Cafe: Their menu has several delicious vegetarian dishes as well as specifically states which items can be made vegan, as you can see in the photo below. We ate there our last day on the island. I loved the view – directly across the restaurant is a basketball court and behind that…the ocean.

Caribbean-Colors-Art-Cafe-Menu-Caye-Caulker-vegetarian

Caribbean-Colors-Art-Cafe-view-Caye-Caulker
View from Caribbean Colors Art Cafe…the basketball court and of course the ocean.
Caribbean-Colors-Art-Cafe-Menu-Caye-Caulker-Gazpacho-watermelon-soup
Gazpacho watermelon soup appetizer, served on a bed of ice.
Caribbean-Colors-Art-Cafe-Menu-Caye-Caulker-entree
Veggie skewers served on a bed of fried rice flour crisps. I got excited when this dish arrived as those fried crisps bring back memories of visiting India as a kid. My grandfather used to gather all of us kids and buy us that as a savory snack from the local street vendor.
Caribbean-Colors-Art-Cafe-Menu-Caye-Caulker-Ajay-entree
My husband ordered a veggie loaded savory crepe.

Rainbow Grill & Bar is a waterfront restaurant and has a vegetarian section on the menu!Rainbow-Grill-Vegetarian-Caye-Caulker.jpg

Chips-Salsa-Rainbow-Bar-Caye-Caulker
The portions were really big. The chips & salsa alone could have been a whole meal. You can see the plate of spaghetti as well, which hit the spot.
Ajay-burrito-Rainbow-Bar-Caye-Caulker
Vegetarian burritos in Belize were really tasty. They load them up with veggies and they’re huge!

Southside Pizza: This is a little restaurant with an open air kitchen. A friendly Garifuna guy works there and makes you feel right at home. There were only 1-2 other couples seated when we got there – one of which was already eating and the other was waiting for their food. We ordered a medium, vegetarian pizza and they said it’d be around 25-30 minutes. I could see the two ladies in the kitchen making the food and couldn’t help but reflect on how different it is from here in the States, where the employees move quickly and are trained for fast turn around.

These ladies took their sweet time. There was no rush at all – perfectly in sync with the island’s “go slow” slogan. 🙂Southside-pizza-Caye-Caulker.jpg

Honorary shout out: You kinda can’t go to Caye Caulker without visiting Herrolyn’s House of Fry Jacks, at least once. We actually didn’t go at all. We tried Fry Jacks in San Ignacio and came to realize it’s exactly like a bhature, as in chole bhature that you find in North Indian cuisine. It’s insanely delicious but also fried and you feel heavy after eating, so we appreciated from afar.

Herrolyn's-House-Fry-Jacks-Caye-Caulker.jpg
As you can see Herrolyn’s is super popular, especially in the morning for breakfast and brunch.
Bhature.png
Is this a bhature or a Fry Jack? That’s how similar they are!

There were a few restaurants we heard about but didn’t try: Hibiscus (formerly Habaneros), Rose’s Grill & Bar, Amor Y Cafe. We’d heard not so great things about Rose’s and Amor Y Cafe. And we took a look at the menu at Hibiscus and weren’t feelin’ it.

{Being Vegetarian on Caye Caulker on New Year’s Day}

The only time that having dietary restrictions on Caye Caulker was really difficult, was on New Year’s Day. The majority of restaurants were closed. We had a harder time finding food that day and ended up eating fries at the Lazy Lizard and buying snacks at one of the many grocery/convenience stores.

Fun Fact: Most of the grocery stores on Caye Caulker are owned by Chinese people. About 2% of the population of Belize identifies as Chinese.

{Fast Food This Is Not}

The “Go Slow” vibe really manifests itself when it comes to eating at restaurants. Some restaurants on the island are notoriously slow. Other tourists shared stories of how they left after waiting for an hour for their food, bewildered at how other people who arrived after them got their food, before them.

I’d say the only place where we really felt that way was at Southside pizza, which took almost 30 minutes to make a medium, veggie pizza. There was only 1 only other couple waiting to get their food. But we weren’t in a hurry and understood that that’s part of the charm of the whole experience. And the pizza was delish!

{Other Caye Caulker Tips}

Money. Bring cash to Caye Caulker (either USD or Belizean). We thought we wouldn’t need cash, but some of the smaller restaurants are cash only or there’s fees (tax) on credit cards. For our snorkeling tour they had to charge 12.5% GST if you paid by credit card.

There is an ATM on the island or take USD with you. Don’t bother getting Belizean dollars before you arrive there as US dollars are accepted everywhere and they’ve pegged their dollar to the USD. $1USD = $2BZD

Language: everyone speaks English on Caye Caulker. You do not need to know Spanish – from the airport, customs, taxi to the water taxi ferry, and on the island itself – people spoke English. In San Ignacio, I found that knowing Spanish came in handy with taxi drivers. And the day we crossed the border into Guatemala, to see Tikal I used Spanish a lot that day.

Health: Take bug spray with DEET in it. I use the one Costco sells and it worked well for us. You can buy bug spray on the island too. They also sell Aloe Vera to relieve the itching in case you do get bit.

Healthcare: On Caye Caulker they lovingly and jokingly say that they have two cemeteries but no hospital on the island, so “go slow”.

Safety: I felt super safe the entire time I was there. A couple of times random guys (locals) came up and started talking to me but they seemed harmless. I was there on New Years Eve and saw that both the Sports Bar as well as the Lazy Lizard stepped up security that night. On New Year’s Eve local kids were exploding firecrackers which was mostly a nuisance as opposed to a safety issue. Like any place you go, be alert and do not make yourself a target.

Groceries: There are loads of places on the island to buy fruits, veggies, toiletries, snacks etc. so if you’re AirBnB’ing, don’t feel like you have to schlep all of that with you.

{Summary}

I was really pleasantly surprised at how much vegetarian and vegan food there was on Caye Caulker. I hope that this article helps anyone dissuaded for that reason to reconsider a trip to Belize and specifically Caye Caulker. It really is a beautiful and unique place!


I hope you’ve enjoyed our dive into vegetarian and vegan food on Caye Caulker. And mostly I hope this helps you plan your trip there. Let me know if it did in the comments. I love hearing from our readers, as well as your fun, funny, interesting, and helpful stories from your travel experiences! You might like to follow us on Facebook and Instagram too, where we share a lot of different content and images.

Other PassportPages posts you might like:

Things To Do On Caye Caulker
Getting to Belize’s Cayes


Woman with long hair smiling
Samta, Founder of PassportPages

*all photos in this article, except the Fry Jacks, are PassportPages originals.

 

 

7 thoughts on “Vegetarian or Vegan on Caye Caulker

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s