Vegan cooking class. Photo courtesy of Karen Newton, Soulscapes.
By Katie Foote, Epicure & Culture contributor

Looking for the world’s best vegetarian vacations?

For vegetarian travelers wanting to connect with others over food while maintaining a meat-free lifestyle, we’ve rounded up some of the world’s greatest vegetarian retreats and tours — many of which are actually fully vegan getaways!

The truth:

Food is so much more than dietary nourishment.

It is a social and sensory experience that every human should be able to enjoy.

It’s a celebration with friends and family.

It’s a symbol of pride in culture and traditions.

It offers pleasures that transcend geographic separation.

Travelers are increasingly starting to seek out culinary-focused trips; however, many of these people have special dietary needs.

According to a report published by the research firm Global Data, there has been a 600% increase in people identifying as vegans in the U.S in the last three years.

Fortunately — as evidenced below — the travel industry is starting to notice by offering more and more innovative vegetarian vacations for meat-free guests.

Check out eight cruelty-free options for the vegetarian traveler below!

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Looking for delicious vegetarian vacations or a vegan getaway? In this blog post, we’ve rounded up the best food tours from around the world for vegetarian travelers who don’t want to skimp on flavor. You've never seen vegan travel snacks and vegetarian trip food like this! #vegetarian #vegan #travel

1) Discover Vegan-Friendly Vacations In India

Intrepid Travel has recognized that plant-based eaters want to experience the world’s cuisines.

Their answer to this:

An Intrepid Vegan Food Adventure through India — one of a few vegan vacations they offer!

This vegan getaway allows you to eat your way through the Golden Triangle, combining sightseeing with the best vegan food in Delhi, Agra and Jaipur — all dream places to visit in India!

You’ll tour historic Old Delhi by rickshaw and sample delectable snacks from eateries hidden in the backstreets.

Vegan Chai Tea. Photo courtesy of Intrepid Travel.
Vegan Chai Tea. Photo courtesy of Intrepid Travel.

Another highlight:

Munching on vegetable samosas and savoring the legendary paratha flatbread of Delhi’s Chandni Chowk precinct.

When it’s time for lunch in Agra, you’ll dine at Sheroes Hangout, a café and social enterprise that supports female acid attack victims.

In Rajastan, you will enjoy a royal feast of fragrant curries, soft roti bread and fresh salads in one of the area’s finest heritage hotels. And if you want to learn how to recreate these exotic vegan dishes in your own kitchen, you can take part in vegan cooking classes (or simply relax with a vegan chai tea).

This 8-day tour is priced from $1,160 USD. The next departure date is April 19, 2019.

Click here for more things to do in India.

Baked Stuffed Gingered Sweet Potatoes. Photo courtesy of Jamaica Eat To Live.
Baked Stuffed Gingered Sweet Potatoes. Photo courtesy of Jamaica Eat To Live.

2) Relax & Recharge With A Meat-Free Caribbean Retreat In Jamaica

Be kind to your body on your Jamaican getaway with Eat To Live Wellness & Vegetarian Cooking Tour.

Freda Gore — acclaimed chef and your tour hostess— offers immersive food and health experiences at Camp Cabarita Lodge, a vegan-friendly Caribbean resort in the tropical setting of West Moreland, Jamaica.

Freda will take you on cultural countryside tours to see where local fruits and vegetables are grown, then offer hands on cooking classes to prepare the fresh ingredients alongside Rastafarian chefs.

You’ll make delicious cruelty-free dishes like ital vegetable stew (ital food is meat-free and unprocessed), coconut spinach rice, green banana salad, roasted breadfruit with pepper pot and jerk curry jackfruit.

Rates for the four- or six-day tour start from $1,599 USD per person.

Click here for more things to do in Jamaica.

Cheese, cookies and soup. Photo courtesy of Heather Wallace, Studio H Photography.
Cheese, cookies and soup. Photo courtesy of Heather Wallace, Studio H Photography.

3) Explore Sustainable Island Cuisine In The USA’s Pacific Northwest,

For a vegetarian vacation exploring a relatively unknown gastronomical gem, consider visiting the Orcas Islands in Washington state with Salish Sea Tour Co.

This new company offers daily foodie tours that provide a behind-the-scenes peek at life on the island.

Their Fresh, Fermented & Flying High afternoon tour — which takes place Sunday through Thursday at 1pm — explores the culinary culture that has turned Orcas into a conscious cuisine destination.

On the meat-free tour, you’ll partake in experiences previously unavailable to tourists, like:

  • Learning about ocean sustainability and oyster shucking at Buck Bay Shellfish
  • Tasting fruits and herbs used to produce homemade preserves and lotions
  • Visiting farms that provide produce to local restaurants

While the vegetarian version of the tour is not explicitly advertised, owner Cole Sisson can easily cater your experience to feature the sustainable farms on the island. The vegetarian tour focuses on the heritage fruits and preserves from the island orchards, the intimate farm stands and artisan cheese producers.

The three-hour tour costs $100 USD.

Click here for more things to do in Washington.

Photo courtey of Karen Newton, Soulscapes.
Ladakhi food.  Photo courtesy of Karen Newton, Soulscapes.

4) Reset Your Life With A Spiritual Trip To The Himalayas

Soulscape is a UK-based start up offering meaningful journeys that promote creative learning, cultural immersion and complete well-being.

More than just a junket, these trips are designed for people who are seeking a transformative experience, a change in perspective and an opportunity for reflection.

Part of curating a holistic health-enhancing vacation is a thoughtful approach to food and drink. Soulscape’s trip to Ule — a charming village in the Himalayas — involves all vegetarian meals highlighting local cuisine.

On this vegetarian vacation, you’ll stay with a local family from Ule in eco huts on a cliff overlooking the Indus river. The family runs an initiative to grow organic fruits and vegetables onsite. They use these to put together healthy meals that showcase Ladakhi food.

Ladakhi food is generally quite simple — unlike other cuisines from across India — and has some influence from Tibet and North India. Some vegetarian dishes you’ll savor include pakthuk (flat square noodles with green vegetables, chives and local cumin) served with khambir (local bread), mok mok (dumplings) and butter tea.

Another family who runs a small cafe in the same village provides a cooking lesson in a traditional kitchen. On this vegetarian getaway you’ll learn how to prepare three-to-four homemade Ladakhi dishes using mainly local ingredients and typical preparation techniques. Honestly, just being in the space and seeing local life is often eye opening for guests.

The cost for a seven-day experience with Soulscape is about $3,900 USD. This includes everything except flights.

Bonus:

Feel good knowing that Soulscape has an ethical policy towards supporting local economies, paying fair wages, opting for more sustainable transport and accommodation, and supporting local artisans through their itineraries.

Click here for more things to do in the Himalayas.

One of the decadent desserts. Photo courtesy of Vegan Baby.
One of the decadent desserts. Photo courtesy of Vegan Baby.

5) Enjoy Vegan Travel Fun In Las Vegas

Las Vegas — aka Sin City — may be known for bad decisions and reckless abandon, but you can indulge in decadence without eating meat thanks to Vegans, Baby. This conscious website is dedicated to collecting information about vegan dining, vegan apparel and products, and relevant news stories in Las Vegas.

After being repetitively asked for recommendations for vegan restaurants in Las Vegas, Vegans, Baby founder Diana Edelman decided to start a vegan food tour.

The meat-free excursion includes stops at five Downtown Las Vegas restaurants. This means you’ll sample 12 delicious vegan dishes — including a dessert collaboration from two of Downtown’s most popular spots, DonutBar and VegeNation.

The tour’s menu rotates regularly, but an example of a vegan dish you might try is the “Mama Mia lasagna” at Simply Pure featuring vegan protein sausage, tofu ricotta, vegan mozzarella, fresh spinach, basil and sundried tomato marinara.

Another possible highlight:

The eatery’s “Nachos Grande” made with fresh corn chips, vegan protein beef, vegan cheddar cheese, fresh pico de gallo and sliced avocado. Yum!

Tickets for Diana’s three-hour tour cost $87 USD.

Click here for more things to do in Las Vegas.

Vegan tapas. Photo courtesy of ForeverBarcelona Tours.
Vegetarian tapas. Photo courtesy of ForeverBarcelona Tours.

6) Visit Vegetarian Tapa Hotspots In Barcelona

Marta Laurent, founder of ForeverBarcelona Tours, has been a vegetarian —with an interest in vegan and raw foods — for almost 10 years. She loves sharing her lifestyle with others, and is happy to craft a custom vegetarian trip itinerary for guests upon request.

Her most popular vegetarian tour involves tapas-hopping around Barcelona, Spain. Vegetarian guests could start at a modern tapas place with an order of tasty patatas bravas (mildly spicy fried potatoes with vegan “aioli” garlic sauce), eggplant chips with molasses and lime shavings, and red pepper and cheese croquettes.

Next, you may move to a traditional family-owned bar and order a platter of assorted pickles, olives, marinated artichokes and asparagus, as well as baby Italian red peppers stuffed with goat cheese and a delectable Spanish omelette featuring potato, caramelized onion and egg.

Nearby, there’s a Basque pintxo bar (similar to tapas) with artichoke skewers and cheesy “montadito” bites.

If the tour was taking place at lunch, Marta would recommend finishing at her favorite bar in the Boqueria Market to try their mixed mushrooms — with scrambled eggs for the non-vegan — or their fried artichoke chips.

On the other hand, if this Barcelona food tour was taking place at night, she’d take you to savor Padron green peppers and Catalan escalivada, two delicious vegan dishes in Spain. This vegetarian meal features roasted peppers and eggplant, sometimes topped with baked goat cheese.

And if time — and stomach space — permit, guests with a sweet tooth could choose between a bakery selling the winning “best chocolate cake in the world 2005” award or the best gelateria in town, which has vegan gelato options.

The cost of a four-hour private tour is €295 (~about $342 USD). Food and drinks are not included so you can choose what to order. Typically food ranges between €30 – €50 ($35-$58 USD) per person, not including drinks.

Click here for more things to do in Barcelona.

Vegetarian selections at De Luxe. Photo courtesy of Dana Nollsch.
Vegetarian selections at De Luxe. Photo courtesy of Dana Nollsch.

7) Discover The Vegetarian Side Of Reno Tahoe’s Up-And-Coming Culinary Scene

Creative chefs as well as talented brewers and distillers are suddenly moving to Reno Tahoe’s Midtown District in Nevada. In fact, 10 new restaurants opened in a three-mile radius in 2017.

With several live music venues, street art, and fantastic food and drink options, it’s the perfect place for foodies to unwind and indulge before the secret gets out.

If you’re interested in discovering some of the best Reno restaurants, Reno Food Walks offers the chance to do just this.

Offering a few food tours each week, you’ll stop at various restaurants to eat while gaining a deeper understanding of the food, the space and chefs.

While all of Reno Food Walks’ tours have vegetarian options at each restaurant, they also customize vegetarian itineraries for private groups.

Stops on this vegetarian tour may include:

  • De Luxe. Famous for organic, plant-based food like their kimchi tacos.
  • Thali. An Indian restaurant serving bold, spiced vegetarian dishes like eggplant sabji.
  • Great Full Gardens. This vegetarian restaurant serves healthy, flavorful cuisine like their “Wasabi Vegetable Bowl”.
  • Laughing Planet Cafe. Here, they offer a simple, inclusive approach to vegan food, like with their homemade meat- and gluten-free veggie chili.

A three-hour tour costs $65 USD.

Click here for more things to do in Reno.

One of GLO’s tasty meals. Photo courtesy of GLO.
One of GLO’s tasty meals. Photo courtesy of GLO.

8) Detox With A Plant-Based Holistic Health Retreat In Nicaragua

Gracious Living Oasis (GLO) is a semi-private, boutique vegan wellness center and retreat home in tranquil Asseredores, Northern Nicaragua.

Founded by Grace Van Berkum, these conscious living-focused vacations are designed to reset and recalibrate the body for more energy while reducing stress. This is while also providing wellness education and a “lifestyle tool-kit” for to ensure continued health progress back home.

The GLO formula includes a plant-based menu, cooking classes, nutrition consultations with meal planning, life coaching, sound therapy, yoga and meditation, Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic treatments and lymphatic massages. Plus, you’re in sunny Nicaragua, making it easier to naturally become more grounded.

Those searching for vegan vacation options will love the included superfood-infused cruelty-free meals.

The menu is broken up into levels ranging from one to five. Level One offers more of an introduction to cooked and raw plant-based eating, while Level Five features a liquid menu of soups, smoothies elixirs and tonics.

No matter which menu you choose, you’ll be taking steps to improve your digestion, rebalance hormones, and reduce inflammation in the body.

Retreats range anywhere from $1,200-$1,900 plus taxes, (all inclusive) depending on the highlighted teacher(s) that week.

Click here for more things to do in Nicaragua.

Any vegetarian vacations or vegan getaways you’d add to the list? Please leave your recommendations in the comments below! 

*Featured image via Soulscapes

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Whether you need a vegan vacation or vegetarian getaway, we've got you covered. In fact, we’re sharing our top eight choices, whether you want to enjoy vegetarian meals when traveling to India, visiting Nicaragua for a vegan retreat, taking a trip to Washington state to eat ethically on an island, or something else! #meatfree #veggietravel #responsibletourism

Katie Foote

Katie Foote may be a physicist by trade but she spent several years travelling the world as much as possible. After four years of semi-nomadic life, she spent a couple years in Auckland, New Zealand and recently moved to Vancouver, Canada. Despite living more traditionally, she has insight on how to travel the world on a graduate student budget (cheap!), explore off-the-beaten-path destinations and authentically experiencing new places by connecting to locals. When she's not doing physics or globe-trotting, she likes kickboxing, yoga and exploring her extraordinary new backyard of British Columbia.

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1 Comment

  1. Let me add Mexico to this list. Few think of Mexico as a destination well suited to vegetarians and vegans, but the traditional diet in Central Mexico in particular can be very vegan friendly. Check out fyvmexico.com . We’re launching mid Sept 2018 and our current destinations include Merida, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico City and Oaxaca. All tours are different, reflecting the region as well as the perspectives of the guides and chefs that present them. All share in a Mission to support the plant food traditions of Mexico and contribute positively to the local economies. Hope you’ll join us for some tacos with huitlacoche!

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