As someone who tries to be fit and healthy, I always find myself Googling away the night before I reach a new destination, looking for gyms, yoga studios and vegan restaurants. So I thought I’d start pulling together lists of health and vegan-conscious places for other travellers to try.
Just as a disclaimer, this post was inspired in part by a Vegan Antigua post I found on Jessica Grace Wahlhen’s Blog – I’ve added a few personal favourites, including fitness and general health and wellbeing places. So without further ado, let’s jump on in!
Where to Eat
I stumbled across this place whilst aimlessly wandering the streets of Antigua – one of my favourite things to do. The vibe is super chilled, and the coffee is great – although they also do a banging kombucha! It’s not solely plant-based but has a lot of vegetarian and vegan options. I highly recommend the nopal (cactus) wrap, which is a gorgeous mix of hummus, cactus, sweetcorn and other veggies.
Wachuma is an offshoot of vegetarian / vegan chain Samsara (which I’ve covered later on in this post) and it focuses purely on probiotic, gut-friendly food. Now if you’re travelling Central America, chances are you’ve had a stomach upset at some point – time to get those probiotics in! I can personally recommend the Pesto Zoodle Bowl with Tempeh, and the Sourdough Tostadas, which come with Kraut, Avocado Hummus and everything else your stomach could possibly want. It’s delicious!
La Bruja came recommended to me on the aforementioned blog post, with the main points being 1. vegan burgers and 2. vegan cheese. You can build your own burger, and the menu helpfully provides protein content in grams for each of the burger patties. They also do gorgeous vegan empanadas that are getting my stomach rumbling just thinking about them!
I haven’t tried it personally, but they do vegan waffles all day, and the best veggie burger in town, according to a good friendly of mine!
Where to Shop
In general, your best bet for eating healthily is to head to the local market (here) and pick up some fresh produce. There are also two supermarkets La Bodegona and Despensa Familiar (here). Some smaller tiendas may also have limited stocks of bananas and trail mix, and of course you can buy fresh mango and watermelon on many a street corner.
This is a prime health food store in Antigua. Whilst it has a good range of difficult-to-find ingredients such as probiotic supplements, natural toothpaste and kale chips, I honestly found it really expensive! The only things I bought there were some vegan protein powder (in individual sachets for ease of packing) and some wholefood snack bars for the hike up Acatenango.
Another restaurant that’s come recommended to me, but I haven’t actually tried this one. I’ve heard amazing things about their vegetarian/vegan food – but be warned, they have a very relaxed approach to service and speed. Just so you know!
Where to keep fit
Shakti Shala is the most gorgeous yoga studio that offers a wide variety of classes (think Mysore, Vinyasa, Slow Vinyasa, Yin, etc. etc.) and has a lovely community. They also have a lovely smoothie bar, and offer cheap energy balls (think less than 50p) that are great for keeping you going on a hike! I was even able to buy a reusable straw from them, which was a bonus.
I have to admit that this was the only gym I went to in Antigua, but I really recommend it. It’s clean and has amazing facilities such as punchbags, legit spin bikes and a good, modern weights section. I also hear rumours that they offer Crossfit classes, though don’t quote me on that. A day pass is 35Q – 3.50GBP – if you say you’re staying at any of the local hostels.
Pro tip: the store next to the gym seems to cater for health-conscious customers, and you can find healthier snacks such as freeze-dried fruit, trail mix and popcorn there.
And that’s all folks! If you know of anywhere else I should add to the list, by all means drop me a comment!
So tell me, how do you stay healthy when travelling? Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
Lots of love,