When planning a quick getaway to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, I was thrilled to learn it’s an easy place for vegetarians and vegans. One of its veg restaurants, Planeta Vegetariano, has been in business since 1995! Here’s where to go if you decide to delve into vegan Puerto Vallarta.
Up a quiet pedestrian street, Planeta Vegetariano offers buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a changing menu daily.
Dinner features at least 15 different salads, most of them vegan. The hot bar offers refried beans, brown and white rice daily, with a couple of changing entrees. I visited twice. One night I had Mexican soy strips and fried chick pea fritters. Another night there was a strangely sweet yam-tasting lasagna.
It’s a cheerful place, with bright yellow walls, bossa nova music and funny murals. If you’re dining on your own, you probably won’t be the only one, so it’s a comfortable place to go solo.
Restaurant Vegetariano Mary also has a buffet. It’s a little farther from the main tourist zone, but still walkable. I made it in 15 minutes from my downtown hotel, Google maps guiding me on an easy walk.
Like Planet Vegetariano, its menu also changes daily. I was there for vegan carnitas day. A few outdoor tables give you a chance to watch the street.
Other Stops in Vegan Puerto Vallarta
I’d made myself a little itinerary so I could visit as many veg restaurants as possible in my quick trip. But I failed to take into consideration pesky details like opening hours. So I was disappointed when I arrived at Veggie Table on a Monday night at seven, only to realize they close at six.
Fortunately, I was able to get a report from my Canadian vegetarian contact David Malicki, who is wintering in Puerto Vallarta. He later told me in an email, “You really missed out. Veggie Table is a veritable veggie treat.”
Owner Sandra Tiznado, Dave reported, was “a psychologist teaching parenting skills for years, and then a co-worker kept telling her how great her homemade lunches looked, and encouraged her to start a biz. Eventually, she did.” Her menu is a la carte and features two kinds of veggie burgers – beet or grain – and tacos, salads, burritos and rice bowls. An excellent addition to the vegan Puerto Vallarta scene.
Puerto Vallarta even has an all-veg Italian place, Veggitalia, also vetted by intrepid vegetarian correspondent David Malicki. Unlike some of PV’s veg restaurants, this one serves wine.
I got a fresh juice at Salud Super Foods, which makes smoothies and more than 20 vegan or vegetarian wraps, sandwiches, bowls and salad. Across from the Sheraton Convention Center, 100% Natural Restaurant has many veg choices.
Recommended Resort for Vegetarians and Vegans
I stayed downtown at the adorable and fairly inexpensive Catedral Vallarta Boutique Hotel. But many people visit Puerto Vallarta for the all-inclusive resorts. So I took a research trip to the upscale Casa Velas. It’s a 15-minute Uber ride from downtown on a good day, but more like 30 if you hit snarly traffic.
Casa Velas is the smallest of the Velas resort family. With only 80 rooms and an adults-only policy, this place was whisper-quiet after my time spent downtown. It sits in the middle of a golf course, but guests can take a three-minute shuttle to the resort’s private beach club.
I’d requested a tour of Casa Velas because a vegan friend recently visited a Velas resort and raved about the separate veg menu. The Casa Velas has a three-page veg menu with vegan dishes clearly marked. For example, you can get blackened grains of corn with poblano pepper strips and zucchini, or green pozole with vegetables. Sales executive Iveth Heredia, who was showing me around the resort, assured me that Chef Alejandro makes guests anything they want. Pancho the peacock cruised the outer seating area, scrounging dropped granola and potato chunks.
If you really want to live like a fitness celebrity, rent a wellness suite at Casa Velas.
Here are a few of the over-the-top amenities:
- Private plunge pool on patio
- Private massage table beside the plunge pool
- Plan ahead and your favorite scent will be diffused in your suite before you arrive
- Exercise bike beside the bed
- 5-pound dumbbells under the sink (triceps extensions while tooth brushing, anyone?)
- Minibar featuring almond milk and coconut water
- A pillow menu with seven choices
- Vitamin C capsules inside the shower head pump the vitamin right into your skin
If You Go
Even in the high season of winter, a visit to vegan Puerto Vallarta might be within your budget. I found good package deals through Alaska Airlines. At press time, round trip air plus three nights in a three-star downtown hotel was about $500 per person. A package with air and three nights at an upscale, all-inclusive resort like Casa Velas costs around $1250 per person. But don’t expect the wellness suite for that price.