Do you ever feel restricted by your lifestyle choices when choosing a vacation destination? Do you fear that most vacation spots offer nothing more exotic than soggy pasta primavera and wilted tossed salad to vacationing vegans? Or that you will be required to gather your own nuts, berries and tree bark at that remote holistic retreat in the woods in order to avoid starvation? Fear not! There are many exciting vacation destinations and holiday packages that cater to vegans, with delicious and exotic menu items prepared from fresh, often organic, local ingredients.
Charter a Private Yacht in the Caribbean: for an intensely romantic and luxurious getaway, Vegetarian Yacht Cruises offers adventurous sailing vacations aboard the Blithe Spirit II, a 52-foot Irwin ketch that can accommodate four passengers. The elegant yacht is fully furnished and even includes a sea kayak, an iPod connection, snorkel and scuba equipment, a DVD with 125 movies, an espresso machine and a barbecue grill (for preparing grilled veggies, of course). Captain Michel Guilbeault and his wife, Dominique are former owners and operators of a country inn where they grew all the food on their own property. Menus items may include Vegan Niçoise Salad, Mango Gazpacho with Croutons, Ginger/Grilled Tofu Brochettes over Quinoa or Mexican Quesadillas with Corn/Bean Salad. To work off all the delicious food, you can swim, snorkel, scuba, kayak, help sail the yacht or just stroll around Caribbean ports of call and chat with the locals.
Center Yourself in Goa: India is one of the best places in the world to try vegetarian or purely vegan food; Indians have been cooking in this manner for millennia and have it down to an art. The beachfront resort at the Lotus Yoga Retreat in Goa, offers the perfect combination of yoga, meditation, spa services, gorgeous beaches and sunsets, refreshing sea breezes and fantastically fresh vegan meals. Using locally grown, often organic produce, guests are treated to fresh tropical fruit, dal, salads, veggie entrees and freshly squeezed juices. Between meals, guests may choose from services such as yoga instruction, guided mediation, shiatsu massage, reiki, reflexology, Ayurvedic treatments, just relaxing on the stunning beaches or napping in their seaside bamboo huts.
Cave Tube and Zip-line in Belize: the Orchid Garden Eco-Village in a peaceful, leafy suburb of Belize City offers amazing adventures to its guests: cave tubing, zip-lining through tropical canopies, exploring Mayan ruins, observing tropical wildlife and plants, snorkeling at a private beach and horseback riding through lush rainforests. Vegan meals prepared at the communal dining room and the vegetarian café are based on the luscious fresh fruits, vegetables and even the flowers of Belize. The hotel has its own “edible garden” which specializes in the Aquaponics System of growing mushrooms, bamboo, hibiscus and other local produce for use in their restaurants.
Trek through Rainforests in Malaysia: the cuisine of Malaysia is said to be one of the best and most diverse in the world, mixing influences from India, Thailand and, China into piquant and delicious combinations. Veg Voyages hosts a variety of vacations all over the world for vegans and Rainforests, Reefs, Cultures & Cuisines is one of its most popular offerings. The trip into the heart of the Malaysian peninsula includes yoga lessons, rainforest trekking, the opportunity to stay with locals, vegan cooking classes, snorkeling, swimming, boat journeys and concerts of local folk music and dance.
Follow in the Footsteps of the Moors in Spain and Morocco: La Alpujarra, Sierra Nevada in Spain, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, is home to some of the most diverse geographies in the world, ranging from sub-tropical to alpine. Bootlace.com offers walking holidays that trace ancient Moorish and Roman trade routes and irrigation channels, allowing hikers to visit Berber-style villages, catch glimpses of local flora and fauna and view the countries in ways few tourists will experience. The company describes its tours as “Great company, great vegetarian food, and the great outdoors!”
Experience Romance and Adventure in Costa Rica: private waterfalls, secluded rainforest, luxury suites, exotic jungle flora, colorful tropical birds and butterflies, incredible national parks and amazing vegan food await you at this gorgeous retreat in the heart of Costa Rica’s Baru Rainforest. Waterfall Villas’ vacation packages all include your choice of cuisine: vegetarian, vegan or raw food using only fresh and organic ingredients. Activities include hiking, jungle nature tours, canopy zip-lining, white water rafting, snorkeling, scuba, surfing, whale and dolphin safaris and spa services such as romantic massages for two.
Discover Inca Culture in Peru: if you’ve ever wanted to visit a real-life version of Shangri-La, head to the Andes Mountains of Peru and the lost city of Machu Picchu. One of the most breathtaking places to visit in the world, Machu Picchu was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983 to protect its natural beauty and historical value. Vegi Ventures, a UK-based travel agency that caters to vegetarians and vegans, sponsors a Peruvian holiday called “Life and Spirit of the Andes” that includes Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu, The Sacred Valley, Limatambo, Lake Titicaca and Taquile Island. The menu focuses on Peruvian ingredients and culinary methods and features items such as quinoa soup, papas (potatoes) a la Huancaina, salads and fresh fruit.
Explore England’s Lake District: Vegi Ventures also offers a series of Hill Walking Holidays in the UK, including a week hiking through England’s beautiful Lake District. Based in the Western Fells, on the shores of Buttermere Lake in Cumbria. Walks vary in difficulty from beginner to more advanced mountain hiking and holidays include other activities such as boating, stretching classes and visiting local attractions. Menu options range from Hot Sweet Corn with Tahini Dressing to Tofu Burgers.
The Traveling Bastards: Simone & Luis met while traveling in South America, and although neither of them spoke a word of the others language, they fell in love, got married and have been happily traveling and blogging about their adventures on the Traveling Bastards Travel and Food Blog. In their former careers, Simone managed teams of software engineers and consultants at American Express, Dell Computer and Microsoft, while Luis who was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela was a CPA.