Vegan eating in Argentina


Argentinian food is heavily meat-based. Asado, the social event of having a barbecue, is very popular in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. When we were invited to one we brought eggplants, potatoes, and peppers with us and made a delicious salad or Baba Ganoush out of roasted eggplants. People loved it. Argentinian food also has a huge Italian influence. You can find pasta and pizza almost everywhere. Wine is available from 40 ARS and even delicious. Argentinians eat four times a day. Breakfast, lunch, merienda (snack), and dinner.

Be wary of the tofu. Over 90 percent of soy is genetically modified and needs a lot of water and pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. These chemicals end up in the groundwater, air and eventually in the inhabitants. Suspiciously many locals are sick or have died. A business at the expense of the people who live there. In addition, many soils are already leached. This is a kind of cultivation that is not sustainable. Monsanto has a big influence on agriculture in Argentina. It is difficult not to eat genetically modified food.

In the north of South America I was spoilt with a huge variety on fruits and vegetables. In Argentina I felt like back home in Europe. Instead of over 3000 different potatoes to choose from — only two. We took advantage of the vegetable markets and cooked a lot.


Big vegetable and fruit markets are rarer in Argentina. Little stores on the road are more common and do have basic vegetables and fruits. Depends a lot on the season. Supermarkets do have more options. The prices vary a lot depending where you are in Argentina. Food in Buenos Aires, Neuquén, and Bariloche is most expensive. In Salta, Córdoba, and Rosario food is cheapest. Street food is not very common in Argentina. Some examples to have an idea: 1 kg avocados (80-120 ARS), 1 kg tomatoes (28-50 ARS), 1 kg bananas (16-35 ARS), 1 kg eggplants (25-40 ARS), 1 kg carrots (10-24 ARS), 1 kg sweet potatoes (14-20 ARS), 1 kg squash (6-19 ARS), 1 kg peanuts (50-55 ARS), a can of coconut milk (79.50 ARS), 1 kg oats (30-40 ARS).

Most cities we visited had natural stores where we bought nutritional yeast (Levadura de Cerveza, 110 ARS), tahini, nuts, and peanut butter (400 g, 55-85 ARS).


A meal in a vegetarian/vegan restaurant is between 120 and 170 ARS. Córdoba and Buenos Aires do have a lot of vegan options. Smaller cities do have a few. It is important to remember that Argentinians do not eat dinner until late – 10pm is normal and most restaurants are not open before 8 or 9 pm. Some offer a Merienda if you can’t wait.


El Papagayo Restaurant

Wow! What an excellent gastronomy experience we enjoyed. The food was high quality, fresh, surprised in taste, and the service was very attentive. We started with a fresh, fluffy almond soup that had a light taste of lime. Next we enjoyed hummus with terrific homemade whole wheat bread that contained nuts and raisins.


After, we were served tasty mushrooms on a pepper sauce with capers and olives. Dessert was a pear with sweet ice, cardamom, cinnamon, and peppermint. We finished with a strong coffee. A delicate combination of flavours and textures. Truthful art!


Maná Resto (vegetarian with vegan options)

A beautiful restaurant with an excellent atmosphere to spend a few hours in. I felt like I was in a garden.


Lunch is an open buffet with a huge variety of delicious, healthy and fresh food. The presentation is beautiful. Some of the food is even gluten free. We enjoyed the open buffet and had an amazing vegan Cappuccino. Lunch on weekdays is 240 ARS per kg. Dinner and lunch on the weekend is 328 ARS per kg. The takeaway buffet is less.


Uriel restaurant Vegetariano Vegano

We had the menu del dia for 120 ARS where we could choose three different things from the salad bar. They heated up our food with the microwave. There is also a little self-service with chia seeds, oregano, flaxseeds, ginger, curcuma, and different teas. Most, I liked the vegetable pie with vegan cheese.


MA Market (100% vegan)

A restaurant that offers a nice salad bar and an open buffet for 19 ARS per 100g. The variety is great and they offer seeds like sesame, chia, and flaxseeds.


Buenos Aires

Cúrcuma (vegetarian with vegan options)

A beautiful restaurant for a romantic dinner that opens at 8pm (closed on Sunday and Monday). On Saturday they organise live music. The food is very rich in taste, the service cordial, and the portions large. I had a hearty mushroom risotto with homemade coconut milk and tomatoes (170 ARS). I could smell the coconut before every bite and the tomatoes gave the meal a slightly sour, refreshing taste. As a starter I had a salad in between two tasty seed crackers. The kitchen is open, so you can actually see people cooking. Everything is organic, even the wine. So Yummi!


Casa Munay (vegetarian with vegan options)

The restaurant has a beautiful ambience to escape the hustle of the city and invites to stay for a few hours. In the front is a little store with lots of organic products like peanut butter, seeds, cookies, and bread. We had the Munay Thai with rice noodles that came with tofu, onions, peanuts, cilantro, and soy sauce (155 ARS). The Risotto 3 cereals with millet, barley, and quinoa was with coconut milk, vegetable cheese, squash and peppers (140 ARS). Unfortunately we could not taste much of the coconut milk and squash. The taste was a bit stale. However, we really enjoyed the Munay Thai. So I am sure we were just unlucky with our choice of risotto. They also have hummus, Baba Ganush, sushi, falafel, pastas, cappuccino with vegetable milk (60 ARS), and other delicious things on the menu.


Pumpkin Vegan Burgers (100% vegan)

It is more a take-away place than a restaurant since to eat in the place is not very comfortable. The burger was a bit too oily for my taste but it was very delicious. A burger is between 75 and 85 ARS. The combos (burger + French fries + drink) are between 125-135 ARS. The cheese is made out of tofu. And they have vegan brownies too.



Govinda Vegetarian (vegetarian with vegan options)

The upper floor has a beautiful, little inside, herb garden and relaxing music. The restaurant offers lunch and dinner as an open buffet for 22 ARS per 100g. Takeaway is 18 ARS per 100g. They offer many vegan options like empanadas, sushi, deep-fried vegetables, salad, pizza, seitan, and a delicious vegetable crepe with a vegan mayonnaise. Some of the food is spicy. There are microwaves available to heat up the food. Since they try not to waste any food they offer the buffet as takeaway between 3-3:30pm and 11-11:30pm for only 10.60 ARS per 100g. They are also selling nuts, seeds, tofu, seitan, and other specialities.



Volunteering with Workaway in Central and South America


Volunteering is a great way to learn new skills, gain experience, practice a language, help others, learn more about a different culture, get out of your comfort zone, learn more about yourself, connect with similar minded people, and a nice option to spend a few weeks at one place. Sometimes far away from civilization like we did for example in Guatapé and Tumianuma.

The first time I volunteered I was 14 years old. I worked on a farm in the mountains for three weeks. It was hard, physical work and most of the time I worked alone in the field. My hosts were grateful and I felt appreciated. Two years later I volunteered for three years as a cashier in a public charity. I learnt a lot. During the same time, I volunteered on another farm with the organisation Caritas for three weeks. The French family I stayed with was very warm and treated me like a family member. Most rewarding has been working with refugees in my hometown. Most of them are incredibly grateful and I could see the direct effect. It is very important to offer the possibility to learn the local language and make them feel at home. The integration goes much faster. For my one-and-a-half-year trip through Central and South America I used a highly recommended website, I volunteered in Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Argentina. I worked on permaculture farms, helped to build houses out of Guadua, worked in hostels, in a Hare Krishna temple, in ecological communities, painted walls, took pictures, and cooked a lot.

All those places have given me the possibility to observe new lifestyles and have given me many ideas of how to realise my dreams. They give me inspiration and courage that it is possible to live in harmony with nature. I also learnt what I am good at, what I like, and what I do not like.

Even though I grew up with a big garden with vegetables and fruits I had to travel to the end of the world to discover my deep wish to grow my own food. Now I could not imagine not doing it. I am excited to help my mum in her garden until I have my own. Sometimes we need a few thousand kilometres of distance from our everyday lives to open our eyes.

How does volunteering with Workaway work?

Volunteering with Workaway is more a work exchange. A few hours volunteering per day in exchange for food and accommodation. My boyfriend and I volunteered between three and six hours a day. Weekends were usually off. Only at one place we worked every day. But that was in a beautiful mountain lodge where our main task was to make sure the guests are happy, well-informed about the area and feel at home. This included check-in/check-out of guest, serving dinner/snacks, breakfast, serving drinks from the bar, helping with administration on excel, and playing appropriate music. It was a wonderful break from travelling and felt like vacation.

A few of the volunteer options ask for a certain amount of money per day. It is possible to filter them out in the search. You can sign up as a single person (34 USD) or as a couple / two friends (44 USD). It is also possible to connect two accounts together in case you want to apply together. Accounts are valid for one year enabling you to contact any of the hosts. I think it is good to write a host something about your background, why you are interested and why you think you are suitable for this volunteer position. Registering as a host is free of charge. Once you have signed up you will be searchable as a volunteer by the hosts on the site. Hosts often look for specific skills. Fill in your profile with info about yourself and the skills you can offer.

Many projects ask that volunteers stay for at least a month. It takes time to train volunteers how to do the work. To have different volunteers each week or every few days is not ideal for the host. There is no contract to stay for a month so if it is not working out, it is possible to leave whenever you would like. We left a few projects early and explained why and the hosts had no problem with us leaving. Many even told us that we could come for a week and see if it will work out for us and them.

Workaway is not a way for hosts to substitute paid employees with volunteers. Unfortunately, we felt exploited at a few places. For example, when I had to hand-weed six hours on a rainy day with ants eating me bloody, eating mainly carbohydrates, nobody who was grateful, and having to sleep on a musty mattress in a dirty room that was leaking when it rained. Not the kind of volunteer situation I imagined when I signed up. I really enjoy hand-weeding, but only for about two hours. After I like to do something else and change my posture to protect my back. Something I did not think about in the beginning of my trip.

Accommodation and food

We realised very early that many of those projects do not have a lot of money. Accordingly, was the sleeping- and food situation. I only have experience in Central and South America. So, it might be different in North America and Europe. Some mattresses we slept on were very musty, humid, and dirty. Others were super clean and cosy.

If you care for a well- balanced nutrition you might need to take your own food with you if possible or be lucky with your host. Since some people are a bit overwhelmed with our plant-based diet (I agree it can be difficult), we carry our own seeds and nuts with us. At one place we were able to join our host and bought vegetables and fruits. Another place we could make a list of the food we would like to have. Or we could use whatever was in the kitchen. That was great since at most places we did not have a choice in the food that was bought. But there is also a lack of awareness about a balanced nutrition. At one place we got four different kinds of carbohydrates (rice, potatoes, pasta, and oats) for breakfast. Little vitamins, proteins, or healthy fats. I am glad we had enough food most of the time even though it was very monotonous. Another place we were very hungry. All we did in our free time was thinking about food. In both cases we were far from a supermarket. At another place we volunteered there was no money for drinking water. The tap water was very salty and contained chlorine. So, we bought our own water. What upset me about this situation was only the volunteers were offered the water to drink, the rest of the community drank filtered water from their houses.


The feedback system of Workaway is not the best. Not many people are leaving a feedback. Especially a negative one. The other side can see the feedback right away and write / manipulate their feedback accordingly. So, both sides do not write a feedback when something was uncomfortable because of being afraid of getting a negative feedback. Airbnb and Couchsurfing have a better system.

Is it easy to volunteer as a vegan?

I am surprised how easy it was to eat vegan during our volunteer time. Rice, beans, and meat are the basic of most meals in Central and South America. Vegetables seem to be less important. It is possible within the search option on Workaway to search by keywords. We searched for the keywords “vegetarian”, “vegan”, and “avocado”. There are some and the amount is growing each year. Most hosts had no problem to leave out the meat, dairy, and eggs if there was some. We had only one bad experience where the mother of our host cooked for all of us. Our host told her about our diet, but we saw his mother preparing bread and a few soups with animal products. This was frustrating because we asked her what was in the food and she said there was none.

Tips for what to bring with you

Clothes that can get dirty, an open-mind, and the ability to be flexible helps dealing with hosts who are revising their plans. Unforeseen circumstances may mean that a host cancels or postpones a visit. Mosquito spray and long-sleeved clothes can be handy. Volunteer options with great ratings in popular areas are often booked out two to four months ahead. Request for an opportunity you like as soon as possible. This has not always been ideal for us since we like to travel spontaneously but if there was a volunteer option that seemed interesting we made our plans accordingly.

If some of my experiences seem frustrating, it is because sometimes they were. But I learnt and grew so much that I would do it again. What does not kill me makes me stronger. I hope this blog entry will not discourage you. I encourage everyone to try for themselves. I have found interesting projects on Workaway in Europe and even in my tiny hometown. I hope to take advantages of these options within the next couple of years.

If you would like to read more about each place I volunteered, please click on the country you intend to volunteer. Maybe one of them fits to you and I can answer further questions you might have. Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

Other websites that connect hosts with volunteers:


Vegan eating in Bolivia


Vegan eating in Bolivia

Bolivian food is heavily meat and potato based. I was told that it would even be hard as a vegetarian. Especially since there is a lack of kitchens in hostels in Copacabana and La Paz for example. So I am really happy that I found delicious restaurants with vegan options. Some of them opened recently. In Copacabana I stayed in a vegetarian/vegan hostel called Hostal Joshua. In La Paz I was very lucky to have had a great Couchsurfing host who is very interested in a whole-food, plant-based diet. I taught him how to make peanut butter and hummus. In Cochabamba I stayed with a wonderful family. Aida, the mum, cooked delicious food and made something extra that is vegan for me. Same for my host in Sucre who made me Papás a la Guancaina, a traditional Bolivian dish, an almost vegan version (contained eggs) one evening. That was sweet.

A meal in a vegetarian/vegan restaurant is between 20 and 45 Bs. Food in Sucre is most expensive. In La Paz food is very cheap. The famous peanut soup (sopa de mani) is worth a try. Just ask to leave out the meat if you do not eat meat. It comes with pasta and french fries.

I bought most of my food in little stores on the road and at big vegetable and fruit markets. Some examples: 1 avocado (2-8 Bs.), 1 pound tomatoes (5 Bs.), 25 bananas (8 Bs.), 1 pound peanuts (10 Bs.), 1 pound quinoa (8 Bs.), 1 pound chia seeds (10 Bs.), 1 pound peanut butter (12 Bs.). I only found the peanut butter in La Paz. Often in corners of big markets are women with massive pots of cooked beans, vegetables, and rice — offering plates for 5-10 Bs. The most famous Bolivian street food is Salteñas. Baked empanadas with mostly meat. Only a few only have vegetables inside. Supermarkets (e.g. Hipermaxi in La Paz) do have tahini (25 Bs.) and hummus.

La Paz

Namas Té (vegetarian with many vegan options)

Paul, the owner, let me help to serve in his restaurant in exchange for the menu del dia which is always vegan (29 Bs.). Each meal starts with bread and a sauce. I had a lentil salad, vegetable fidelo soup, Sajta (a traditional Bolivian dish), and a juice. Everything was so delicious! Dishes from the menu are between 29 and 35 Bs. The oat cookie is a dream 🙂

Lupito Cocina Vegana

I had an amazing Calzone with vegetables and melted vegan cheese (20 Bs.). Still remember the taste of the cheese 🙂



Karott (100% vegan)

A new opened restaurant by such a sweet couple. All meals start with whole wheat bread and two delicious sauces. One spicy and the other with zucchini, cilantro, lime, and salt. The menu del dia changes daily (20 Bs.). I was lucky to be there when they served a typical Bolivian dish named Saice. Rice with vegan meat, peas, vegetables and tomatoes with onions that are sprinkled with vegan cheese. The soup that consisted of potatoes, green leaves, and nuts was delicious as well. The owner, Rodrigo, is very attentive and open-minded. His wife is behind the tasty dishes. Since the number of tables are limited and the restaurant is well-attended you share a table with somebody. I love that 🙂 It is possible to buy homemade peanut butter, tahini, and other delicacies.

Menta Restobar (vegetarian with vegan options)

Famous for their huge variety of burgers (29 Bs.). All available as a vegan option. So fresh, filling, and delicious! The falafels are crispy outside and warm, soft, and creamy inside. My couchsurfing host, an enthusiast meat eater, fell in love with the falafels. So did I. Drinks include healthy juices (10 Bs.). I loved the one called Remo: beet, apple, celery, and ginger. The restaurant has tasteful decoration and wifi. Check out their Facebook page for the menu del dia which comes with a salad, soup, and main course (21 Bs.). It is not always vegan.

Paprika Restaurant

Leo, the supervisor of Paprika, welcomed me very warm, advised me well, and we shared lunch together. They do not have a vegan meal per se but it is possible to leave out the cheese in some dishes. We had the Mediterranean quinoa that comes together with olives and dried tomatoes (43 Bs.). And we tried the Spring fetuccine that comes with lots of vegetables and mushrooms (56 Bs.). I could even visit the kitchen and see how they prepare the food. It was such an interesting and delicious afternoon.


El Germen (vegetarian with vegan options)

Dishes are big and delicious. The staff is very nice. All meals start with bread accompanied by a spicy ají sauce. The menu del dia which changes daily consists of a vegetable soup, two main dishes to choose from (one vegan), juice, and a desert (24 Bs.). One of my juices was with sesame seeds. Que rico 🙂 From the menu I tried Falafel with rice, peanut sauce, and cooked vegetables (40 Bs.). Such crispy falafels and tasty peanut sauce. The curry with vegetables is another vegan option from the menu. I ate there three times during my stay in Sucre and hope to go back one day.

Koi Sushi Bar Sucre

A new opened sushi place by such a warm hearted couple. I could feel that they devote all their love and time in their restaurant. The restaurant is not vegan per se but they do have a few vegan options and are very flexible. As an appetizer they made me crunchy vegetables tempura. The vegetarian spring rolls are vegan as well (4 pieces for 20 Bs.). I had Uramaki with avocado, sweet potatoes, and champignons (8 pieces for 45 Bs.) and Hotmaki especial con crema de palta. Such a delight!


An Arepas place. Not vegan but you can mix as you want. I had an arepa with avocado, beans, tomatoes, and fried plaintain (18 Bs.). Super delicious!


Condor Café (vegetarian)

I went there a few times for their delicious Cappuccino with soy milk. The menu del dia is vegetarian (25 Bs.). The only vegan option is a salad. But it is possible to get their Falafel sandwich which is served with salad, hummus and tabouli without the bread (contains eggs) and the yoghurt sauce (25 Bs.). The beautiful ambiente and board games invite to stay for a few hours. All profit goes toward community projects around Sucre.

Peru – Ruins and pan flute music


Peru – Ruins and pan flute music

In our two months in Peru we volunteered in a Hare Krishna temple, hiked to a beautiful glacial lake, sandboarded in Huacachina, ate at delicious vegan restaurants, joined a multi-day tour in the Amazon rainforest, met wonderful people, and visited Machu Picchu.

We entered Peru in La Tina and hitchhiked to Las Lomas where we slept one night in a hotel. The next morning we hitchhiked to Piura which has one of the biggest markets I have ever been.


In Chiclayo we stayed in a house that was affected by the flooding in March 2017. So the house was literally falling apart and the walls and blankets were molded. I did not feel very comfortable. But our host was very nice and vegan as well. So we had some nice conversations.

Since there was not much to do in the city we treated ourselves to a massage (25 soles). We explored the huge Mercado Modelo. A market where you can find almost all you need for a good price. And we ate at a vegan restaurant named Loving Hut (10-13 soles per meal). We learnt very early that there were many more Indigenous cultures than just the Incas.


We had a great host in Trujillo who joined us for a walk and to the beautiful Plaza de Armas. Every Sunday people sell second-hand clothes close to the New Market La Union. I bought a pair of trousers for only 1 sol. The Mercado La Hermelinda offers a huge variety of food for a good price.

Our next stop was Nuevo Chimbote which has a nice main plaza. But there was not much to do either. After hitchhiking for two weeks till we arrived at the first place in Peru that was on our original To Visit list – Laguna 69 in Huaraz – we decided to take buses for the rest of Peru. Distances are huge and there is not much in between. A third of the population of Peru (>10 Mio.) lives in Lima. Most of the North of Peru near the coast is desert.

Laguna 69

Located in the National Park Huascarán which offers many different hikes which you can do on your own or with a tour. We stayed in Caraz to be closer to Laguna 69, a glacial lake. Most backpackers stay in Huaraz though. It makes sense to go with a tour (35-50 soles per person for all transport). To go by public transport is around 34-42 soles and involves a change of the bus in Yungay. Our host was a tour guide and we paid him 40 soles. He even made a stop at the beautiful Laguna de Llanganuco.


The hike to Laguna 69 is a tough trek but absolutely stunning.

Good to know:

  • Laguna 69 is at 4,680 m. You start walking at 3’900 m. Give yourself time to acclimatise to the altitude.
  • Hike duration: 3h up, 2h down.
  • There are multiple bus stations in Huaraz. Most bus companies departure from the street Jiron Simón Bolívar.
  • Take warm clothes with you. It gets cold further up and in the late afternoon.
  • Pass: You can either buy a 1-day pass for 10 soles or a 21-day pass for 65 soles. It is not possible to buy anything in between.
  • If you camp in the national park you can get a ride back to Huaraz with one of the tour buses with empty seats. This costs the same as public transport.


The capital Lima is a very busy and huge city. Earplugs recommended 😉 During winter, from June to September, the sky is almost always cloudy. I usually do not like big cities. But Lima offers so many things to do and restaurants to eat that we stayed there for a week. My highlight in Lima was the Eureka Café Lúdico. It has hundreds board and card games. You can pick one and a staff member will come to your table and explain all the rules in English or Spanish. I was impressed. We played Cortex and Saboteur.

In the beautiful Reserve Park we spend a romantic evening watching the water fountain show. There are many other fountains in the park which are nice to visit before the show. The one called Labyrinth is interactive and the possibility to get wet is high. Open from Tuesday to Sunday. Water show at 19:15, 20:15, and 21:30. Entry is 4 soles.

I highly recommend to explore the alternative artistic neighbourhood Barranco.

Every Saturday from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm there is an organic market – the Bioferia – in the Parque Reducto No. 2 in Miraflores. In Lima are countless restaurants that offer vegan options. Check out TripAdvisor and use the different filters. At the Panadería El Pan De La Chola we had a great brunch. At Tarboush we had the best hummus and falafel since a long time.

We spend a whole afternoon in the art museum MALI. It is huge. Free entry every Thursday from 3pm and last Friday of each month from 5 to 10pm. General: 30 soles. The MATE Mario Testino Museum was very nice and interesting.

On a clear and sunny day it is nice to walk along the Malecon and to visit the Main Square. Much of the nightlife takes place in Calle Berlin. We visited all three Choco Museums in Lima. Because chocolate 😉

Sandboarding in Huacachina

We stayed in Ica. At around noon we went with a collective to the artificial oasis, Huacachina (2.50 soles, 10 Mins.). A very small place that is nice for a few hours. It is possible to swim in the lagoon.


I recommend the 4pm tour as the temperature is cooler then, plus it includes to watch the sunset in the desert (30 soles which includes the entrance to the desert). The ride with the dune buggy was like a rollercoaster.


A beautiful city with nice parks high in the Andes Mountains at 3416 m. It got very chilly in the evening. There is a great donation-based walking tour by Free Tours by Foot. The Plaza de Armas is beautiful. One evening we met Maxime from Amsterdam. A Camp Unknown friend we met two years ago at the same festival (Sziget) Drew and I met.

Green Point (100% vegan)
What a delight! Definitely one of the best vegan restaurants we visited so far. Once we ordered the set menu del dia for lunch that comes with a juice, salad bar, soup, choice from one of two main courses, and dessert (15 soles). The second time we ordered from the menu (main courses range from 12-30 soles). Their ceviche (oyster mushrooms) was by far the best I ever ate.

Volunteering in a Hare Krishna temple in Cusco

In Cusco we volunteered for a week in a Hare Krishna temple. It was an interesting experience. Women and men sleep in separate rooms. Not much physical contact allowed. Eating in the kitchen is not allowed. You can only enter the kitchen with a clean mouth. The food is vegetarian and they do not eat eggs because it is the egg of the menstruation and they do not want to risk that the egg might be fertilised. It was really nice that they made us extra meals that are vegan and taught us how to make vegan cheese. Unfortunately we got proteins only once during that week. When I asked them why they eat dairy products they said it is because Krishna loves milk and that is how it is written in the Bhagavad Gita. I like that they aim a detachment from the material world.

In the morning the women clean and make breakfast and the men make bread. When I asked if I could help with the bread one of the female devotee explained to me that it is very hot in the bakery and women are more sensitive than men. The Bhagavad Gita is known for being sexist. But one has to consider the time it was written. Happily many do not take the Bhagavad Gita word for word and know that it is important to adapt to the current society. After the men came back we had a ceremony. At noon or sometimes at 2pm we ate “breakfast”. “Lunch” was at 6pm and sometimes 8pm. There are only two meals per day but we could snack as much as we wanted. After breakfast most people went out and sold the bread on the street. They not have a license but there is a law that moving while selling is okay but we had to watch out for police in orange vests that can confiscate our baskets of bread. I started to paint a wall mandala in the last few days. Their logo with a tree in the middle located in the dining room.


The temple was beautiful. The devotees spent a lot of time decorating it each morning. Having never stayed in a temple, I pictured a calm, quiet area with people meditating.  In this temple, it was not like that. In the early morning people were listening to music and in the evening people had mantra (chanting) parties. Many people stayed awake until 1 or 2 am.

Volunteering in Taray in the Sacred Valley

A beautiful place in the nature. Syama our host has the dream of building a retreat centre. There is already a yoga studio, a huge garden, a sweat lodge, a place for meditation, meetings, and group workshops. There is still a lot of work ahead and he has no money. Many of the bathrooms do not work, no hot shower, and the beds are like a taco. I cleaned a lot and started to paint a signboard for the retreat centre. Drew helped in the garden, did some woodwork, and made a website for him.


We exchanged four hours of work in the mornings for a room with two beds and food was bought and shared by volunteers. Syama is a devotee of Krishna and is therefore vegetarian (no eggs, as well). Unfortunately, we never saw him buy food. He only offered to gather money from volunteers and then buy food for everyone. It was nice of him to offer to go to get the food but we wish he would have contributed to the food as agreed on. However, we were able to join him one evening for a three hour sauna ritual. That was a very nice and hot experience. I am very grateful for the time we spend at Sonqo Wasi.

Way to Machu Picchu without train

We took a bus from Pisac to Urubamba (3 soles) and then a collectivo to Ollantaytambo (2 soles, 30 Mins.). At Plaza Ollantaytambo the last collectivo directly to hidroelectrica leaves at 10:30 am (25-30 soles, 4h). The only way to get from Hydroelectrica to Aguas Calientes is by foot along the rails (2-2.5 h). A stunning hike. We had a fun time with Tom, an American guy we volunteered with in Taray, who joined us to Machu Picchu. There are actually collectivos that go directly from Hydroelectrica back to Cusco for 30 soles.

Aguas Calientes (2090 m)

We stayed at Casa Machu Picchu in Aguas Calientes (26 soles for a dorm). It had a kitchen to use but they were very loud in the evening. Not a great deal if you want to get up at 4 am the next day. There is also camping for 15 soles each. We bought our ticket to Machu Picchu in Aguas Calientes in the tourist office (150 soles, open until 8pm). The control at the bottom of Machu Picchu opens at 5 am. The hike up takes around 1.5h. Luckily we did not have to wait that long. We were excited to visit the Govinda Restaurant in Aguas Calientes. It has nice vegan options. Aguas Calientes is a touristic but very beautiful little town to walk around.

Machu Picchu (2430 m)

Definitely one of my highlights in Peru. The hike up is tough but extremely rewarding. The morning fog makes the whole experience very mystic. The section of the mountain where Machu Picchu was built provided various challenges. One issue was the seismic activity which made mortar nearly useless. Instead, the Inca cut blocks of stone to fit together perfectly without mortar.

Another issue was heavy rain throughout the year. To prevent landslides and flooding the Inca built terraces that were layered with stone chips, sand, dirt and top soil, to absorb water slowly. A very smart drainage system. Multiple canals and reserves provided water throughout the city. To see all of that with my own eyes was very impressive.

On our way back to Cusco we stayed a few days in Ollantaytambo. A very small, beautiful and peaceful town. There are cobblestones, streams, a small market, nice ruins, and a few cosy restaurants. In Urubamba we stopped at Cerveceria Willkamayu. The brewery turned out to be in the house of a family. They were extremely nice. We were told it is normally closed on a Sunday but they warmly welcomed us into their beautiful garden and even made me a coffee. In Europe or the USA it would be very hard to just open a little brewery in your house. There is a lot of paperwork involved.

Puerto Maldonado (193 m)

Puerto Maldonado is located in the Amazon rainforest and therefore very hot and humid. Mosquito repellent recommended. We watched a beautiful sunset at 5:30 am from the rooftop of our host’s house. The sun is red. For sunset and sunrise.


La Semilla Cafe-Restauant-Pasteleria

Such a great restaurant. Beautiful rooftop terrace with comfortable sofas to relax for a few hours. The staff was very friendly and helpful. They made a vegan pizza for us and substituted avocado for cheese. We had a cappuccino with coconut milk. The smoothie with banana, avocado, chocolate and lucuma was so delicious and filling!

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Amazon tour

There are many different agencies close to the Plaza the Armas that offer tours. The tour we booked started at 8:30 am and finishing at 5 pm on the third day (450 soles per person). We had a great time with activities. We went kayaking, zip lining, to the canopy walk, and visited the Monkey Island where we fed the monkeys bananas.

One day we visited Lake Sandoval in the Tambopata National Reserve where we saw an otter family, giant birds, turtles, and countless butterlflies.

In the night we went caiman spotting. At 4:30 am we went with a boat to the parrot and parakeet clay lick. The sunrise and the red macow were impressive.


The jungle walk was very interesting since our guide knew a lot about different medicinal plants and animals.

On our last day we visited a native family that consisted of only two men. But we had fun shooting with bow and arrows anyway. Drew hit the tree at his first try.

The accommodation was very clean and comfortable. We had a bungalow with a private bathroom and hot water. Since it was an eco-lodge the electricity was running only a few hours during the day and there was no Wi-Fi. That was nice. I loved to fall asleep with the sound of the jungle. Our lodge had a black spider monkey. Unfortunately I think he had to be in a small cage most of the time. He was very trustful and hugged everybody.

We booked our tour with Paradise Amazon eco lodge & adventure because they promised to serve well-balanced vegetarian food with no lactose – but legumes, avocado, and rice. We were served rice and a few vegetables. No replacement. That left us hungry. Example: While people got Ceviche, we got a plate with ten little pieces of tomato. Luckily we brought bananas and peanuts. When we told the manager there was no sorry, no empathy, and she refused any responsibility for the empty promises. It seems if they have too many bad reviews on TripAdvisor they just change the name. I would not recommend this lodge to vegetarians, vegans, or anyone who does not “eat like a normal person.” – The manager.

Arequipa (2335 m)

The white buildings built from volcanic rocks in the historical centre make this city to one of the prettiest in Peru and the all year round spring like climate makes Arequipa to a very nice destination. We had a very relaxed time and enjoyed delicious food. Free Tours by Foot offers a very nice walking tour.

From a Couchsurfer we bought second-hand a tent and a sleeping bag for Patagonia. Another sleeping bag we bought in the supermarket Metro. The San Camilo market is huge and the place we bought fresh fruits and vegetables. Right in front of the market sells a lady vegetable Empanadas for 1 sol.


El Buda Profano (100% vegan)

A sushi place that attracts people from all over. Even omnivores. Why? Because they serve one of the best sushi I ever ate. I will never forget the taste of the Selva Uramaki: Cucumber, shiitake and avocado topped with mango. I also really liked the Verde Futomaki: artichoke, cucumber, avocado, and spinach. The ramen and the ceviche were delicious (10 soles each). The presentation is beautiful, the ingredients fresh, the service fast, and the sushi creative. We ate there twice. Once we were invited by Alan, the manager. A great Canadian guy who has plans of moving to a location to accommodate more tables and also expanding to other cities. I highly recommend to check them out and delight your senses. A mixed sushi tray with 30 pieces is 35 soles.

Las Gringas

We had a very delicious and filling gluten free vegan pizza (30 soles). The crust is made of tapioca, cornmeal and rice. The topping consists of avocado cheese, sesame seeds, beetroot leaves, cashew parmesan, and olive oil. They serve free filtered water and all the ingredients are fresh, organic, and local. In the same house is a great rooftop with comfortable seats to relax.


Crepisimo is not really specialized in vegan food since the crepes are made up of eggs. But Michel, the owner, invited Drew and me for lunch to hear more about our trip and vegan food. He made sure to change the dishes into a vegan version. That was really nice and the quinoa salad was extremely delicious. Michel is from Neuchâtel in Switzerland and has lived together with his wife in Peru for over 20 years. It was such a pleasure to meet both of them.

Mandala (vegetarian with vegan options)

We only tried the Lomo Saltado. A typical Peruvian dish that came with fried potatoes, rice, onions, tomatoes and seitan instead of meat (14 soles). It had a lot of oil but the seitan was great!


Eating in Peru was a truly wonderful and delicious experience! There are several vegan/vegetarian restaurants and huge markets with fresh vegetables and fruits. Peru has over 3,000 different types of potatoes, black corn, delicious olives, and a love for bread. Exotic fruits I loved to eat in Peru: lucmo, cherimoya, and guava.

We bought most of our food in little stores down the road or at big food markets (e.g. Mercado Modelo). Some examples to have an idea: 1 avocado called palta (1-2 soles), tomatoes (2-3 soles per kg), 6 bananas (1 sol), potatoes (1.50-2.50 soles per kg), carrots (2-3 soles per kg), 1 garlic (0.50 soles), peanuts (10-12 soles per kg), quinoa (4-8 soles per kg), lentils (6 soles per kg), olives (16 soles per kg), chia seeds (10 soles per kg).

A meal in a local restaurant (almuerzo) is between 6 and 8 soles. If you do not eat meat they are almost everywhere happy to replace the meat with an egg or sometimes beans. A meal in a vegetarian/vegan restaurant is between 15 and 30 soles. Food in Lima is most expensive. In Huaraz and Caraz, food is very cheap.

Peruvian street food is amazing. Cooked potatoes (over 3,000 different potatoes), chochos, corn, tamales with raisins, vegetable empanadas. Many market offer cooked beans (1-2 soles), cooked vegetables (1 sol), with a spicy sauce (0.50 soles).

The tap water at most places is not recommended to drink. Although Peruvians may do so. Their stomachs are used to it. It is best to boil the tap water.


  • Couchsurfing is popular in Peru. In Huaraz and Cusco many host are working in tourism and are using CS as a way to advertise their business. In Cusco we stayed in an Airbnb advertised by a CS host (24 soles for a private double).
  • Hostels are available for 13 soles per night in a dorm (e.g. Huaraz). In Lima for 35 soles per night in a dorm. The only hostels we stayed was in Ollantaytambo (Ollantaytampu Hostel – Main Square, 20 soles each) and in Aguas Calientes (26 soles each).
  • Volunteering is a nice option to spend a few weeks at one place.
  • Camping is possible at some places (e.g. Aguas Calientes, National Park Huascarán).


Buses we took:

  • Overnight bus from Caraz to Lima: 40 soles (10h, Rodriguez).
  • Overnight bus from Ica to Cusco: 90 soles (17h, Palomino).
  • Overnight bus from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado: 35 soles (10h, Movil Tours).
  • Overnight bus from Puerto Maldonado to Arequipa: 45 soles (15h, Wayra).
  • Overnight bus from Arequipa to Puno: 35 soles (6h, Cruz del Sur).

If you suffer from motion sickness I recommend to take something (e.g. ginger) since the section from Ica to Cusco was quite curvy. I did not take anything, and therefore the toilet was my best friend.

Good bus companies: Movil Tours and Cruz del Sur (own TV, blanket, headphones, food at 11pm, a place for your water bottle, the bathroom has soap and water and it actually flushes). Much cheaper when you book 1-2 weeks ahead. Most bus stations charge between 2-5 soles for using the bus station.

Long-distance buses typically cost about 3 to 6 soles per hour. Local buses inside a city are usually 1 to 2.50 soles. The local buses usually stop whenever you like. If you want to get off the bus just call “baja”. So the bus driver knows that he should stop. When people are getting on the bus the guy in charge of the money repeatedly says in an urgent tone “sube, sube, sube” (get on).

We hitchhiked only in the north of Peru. We learnt early that we have to ask if it is free since some people do not know the idea of hitchhiking.

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Like anywhere else it is important to be careful and use plain common sense. Ask which the neighbourhoods you should avoid are. Petty theft and slashing (of bags) happen sometimes. Especially in bigger cities (e.g. Lima) and busses.


Altitude sickness is not felt until you surpass 2500m. It is basically your body telling you it is not getting enough oxygen. Most common symptoms are a headache, nausea and tiredness. In very small number of cases, you could also suffer from significant shortness of breath, confusion, drowsiness, coma and even death. That is why it is very important to give yourself enough time to acclimatise at least a few days. Rest, drink plenty of water and suck coca leaves that many believe helps alleviate altitude’s affect on the body. Available on the market for 1 sol. Once I ate a coca tortilla. After my mouth was numb for a while. Alcohol goes to your head more quickly at higher altitude. So take care with those Pisco Sours.


The climate in Peru is very diverse. The coast is arid with high temperatures. In the Andes it can get very cold with rainy summers (December to February) and dry winters (June to August). Temperatures tend to drop slightly in the winter. Peru has four seasons. The eastern lowlands present an Equatorial climate with hot and humid weather and rain distributed all year long. I do not recommend visiting the Amazon forest in the rainy season since it is often flooded.


Spanish is the official language although Quechua, Aymara, and other aboriginal languages have co-official status. English is taught in schools. But most people have only a very basic knowledge of English or none at all.


Official currency: Peruanischer Sol (PEN).


No entrance or exit fees. The Visa is for 180 days (free).

Gallo Pinto (beans and rice) recipe


Gallo Pinto is the national dish of Costa Rica. Most people here eat it especially for breakfast. You can find this dish also in other countries in Central America under a different name. In Nicaragua for example they use red beans instead of black beans.

Ingredients (4 people):

  • 200 g brown rice
  • 400 g black beans
  • 1 red or yellow sweet pepper
  • 200 g tomatoes
  • coconut oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon
  • fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • 1 lime

1. Cook the rice and beans in a separated pan in salted water with a lid according to the packet instruction.

2. Prepare the garlic and onion, chop them finely and steam them together with the cumin in coconut oil for 1 minute.

3. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and pepper, the beans, and some juice of the beans.

4. Add the rice, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and the finely chopped coriander and let it roast for 5 mins. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lime.

The tomatoes (makes it more moisty) and cinnamon are not part of the traditional Gallo Pinto.

Spicy, sweet alternative: Add 1 red chili and 1 banana

Side dishes are often scrambled or fried eggs, corn tortilla or toast, fried plantains, and Natilla (sour cream). Instead of eggs you can also use scrambled tofu. And instead of Natilla cashew butter with coconut milk.