Being Vegan In Cuenca Ecuador – Is Cuenca the Best Vegan City?

A few of our viewers have asked us what it’s like being vegan in Cuenca Ecuador, so we thought we’d record a video discussing the topic. We think it’s VERY easy to be vegan in Cuenca, and here are our top 7 reasons why.

#1 Colorful MercadosMercado 27 de Febrero Organic Market Cuenca Ecuador

The mercados in Cuenca and throughout Ecuador are like vegan candy stores. They’re loaded with all the colorful fruits and veggies that we love to eat, and they’re extremely affordable. We spend about $20/week on produce at the mercados, which used to cost us around $100/week back in the states for lower quality, less flavorful fruits and veggies.

#2 Vegan & Vegan-friendly RestaurantsZatua Miski Smoothie Bowl

When we first arrived in Cuenca, Fratello Vegan was the only fully vegan restaurant. Now we also have Café Libre and Zatua Miski, and several vegetarian restaurants. Plus, nearly every non-vegan restaurant has a vegan and/or vegetarian section on the menu. It’s SUPER easy to eat out as vegans in Cuenca.

Here’s our list of the best vegan/vegetarian restaurants in Cuenca Ecuador:

The best vegan-friendly restaurants in Cuenca Ecuador:

Plus the vegetarian restaurants we haven’t tried yet:

#3 No Negative Vegan Stigma

Unlike in the states, people here haven’t been bombarded with marketing messages for the past 100 years so they don’t put animal-based foods on a pedestal. No Ecuadorian has asked us where we get our protein or if we get enough to eat. The attitude here is that a vegan diet is healthy. A common response we hear when we say we’re vegan is, “That’s great. I need to eat healthier, too.”

All of our doctors (GP, neurosurgeon, physical therapist, OBGYN) know that a plant-based diet is healthy. My GP asked if I’m taking B12, which should be recommended for everyone, not just vegans. And he tested my calcium levels, which are in the normal range. Our doctors didn’t say anything negative or derogatory about the vegan plant-based diet and they weren’t at all concerned about our health from eating it.

The traditional Ecuadorian diet is a starch-based diet. They eat lots of fruits, veggies, legumes, whole grains, rice, yucca and potatoes, while meat, dairy and eggs are used as a garnish. Animal products have not traditionally been the central component of meals, although that has been changing over the past 10 years as the country becomes wealthier.

And guess what… Along with the increase in consumption of animal products and processed foods, we’re also seeing an increase in obesity, diabetes, heart disease and all the other preventable western diseases of affluence. It’s a very sad development here.

#4 Vegan Skin Care in Cuenca EcuadorVegan Skin Care Cuenca

You may have seen our earlier video on Vegan Skin Care here in Cuenca, featuring our fellow vegan friend, Dr. Rosy. In addition to Rosy’s skin care treatments, there are also several stores that sell vegan and cruelty free beauty products. One that’s very close to our house is called Annoa. The husband designs and makes the products, and his wife runs the store.

#5 Volunteer at Dog RescuesDog Rescue Cuenca

We featured Los Amigos de Manolo in another video, but there are at least two other dog rescues in Cuenca Ecuador and they all welcome volunteers and donations. If you’re really ambitious, we could use a farm animal rescue here!

#6 Growing Vegan CommunityGroup End 1 Cube of Truth Cuenca Ecuador

When we first moved here, Rosy was the only vegan we knew. Since then, we’ve met more long-term Ecuadorian vegans, as well as vegans from other parts of the world, plus a few new vegans. We’re excited to see the vegan community growing here, and we’re hoping to grow it even more.

#7 Vegan ActivismCube of Truth 3 Cuenca Ecuador

We conduct Anonymous for the Voiceless Cube of Truth peaceful street activism events on a semi-regular basis so if you’re interested in activism, Cuenca has those opportunities for you, as well. There are also slaughterhouse vigils and movie showings. Rosy showed Okja at Fratello and she’s planning a showing of Dominion en La Universidad de Cuenca.

If you have any questions about vegan products or services here in Cuenca, or anything relating to being vegan in Cuenca, please let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer them.

Watch Our Video About Being Vegan In Cuenca Ecuador

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JP Stonestreet
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Hola todos! Welcome to my author bio page! Let's see. Where to begin... I grew up in the country on a lake outside a small Kansas farm town. As soon as I could, I got the hell outta there! Since then, I've lived and/or worked in Kansas City, Washington D.C., Denver, San Francisco, and Ecuador. I started and sold a dotcom, wrote a book about it, started a YouTube channel, and now I write a lot. Amelia and I have embraced the Unconventional Life and we want to help you do it, too!

2 replies
  1. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    Hola Amelia and JP,

    Thanks for your blog and YouTube videos! My partner and I really enjoy them. We just made it to Cuenca and thought we’d ask: can you please recommend a store that sells organic and vegan items such as vegan cheese, tofu or tempeh, seitan or soy pieces and soap? We’ll also be checking out your restaurant recommendations in the coming weeks — thank you. 🙂
    Lisa

    Reply
    • JP
      JP says:

      Semilla in El Centro sells a variety of things, including cruelty free soap. Annoa in El Vergel sells cruelty free skincare and cosmetics. SuperMaxi also sells tofu and vegan cheese, at least they did before we moved but that’s been almost a year. We never found seitan or tempeh at a store, but Fratello Vegan used to make it for us.

      Reply

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