If you search for Punta del Este, Uruguay on HappyCow, you’ll find there are no listings for vegan or vegetarian restaurants. Zero. Usually every city has one, or at least a health food store. You’d think there would be a juice or smoothie bar to serve a community where the main sport is strutting in your swimsuit. No such luck.

1949 Hostel Breakfast

1949 Hostel Breakfast

Having no appealing restaurant options, we opted for cooking all of our meals at the hostel. We stayed at Hostel 1949, where we had access to a well equipped kitchen.

Breakfast was included in the cost of the hostel. We were able to enjoy some oranges, apples and whole wheat bread.

1949 Hostel Breakfast

1949 Hostel Breakfast

Nearby grocery stores were well stocked. We filled our bellies with the likes of pizza, salad, sandwiches, lentils and rice. Cheap and easy. Calina, one of our traveling companions, even made a fancy oyster mushroom and spinach dish.

Vegan Pizza

Vegan Pizza

Mushrooms and Spinach

Oyster Mushrooms and Spinach

Lentils and rice

Lentils and Rice

For snacks, we found some sesame and soy crackers, as well as little chocolate cookies. Not bad!

Crackers and cookies

Vegan snacks

I was surprised to see one of the grocery stores sold rice milk. It was an exciting find but we decided to skip it because of the high price tag of $145 Uruguayan pesos ($7.27 USD).

Rice milk

Rice Milk

Near the waterfront, we found a local selling spices, nuts, and dried mushrooms amongst the fish and pastry vendors.

Nuts, mushrooms and spices

Spices, nuts and dried mushrooms

Vegans and vegetarians will need to be creative when visiting Punta del Este. A small sacrifice to make considering the scenic coasts and beaches you’ll enjoy.

La Mano

La Mano, Punta del Este

Purple skys

Sunset, Punta del Este

Main strip

Main street, Punta del Este