Traveling as vegans always requires a leap of faith. As much as we try to research each destination to find out if tofu and soy milk will be available, we can never be sure until we arrive and start grocery shopping. Since La Paz is a city of around 215,000 people and home to several different grocery store chains we weren’t too worried about finding vegan friendly foods, and luckily for the most part we were right.
However, our time in La Paz did teach us the very important lesson in stocking up. We found that many products aren’t available or in stock on a regular basis (particularly true for specialty products). So, if you find a product that you depend on make sure that you stock up the first time you see it in the store, because there is a very good chance that you won’t find it in stock again for a very long time. For us this was particularly true with coconut oil and soy milk. We adopted the motto: When in doubt, clean them out!
Below we have listed the stores and markets here in La Paz where we found a dependable supply of vegan food products.
Chedraui – A large grocery store chain with 3 locations in La Paz. This was our go-to supermarket where we found the best prices on fruits, vegetables, crackers, cereals, canned goods, and grains. More importantly Chedraui had the most consistent supply of soy milk (aseptic packs only). In particular they carry Silk brand, which is one of the few Non-GMO brands that we have found here in Baja. Chedraui also carries a consistent supply of agave syrup, alternative grains like amaranth, and ground flax seed. They are also the only store where we found vegetable bouillon cubes. In our experience the store on Mariano Abasolo offers the best chance of finding these specialty food items.
Mega – Another large supermarket. This store also located on Mariano Abasolo has a large aisle of specialty products. This is where we found jars of coconut oil, large canisters of almonds, rice noodles, and the best price for peanut butter. Towards the end of our time in La Paz we also found some blocks of refrigerated tofu near the frozen foods and dairy cases containing blocks of cheese. While they do carry almond milk we did not find Mega to be a reliable source of soy milk.
Almacen La Victoria – This small market is located on Ignacio Ramirez between cross streets General Manuel Marquez de Leon and Manuel Pineda. It was our go-to store for blocks of aseptic tofu. While you can sometimes find tofu in other stores this market always had a consistent stock at the lowest price.
Organic Market – On Saturday morning you can find a small market of vendors set up on Calle Francisco Madero between Calle 5 de Mayo and Constitucion. Most vendors sell organic produce as well as honey, baked goods, and other specialty items.
In summary we were able to find pretty much everything that we needed to cook and eat as vegans while in La Paz. Fruits and vegetables are plentiful as is wheat flour, rice, beans, and coconut milk. You will also be able to find non-dairy milk and tofu in some form. Oils are expensive here and if you are particular to a certain brand of oil (due to allergies) you might want to bring a bottle with you. We were able to find coconut oil but it sells out fast, so definitely stock up when you see it in the store.
There were just a few items that we were hard pressed to find in La Paz. In our three months here we have never came across nutritional yeast flakes or alternative nut butters. Chedraui and Mega sell bulk nuts so we were able to make our own almond butter but we were out luck with the nutritional yeast. So, if you have room to stash a few vegan products in your suit case definitely considering bringing along a supply of nutritional yeast and your favorite nut butter.