Frappe Caribeno: a delicious fruit smoothie for less than $1. You can catch the locals pushing a Frappe cart down the streets or in the middle of the town plaza. There are a variety of flavors to try including: strawberry, cantaloupe, etc. We had at least four tiny cups at a day to beat the Santa Marta heat.
Tamales: on the corner of Calle 5 and 12 streets you will find the tamale guy and a line of locals. For $1, you can purchase a delicious, banana-leaf-wrapped tamale. The chicken tamale has a whole piece of chicken baked inside the surrounding rice. For an extra .50 cents, you can buy a bag of mystery pink juice that you drink through a straw poked into the bag (like an archaic Capri Sun).
Arepas: also on the streets of Santa Marta, you can get a stuffed arepa. An arepa is a flat, round, and puffy ball of maize dough. They are grilled on a flat top grill right in front of your eyes and served up nice and hot. The ones in Santa Marta are then split in half and stuffed with delicious cheese, avocado and meat. You’ll find various street carts throughout the city selling these amazing arepas. While we were waiting in line for ours, the local bus pulled over and the arepa cart guy was selling to people out of the bus windows!
Loaded Fries: at Calle 17 street there are so many choices of street foods to try. One of the most impressive plates was a cart that was pushing out piles of fries loaded with all kinds of goodies. We sat one night and watched the whole process, from peeling and boiling potatoes, to grilling hot dogs, to piling on all the fixings like cheese, lettuce, ketchup, mayonnaise, potato chips, etc. The result is a plentiful pile of potatoes that you have to eat with a fork.
Juice/Smoothies: At various restaurants and carts, you can purchase fresh fruit smoothies. You literally stand at the cart, choose your favorite fruits and watch them being blended into a delicious drink. We found a new favorite drink which was made with zapote and milk. This zapote juice tasted just like a chocolate or fig milkshake. We also enjoyed trying new fruits, like lulo, mixed into our drinks.
1. Colombian Hot Chocolate and Cheese: A mug full of rich hot chocolate served with a salty cube of white cheese. “Chocolate Completo” adds bread as well to make it a complete breakfast. And, as weird as this sounds, you should dunk the cheese in your hot chocolate. The idea is that you wait until the cheese is melty and gooey and then you scoop it out of your mug. The mixture is a salty and sweet combination that is unlike anything else. A must try!
2. Obleas are a sweet treat. A wafer filled with arequipe (caramel) and jam (ours was mora–a blackberry sauce). We found street carts all over La Candelaria selling these sugary sandwiches. There were many variations as well. You could add whipped cream (crema de leche), peanuts, sprinkles, cheese, anything your heart desires! This quick treat was a great way to get a sugar rush at any point in your day.
3. Ajiaco Soup: Ajiaco is the capital’s dish made with chicken and three types of potato. The soup’s key ingredient is an herb, Galinsoga parviflora. The soup is usually served with cream on top, cilantro, and capers; rice and avocado on the side and a corn-on-the cob, which is dipped into the bowl. We enjoyed this comfort dish, as it felt like a warm, filling bowl of creamy soup.
4. Deep Fried Coconut (Coco Frito): This concoction is basically just sticks of coconut that have been fried and then wrapped up in a paper cone. They come out as a caramelized, gooey coconut blob. It is as sweet as it sounds, and probably only a few slices will satisfy your craving to try this delight.
5. Empanadas: A fluffy pastry dough filled with either meat, cheese or vegetables. Many countries have them. Colombia’s did not disappoint. They were flaky, savory, and sometimes greasy. There was usually an array of hot sauces to add as well. Plus, for less than $1, you can’t beat the price of this cheap and easy snack.
6. Churros: Another fried delight. Crispy dough that is deep fried and then covered in cinnamon and sugar. Colombia has very good churros, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
7. Getatina De Pata De Res: One of our Sunday morning finds at the Bogota Ciclovia. This cart offered up a gelatinous bone marrow fluff. It was like eating a microwaved marshmallow, but it had a vanilla extract flavor.
8. Torcha: One of our Sunday morning finds at the Bogota Ciclovia. This guy was walking around with a tank full of foam. The strange part about it was that it tasted like wine.
9. Street Pizza: On many corners you can find a cheap pick-me-up snack. We indulged a few times in slices of pizza, including one that had corn, cilantro and pork. The pizza in Colombia usually had a thin crust and was made with fresh, local ingredients.
10. Beer: While Bogota isn’t really known for their beer, we picked up a few cans of the local beer to try. At less than a dollar each, the price is hard to beat. One of the better beers that we tried was from Bogota Beer Company, the first craft beer in Colombia. Their beers are named after neighborhoods and tourist attractions, and there are many locations throughout the country. We found it pouring from the tap at the Farmer’s Market, and it was nice to have a fresh beer that wasn’t from a can. We tried one of their lagers and really enjoyed it.