Fruit in Colombia

Just one fruit stand at Paloquemao.

One day’s shopping from 7 de agosto.

Colombia owns a good chunk of the Amazon rain forest, two coastlines along the Caribbean and Pacific, and varying altitudes up and down the Andes Mountains – all in a tropical climate of heavy rainfall. Very fertile land. Put anything in the ground and it grows.

In addition to apples, oranges, strawberries, grapes, watermelon, and all the fruits you can get in America, you find exotic fruits I’d never heard of. I don’t know the names for many. Locals don’t know their names. There are too many. Plus, it seems what’s on the market changes all year round. You eat whatever’s in from the jungle that particular week.

I surely haven’t included every exotic fruit possible, but this is a good start. Also, I’ve surely gotten some names wrong.


These are known as banana passionfruit in English. They’re so sour it’s hard to eat more than one.


I got used to eating tuna (or prickly pear in English) in Southern Peru, where they’re more abundant, tastier, and cheaper. They’re also green on the inside, but who cares? They’re still good.


Carambola, or starfruit, is good and common.

Tomate de Arbol

If judging by how often I buy them, these are probably my favorite. The tomate de arbol, or tree tomato, or tamarillo, are orange, tart goodness. Most Colombians say you can’t eat these, that they’re only for juice. Remember most Colombians don’t know shit and I eat all kinds of fruits they say you’re not supposed to.

I use these in my own personal Colombian chili, which has red, green, and tree tomatoes plus coconut milk.


Lulo is another of those fruits you’ll surely have as juice in a restaurant, but the locals say you can’t eat it raw. They’re super-sour and I need a big cup of milk to take one down, but it’s possible and delicious. Lulada, or lulo juice, is one of the more popular juices in Colombia.


The pitaya is delicious. You eat the inside white part. Unfortunately, they’re expensive. It’s hard to get one for less than 2000 pesos ($1).


Guanabana makes one of Colombia’s national drinks. They mix that white flesh with milk and sell small cups on the street. Usually it still has the big black pits in it, but sometimes they remove the pits and mix it in a blender. I recommend having it without pits for true goodness.

On this particular day, a friend and I tried to eat that whole guanabana with four liters of milk. FAIL. Half that big-ass fruit remained the next day.

Guanabana (‘soursop’ in English) has been linked to Parkinson’s disease due to its high annonacin content. However, I believe it’s only a risk to the costeños who eat the stuff every day.


Anona, or sugar-apple in English, has super-sweet white flesh inside. It’s closely related to chirimoya, which I ate tons of in Peru but rarely see in Colombia. Guanabana and anona are high in annonacin and may increase risk of Parkinson’s.


Uchuvas are just like what I remember eating  when I lived in Southern California, called cumclops. They’re different, but easy little guys to snack on.


I don’t eat sapote much, but they’re nice little, fleshy orange guys.


Papayas are big. There are many different kinds. In Peru, there were Lima papayas and Arequipa papayas. Here there are normal papayas and Hawaiian papayas. The one on the right is Hawaiian, which are more bitter.


Many people like noni, but I can’t stand the smell of them. I bought these to give them another chance, which failed. They smell so bad I can’t bring them to my face.

Noni juice has a following among natural cure enthusiasts. Google search noni and see all the pill and juice products under shopping results. It’s been suggested the stankin’ shit prevents cancer.


Known as purple mangosteens in English, these little guys are lovely. Cut and break off the purple shell, then eat the white flesh, which have pits. Sweet and delicious.

Mango de Azúcar

Mangos de azúcar (sugar mangoes) or mango dulce (sweet mango) are another one Colombians say you should only make juice with. Colombia has regular size mangoes, but these ones are tiny. I can hold three in one hand. You slice off a bit of skin and go to town. I always get my face and hands completely covered in juice. I’m a dripping sloppy mess, but it tastes good.

Colombia also has green mangoes, which are sour and I don’t have a picture of. They’re sold on the street with salt and lemon juice.


Feijoa is common in juices. They’re also edible raw.


Granadillas used to be cheap, about 200 pesos ($0.10) for one, but they spiked in recent years. You break the soft orange shell and eat the inside guts, which in Peru is sometimes called moco (snot). Similar texture.

Guayaba Pear

Guayaba is guava in English. The fruit pictured was one of my early favorites in Colombia, and I thought they were guayabas. I later learned that somebody crossed guayabas with pears to get these green-skinned, pink flesh hybrids. Cheers to that guy!

Not pictured: maracuya, mamoncillos, green mangoes, all the fruits you can find in the States, and surely shitloads more. As always, add me on Facebook for easier viewing of my pictures.



  1. I’ve not been to Colombia but here in Cusco we also have many fruits that come from some of the lower-elevation areas neaby, such as Quillabamba, Limatambo, etc.

    One thing I never realized before is how much better these fruits taste fresh than when you buy them in the US. Fresh bananas for example are so much better than up North, they actually last like 3 weeks or so instead of the 3-4 days up North.


  2. Wow! those fruits look fantastic!!! Make me dream with a real juice. Anything comparable to the freshness and flavour of Colombian fruits…


  3. nice blog. I remember trying noni in cuba, man do they smell bad, something like rotten cheese. Your entries on latina america are fascinating.


  4. I am a proud Colombian living in Canada. I have lived all over the world. Rarely I have an opportunity to hear of people like yourself that have the audacity to offend the locals. You prove to have a lack of social couth, and clearly your travels have not taught you to not offend a general population. Colombians are humble, joyous people. I respectfully disagree with your comment that “colombians don’t know shit”. You, sir, have not understood the culture. How sad that is, considering the opportunity you have been given.


  5. Totally irrational comment. Only ignorant a**holes like you believe you know so much. Your lack of respect is overwhelming, Colombians are highly educated people. Shame on you, publishing garbage about other people and cultures you should instead get to know better.


  6. @Angelica, @JGP and anyone else taking offense to that one line “most Colombians don’t know shit”… I can see why the statement might bother you if you take it totally literally, but you aren’t taking it in the spirit it’s delivered. It’s an off-hand remark which in its full context I take to mean nothing more than “despite what most Colombians will tell you, these are perfectly ok to eat as whole fruit.” It’s actually a pretty common way to say things, sort of an ironic over-statement which plays against the format of the first half of the statement. I’m surprised you haven’t encountered it more. Or maybe you encounter it all the time but never realized that a lot of people kid around when they talk (or write), especially when talking about things they are really fond of.


  7. I’m Colombian and I have to agree. Most of the time, Colombians don’t know shit. Particularly the Colombians that told you that sugar mangoes are only for juice. I’ve been eating them raw since I was a little kid.


  8. I am costeño and I hate guanabana. People don’t eat it here on a daily basis. I think you should stop believing every stereotype around there. We don’t fuck donkeys either.


  9. only an ignorant idiot like you would make such a nasty comment about Colombian people . There are millions of Colombians that are way smarter than you. Why does everyone think that just because Colombia is third-world country, everyone is supid. Stop being so racist and dicrespectful, when you don’t know anything about us. GO COLOMBIA!


  10. Thanks for the info here! I will be visiting Colombia soon and would like to try as many tropical fruits as possible. Can you recommend any specific markets where you can buy these fruits?



  11. very nice fruits, looks soo fresh and delicious … we don’t have these kind of fruits in our country 😦


  12. I normally wouldn’t comment on post like this, but the fact that he is basis a whole culture on the one city that is so far culturally from the rest of the country makes me sad. Both fruit you mentioned as only being used for juice by locals are ate all across the country. Just because you were in a city where people don’t like getting dirty. Boo fence to people from bogota of course. But that’s what the city does to you, it’s common around the world to separate yourself from what’s going on outside the city. By the way, you should never eat a sapote using a knife. It takes away from the experience. Lastly, I would like to talk about your comment “they eat whatever is in from the jungle that week.” Many of the fruits you mentioned aren’t even from a jungle environment. They are all planted by farmers in different areas in Colombia. The country is very diverse when it comes to weather, which is the cause of the variety of fruits we offer. I’ve never met a “local” who didn’t know what fruits they were selling. If you’re going to write a serious, well informed article or blog on someone’s culture, I would stay away from offensive language about locals knowing less about their own country than yourself. No matter how “off-hand” and “sarcastic” it was, if you consider yourself a professional you should deviate from such things.


  13. You’re eating the sugar mangoes wrong too, never cut away the skin. Most people just rip it open or bite right in eating the peel and all. No utensils necessary.


  14. I thought you had it right until you got to the comment that Colombians don’t know shit. I guess I could say the same thing about people in the USA since they elected Obama twice.


  15. Dear Editor, Author, or persons authorized to give copyright permission.
I am writing to you to get the permission to use your articles in my book The Foodpedia Fresh Fruits and Vegetables books series and other books will follow, on the history of other items in the food world. That will help the people of the world to eat and stay Healthier. 
I care and I hope you care about passing on to the new generation to stay Healthier.

I am writing these books to “give back” my knowledge to the next generation of people, all over this world. I writing these books to educate the people about the advantages of eating “Fresh Fruits” and “Fresh Vegetables” and how they can help themselves to have a healthier body, and the foods that are not good for a healthy body.

    I got your name from the website. On the Fruit you wrote about. I have your name on the information that I used, so that you will get all the credit on it. I do not want the credit for your works.

    You’re the one that did all the research on the food items. I have to rely on you for all this knowledge and your researchers.
I praise you for this, that is why I want you to get all the credit you put in to these articles.
I have to rely on your help to teach and training our next generation to live healthier. Then living on all this junk food and all the chemical’s they put into the foods we eat today.
That is why we are the product of this generation of obesity etc. We have to help our new generation to eat and stay healthier so they can have a better life, then being sick and overweight all the time.
The world is changing and we have to change with it NOW for our kid’s sake.
This is the 21st Century NOW, and we have to do something about it NOW!

    I am on a quest (mission) of caring and share to help, not to make the same mistake this generation and our pass generations has made, to help them live healthier lives better then we did.
But I need your help to get this mission (movement) going. I need your permission to let this happen, to use your research in food, to train and educate the people of the world to eat healthier.
Remember the people will go to your website for more updates. Because you are always updating it, that I cannot do.
Can you please e-mail the permission letter to authorize me to use your articles in my books (The History of Fresh Fruits. { Foodpedia The History of Fresh Fruit }) I have about 166 chapters of some of the fresh fruit used around the world, with over 2,000 color pictures and about 5,000 pages),
10-12 volumes.
    Can you please email { } with your permission to use your articles so we can help the this and the next generation to live and be healthier.
Thank You Chef Paul J. Hintersteiner 
Enclosed is the website of the articles I need permission on

    I am on a quest to save the next generation from our generation with all the poison that was used and is still put into our food.
    I am asking you to join this quest to save this and the next generation, and to have a healthier life. Chef Paul

    PS: the people of the world should know this, so they can live a better and Healthier life. I am on quest to help this and the next generation. I hope you will join me on the quest. Thank You Paul

    I love this saying (“The duty of a good Cuisinier is to transmit to the next generation everything he has learned and experienced.”
Fernand Point, 1941)
    So I am not the only that believes in this Chef Paul

    I hope some one get this and pass it on to the right department . Thank You Chef Paul
    If you have any questions I will be glad to answer them Paul

    I only using 1 of your articles. My book will go world wide, and the people will go back to your website for more information.

    I print it as a whole articles the only way it can be link is in the whole article that way the can go to your web site and get the other great articles you have.

    I do not waste a whole page on just links that in not logical.

    I do not change anything the same way you have it on the webpage is the is the same way I am not and Editor it is not my gold to change any thing, all the articles is in entirety with names webpage I have not made any changes to the articles it is the same way that you put on the webpage Paul

    PS. If I add some to it I put my initial on it. like add note: I change any thing in the method of a the recipe. To make it simple to read it and it is read bad. I rewrite it but stall keep the same way they wrote it. I had one recipe from another country. They just had to put correction it was readable. As a chef I could do this and I put my initial on to show I may the corrections. I have never change anybody’s writings. I just put the information out for other people to learn from. So the people of the world get you great info. and learn from it.
    Thank You I hope answers you question?

    (the link to the article is in all of my articles for the readers to get more information about it ) and for the copyright and give the the writers credit for their hard work in putting it together. Thank you again Chef Paul)

    This books is an encyclopedia and the knowledge your is great and should be share with world to help to live healthier lives.
    I would love you to be this book you have to join in the quest to save our future generation. I am positive you will join us in his quest. I have already about 1,000 articles. I you and have any question please let my know. Chef Paul
    This is an encyclopedia on fresh fruit from all over the world, that is why you have to join the quest to help the future generation.

    This is an encyclopedia on fresh fruit from all over the world, that is why you have to join the quest to help the future generation.
    I have over 1,000 yeses and none has ask for payment the ones that did I deleted I am 72 and on a fix income.
    This book will go world wide and you can use it as free advertising for your website.
    Yes I have to make money to get it printed in all the languages in the world. It will be about 11-12 volumes
    165 chapters, 5,000 pages, and about 2,000 color pictures.

    I hope this answers your question and I hope you will join in the quest for the future generation to live healthy. Chef Paul

    If you are worried about the copyright law.
    It does not violates the copyright law if to give permission. Please see attach sheet on copyright law.pdf see section 6 on Derivative Work or Compilation and Preexisting Material. Chapter 11-17 on Compilation. Please do not take my word for it, check it out. Enclosed is a copied all this from the from the law form TX. (See attached file)

    compilation |ˌkämpəˈlāSHən| noun
    1 the action or process of producing something, esp. a list, book, or report, by assembling information collected from other sources: great care has been taken in the compilation of this guidebook.
    2 a thing, esp. a book, record, or broadcast program, that is put together by assembling previously separate items: there are thirty-three stories in this compilation | [ as modifier ] : a compilation album.
    ORIGIN late Middle English: via Old French from Latin compilatio(n-), from compilare ‘to plunder’ (see compile) .


    Readers Digest does it all the time, they put different stories form different authors in one book and sale it that way. I am not doing any thing different. I am compiling different fruits from all over the world from different authors and writers and putting all into one book. I do give them credits it their articles.


  16. We are living in Chile now, but we want to move to Colombia and live in a area that grows mangoes. Can you tell me what areas are best?

    Thanks, Dean


  17. i have read somewhere that you have an international business degree. i as well have this. it seems you might have gotten into the wrong field. obviously you did not pay much attention in you intercultural communication classes. your nerve to travel there, fhen hurl insults online at them is strinking and glaringly xenophobic.

    you know people kill each other all the time over there? and that a hitman can be purchased for about 50 USD?

    i would watch who you insult if i were you.

    i am not colombian nor am i offended. this is just an observation followed by some friendly advice to you. i do think you have alot of nerve to bash them as you do. but yeah i’d like to see you scream that out in spanish in the center of the city. just for karmic reasons


  18. Hi!

    Very nice post about the fruits from Colombia. I have been there and enjoyed many of them. We also encounter a fruit I want to try and grow in my garden. But I am unable to find the name. It was the size of a lime, but organge inside. We thought that it was a combination of a lime and manderine or lime and orange. Do you have any idea?


  19. Yes, nice post. I still miss my yellow lemons. I will try Exito Americas. Yes, everywhere I went I was handed a lime. I was like no, amarillo lemon. No no I was told, amarillo lemones estan mal, hahaha. I was so burnt-out looking, but yes Colombia has so many good fruits I’ve never heard of before. I have not tried green oranges yet. Maracuya was a little sour but good. I ask the produce man at Aka what is good to try. The grapes are larger than U.S. grapes and are great. And what seemed to be over sized cherries with a pit, but tastes like plum. The pruduce man just laughed at me,…hahaha. I still miss my yellow lemons: – )


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