19 Delicious Street Food In Cartagena You Must Try!

Cartagena is a beautiful city on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, known for its stunning colonial architecture, vibrant nightlife, and delicious food. You Must try Street Food In Cartagena.

One of the best ways to experience the local cuisine is by trying the street food in Cartagena, which is both affordable and full of flavor.

street food in cartagena

From fried plantains to fresh ceviche, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best street foods in Cartagena and where to find them.

What Makes the Street Food in Cartagena Special?

Diversity of Flavors: As you stroll through the streets of Cartagena, you’ll quickly notice the array of mouthwatering dishes that reflect the city’s rich history and cultural influences.

Arepas made from cornmeal, empanadas filled with meat or cheese, and fresh fruit juices showcase the local flavors that make Cartagena’s street food unique and delicious.

Affordability: One of the main reasons you’ll love the street food in Cartagena is its affordability. For just a few pesos, you can treat yourself to generous portions and delicious meals that will leave you satisfied.

This budget-friendly aspect makes it easy to try a wide variety of dishes during your stay.

street food in cartagena

Locally Sourced Ingredients: Cartagena’s street food vendors take pride in using fresh, locally sourced ingredients in their dishes.

From tropical fruits to the catch of the day, you can expect high-quality ingredients that contribute to the outstanding flavors of each dish. Plus, supporting local vendors contributes to the economy and sustainability of the community.

Authentic Experience: Street food in Cartagena offers a unique glimpse into the authentic culture and daily life of the city’s residents.

As you sample the various dishes, you’ll experience a connection with the local people and feel the warmth and pride of the community. This genuine atmosphere is something you won’t find in a typical restaurant.

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19 Highlights of the Street Food in Cartagena: A Casual Guide to the Best Local Eats

1. Arepa de Huevo

This popular Colombian street food is a savory combination of cornmeal dough, eggs, and meat, fried until crispy and golden brown, and is one of the best street foods in Cartagena!

The arepa itself is made from a mixture of cornmeal, water, and salt, which is formed into a thick patty and cooked on a griddle until it’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

The egg is then cracked open and fried inside the arepa, creating a delicious and filling snack that’s perfect for any time of day.

While the traditional Arepa de Huevo is filled with ground beef or pork, you can also find variations with chicken, chorizo, or even cheese. Some vendors also add a dollop of salsa or guacamole on top for an extra burst of flavor.

2. Empanadas

Empanadas are one of the most popular street foods in Cartagena. These savory pastries are a staple of Colombian street food and are available from vendors all over the city.

street food in cartagena

Empanadas are made by filling a pastry shell with a mixture of meat, cheese, or vegetables and then frying it until it’s crispy and golden brown.

The filling can vary depending on the vendor, but some popular options include beef, chicken, pork, potatoes, and cheese.

One of the best things about empanadas is that they’re easy to eat on the go. You can grab one from a street vendor and enjoy it while you explore the city.

They’re also very affordable, with most vendors charging just a few thousand pesos per empanada.

If you’re looking for a more substantial meal, some vendors also offer combo deals that include multiple empanadas and a drink.

Just be aware that the more popular vendors can have long lines, especially during peak hours.

3. Raspao’

If you’re looking for a refreshing treat to cool you down on a hot day in Cartagena, look no further than Raspao’.

This popular street food is essentially a shaved ice dessert that’s topped with your choice of sweet syrup.

Raspao’ is typically served from colorful carts that can be found throughout the city. The ice is shaved right in front of you, ensuring that it’s fresh and fluffy.

You can then choose from a variety of flavors, such as mango, passionfruit, or coconut, to name a few.

The syrup is poured generously over the ice, and you can even add toppings like condensed milk or coconut flakes for an extra burst of flavor.

4. Carimañolas

These deep-fried snacks are made from yuca dough filled with meat, cheese, or a combination of the two. They’re shaped like a small torpedo and are perfect for eating on the go.

Carimañolas are a popular street food in Cartagena and can be found at many food stalls and carts throughout the city. They’re often served with a side of hot sauce for dipping, which adds an extra kick of flavor.

One of the best places to try Carimañolas is at La Cocina de Socorro, a popular food stall located in the Getsemaní neighborhood.

Here, you can try a variety of fillings, including beef, chicken, and cheese. The Carimañolas are made fresh to order and are always piping hot and delicious.

5. Arepa de Choclo

If you’re looking for filling and satisfying street food in Cartagena, look no further than the Arepa de Choclo.

street food in cartagena

This popular Colombian dish is made from corn, cheese, and butter and is typically enjoyed as a breakfast item or midday snack.

The Arepa de Choclo is made by grinding fresh corn kernels and mixing them with cheese, butter, and other ingredients.

The resulting dough is then shaped into small, flat patties and grilled until crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.

When it comes to toppings, you can choose from a wide variety of options. Some popular choices include shredded chicken, beef, or pork, as well as avocado, tomatoes, and onions.

For a truly authentic experience, try topping your Arepa de Choclo with a dollop of hogao, a traditional Colombian sauce made from tomatoes, onions, and cilantro.

6. Patacon con Queso

Patacon is made with green plantains that are sliced and fried twice to create a crispy texture. The plantains are then topped with melted cheese and served with a side of salsa.

street food in cartagena

The combination of the crispy plantains and melted cheese creates a savory and satisfying flavor that will leave you wanting more.

The dish is usually served on a paper plate or in a small plastic container, making it easy to eat on the go while exploring the city.

Patacon con Queso is a popular street food in Cartagena and can be found at many food stalls and carts throughout the city. It’s an affordable and delicious option for a quick snack or light meal.

7. Mango Biche

If you’re looking for a sweet and sour snack to enjoy while exploring the streets of Cartagena, then Mango Biche is the perfect option for you.

This popular street food is made from unripe green mangoes that are peeled and cut into thin slices.

The slices are then seasoned with a mixture of salt, lime juice, and chili powder, giving them a unique and tangy flavor. The combination of sweet and sour flavors makes Mango Biche a refreshing treat on a hot day.

You can find Mango Biche being sold by street vendors throughout the city. It’s typically served in a plastic cup or bag, making it easy to eat on the go.

8. Ciruela

These small, tart plums are a popular street food in Colombia and can be found at many vendors throughout the city.

street food in cartagena

Ciruela is typically served with salt and lime juice, which helps to balance out the sourness of the fruit. Some vendors also offer them with chili powder or hot sauce for an extra kick.

9. Buñuelos

Buñuelos are fried dough balls made with a mixture of cornmeal, cheese, and eggs, giving them a slightly salty flavor and a soft, chewy texture.

They are often served with a side of honey or syrup for dipping, adding a touch of sweetness to the dish.

You can find buñuelos being sold by street vendors throughout the city, especially during the holiday season. They are a popular treat during Christmas and New Year’s celebrations and are often enjoyed with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee.

One of the best places to try buñuelos in Cartagena is at the Plaza de la Trinidad in the historic center of the city.

Here, you can find several vendors selling freshly made buñuelos, along with other traditional Colombian snacks like arepas and empanadas.

10. Nispero

These small, orange fruits are similar in texture and flavor to lychees, with a slightly tart taste and a juicy, pulpy interior.

You’ll often find nispero sold by street vendors in small plastic cups, with the fruit already peeled and ready to eat. Some vendors may also offer nispero juice, which is made by blending the fruit with water and sugar.

11. Cocos (Coconuts)

You’ll find street vendors selling coconuts all over the city, and they’re a great way to stay hydrated while exploring the street food in Cartagena.

street food in cartagena

The vendors will typically chop off the top of the coconut with a machete and insert a straw for you to drink the water inside. The water is naturally sweet and has a slightly nutty flavor.

It’s also a great source of electrolytes, making it the perfect drink to rehydrate after a long day of sightseeing.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also ask the vendor to cut open the coconut and scrape out the meat for you to eat. The meat is soft and chewy with a mild coconut flavor.

12. Arepa con Queso

This classic Colombian street food is a simple yet satisfying treat that you can find at virtually any food cart or market stall.

street food in cartagena

An arepa is a type of corn cake that is a staple of Colombian cuisine. It’s made by mixing cornmeal with water and salt to form a dough, which is then shaped into a disc and cooked on a griddle or in a skillet.

Once the arepa is cooked, it’s split open and filled with a variety of toppings.

In the case of an arepa con queso, the filling is simply cheese. The cheese is usually a salty, crumbly variety that complements the mild sweetness of the corn cake.

Some vendors will also add a dollop of butter or a sprinkle of salt for extra flavor.

The result is a warm, cheesy, and satisfying snack that’s perfect for munching on while wandering the streets of Cartagena. And at just a few thousand pesos, it’s an affordable treat that won’t break the bank.

13. Papa Rellena

Papa rellena is another popular street food in Cartagena is a deep-fried potato ball stuffed with a savory meat filling, typically made with ground beef, onions, garlic, and spices.

street food in cartagena

The crispy exterior of the papa rellena gives way to the soft and fluffy mashed potato inside, which is perfectly complemented by the rich and flavorful meat filling.

Some vendors also add boiled eggs, olives, and raisins to the filling, which adds a unique and delightful twist to this classic snack.

You can find papa rellena being sold by street vendors all over Cartagena, especially in the Old City. The price varies depending on the size and filling, but it typically ranges from 2,000 to 5,000 Colombian pesos.

When you order a Papa Rellena, make sure to ask for some ají, a spicy sauce made with chili peppers, lime juice, and cilantro. The ají adds a tangy and spicy kick to the Papa Rellena, making it even more delicious.

14. Coctel de Camarones

This classic Colombian dish is a seafood lover’s dream, featuring juicy shrimp, tangy lime juice, and a variety of other fresh ingredients.

street food in cartagena

To make Coctel de Camarones, vendors typically start by boiling the shrimp until they are tender and perfectly cooked.

The shrimp are then combined with diced onions, tomatoes, and cilantro, along with a generous squeeze of lime juice. Some vendors also add avocado or plantain chips to the mix, adding extra flavor and texture to the dish.

One of the best things about Coctel de Camarones is that it is light and refreshing, making it the perfect snack or appetizer on a hot day.

15. Ceviche

Ceviche is typically made with raw fish that is marinated in citrus juice, such as lime or lemon, along with other ingredients like onions, cilantro, and chili peppers.

street food in cartagena

The acid in the citrus juice “cooks” the fish, giving it a tender texture and tangy flavor.

One of the best places to find ceviche in Cartagena is at the Mercado de Bazurto, a bustling market where you can find all kinds of street food and fresh produce.

You can also find ceviche at many of the city’s beachside restaurants and food carts.

16. Deditos

Deditos are little fried sticks that are a popular street food in Cartagena that you’ll find all over the city.

Deditos are made from a mixture of cornmeal, cheese, and sometimes other ingredients like herbs or spices. The dough is rolled into thin sticks and fried until crispy.

They’re often served with a dipping sauce, like ají or salsa rosada.

One of the best things about deditos is how portable they are. You can easily grab a few sticks and munch on them while you explore the city. They’re also very affordable, usually costing just a few thousand pesos per serving.

17. Fresh Juices

When you’re walking around Cartagena, you’ll notice that there are many street vendors selling fresh juices.

street food in cartagena

These vendors typically have a variety of fruits to choose from, including mango, papaya, pineapple, and passion fruit, depending on the season.

One popular option is mixed fruit juice, which combines several different fruits into one refreshing drink. Another popular choice is coconut water, which is served straight from the coconut with a straw.

The prices for these juices are usually very reasonable, and they’re a great way to cool down on a hot day.

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Where to Find the Best Street Food in Cartagena

If you’re wondering where to find the best street food in Cartagena, here are some wonderful options:


When you’re in Cartagena, Getsemani is the place to visit for the best street food.

2 days in cartagena

This lively neighborhood is filled with a variety of food stalls and vendors to satisfy your cravings.

Take a stroll around Plaza de la Trinidad, where you’ll find local delicacies such as arepas con huevo (corn patties stuffed with egg), empanadas, and carimanolas (yucca fritters stuffed with cheese or meat).

Don’t forget to chug down a refreshing limonada de coco (coconut lemonade) to stay hydrated while you explore.

Aside from the plaza, you can also check out Calle del Arsenal and Calle de la Media Luna for more street food options.

In these streets, the evening brings barbecues grilling mouth-watering pinchos (skewered meats), which you definitely want to try.

Bazurto Market

Another hotspot for authentic street food in Cartagena is Bazurto Market.

This bustling market, located just outside the walled city, might not look like much at first glance, but it’s a goldmine for food lovers.

Here, you’ll get to taste Cartagena’s diverse flavors and interact with locals in their everyday environment.

At Bazurto Market, you’ll find various food stalls offering delicious options like ceviche and pargo frito (fried whole fish).

One must-try dish is sancocho, a traditional Colombian soup with chicken, fish, or meat, along with starchy vegetables – it’s the perfect comfort food.

Just a friendly reminder that Bazurto Market can be a bit chaotic, so make sure to keep an eye on your belongings while enjoying your street food adventures. Happy eating!

Street Food Tours in Cartagena

When visiting Cartagena, you should definitely consider taking a street food tour.

Here are some wonderful options:

1. Street Food Tour in Cartagena

The Street Food Tour in Cartagena is a guided tour that takes you through the city’s streets to taste local delicacies.

street food in cartagena

The tour includes learning about the history and culture of food in Colombia from your guide, finding hidden vendors, and discovering local places you might miss without a guide.

Food tasting is included, and you may want to buy a whole plate. The tour is a great way to explore the city while also satisfying your appetite and learning about the history behind the food you sample. Book here.

2. Street food like a local

The Street Food Like a Local tour will help you experience the city like a local for a couple of hours with a local guide.

street food in cartagena

You will learn about the stories behind every recipe and spot, and the connection of these recipes to life in neighborhoods.

The tour includes trying 8 recipes, local juices, local soda, some local sweets, and unfamiliar fruits. Book here.

3. Private Tour: Food Tour in Cartagena Walled City

The Cartagena Food Tour is a private food and walking tour that takes you off the beaten path to discover Colombian cuisine that you might otherwise miss.

street food in cartagena

With a private guide, you’ll explore the UNESCO-listed Old Town Cartagena and learn about how the snacks you enjoy relate to the culture and history of the city.

All samples are included, so there are no hidden costs. The tour offers an insider’s glimpse of Cartagena’s food scene, and exploring on foot offers a more intimate glimpse into the Old Town. Book here.

Is the Street Food in Cartagena Safe?

When traveling to Cartagena, you’ll find a great variety of delicious street food worth trying.

As a visitor, you may wonder if it’s safe to indulge in street food in Cartagena.

In general, yes, the street food in Cartagena can be considered safe, but you should always follow some basic guidelines to minimize any potential health risks:

Choose popular stands: Go for the street food stands that are popular among locals.

A high turnover rate ensures that the food is fresh, while an active crowd is usually an indicator of tasty treats.

Observe hygiene practices: Pay attention to the cleanliness of the vendor and their food preparation area.

If you see the vendor washing their hands and cooking utensils regularly, then it’s more likely the food will be safe to eat.

street food in cartagena

Be cautious of uncooked foods: While cooked foods like grilled meats or fried snacks are generally safe, raw vegetables or fruits might pose a risk if not washed or handled properly.

Stick to cooked food items or peel your fruit to be extra cautious.

Watch out for improper storage: Food items should be properly stored, such as meats being refrigerated or kept on ice.

Stay away from any vendor with food left out in the open without proper covering or cooling.

Tips For Eating Street Food in Cartagena

When visiting Cartagena, you’ll soon discover the allure of its vibrant street food scene.

Follow these tips to have a great experience trying out the street food in Cartagena:

Safety first: While street food is generally safe to eat, it’s essential to keep an eye out for cleanliness. Choose stalls with a high turnover of customers, as this indicates food is served fresh.

Look for vendors with clean preparation areas and utensils. Don’t forget to wash your hands or bring hand sanitizer before eating.

Try local specialties: Soak up the authentic Cartagena experience by sampling local delicacies. Here are a few you shouldn’t miss:

  • Arepas de Huevo: A deep-fried cornmeal patty filled with egg and meat.
  • Carimañola: A yucca fritter stuffed with ground beef or cheese.
  • Cocadas: Coconut-based sweets in various flavors.

Ask around: Don’t be shy to strike up a conversation with locals. They’re your best source for recommendations on which vendors serve the tastiest food. You can gain insight into hidden gems and exclusive off-the-menu items.

Bring cash: Most street food vendors don’t accept credit cards, so it’s a good idea to have some Colombian Pesos on hand. Smaller bills and coins are preferable, as making changes for large denominations can be difficult for vendors.

Be adventurous: While it’s essential to stay safe, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Street food in Cartagena offers a variety of flavors and ingredients that might be unfamiliar, yet delicious.

Embrace the opportunity to try something new and expand your palate.

Don’t forget to get travel insurance for your trip! As always, I recommend Safety Wing for great prices and coverage abroad. It starts at only $45 USD per month and will have you covered with everything you may need during your trip! Check them out here.

Faqs About Street Food In Cartagena

Where can I find the best arepas in Cartagena?

You can find the best arepas in Cartagena in the Getsemani neighborhood. There are numerous street vendors around Plaza de la Trinidad who offer delicious and authentic arepas. Be sure to try out various vendors to find your favorite!

What is popular street food in Cartagena?

Popular street food in Cartagena includes arepas, empanadas, tropical fruit salads, ceviches, and patacones (fried plantains). There’s a lot of variety, so don’t be afraid to explore and try something new!

Which places serve the best empanadas?

For the best empanadas, head to El Portal de los Dulces. This area is famous for its sweets and pastries, but you’ll also find vendors selling delicious empanadas with various fillings, such as beef, chicken, or cheese. Be prepared for a tasty experience!

What is the best seafood spot in Cartagena?

If you’re looking for fantastic seafood, visit La Cevicheria. Located near the historic center, this eatery offers an amazing variety of ceviches and seafood dishes at reasonable prices. You won’t be disappointed with their fresh and flavorful options.

Street Food in Cartagena: Conclusion

From satisfying handheld bites to savory dishes, the street food scene in Cartagena satisfies both the adventurous foodie and the comfort food seeker alike.

As you sample these scrumptious treats, you’ll begin to understand why the street food in Cartagena has cemented itself as an essential part of the city’s culture.

So grab a plate, fork, and maybe even a napkin, and start experiencing all that the streets of Cartagena have to offer!