Editors note: this post was updated in 2017 with a new article that includes 22 exotic tropical fruits of Colombia.
Colombia is best known for its wide variety of orchids, as well as its other species of flowers, birds and butterflies.
What some people may fail to explore are all the exotic tropical fruits of Colombia.
The colors, smells, flavors and textures of the fruits that flourish in this rich area are not to be missed. Here are some of my favorites…
It has a green exterior that looks like it is covered with soft thumb prints, same interior as the guanabana. The fruit is fleshy and soft, sweet, white in color, with a sherbert-like texture.
Some characterize the flavor as a blend of banana, pineapple, papaya, peach and strawberry. Others describe it as tasting like commercial bubblegum. Mark Twain called the cherimoya “the most delicious fruit known to men.”
Hard, round, usually orange exterior best eaten by using your fingernails to crack the skin, then sucking the snot-like crunchy seeds out from the inside.
If you can get past the visual, it’s incredible.
Massive green fruit with soft thorn-like pieces covering it. The inside is a white fleshy substance with black/brown seeds.
Its flavor has been described as a combination of strawberry and pineapple with sour citrus flavor notes contrasting with an underlying creamy flavor reminiscent of coconut or banana.
The Guanabana tree is a miraculous, natural, cancer cell killer 10,000 times stronger than Chemo.
Guava fruit generally have a pronounced and typical fragrance, similar to lemon rind but less sharp.
Guava pulp may be sweet or sour, off-white to deep pink, with the seeds in the central pulp of variable number and hardness, depending on species.
Looks like and feels like a small orange tomato. The fruit has a citrus flavor, sometimes described as a combination of rhubarb and lime.
The juice of the lulo is almost always used as a drink since it is usually too strong in flavor to eat.
The fruit, somewhat like a cross between a lychee and a lime, has a tight and thin, but rigid layer of skin, traditionally cracked by the teeth.
They grow on a branch like grapes and are green in color.
Maracuya (aka Passion Fruit)
Similar appearance to the granadilla, interior and exterior.
(Dave here, this is my favorite fruit in Colombia. I especially like it in juice form.)
Cactus fruit which are sour and refreshing with a juicier flesh and stronger taste.
The fruit must be cut to get to the fleshy center which is eaten together with its black crunchy seeds.
Tomate de Arbol
An egg-shaped edible fruit that looks like a tomato.
The flesh of the tomate de arbol is tangy and variably sweet, with a bold and complex flavor, and may be compared to kiwifruit, tomato, guave or passion fruit.
The skin and the flesh near it have a bitter taste and are not usually eaten raw but in juices with cinnamon.
Its most notable feature is the inflated, papery calyx enclosing each berry. Inside the skin is the tart, tangy, cream pulp (technically the seed coat), which is sucked by putting the whole fruit inside the mouth.
It is bright orange and sweet when ripe but can be extremely sour and face-puckering also.
This unusual fruit is round with a rough brown skin. The pale orange inside also has a slightly rough texture and a sweet, malty taste.
There are a few large black seeds but they are easy to remove.
Head to any of the local fruit markets to get the freshest and cheapest variety of these exotic fruits, or try them in juice form from street vendors and restaurants.
They are much more refreshing and revitalizing then coffee, or cheese bread.
Or, if you visit the coast, you can find many of these fruits hanging from the trees, waiting for you to pick and eat them fresh.
What’s your favorite Colombian fruit?