Tropical Fruits of Colombia

Colombia has the perfect climate to grow fruit due to its diverse topography and ability to harvest year-round. So, it’s no surprise Colombia is one of the best places to find some of the most delicious tropical fruits in the world. Let’s take a moment to review some of the fruits you should try when visiting Colombia.

Fruits of Colombia

In this article we will focus on six of the most popular and tasty fruits of Colombia including guanabana, maracuya, gulupa, uchuva, zapote, pataya and a few other honorable mentions. Each fruit has its own taste profile and can be used in a wide-range of food and drink recipes. Some of the fruits mentioned are also full of nutritious vitamins and minerals making them a healthy addition to any diet.

Guanabana (Soursop)

Image of Soursop - Guanabana
Image of Soursop – Guanabana – Image courtesy of Muhammad Mahdi Karim via Wikimedia Commons.

Guanabana (Soursop) is a fruit native to central and south America. It has a creamy texture and pineapple citrus aroma which makes it a great addition to smoothies and ice cream. It’s taste can be described as banana-like with a hint of apple and strawberry. It’s a large fruit that can weigh up to 10 pounds and is covered by a spiny thick green skin. Guanabana is one of those fruits Colombians living abroad miss when they’re away from home. You can also find it in bars throughout South America where it’s used in a range of mixed drinks.

Guanabana has also been touted as an alternative cancer treatment used by herbal medicine specialists due to its high level of antioxidants. However, there is no significant medical evidence to back up such claims.

Maracuyá (Passion fruit)

Image of maracuya (passion fruit)
Image of maracuyá (passion fruit). Image by 5 al dia en el mundo.

Maracuya is a type of passion fruit that’s had a major impact on popular culture in Latin America. In fact, it’s the national flower of Paraguay and a number of famous singers mention it in their music. The majority of people recognize the fruit because it’s used in hundreds of different recipes.

You can find maracuya in deserts, pastries, drinks, garnishments, sauces, wines, liquors, ice creams and even perfume. It’s a yellow fruit with hints of white that turn dark violet as the fruit ripens. Its nuts are thick and its texture smooth, almost warm. It’s distinguished by a bittersweet flavor and blast of citrus.

The Aztecs used it to make pulque, a scared drink reserved for God and priests. Today, people from all over the world enjoy passion fruit. It’s common for people in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to mix maracuya with milk. In China, passion fruit is often added to Oolong tea and in North America it’s sometimes used in puddings, smoothies and baked goods.

Gulupa (Purple Granadilla)

Image of Gulupa (Passiflora pinnatistipula), also known as poro poro
Image of Gulupa (Passiflora pinnatistipula), also known as poro poro . Photo by Michael Kucharski on Unsplash.

Gulupa (purple granadilla) is native to the Amazon and also belongs to the passion fruit family. It’s a sweet, sour, fibrous, juicy fruit with hints of citrus. The term gulupa itself is an unpainted term that refers to the fruit of the gulgoa tree. There are several varieties of gulupa including the kokilipa, huatulipa, and huatullipa. These varieties differ in size, skin firmness, and flavor. Kokilipa is the most common variety found in Colombia and other parts of Latin America. The huatulipa is a smaller version of the kokilipa with a less meaty rind. The huatullipa is the smallest variety of gulupa and with a less fleshy rind.

Gulupa is rich in nutrients and often used as a herb in alternative medicine. It’s high vitamin A content is said to assist in eye health while its antioxidant properties help rid the body of free radicals. It also contains a wide-range of vitamins and minerals that are known to benefit long-term health.

Gulupa is a common ingredient used in juices, smoothies, ice cream, candies, deserts, jams and sauces. Some chefs even puree the fruit and use it as a pie filling.

Uchuva (Golden Berry)

Image of Uchuva (Peruvian groundcherry).
Image of Uchuva (Peruvian groundcherry). Image by Ivar Leidus. Image licensded under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International.

The name uchuva is derived from the Spanish word uva, which means wine grape. The name also refers to a fruit that contains proteins and other essential ingredients. There are several variations of this fruit in the world but Colombian uchuva is unique due to its sweet flesh and hard skin.

Indigenous people in the region named this fruit xipiririca, which means bitter in the Arawak language. The Arawak people originate from the Caribbean coast and originally inhabited parts of present-day Venezuela and Colombia.

Uchuva belongs to the soapberry family and is a shrub or small tree with reddish-pink flowers. It has a sweet pulp with a bitter taste. The outer covering is also very bitter but can be removed by rubbing it raw with your hands. After removing the outer covering, you will see a white pulp full of tiny seeds inside. It’s excellent for making jams, jellies and desserts. However, the fruit’s bitterness makes it difficult to eat raw. Instead, you’ll have to cook it before eating .

Zapote (Sapote)

Image of Zapote - Sapote fruit.
Image of Zapote (Sapote) – Image courtesy of Meutia Chaerani / Indradi Soemardja – GFDL and Creative Commons CC-BY 2.5.

Zapote (Sapote) is a fruit native to Mexico, central and south America. It’s popular in many different parts of the world. It’s soft with a smooth brown exterior and orange flesh. It has an exotic flavor, making it an ideal dessert. Some describe it as having the texture of an avocado and taste of a fig. It’s most often eaten fresh but it’s also blended with milk or water in smoothies. On occasion, it’s mashed and used in pie fillings or custard. 

Zapote’s name translates to ‘buzz’ in English, which refers to the sound the fruit makes when you shake it. In many parts of Colombia they are sold for transport to other countries. They are also exported to parts of South America as they only grow in northern regions of the continent.

Pitaya (Dragonfruit)

Image of Pitaya (dragonfruit)
Image of Pitaya (dragonfruit) courtesy of SMasters via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Pitaya is a popular fruit in south and central America. It’s known by several names including dragon fruit, Indian peach, exotic berry and Indian rose. It’s rich in nutrients, specifically antioxidants and vitamins A, C and E. Its sweet flavor makes it ideal for desserts, cocktails, smoothies, and a range of other dishes. It’s also used as an alternative medicine and decoration (fruit art).

Pitaya is indigenous to the America’s and can grow up to 18 inches long. It grows on multi-stemmed trees. Each stem produces multiple fruits that turn green when ripe. It has a crunchy texture with a sweet honeycomb-like flavor combined with a hint of lemon/lime. Pitaya (dragonfruit) may be the most well-known fruit on the list.

Fruits of Colombia

A few honorable mentions include borojo (love juice), mangosteen, lulo, guayaba (guava) and chontaduro. Chontadura is very popular in Colombia and can be found on almost every street corner.

We hope you enjoyed this article titled “fruits of Colombia”. If you have tried or get a chance to try any of the fruits mentioned in this article, please leave a comment telling us about your experience. We would love to hear from you!

Tags: ColombiaFoodTourismTravel

Paula Vargas

About the Author

Hi! I am Paula, a native of Colombia. I love my country. There are so many amazing places to explore. Come experience the culture, people, food and landscapes with us!

7 comments on "Tropical Fruits of Colombia"

  1. What exciting fruits, some of which I have never heard of. I’m a fruit addict, eat fruits every day and am so happy to live in Cyprus. Here I have my own garden with papayas, fig trees and now the passion fruits are soon ripe. Fruits of Colombia, very interesting. I would love to try them all!

  2. Pingback: Colombia Please

Leave a Reply

Recent Posts