This one’s about ALL THE FRUIT!
It’s well-established by now that I’m a sucker for food tours, so that was one of the first things I looked up once I booked a ticket to Medellin. In this particular case as well, I felt that as a solo female traveler and non-Spanish speaker, having at least one small group tour would help me make sure I got out and saw some things while feeling safe and actually understanding what I was seeing.
There were several interesting tour options in Medellin and with my short time (about 2 1/2 days) I just couldn’t do it all. I had to decide between this and the famous 3-4 hour free walking tour of Medellin (by the same company), which gets rave reviews. But I was going to get fed on this one, so it ultimately won 🙂 I also did do a full-day tour to Guatape, El Penol, and a coffee farm, which I’ll be posting about soon!
This post looks long but is a super easy, fast scroll…I just couldn’t resist sharing pics of many of the fruits we tried, just because they’re so cool looking. At the bottom of the post I’ve shared all the details you need to decide if you want to book this for your own Medellin adventure.
Tips for the best long weekend in Medellin, Colombia!
I took an Uber from my hotel in Poblado over to Minorista, about 15 minutes. Finding my tour group was easy, and I introduced myself to German (“Her-man”) and the rest of the folks. One thing I liked about Real City Tours is that their groups are small, so there were only 8 of us (which I think is the max size).
German gave us some initial instructions and we headed into the market. It’s totally covered and largely inside, and was a pleasant enough temperature (just for your planning purposes).
We started with the tomato de arbol, or tree tomato. I’d never even heard of this and it is…odd? It’s like a tomato and a papaya had a baby. Or like someone finally told the tomato that it was actually a fruit, and it was trying to live up to that. Not my fave, but not offensive.
You might also like: Guatapé, The Most Colorful Town in Colombia
Next up was the lulo. It, like many of these fruits, was quite tart. I loved the look of this one.
German took us through an area of the market where we couldn’t take pictures of the people, as the section is focused on more superstitious medicine (herbs and bars of soap meant to bring riches, and the like).
Then we were back at the fruit with some chontaduros! These were definitely strange, with a texture like tough pumpkin and a very protein-y kind of taste that were at odds with their fruity look. I liked it a bit better with the honey and salt, but I wouldn’t go back for this myself.
Haha and then the algaroba…a.k.a. “stinky toe” Yes, for real. It is a pungent odd bean kind of thing, which had to be broken open with a hammer. The inside was the texture of sawdust, very mild and a little sweet though quite dry. I think they use it often in smoothies, which makes a lot of sense for protein, fiber, and texture.
And now this was one of my favorites! I’d accidentally stumbled on a traditional Colombian delicacy called arepas con chocolo at breakfast that morning—fresh corn arepas. These are SO much better than the sad, bland white arepas I’d had before. So German brought us to a stand selling freshly fried-up ones with the traditional fresh cheese.
We wandered on into a different section and noshed on the biggest avocado I’ve ever seen, and then mamoncillo—these weird tiny Spanish limes that are kind of like sucking on a delicious, tart eyeball. If you eat more than like 3 they’ll eventually numb your mouth too.
Then we had the uchuva (also called physalis, which I learned from the Great British Bake Off). Much milder than I would have guessed.
The pitahaya (dragon fruit) was quite tart, and was one of my favorite-looking fruits.
After a slice of prickly pear, German set us free for about 15 minutes to wander around. I talked some dudes who let me taste some other fruit, and then we continued on to finish out the tour.
Here’s a look at everything we tasted (except the soursop, which we could have had juice from at the end). We finished up our tour with fresh juice mixed with milk and then four different types of passion fruit. I had the borojo juice, which was lovely.
So I’ve always wondered why I can never find passion fruit in the grocery stores in the U.S., and my new theory is that Colombia exports all of them to Britain for use on the Great British Bake Off. So there’s your conspiracy theory for the day…
Doesn’t this look like an alien being birthed???
Here are three different kinds of passion fruit, all great and all quite tart. And the color of that regular one (the purple) is just glorious!
Taking an exotic fruit tour in Medellin
- I took the tour with Real City Tours
- The cost (as of 2018) is 70,000 COP or about $25 USD, and you do want to book ahead
- Note, they only open up their bookings about 2 weeks out, so if you’re trying to book and can’t select the date you want, that’s probably why
- The tour will take 2.5-3 hours and you’ll meet at the south metro station by Minorista. They provide very good, detailed directions for getting there either on your own on the metro or by cab/Uber. I decided to go the Uber route so I could actually enter my destination in the app.
- Wear cool, comfy clothes and shoes that are good for walking
- The area is a not-bad walk from Plaza de Botero so I’d recommend going up that way after your tour is over…the guide can easily give you directions for the safest way to walk (and ours also walked us part of the way)
- I stayed in Poblado at the Diez Hotel Catagoria Colombia, which was clean and comfy enough and I felt very safe
Other food and culture pairings you’ll like:
- Devouring the Food of Istanbul’s Asian Side: A Walking Food Tour
- A (Frigid) Food Tour of Asheville
- Diving Into Jerusalem’s Amazing Mahane Yehuda Market (a.k.a. The Shuk)
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