Colombian Street Food & Christmas Lights: The Perfect Combination

Anyone who has ever spent time in Colombia can tell you that two of Colombians’ favorite things are street food and Christmas - not necessarily in that order. Munching on treats from street food vendors while enjoying the elaborate displays of Christmas lights is a much-loved pastime for most Colombian families. Medellín is the ideal city to take advantage of this tradition, considering it is the City of Eternal Spring and the fact that they take light displays to a whole new level! The local utility company, EPM, has generously adorned the city with Christmas lights for the past 61 years. Over the years, the displays have become increasingly more intricate and impressive, making it a holiday destination for local and international tourists alike. The alumbrados attracts over 4 million visitors during just five short weeks!

medellin holiday lights

Strolling through the complex display of 31 million LED lights works up quite an appetite, which is why street food vendors happily set up stands along the way to feed the hungry masses. You can find a large range of traditional Colombian street food, typical Christmas snacks and sweet treats anywhere you look. 


One favorite Colombian street food is simple, yet delicious - grilled corn or mazorca. We’ve all seen corn on the cob, but not like this! The grandiose kernels are roasted to perfection over an open charcoal flame and slathered with fresh butter and salt for a finishing touch. Corn is a staple of Colombian cuisine and is normally made into masa to create another favorite - arepas. The roasted corn is a nice alternative for a way to enjoy this fresh corn treat. 

Buñuelos are a classic street food snack throughout Colombia, but come Christmas time you will almost always see it paired with natilla. The consistency can range anywhere between custard and flan and usually has a vanilla or arequipe flavor. You can’t spend a December in Colombia without encountering natilla, as it is the absolute essential holiday dish. There are variations of natilla depending on what region of Colombia you are in, but of course, everyone’s Grandma makes THE best version of it. 


For a sweet street food snack, hojuelas will hit the spot. This dessert has its origins in Spain, but Antioquia and Medellín has adopted it as a holiday favorite.


Under the glow of holiday lights, you will find street food vendors frying up their version of a Colombian funnel cake to serve to the many people waiting in line to get a warm, crispy treat, dusted with sugar like a fresh layer of snow with a hint of orange flavor.  Hojuelas are a favored holiday nibble in the neighborhood of Envigado, where we conduct our Medellín Street Food Tour

After taking in all of the Medellín Christmas lights, you’ll definitely work up a thirst. Canelazo is the perfect drink to wash down all of the street food treats. Canelazo is Colombia’s answer to spiked apple cider, and it's delicious! Made with cinnamon, aguapanela (water and unrefined sugar), aguardiente (Colombia’s national drink), and a squeeze of lime to finish it off, it will definitely warm you up. Some street food vendors may even add more festive flavors with spices and herbs, like nutmeg, cloves or fresh mint. In December, the streets of Medellín are filled with vendors offering canelazo to passersby to sip as they enjoy the holiday displays. It is also fairly easy to make, for those looking to create holiday cocktails at home.


3 Holiday Colombian Rum Cocktails You Must Try

Now that Thanksgiving is done and and we enter into the holiday party season, we cannot forget what matters most - BOOZE! We do a good sampling of libations on our Foodie Dream Tours and beers, on our street food tours, but these cocktails add a sophisticated touch to any drink offerings and feature three great Colombian rums. These Colombian cocktails will keep your party guests happy and can be whipped up in two shakes, transporting you to the land of magical realism during the holiday season. 


Bogotá Cosmopolitan is a Colombian take on a classic martini. It is the perfect balance between sweet and sour, making this cocktail refreshing and tangy. An added bonus - it's quite simple to make at home! Use Colombian Parce Rum to add this crowd-pleasing drink to your bartending arsenal. 

                     Bogotá Cosmopolitan 

                     Bogotá Cosmopolitan 

2 oz dark rum
1 oz Fresh lime juice
1 oz Simple syrup

Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice
Shake, and strain into a chilled Martini glass
Garnish with a lime wheel




A Caribbean twist on old-fashioned egg nog is a coquito. This rich, spiced treat is a Christmas-time specialty in Latin America. It is the perfect drink for a winter soiree, since it satisfies a thirsty crowd. We host a Colombian Rum Tasting on our Cartagena Foodie Dream Tour, highlighting, the aged Colombian rum, 12 Ron Diplomático. This sweet treat also includes coconut milk, condensed milk with cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and a vanilla bean.

1 can coconut milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 Vanilla bean
3 tsp Ground nutmeg
8 Cinnamon sticks
750 ml dark rum

Combine all the ingredients except the rum in a saucepan over medium heat.
Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.
Remove from the heat, let cool and stir in the rum.
Transfer to bottles (making sure that at least one cinnamon stick goes into each bottle), seal and store in the refrigerator. Serve over ice in rocks glasses and garnish with cinnamon sticks.

                                                             Cartagena Coquito

                                                             Cartagena Coquito


Apple cider is a time honored crowd pleaser around the holidays. Why not spice it up with Colombian Hechicera Rum, cloves, cinnamon and allspice.  Colombian food and drink traditions are is well-known for featuring aguardiente as it's main spirit, but there is lots of amazign Colombian rum to go around! for it's love of This cocktail is a great alternative to rum punch and for entertaining large crowds. It's easy to make and serve and will definitely keep the fiesta going!

                        Medellín Manzana 

                        Medellín Manzana 

1 apple
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 orange, thinly sliced
2 quarts apple cider
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon allspice
Pinch grated nutmeg
1 cup dark rum
Cinnamon sticks, garnish

Stud the apple with the cloves. In a medium pot, combine the studded apple and remaining ingredients except the rum. Slowly bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the rum. Discard the apple. Ladle into mugs and garnish each with a cinnamon stick. Serve immediately.