Traditional Food in Santander, Colombia You Have to Try Uncover Colombia


April 23, 2024, 1:16 pm

Santander is a beautiful department located in the Eastern part of Colombia, close to the border with Venezuela. It is a region and department well known for its natural beauty and amazing landscapes, its plethora of adventure sport activities, and for its delicious traditional food options.Today, we want to tell you about a few of the most typical and traditional dishes you will find in this Colombian department.

Food in Santander, Colombia


Mute is a soup that is made with white corn, beef, pork, yucca, garbanzos (chickpeas), and tomato along with a host of delicious spices. The most traditional version of this soup is cooked over a wood fuelled stove for a long period of time to give it a better taste. Mute is often served with a portion of white rice and arepa santandereana.


Although not a dish in and of itself, cabra (goat meat) is very common in Santander and is cooked in several ways and served with various side dishes. One traditional dish that uses cabra is called pepitoria. In this dish, the goat meat is well-seasoned and cooked with egg, rice, cheese, and breadcrumbs. It's then served with a nice portion of yucca, potatoes or arepa (Colombian corn cake).

Hormigas Culonas

Very different from the previous two dishes, another food you will find in Santander is something called hormigas culonas, literally salted and roasted "big-assed ants." A type of leaf cutter ant, hormigas culonas have been cultivated and eaten since pre-Columbian times and continue to be a special, traditional treat in Santander.

Arepa Sandantereana

As most regions of Colombia, Santander also has its own traditional arepa. The traditional arepas in Santander are made from yellow corn meal and have a secret touch of yucca and pork/pork belly. These arepas are grilled and can be eaten as a snack or eaten together with other traditional foods in the area such as mute and pepitoria.

Tamal Santandereano

Santander also has its own version of tamal that is slightly different from the tamal boyacense or tolimense that you can find in other parts of Colombia. While conserving the traditional base of cornmeal, the tamales you will find in Santander are wrapped in a plantain leaf and cooked in a rectangular form and include such ingredients as garbanzos, onions, garlic, capers, chicken, pork, peppers, coriander, and parsley.

Bocadillo Veleño

Bocadillo, a sweet paste made from guava, can be found all over Colombia. What makes the bocadillo veleño that is found in Santander different is that the guava paste has two parts—one that uses white guavas and one that uses red guavas, and that this unique combination of guava pastes is sandwiched between two unrefined cane sugar slices. Bocadillo veleño is a scrumptious sweet for any occasion.

Carne Oreada

Carnea oreada is a delicious meat dish from the region that consists of dry cured beef. It is cured with lime, salt, and beer, and then put to dry under the hot Santander sun for several days until it reaches perfection. It is then served with traditional sides like arepas santandereanas, yucca, and potatoes.

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Nidia Penagos

Nidia Penagos

Nidia started Uncover Colombia after feeling the tug to promote her native country through a positive perspective. What better way to do that than showing visitors the beauty and diversity of her homeland? She was well-aware Colombia didn’t have the best reputation and she wanted to change that. So in 2012, with the help of her Colombian husband and close group of friends, she laid the foundation to build a Colombian tour operator that offers unique adventures, safe experiences and utilises local knowledge on each and every tour. 

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