Traditional Colombian Food: Cartagena Cooking Class & Bazurto Market

This post may contain affiliate links. Please visit our Disclosure page for details.

Traditional Colombian food is delicious, healthy and filling, and we enjoyed learning about it during our Bazurto Market tour and Cartagena cooking class with Duran Duran Tours. Read on for highlights on an exciting and educational day out.

cover Cartagena Cooking Class & Bazurto Market

Traditional Colombian Food Tour: Cartagena Cooking Class & Bazurto Market Tour

We love diving into the local cuisine of new places, and we knew we wanted to take a cooking class in Cartagena. That’s why it seemed natural to team up with Duran Duran Tours to explore Cartagena’s Bazurto Market and learn to cook traditional Colombian dishes. The husband-wife team of Angel and Maria Duran runs the most popular Bazurto Market tour and cooking class in Cartagena. That’s why we felt lucky that they wanted to work with us.

In addition to their Cartagena food tour, the Duran family have many other Cartagena-related activities around the city. But we wanted to learn about traditional Colombian food, and we came to the right place. Read on to hear about our experience at the Bazurto Market and traditional Colombian food with Duran Duran Tours Cartagena.

Related Links:

Save & Share on Pinterest!

Traditional Colombian Food Cartagena Cooking Class Bazurto Market PIN 1

Why Duran Duran Tours Cartagena?

Traditional Colombian Cooking Cartagena Cooking Lessons & Bazurto Market

Bazurto Market tour Cartagena Colombia

Why visit the Bazurto market? And why with Duran Duran Tours? Why take any traditional Cartagena food tours at all? For us, food is one of the easiest and most accessible windows into a culture. It’s also one of the most interesting. When you take a Cartagena cooking class or a Bazurto Market tour, you learn about more than traditional Colombian food. You learn about what’s grown in the area. You learn how various culinary traditions filtered into local dining practices. Conversations can dabble in topics like history, immigration, religion, biology, and more.

And that’s just at the Bazurto Market. Once our Cartagena cooking class began, we learned about how people on the coasts eat as opposed to those in Bogota and Medellin, which are in the Andes Mountains. Then, of course, there is the cooking class itself. Angel and Maria teach kids (and adults) real-world skills like using local ingredients, utensils, and cooking methods.

We learned about all of these things with Angel and Maria of Duran Duran Tours Cartagena. The couple was warm and personable, but also punctual and professional. From pickup to drop off, we had an entertaining and educational day, and we recommend their Cartagena food tours without reservation. Do your own research and you’ll see plenty of glowing reviews to back me up.

Pickup At Our Cartagena Hotel

Angel was waiting at the Radisson Cartagena at 7:50 am as promised. He had suggested eating a light breakfast, as we would be snacking along the way until we made lunch together at their house. As we rode into town, he told us a little about the market and then called his wife Maria to let us know when and where to meet us.

Bazurto: Traditional Colombian Food Market

Cartagena Bazurto Market

fish at Bazurto Market tour cartagena

The Bazurto Market is a really interesting place, but it’s pretty hectic in there so you need to be on your toes. We’ve been to local markets in places like Mexico, Indonesia, Peru, and Vietnam, and Cartagena’s Bazurto Market is one of the most overwhelming of them all. Read a little about the market and you’ll hear people talk about crowds, smells and pickpockets. That may be true, but there are also smiles, colorful fruit and delicious food around every corner. Don’t let amateur tourists scare you off. After all, we brought our kids and had a great time walking around with Angel and Maria. That said, here are a few tips for visiting the Bazurto Market:

Wear Closed-Toe Shoes

shopping carts at Bazurto market

Yes, I’ve worn flip flops to fish markets in Japan and Sumatra, but Bazurto is more than just wet, fishy surfaces. It’s quite crowded in places, and you could get your foot stepped on. Also, the ground is just dirt and rocks, so lots of people barreling through with modified shopping carts tricked out with huge heavy wheels. They look like something the Flintstones would use. You won’t want one of them loaded up and rolling over your foot.

Stay with Your Guide

Don’t wander off. Just stick with your guide and all is well. Angel and Maria kept track of everyone well but don’t get distracted and start carving your own path.

Use Common Sense, Safety-Wise

So there are pickpockets in the Bazurto Market? Guess what: there are pickpockets in Barcelona, Chiang Mai, and Memphis, too. Just use the same common sense you’d use anywhere. Wear your daypack on your chest. Put your wallet in a front or zippered pocket. Don’t wear a flashy watch or jewelry. That’s it. Don’t skip the Bazurto Market for this.

Shopping & Samples Samples at Bazurto Market

bunuelos at Bazurto Market

fruit at cartagena Bazurto Market

pitaya Bazurto Market

For our Cartagena cooking class, Maria gave us a number or entrée choices. We chose coconut shrimp (yum!) so we needed to pick up a few ingredients during our Bazurto Market tour. As Maria picked up carrots and coconuts, she stopped at various stalls to show us typical Colombian food and produce. Snacks too. For example, we tried mangoes, passionfruit, and gooseberries. My favorite was a local species of pitaya. We usually call it dragonfruit, but this pitaya species is yellow on the outside and juicier on the inside. Tasty too. We LOVED the red dragonfruit in Malaysia. Yet in Southeast Asia, the white-fleshed ones were not as flavorful as the one we tried in the Bazurto Market.

We also tried buñelos, a typical Colombian snack that you’ll find all over the Spanish-speaking world. In fact, we’ve had them in Spain many times, but the Colombian version is rounder and simpler than the Spanish ones. Essentially a donut, the ones we tasted were about the size of a tennis ball and were both sweet and salty.

Cartagena Cooking Class: Traditional Colombian Food

Traditional Colombian Food recipe coconut curry shrimp

coconut Traditional Colombian Food Cartagena Cooking Class

Now it was time for our Cartagena cooking class. Once we had all our supplies, we left the Bazurto Market and headed to the Duran house. Maria put the kids to work shredding coconut while she began to prepare the rice. She would stop to tell us what she was doing and delegate various tasks. Angel was supposed to set the table, but he went to the stove to help and smooch on his wife here and there. Their banter and flirting were easily one of the most entertaining aspects of our Cartagena cooking class.

patacones Traditional Colombian Food Cartagena Cooking lesson

Once the rice and shrimp were on their way, it was time to start on the patacones. Also known as tostones, these fried plantain fritters are a staple of traditional Latin American food. We’ve had them in Costa Rica and Peru, but this was the first time to make them ourselves, and it was enlightening. For example, I had no idea you fried them twice! Of course, now it makes sense: plantains are much harder than their cousin, the banana.

First, we fried hunks of plantain on medium heat to soften them. Once soft, Maria placed them on a tostonera. A tostonera is a wooden contraption designed for smashing plantains into flat patties (see above). We loved doing this. Afterward, we dipped the flattened plantains into a bowl of water, salt, and crushed garlic before frying them on super-high heat. That’s what makes them crunchy.

Lunch is Served: Traditional Colombian Food

Colombian coconut shrimp

maps Traditional Colombian Food Cartagena Cooking Class

I made a salad while Maria made fresh mango juice and explained the final touches for the shrimp curry. Angel finished the coconut rice and we all plated it beautifully. Now it was time to chow down! And perfect timing: Angel and Maria’s youngest son walked in the door, so he joined us for lunch. We learned that he is very interested in Japan and Japanese culture (!) so we had a great conversation as we ate. Afterward, he pulled out a 3D topographical map of Colombia and gave us a quick and interesting primer on the country’s geography.

My Sombrero Vueltiao

Colombian hat Sombrero vueltiao

Finally, it was time for our Colombia food tour to end. We climbed into Angel’s car for the drive back to our hotel. I mentioned that I wanted to buy a Sombrero Vueltiao (traditional Colombian hat) like the one he was wearing. When he suggested making a stop, I said sure, and he drove me by the place where he bought his. Win-win! Thanks, Angel!

Our Verdict: Duran Duran Tours Cartagena

traditional Colombian Cooking Class

We greatly enjoyed learning about traditional Colombian food on our Cartagena cooking class and Bazurto Market tour. There are many Cartagena food tours to choose from. But after our tour experience, I recommend Duran Duran Tours Cartagena without hesitation. We felt like we were being hosted by friends or long-lost family. Everything we ate was delicious, filling and only made me want to learn more about traditional Colombian food!

Further Reading:


Traditional Colombian Food Cartagena Cooking Class Bazurto Market PIN 2

Disclaimer: Our Cartagena food tour and Colombian cooking class were sponsored by Duran Duran Tours Cartagena, but my views are my own. Also, this post contains affiliate links. That means that if you buy something or book a hotel in Colombia using one of the links here, we might get a small commission. You pay nothing extra, so don’t worry. Also, everything you see here is just my personal opinion. I only recommend places, activities, and gear that I believe will genuinely help you get most out of Colombia travel.