Typical Food Of Santa Marta: 6 Typical Dishes

The typical food of Santa Marta includes dishes such as cayeye, arroz con chipichipi or various fish recipes. Its gastronomy is influenced by two fundamental aspects.

The first is its geographical location on the Caribbean coast and with the Santa Marta River and the Sierra Nevada to one side. The second factor is the mix between different cultural heritages. On the one hand, the indigenous culture contributed by the peoples of the area.

On the other, the culture carried by the Spanish colonizers. Finally, the one left by the Africans taken as slaves stands out.

Santa Marta is the oldest city in Colombia, founded in 1525. Today it is the capital of the department of Magdalena, located in the Caribbean region.

Typical meals of the gastronomy of Santa Marta

1-  Cayeye

Cayeye is one of the most typical foods of Santa Marta and other banana areas of the Caribbean region.

Its origin seems to be indigenous. One theory indicates that the name comes from “cayey”, a Taino word that means “a place of water.”

The recipe is based on the cooked green banana. After cooking it, it is crushed and coastal cheese is added, forming a kind of puree.

To this is added butter, onion and atollabuey whey. It can be completed with tomato and achiote sauce. In Santa Marta it is usually taken at breakfast time.

2-  Rice with chipichipi

Seafood is a very present element in many foods in Santa Marta, given its coastal location.

Among these shellfish, the so-called chipichipi stands out, a mollusk that is buried in the sand near the beaches.

The most typical use of this mollusk is in a rice stew. First you have to cook it and filter the broth to remove any sand it may contain. Then the shells are removed and the recipe is prepared.

Prepare a sauce and add the rice and broth with the chipichipi, then cook for about 20 minutes.

This dish is made of dry rice, so you have to calculate the quantities well so that it does not remain soupy.

3-  Fried fish

Whether from the sea, such as red snapper and crappie; or river, such as tarpon and lebranche, this way of preparing fish is one of the most typical and traditional in the city and throughout the department.

The presence of several rivers and the Caribbean Sea means that there is a great variety of fish to taste. Its preparation is very simple. You just have to clean the fish well, flour them and fry them with oil.

Usually they are usually added a few drops of lemon to finish flavoring them. They are accompanied with patacón to make it a more complete meal.

4- Sancocho 

Throughout Colombia it is very common to find sancocho in any restaurant or house, since it is one of the most typical foods in the country.

In each area it is prepared with slight variations. In the case of Santa Marta, meat is replaced by fish.

Although several types can be used, catfish and snook are two of the most used. Coconut water is used in the stew to give it a particular flavor.

Along with the fish, you have to add potatoes and yucca. In Santa Marta you cannot miss the yam as a distinctive element. It is eaten accompanied by arepa or banana.

5- Carimañola

The gastronomy of Santa Marta includes some dishes that serve as a snack between meals and that are found in all cafes or street stalls.

Among these, the most typical dish is the carimañola, which is eaten especially at breakfast time. It is a kind of empañada whose dough is made with yucca. This dough is filled with various ingredients; In Santa Marta you cannot miss the coastal cheese.

They can also be found stuffed with ground beef. The whole is fried until golden brown and served with juice or chocolate.

6-  Marriage

They are fritters made with corn and filled with cheese. It is very appropriate to take them on the beach or nearby bars, since street vendors usually offer them.


  1. Colreservas. Typical food of Santa Marta. Obtained from santamartacolombia.com.co
  2. Caribbean Opinion. His majesty the ‘cayeye’. (March 29, 2017). Obtained from opinioncaribe.com
  3. De Klerk, Jacqueline. Santa Marta gastro boom. (July 26, 2013). Retrieved from thecitypaperbogota.com
  4. Eat your world. Cayeye. Retrieved from eatyourworld.com
  5. Nomadic hustle. Santa Marta Travel Guide For Digital Nomads. Retrieved from nomadichustle.com

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