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Gastronomic Festivals in Colombia: 6 Unmissable Culinary Experiences for Food Lovers

Arepas and chorizo Colombian food

Updated on 04/06/2024

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I would also like to recommend our Colombia travel guide, which provides a perfect overview of the tourist attractions in Colombia. Enjoy reading it!

If there is one thing Colombia is known for, it is its rich and diverse culinary offerings. And, to enjoy it, there are several food festivals throughout the country that celebrate its unique gastronomic traditions. Today, I will tell you about the best food festivals in Colombia.

What are the gastronomic festivals like in Colombia?

A gastronomic festival is an event organized to celebrate and showcase the cuisine of a specific region, country, or culture. These festivals typically bring together chefs, restaurants, food producers, and the general public. Below, you’ll find some common activities found at gastronomic festivals:

Food tasting: Gastronomic festivals offer a variety of dishes and foods for attendees to sample and purchase. Their offerings may include traditional dishes as well as innovative recipes.

Chef and expert participation: These festivals showcase top chefs, restaurant owners, and food experts presenting culinary demos, lectures, talks, and workshops.

Exhibition of local products: Gastronomic festivals provide a platform for local food producers to showcase and sell their products, fostering agriculture and local production.

Live music and art displays: In addition to food, many festivals include live music, traditional dance performances, and other entertainment activities to create a fun and welcoming atmosphere.

Colombia’s Top 6 Gastronomic Festivals

These gastronomic events are popular among food enthusiasts, innovators, and cultural enthusiasts. Below, I’ll discuss the six most prominent gastronomic festivals in Colombia.

Bogotaeats, Bogotá

“Bogotaeats” is the name of various digital platforms aiming to position Bogotá as a culinary city and teach people easy recipes. Encouraged by the enthusiastic response, the creators have launched a gastronomic festival under the same name for food lovers and those seeking delightful experiences.

This festival has had two editions, each drawing over 25,000 attendees.

It invites the 30 best restaurants in Bogotá, ensuring a diverse and high-quality menu. Some of the invited establishments include La Fama, Andrés D. C., La Brasserie, La Bifería, La Coa, and El Tambor.

It’s not just about the delicious food; the atmosphere is also incredibly fun and enjoyable because the sponsoring brands offer experiences and surprises to share with your family and friends.

Moreover, the space is specially decorated with various tents, booths, and stages so that emerging musical artists can perform.

Pets are allowed on Sundays.
Fridays and Saturdays are exclusive to adults, while Sundays are for families.

Location: El Chicó Museum Park, Bogotá, Cundinamarca.
Date: September 1, 2, 3, and 8, 9, 10, 2023. The 2024 date is to be confirmed.
Admission: Charged.
Website: Bogotaeats

Alimentarte, Bogotá

Alimentarte Food Festival is a gastronomic event in Bogotá, established in 2003, where over 90 restaurants and culinary offers annually sell their best dishes to local and international cuisine enthusiasts. In its 20 editions, invited restaurants are known for their innovative and delicious proposals.

Likewise, this event features a variety of vendors offering organic, natural, and high-quality ingredients, with approximately 30 participating this year. An example is the market of products from the Amazon, Amazonía Mía, which sells products from the Colombian Amazon and aims to contribute to the conservation of jungles and forests. Likewise, many of the guests are well-known chefs, such as Jorge Rauch.

 Interestingly, the funds raised go towards non-profit organizations. For example, to the Green Heart Foundation, the creator and organizer of the event, which provides support and a better life for the widows and orphans of the Police. Also, to the Eleventh Grade Foundation, which facilitates access to education for orphaned children of active police officers through scholarships and financial aid.

Only digital payments are accepted, no cash.
Pets are allowed.
Children under 10 enter for free.

Location: El Country Park, Bogotá, Cundinamarca.
Date: March 9, 10, 16, and 17, 2024.
Admission: Charged.
Social Media: Alimentarte.

Burger Master, Bogotá and other cities

The Burger Master is an annual event where over 300 restaurants from Colombia’s main cities offer their best burgers to the public. These establishments compete for the title of “Colombia’s best burger.” The burgers are judged by event participants and a panel of gastronomy experts, including the creator and organizer of the Burger Master, Tulio Zoloaga.

Tulio has various social media accounts on platforms like TikTok and YouTube, under the name Tulio Recomienda, where he shares cooking recipes and gastronomic recommendations. Tulio also has a homonymous app, where Burger Master attendees cast their votes for the best burger.

This event is huge, with approximately 2.8 million burgers sold in 2023, and its success can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the burgers offered aren’t ordinary; many restaurants showcase innovative recipes and ingredients. Secondly, they all come at a fixed price of around 16,000 COP (4 USD) each. Additional items like fries or drinks incur extra charges.

Thanks to the success of Burger Master, several spin-off versions of the festival have emerged, showcasing other popular dishes such as ceviche, pizza, and sushi. If you’re a fan of any of these cuisines, keep an eye out! Dates for Pizza Master, Sushi Master, and other festivals are regularly announced on social media.

Due to its popularity, long queues are expected at participating restaurants.
How do you know which restaurants will participate? Or on what dates? Well, Tulio announces this on his social media, and restaurants also advertise on their premises and social media.

Location: Selected restaurants in Bogotá (and nearby municipalities), Medellín, Cali, Bucaramanga, Villavicencio, Barranquilla, and Cartagena.
Date: May 15 to 22, 2023. The 2024 date is to be confirmed.
Website: Tulio Recomienda Instagram: @tuliorecomienda

Sabor Barranquilla, Barranquilla

Established in 2008 by the Colombian Red Cross of the Atlantic, Sabor Barranquilla stands as the premier gastronomic fair in the Caribbean region. Its mission is to celebrate and promote Colombian Caribbean cuisine through talks, conferences, and gastronomic tastings featuring traditional cooks, international chefs, entrepreneurs, academics, and more.

As a result, Sabor Barranquilla is highly attended, welcoming around 25,000 guests in each edition. It has had more than 13 editions.

One example of the invited guests is the renowned chef Jorge Rauch, who currently owns various fusion Colombian cuisine restaurants. He shares his recipes and cooking tips on social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.

What I admire about this event is its homage to the women who uphold the country’s gastronomic traditions, embodying the wisdom of generations through their traditional dishes. One such remarkable woman is Sonia Mena, a seasoned chef who has clinched the top spot at the Cartagena Fried Festival 14 times. For over a decade, she has managed a thriving business specializing in fried foods and savory pastries.

Yomaira Herrera also stands out, inheriting her love for cooking from her mother and is well-known for her corn fritters.

Location: Puerta de Oro Caribbean Events Center, Barranquilla, Atlántico.
Date: August 24 to 27, 2023. The 2024 date is to be confirmed.
Admission: Charged.
Website: Sabor Barranquilla

Popayán Gastronomic Congress

The Popayán Gastronomic Congress, established in 2002 by former culture minister María Consuelo Araújo Castro, is a gathering for local cuisine enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, and producers. Featuring tastings of over 40 cuisines, product exhibitions, and talks, the event celebrates the significance and diversity of our gastronomic heritage.

Thanks to its innovative approach to cooking, this congress hosts numerous international interventions and guests from around the world. It also highlights the latest culinary trends and conducts experimental sessions.

This event not only highlights the importance of our culture and cuisine but also opens our minds and palates to new flavors in its over 20 editions.

Craving ancestral drinks? Well, this is the ideal event. You can try craft beer, chicha (fermented maize drink) in various flavors, and guarapo (fermented sugarcane drink).

Location: Caldas Park Fairground, Popayán, Cauca.
Date: September 7 to 10, 2023. The 2024 date is to be confirmed.
Website: Gastronomico Popayán

Encounter of Flavors and Knowledge, Villa de Leyva

Established in 2014 by the National Potato Promotion Fund, the Flavors and Knowledge Encounter in Villa de Leyva is a notable celebration that showcases the distinctive flavors from various regions of Colombia. Its primary goal is to preserve the ancestral culinary heritage while paying tribute to the land, countryside, harvest, and traditions of the Boyacá department.

This event promotes the transmission of knowledge and stories about the preparation of traditional dishes that are at risk of disappearing. It includes talks, workshops, and features tasting of typical dishes in the city’s main square. Among the typical dishes you can try are:

  • Guava bocadillo
  • Arepa
  • Cheeses
  • Colombian pastries
  • Campesina hen
  • Fritanga
  • Desserts made from typical fruits like passion fruit.

What makes this event even more interesting is that each year they feature a guest country; in 2018, it was Peru. So, dishes like causa limeña, seco de res, ají de gallina, and cau cau were on the menu.

Location: Main square of Villa de Leyva, Boyacá.
Date: May 23, 2023. The 2024 date is to be confirmed.
Website: Villa de Leyva Encounter of Flavors and Knowledge

What dishes can you find at Colombian gastronomic festivals?

Well, in Colombia’s vibrant gastronomic events, ingredients and preparations display diversity. As mentioned, you can find everything from typical dishes from each region, such as ajiaco, to international recipes, like Mexican nachos.

To give you an idea, I’ll discuss the natural regions of Colombia and their typical preparations.

Colombian departments are primarily divided into 6 geographical regions:

  • Andean Region

Typical recipes: ajiaco, sancocho de gallina, bandeja paisa, lechona, tamal, and arepas.

  • Amazon Region

Typical recipes: fried fish, casabe, cupuacu cream, pirarucu cracklings.

  • Caribbean Region

Typical recipes: fish stew, ceviche, egg arepa, cheese mote, and plantain chips.

  • Insular Region

Typical recipes: fish soup, fried breadfruit, fish and coconut rice.

  • Pacific Region

Typical recipes: pandebonos, rice stew, valluna empanadas, seafood rice, clam soup, crab stew, and coconut candies.

  • Orinoquía Region

Typical recipes: mamona (young cow meat), roasted cassava, plantain chips, roasted capybara, and rice bread.

Recommendations for Attending Gastronomic Festivals in Colombia

Here are some recommendations to fully enjoy a gastronomic festival in the country:

Research the festival: Before attending, research the festival’s location, dates, operating hours, and participants. Ensure you grasp the festival’s theme or focus, as some prioritize local cuisine, while others spotlight international dishes or specific themes.

Consider dietary restrictions: If you’re vegetarian, vegan, or have allergies, look for suitable options. Also, make sure the dishes don’t contain any ingredients you avoid.

Buy tickets in advance: If the festival requires tickets, purchase them well in advance. Some festivals have limited capacity and may sell out quickly.

Plan your visit: Review the festival’s program to find out the schedule of culinary demonstrations, talks, competitions, and tastings. Plan your visit based on the events that interest you the most to maximize your time.

Bring cash: While many festivals accept cards, having cash can facilitate payments, especially if electronic transactions are slow. However, in some cases, only electronic payments are accepted, so have both options available.

Dress appropriately: Most gastronomic festivals are outdoor events. Therefore, dress comfortably and consider the weather conditions. I recommend wearing a light jacket, long pants, a hat, and comfortable walking shoes.

Explore local stalls: In addition to savoring delicious dishes, explore local stalls for authentic regional ingredients. Support local producers and experiment with cooking using fresh, quality products.

Take care of your pet: Many of these festivals allow pets. If you bring pets, keep them on a leash and muzzle as the crowd and other animals can be overwhelming for them. Also, food smells may attract them and lead to unwanted behavior.

Don’t litter: Use trash bins and properly separate waste to contribute to recycling efforts.

More about Culture and Events in Colombia

More about Colombian food


About Author



Hello! I'm Frank Spitzer, the founder and the heart behind Pelecanus, a specialized tour operator for Colombia travel. My journey in travel is vast and rich – I've explored over 60 countries, absorbing cultures, experiences, and stories along the way. Since 2017, I've been channeling this wealth of global experience into creating unforgettable travel experiences in Colombia. I'm recognized as a leading authority in Colombian tourism, with a deep-seated passion for sharing this beautiful country with the world. You can catch glimpses of my travel adventures and insights around Colombia on my YouTube channel. I'm also active on social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, where I share the vibrant culture and stunning landscapes of Colombia. For professional networking, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. Join me on this incredible journey, and let's explore the wonders of Colombia together!

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