Culture & Immersion, Language, Travel

The Gua’s of Colombia

Guayabo, guayaba, guanabana-bana-bana… If you’re learning Spanish in Colombia, chances are you’re going to get into the rabbit hole of words that are about as similar to one another as a peach is to a nectarine. That’s what the gua’s of Colombian Spanish are to me. I’m partially writing this to help wrap my own head around this. With that being said, here are the gua’s.

The Gua’s you drink


Guarapo is one of the gua’s that I could drink all day, made from lemon juice and sugar cane. If you see a cart on the street with usually a man shoving in raw canes of sugar in a crusher, he’s most likely preparing this drink. Though this tasty drink will not get you drunk, if you mix it with enough rum it will 🙂

Want to make your own Guarapo, check out this recipe.



This is the gua that you cannot avoid when in Colombia.  Short for Aguardiente, that anise flavored liquor that’ll give you guarabo the following morning… You’ll also here it be called Aguar’. Not likely to give you a guayabo like rum will, but if you want to test it out, be my guest.



This is the gua you’re more likely to see on an energy drink then in the wild. You’re more likely to come across Guarana in the Amazon forest. It’s that thing you probably didn’t know what it was. Well I still don’t really…






The Gua’s you eat


Guanabana - the gua fruit with flavor

This is the gua with tastiest flavor (in my opinion). The last of the exotic fruits that sound like the others. You can find out more about Guanábana’s in the exotic fruits guide.


Guama - the gua that looks like a massive pea pod


This is the gua that will confuse you because you’re not sure what it is or what to do with it. Guama is one of the exotic fruits you’ll come across in Colombia. Learn more about the guama’s in my Medellín fruits guide.




Guayaba - the gua fruit with crunchy seeds

Guayaba is Spanish for guava. It’s the gua with hard crunchy seeds and a apple like flesh. Find out more about this fruit in my Medellín fruit guide.



guascasThis is the gua you put in your soup. Guasca is a very common herb that I’ve seen sold dried in most grocery stores. I was told it’s mostly used in stews like this one, though I just put it everything until it ran out.


The Gua’s that Add to the Confusion


This is the gua you hope to be called by those attractive strangers. To be called Guapo is a compliment that means you’re handsome (and it’s guapa if it’s referred to a girl)


It’s the gua you get after drinking too much of the previous gua’s. To have a guayabo is to have a hangover. Or you can be hungover by being enguayabado.


Guayacán - the gua with pretty colorful leaves

This is the gua with the prettiest leaves in Colombia. Found in the hilly Andes region (and probably more places), they can be spotted in various colors from yellow, to orange to violet. I saw them all over the place while biking to Jardín.


Gupatapé View from La Piedra

20160305_111752This is the gua you take a 2 hours bus ride from Medellín to see. Guatapé is know as the place with the massive rock (La Piedra) that all of the tourists go to.

If you like pretty and colorful houses and riding boats on lakes then you’ll like this place.



Guadua is a bamboo tree that grows in the Amazon that I know nothing about except that it’s there to confuse you with all the other Gua’s.


And yes, there are more Gua’s which I have not added, like Guacamole, Rio Guatapurí and Guatamale but I figured they are either too obvious or too rare to us Gringos. Best of luck making sense of all this Gua-talk!