I Ate Ants in the Streets of Bogota, Colombia

As per usual, we all start our new year with a whole list filled with resolutions we’re really motivated to complete. For me the year my story is based on was the best one, because I wanted to focus all my energy on achieving a trip to another country, any country, as long as it was overseas I was okay with it.

It was such my desire to explore that I didn’t even think about who I was going with until I spoke with a friend who was totally on board with the idea. We started collecting and narrowing down ideas (elimination is my by-default method when choosing things) until we found that Colombia was the perfect destination. Not too far but not too close, we share Spanish as a native language, and it was not expensive.

I had the idea of traveling with my friend and maybe a third person who wanted to join… don’t know how but we ended up being a group of 7 friends. Apparently, people get persuaded when they see you’re determined to go, and already have your flight ticket bought. I also don’t consider myself much of a planner, so we booked a tour that had all the hotels and destinations covered, we just had to pay and be at the airport at the agreed time.

Traveling to Colombia was definitely one of the best experiences of my whole life, totally and 100% worth it. I could spend pages writing about how much I loved their culture. The kind people of Medellin who will always have a smile on their face and don’t mind helping you, the great local food that always surprised me, and even the fresh weather are great characteristics that I believe all tourists who visit will really enjoy.

Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá

One of the things I adore doing when I visit a new place is trying to do the most in the shortest time. I might not be a planner but I do appreciate a well-made schedule. Before making the trip I researched online and looked at all the places I wanted to go to, the best restaurants in the cities we were staying in, and of course, must-have dishes!  The list varied from visiting the underground Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá, to having a really nice cup of Coca Tea in Monserrate, Bogotá (might as well not get a drug test after trying that tea, huh?), even climbing the Rock of GuatapĂ© which was 656 feet! Luckily for everyone, there were stairs. Not electric stairs, but it’s something.

The importance of the List

I can feel proud to say I accomplished the majority of my list, being my final one what I now call the cherry of the pie, eating what some consider a delicacy in Colombia: Big-Ass Ants.

I know what you may be thinking and to answer your question, I myself don’t know why I even considered eating ants, I’m actually scared of insects, but you know what they say… if you don’t like them, eat them (or something like that). Truth is, I read that Big-Ass Ants were an exotic snack sold by locals on the streets, so I wanted to live the whole 360 experience.

I remember the last day we had in Colombia, where our tour guide told us to go be free and explore, so me and 3 more friends woke up very early to visit some museums, while the others went to the local market to buy souvenirs. That last day we had was perfect, we were in Bogota so we got to visit the Gold Museum who had a beautiful exposition of a room filled with gold antiques that made a spectacle when reflected with lights. Walking through the small streets of the city, we stumbled upon an ice cream shop specialized in nitrogen-based ice cream, so there we were fuming like pipes.

Gold Museum

Finally, my last day was coming to its end and I still had two pending tasks: Hugging an Alpaca (you read that right) and eating the famous Big-Ass Ants. The rest of the afternoon we spent it wandering around looking for an Alpaca or for a street seller with the Ants, whichever I saw first.

Lady with the big-ass ants

After taking many pictures at the Plaza, we saw an old lady with a yellow banner that said Hormigas Culonas which is the Spanish name for the ants. You should’ve seen me running towards her in order to see what I was about to eat. She had this basket filled with small bags of what appeared to be small, harsh, and shiny peanuts yet dark brown and with antennas. I swear I wanted to tell everyone it was just a joke so we could laugh and go but if it was on the list, it had to be done.

Anyhow, not all of my friends have the same reckless nerves, so when the lady asked me if I wanted a small or a large bag, I joked and asked if she didn’t have any free samples better. You tell me, what was I going to do with a bag of dried ants? Eat them as a snack on the plane back home!?

Just so you know, I had to count to ten, close my eyes, and imagine I was eating M&Ms to put up with the idea, but I indeed ended up trying them. Do you know how many people say insects taste like chicken? They DO NOT, it tasted exactly how I imagined eating ants would taste like, a strong, weird, and earthy flavor my Latin American palate was not prepared to try. But at the same time, I was extremely happy that I got to do it. Thankfully no one has a picture of my expression at the moment, though!

As the final moral of the story, I can’t help it but say that if you’re scared of doing something, do it while being scared, you won’t regret it. ~ Words from a fellow traveler.

Thanks for reading,

Maz.

Leave a Comment