Recipes- South America


Food from South America to make at home with your family. Turn on the radio to a Spanish station, and have fun! Note that the recipes are ordered alphabetically by country.

South America

Colombia- Encanto

It is quite possible that I am the only Spanish [elementary] teacher on the planet who has yet to watch the movie Encanto. That said, because some of my students sing the songs nonstop, I have had fun searching for official translations and adaptations of the soundtrack in the target language.

My searching this afternoon led me to reading a beautifully rich YouTube comment under the song, La Familia Madrigal. As it is written in Spanish, however, I thought I would provide a translation for all of the anglophones out there. And yes, I will get around to seeing the movie eventually! Many thanks to @jumpp10 for commenting on the richness and depth of references in this video.



@jumpp10Aquí las referencias a Colombia en la canción/ Here [are] the references to Colombia in the song:

  • 0:04La arquitectura de la casita está inspirada en las casas coloniales, como las encontradas en la región cafetera y las de Cartagena con sus famosos balcones con flores.
    • The architecture of the casita is inspired by colonial houses, such as those found in the coffee region and those of Cartagena with their famous flowered balconies.
  • 0:41La mochila de Mirabel está inspirada en las mochilas de los indígenas Wayuu, que viven en la costa norte de Colombia (frontera con Venezuela). El traje de Mirabel está inspirado en el traje típico de la ciudad de Vélez, en el departamento de Santander.
    • Mirabel’s backpack is inspired by the backpacks of the indigenous Wayuu, who live on the north coast of Colombia (border with Venezuela). Mirabel’s costume is inspired by the typical costume of the city of Vélez, in the department [section, region] of Santander.

Famous Wayuu mochila bags. Image #1, Image #2, Image #3, Image #4.


  • 1:00Arepas y café. Las arepas se comen en toda Colombia, aunque hay muchos tipos, y el café, producto insignia del país.
    • Arepas and coffee. Arepas are eaten throughout Colombia, although there are many types, and coffee, the country’s insignia product.

  • 1:16Palmas de cera, son las palmeras altas que se ven en el paisaje. La palma de cera es el árbol nacional de Colombia. Los Madrigal viven en un lugar inspirado en el Valle del Cocora.
    • Wax palms are the tall palm trees that are seen in the landscape. The wax palm is the national tree of Colombia. The Madrigals live in a place inspired by the Valle del Cocora.
They can grow up to 200 feet tall!

  • 1:19Está escrito “Colombia”.
    • It is written “Colombia”. [Aside: People often confuse and misspell Colombia the country with Columbia, the clothes brand name, so the correct spelling is noteworthy!]
  • 1:21A la izquierda, pasa una mujer usando chaquiras en el cabello, elementos comunes en peinados de la comunidad afrocolombiana.
    • On the left, a woman passes by wearing beads in her hair, common elements in hairstyles of the Afro-Colombian community.
  • 1:40A la izquierda, una mujer con una ruana, un tipo de poncho colombiano, la diferencia es que es abierto. El hombre del centro come una mazorca asada, que se venden en las calles.
    • On the left, a woman with a ruana, a type of Colombian poncho, the difference is that it is open. The man in the center eats a roasted corn on the cob, which is sold on the streets.
  • 1:51Julieta tiene una cesta de buñuelos, un pan dulce y salado que se come muchísimo en navidad, aunque a veces también en los desayunos. El hombre al que cura lleva un poncho, usados en zonas frías.
    • Julieta has a basket of buñuelos, a sweet and salty bread that is eaten a lot at Christmas, but sometimes also for breakfast. The man she heals wears a poncho, worn in cold areas.
  • 1:54El hombre tiene un sombrero vueltiao, típico de la costa Caribe colombiana.
    • The man has a vueltiao hat, typical of the Colombian Caribbean coast.
  • 2:11Calles empedradas similares a las calles de la ciudad de Barichara, en Santander.
    • Cobbled streets similar to the streets of the city of Barichara, in Santander.

Photos of Barichara, Santander, in Colombia. Image Credit.


  • 2:15Félix usa una guayabera, un tipo de camisa muy usada en el Caribe. Mariano también usa.
    • Felix wears a guayabera, a type of shirt widely used in the Caribbean. Mariano does also.
  • 2:25Los trajes de Pepa y Dolores están inspirados en la vestimenta de las mujeres palenqueras, que habitan en el Caribe colombiano.
    • Pepa and Dolores’ costumes are inspired by the clothing of Palenquera women, who live in the Colombian Caribbean. [Aside: Palenquero is an endangered language but absolutely fascinating. I learned a bit about it in graduate school.]
  • 2:33La abuela le entrega un bloque a un hombre que lleva un sombrero aguadeño, típico de la región paisa (Antioquia, Caldas, Risaralda, Quindío).
    • The grandmother gives a block to a man wearing an aguadeño hat, typical of the Paisa region (Antioquia, Caldas, Risaralda, Quindío).
  • 2:44Los silleteros, son personas que llevan en sus espaldas unas estructuras cargadas de flores, conocida como silletas. Cada año, se hacen desfiles y concursos en Medellín donde se pueden apreciar hermosas silletas.
    • The silleteros are people who carry structures loaded with flowers on their backs, known as silletas. Every year, parades and contests are held in Medellin where beautiful silletas can be seen.
  • 3:12Silletas exhibidas para que el público vea los diseños hechos con flores.
    • Silletas displayed for the public to see the designs made with flowers.

  • 3:14Entre todas esas flores debe haber orquídeas, que son la flor nacional de Colombia.
    • Among all those flowers there must be orchids, which are the national flower of Colombia.
  • 3:24El puente que Luisa levanta es muy similar al puente de Boyacá, donde ocurrió la última batalla de la independencia colombiana.
    • The bridge that Luisa builds is very similar to the Boyacá bridge, where the last battle of Colombian independence took place.
  • 3:33Palmas de plátano, comunes en Colombia, sus hojas se usan para envolver algunos alimentos como los tamales.
    • Banana palms, common in Colombia, their leaves are used to wrap some foods such as tamales.

  • 3:47El acordeón es el instrumento principal del vallenato, un género musical colombiano, y de hecho esta canción está inspirada en ese género. El hombre de la derecha sostiene un tiple, instrumento colombiano con 12 cuerdas, usado en varios ritmos colombianos. Y la mujer toca un tambor alegre, usado en ritmos del Caribe.
    • The accordion is the main instrument of vallenato, a Colombian musical genre, and in fact this song is inspired by that genre. The man on the right holds a tiple, a Colombian instrument with 12 strings, used in various Colombian rhythms. And the woman plays a lively drum, used in Caribbean rhythms.
  • 4:11Personas jugando tejo, considerado deporte nacional de Colombia. Consiste en arrojar un disco metálico con el objetivo de hacer explotar unos pequeños sobres con pólvora.
    • People playing tejo, considered the national sport of Colombia. It consists of throwing a metal disk with the aim of exploding small envelopes with powder.
  • 4:18Montañas, debido a que tres cordilleras atraviesan el país.
    • Mountains, because three mountain ranges cross the country.

Colombia- Emeralds


COLOMBIA & BEYOND: Last year, second graders became very excited about gemstones and minerals. As a result, we spent time learning which minerals come from South and Central America, and then painted rocks to create amethysts and lapis lazuli look-a-likes. Several filled little cups of water and dyed the water various shades with food coloring.

This year, students studied geodes in their regular classroom, but I learned about it a smidgen too late to tap into the unit. Maybe next year?!


Colombia- Colorful Town

COLOMBIA: Is Guatapé, Colombia the world’s most colorful town? Last year, students painted colorful buildings and houses on tri-folds, and set up the cardboard in two lines so that they could ‘walk’ through town, stopping at various businesses and mercados along the way. The Señor Wooly song, “¿Adónde vas?” worked well with this unit. *Image Credit Jessica Devnani & Saul Mercado

This year, students also learned about finger painting street art in Colombia, and then mimicked the style on their whiteboards. I have seen this done on mirrors as well, but use whatever you have:


LINKS: Painting the Town- Part 1, Painting the Town- Part 2, TEDx- Take Back Your City With Paint


Pink Dolphins

Image Credit

Rock of Guatapé

In Guatapé, Colombia, there is also the famous Peñón de Guatapé–a 70-million-year-old rock that stands 656 feet high. Students did a long-division problem to figure out how many of them standing on their clones’ heads would be that tall, and then used Popsicle sticks to build the staircase up the side of the rock (or, in our case, the side of the classroom wall).

Felipe Salgado, Peñon de Guatapé, Colombia