Transportation to and from the International airport
The International airport is located in Rionegro, 30 km southeast of Medellín. The average journey time to downtown in Medellín is 45 minutes. Buses, minibuses, and taxis connect the airport to different parts of Medellín. Taxis are equipped with taximeter indicating the fare. The fare from the international terminal to downtown in Medellín is approximately COP 80,000 (~USD 20). There are also shared taxis available for around 20,000 pesos (~USD 5) each ride, and a single bus ticket is 10,000 pesos (~USD 3).
Public transportation around the city
Metro de Medellín is the only rail-based mass transportation service in Colombia, and it is environmentally friendly because it is powered by electricity from renewable resources rather than from fossil fuels. It has two lines running North to South and Centre to West across the city. The lines cover 27 stations in total, halting at key tourist sites such as the Plaza de Botero and the Botanical Gardens. There are also two metro cable lines attached to the metro lines, and there is no additional cost to transfer to them (with exception of the metro cable to Parque Arvi from Santo Domingo).
There are different ways to use the Metro:
- Single passes for a one-way trip: A single metro ride costs COP 2,930 (about USD 0.75). These can be purchased at any metro station and are the easiest way for a tourist to use the system.
- Tiquete integrado: If you need to take a metro and a bus in the same trip you can ask for one, this will be cheaper than buying tickets separately. Note that only certain bus lines accept an integrated ticket, you may inquire at the station before purchasing one.
To avoid queuing at the ticket booth, you can get a Civica card at one of the service desks (Puntos de Atención al Cliente – PAC) located in the stations Niquía, San Javier, Itagüí, or San Antonio on weekdays between 6:00 and 20:00, or Saturdays between 9:00 and 17:00. Bring along your passport or driver’s license from any country. The Civica card is free, and you will receive it immediately with your name and ID number on it.
The card offers many benefits: avoid long queues and metro trips cost 5 to 10% less per trip. You can refill the card at the ticket counter and in machines located outside every station that also allow a quick check of your balance before you enter the turnstile. You can also use the Civica car for the metro cable, giving you exclusive access to certain transfer points. For more information visit this website.
Monday to Saturday: 4:30 – 23:00
Sunday: 5:00 – 23:00, Línea K: 8:30 – 23:00, Línea J: 9:00 – 22:00
Metro Cable (Cable cars)
It is a cable propelled transit system, connected to the Metro, composed of 3 lines (J, K, and L). It was originally constructed to provide public transportation to communities from the elevated and steep mountainsides of the city that proved inaccessible to the Metro.
You can take the Metro Cable to visit tourist sites such as Biblioteca España (Spanish Library) or simply to get an incredible view of the city. It allows visitors to see Medellín from another perspective: an aerial view of some impoverished areas and the way of living of a big part of the city’s population. The evolution of these neighborhoods during the past decades can be observed and tourists can understand why Medellín was chosen as Innovative City of the Year 2003.
Buses in Medellín are owned by private companies and each bus has a specific route in the city that can be identified by a square-like poster in the front window. Prices range between COP 2,500 and 3,000 depending on the bus type. The current fee is always posted in the front window. Most fees must be paid in cash, preferably in coins or with small bills except for some integrated buses that work with Metro cards.
Buses in Medellín do not have fixed stops and you can wave your hand at any place of the route to step in or out of the bus. Therefore, if you are not familiar with the route make sure you ask someone to tell you when to get off if you’re unsure. If you feel you are too unfamiliar with the city to take chances, we suggest using the Metro, Metro Cable or Metro Plus systems or hail a taxi.