In this post I’m going to explain 3 different ways to get from the Medellin Airport to the city, what are the costs, how long it takes, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each type of transportation.
This is something that I find very useful as I always take public transportation when traveling, both inside and outside Colombia or even on a daily basis when going to the tours (I’m a big fan of public transportation). First, I want to clarify that there are 2 airports in Medellín, one inside and the other one outside the city. This blog post is about the latter, which is the international airport and therefore the busiest and most important of the two. It is officially called “Jose Maria Cordoba (MDE)”, but from now on I will refer to it simply as Medellin Airport. .
1. Private transport from Medellin Airport to the city
Some hotels/hostels can arrange this for you, but alternatively you can also use a ride-hailing app or take one of the white taxis you’ll see right at the exit (most of the regular yellow cabs are not allowed to pick up passengers at the Medellin Airport as the airport is located in a different municipality). The cost is 80,000 COP per ride (around 21 USD, as per May 2020) including the toll. This is ideal if you have kids, you’re traveling with your whole family or have a lot of luggage, as it is the most comfortable option.
2. Shared taxi (“colectivo”) from Medellin Airport to the city
The same companies of the white taxis offer the option of sharing a ride. This alternative is referred to as “colectivo” and you’ll basically share the taxi with 3 other people (4 people per ride). The taxi leaves once it is full and the final destination is San Diego Mall. From there, you can take a regular yellow cab or walk to the Metro station Exposiciones which is about 4 blocks away (to learn how to buy a Metro ticket, click here). The price per person for the colectivo is 20,000 COP (around 5 USD, as per May 2020). This is the ideal option if you’re travelling alone, with little luggage and if you’re looking to save some money.
3. Taking a bus from Medellin Airport to the city
If you’re more of a backpacker traveler or you’re on a budget, this is the perfect option for you! The price is 10.500 COP per person (less than 3 USD, as per May 2020). The buses leave every 15 minutes and will take you either to San Diego Mall or to the city center (“Centro”) of Medellín, behind Nutibara Hotel. Before taking the bus, make sure to ask the driver “San Diego” or “Centro” in order to confirm that you’re taking the right bus.
The only bus company that provides this service is Combuses S.A.. Their buses are white and say “AEROPUERTO” in the front, you pay the bus ticket in Colombian pesos directly to the driver when exiting the bus in Medellín (there’s no need and no way to book the tickets in advance). If you’re staying in Poblado, Laureles, Belén or Envigado (in the South of Medellín), take the bus to San Diego. If you’ll arrive late at night, this would also be a better option for you as the area around the final stop in the city center is quite sketchy at night.
The service from Medellin airport to the city works 24/7 (except on holidays). Using San Diego as a reference point and assuming normal traffic conditions, all of the aforementioned options will take you from the Medellin Airport to the city in around 30 to 45 minutes, as they go through a new tunnel which shortens the distance significantly. If you take the bus to the city center, it will take you around one hour.
From the city to Medellin airport
If you are already in the city and want to get to the Medellin airport, the options are the same, but the working hours, prices and pick up places change as follows:
- Private transport/taxi: You can arrange the pick-up point and they work 24/7. The price is 8000 COP (around 21 USD). This is the most convenient if you have a really early flight and our favorite company to schedule a transfer is Aerotaxi +57 310 504 7344.
- Shared taxi: the pick-up point is only San Diego Mall and they work 24/7. There are always people going to the Medellin airport, so waiting for the other passengers usually takes a few minutes, but as there is not a fixed schedule, we recommend you plan in a few extra minutes (especially early in the morning and late at night) .
This Google street view is showing you the taxi stand / Bus stop at San Diego Mall.
- Buses: the pick-up point is at either San Diego Mall or the city center behind Nutibara Hotel (you can get there by taking the Metro to Parque Berrío station and then walking a few blocks). At San Diego they work from 4am to 10pm and leave every 15 minutes. And at the city center stop the schedule is from 3am to 9pm and they leave every 15 minutes as well. However, departure intervals may vary for the first and last buses of the day (every 20-30 minutes).
Considering that all means of transportation take you to/from the Medellin Airport within pretty much the same time, which one you choose will depend mainly on your budget and your level of preferred comfort. Personally, I like to take the bus, as the seats are comfy and I save a couple of extra bucks I can spend later on coffee.
On a final note, it may be obvious, but still important to say: Colombians are known for being very punctual (sarcasm detected), so always make sure to plan your trip to the Medellin airport with some extra time and stay tranquilo.