How to Get From Medellin Airport to the City (Tips and Tricks)

After a long international flight, you will want to get to your hotel or apartment in the quickest and easiest way you can, without spending more than you have to.

The international airport is situated 22 km from Poblado and the journey takes just over 25 minutes thanks to the new 8 km tunnel opened in 2019. The tunnel also has a toll which means prices for the journey are more than you would expect covering the distance in a usual city taxi.

I have lived in Medellin for almost 15 years and I have made this journey dozens of times. I will explain the options, the pros and cons of each and hopefully help make your journey as stress-free as possible.

Map From Medellin Airport to the City
Medellin Airport to City

Easiest options

Uber, Didi


  • Uber estimated cost of Medellin Airport to Poblado: 90,000 COP (US$22)
  • Didi estimated cost of Medellin Airport to Poblado: 75,000 COP (US$19)
  • Travel time from Medellin Airport to Poblado: 30 minutes
  • Uber estimated cost of Medellin Airport to El Centro: 95,000 COP (US$23)
  • Didi estimated cost of Medellin Airport to El Centro: 75,000 COP (US$19)
  • Travel time Medellin Airport to El Centro: 40 minutes


  • Quick and easy trip direct to your door
  • You can follow the journey on the app
  • Added security with driver and car details to help prevent any issues


  • While prices are usually comparable or slightly less, they can rise at times of high demand
  • Drivers can’t stop in the taxi areas and will sometimes message to ask you to go to the arrivals area or wait away from the taxis
  • Ubers in Medellin operate in a gray area which means drivers can be stopped and questioned by police – particularly leaving the airport


Generally Uber or Didi is a very good option when leaving the airport. You have the benefit of seeing the price in advance, having details of your driver, tracking the route and having support available to help resolve any issues.

The driver will pick you up, take you directly to your destination and the car will be comfortable.

Medellin airport is over two floors and arrivals are on the lower floor. Free WIFI is available throughout the airport and works up until the drop off point but won’t work outside in the car park. I don’t believe you can buy a SIM card at the airport but once you get to Medellin you can do so in supermarkets or any phone shops.

When you look to book Uber you will have the choice of various pickup points, my recommendation is to select Door 1 or Door 2. This means you will be away from the buses and the taxi drivers which makes it easier for the driver to stop. Sometimes they will message to ask which floor or ask if you can go up to the departures drop off.

This can obviously be a challenge if you don’t speak Spanish and is something to consider.

When you take an Uber in Colombia the driver may ask you to sit in the front seat. Drivers want to avoid hassle from police or conventional taxi drivers, this can help them blend in more. Ubers legal status has been uncertain in Colombia and they now operate within a legal loophole.

Colombians and foreigners take Ubers every day across the city without problems but it can be a little bit more complicated at the airport. The police can stop Ubers to check and the official airport taxis really don’t like Ubers upsetting the monopoly they have.

Uber can be less or more expensive than an airport taxi depending on the time of day but it can be slightly less inconvenient finding your driver when you arrive. You do have the benefit of paying on the app without having to worry about cash and giving the address in Spanish.

Private transfer – shuttle service


  • You can arrange a pickup with a private driver from 85,000 COP (US$22) to 150,000 COP (US$38) depending on the company and car
  • It is also possible to book a minivan or a bus with prices from around 200,000 COP (US$50)
  • Luxury cars are also available and you can find services that advertise English speaking drivers


  • Peace of mind that a driver will be there ready to meet you at the airport
  • Chance to reserve an English speaking driver to help with communication
  • Possibility of booking a private bus which can offer convenience and value for larger groups


  • Prices can potentially be higher than an identical service with an airport taxi
  • If there is a problem with your booking and the driver doesn’t arrive you may have to pay twice
  • If you don’t book with a well established company you may have concerns about reliability and security

If you book with a professional, serious, well-established transfer company then you can ensure a very nice car, a direct service and a bilingual driver waiting for you in arrivals. You can provide your flight details and the company will be responsible for finding you rather than you finding them.

This is an option that can be quick, competitively priced and very convenient. You may have the option to pay online in advance which takes away the issue of finding cash and having customer service support if there is an issue.

If you are traveling in a large family group then a small bus could also be perfect and provide a good saving.

The potential issues arise if you book a company that fails to meet these expectations. While the toll for the tunnel is a significant cost, there is still good profit to be made on airport transfers and this makes it attractive to chancers.

If you go with a well-reviewed company with a good track record then you should be fine but there are of course many ways this could go wrong.

Cheapest options

Combuses Bus

combuses medellin airport


  • The white and green Combuses cost 13,000 COP (US$3.30) and operate from 3.30am until 10pm
  • There are two routes, one to San Diego Mall and one to El Centro (downtown)
  • It takes around 40 minutes to San Diego and a little longer to downtown


  • A quick and cheap option available that is easily accessible outside of arrivals
  • No reservation needed and you can pay with cash on the bus
  • The journey time to Medellin is comparable to taxis and Ubers, although you are likely to need to take the metro or a taxi from the drop off point


  • You won’t arrive at your final destination and will probably need to take another taxi
  • It can be quite a squeeze if people take lots of hand luggage onto the bus
  • You need to make sure you take the right bus when boarding

The bus is a really good option, particularly when traveling from the airport to the city. Finding the right place to stand next to San Diego heading back up the hill can be tricky but at the airport the buses are just outside of arrivals.

In front of the line of taxis you will see some buses, look for the white and green ‘Combuses’ ones. Make sure you ask if it is “San Diego” or “El Centro”. Almost all visitors will want the San Diego bus which is closer to Laureles and El Poblado. San Diego Mall is also close to Industriales Metro Station.

My recommendation is to take the bus to San Diego, get off and take a yellow taxi that is there waiting. Alternatively, you can go into San Diego Mall and order an Uber, if you feel more comfortable. Taxis are generally very safe but of course there is the potential for problems if you don’t book online. A taxi from San Diego to Poblado should be around 10,000 COP (US$2.50) and 11,000 COP (US$2.75) to Laureles.

The bus to El Centro goes to the Hotel Nutibara, close to Plaza Botero. There are lots of Metro Stations in this area and it is closer to the North. I wouldn’t recommend arriving there in the evening as it can be quite dangerous and quiet. During the day it is much safer although it is busy and you may feel uncomfortable with luggage.


White taxi, the most convenient way to get to Medellin


  • The white airport taxis have a set price which is fixed by local government, at time of writing the price is 98,000 COP (US$25) to Medellin
  • The fixed price applies to the whole of the city with municipalities such as Envigado, Bello and Sabaneta slightly more
  • White taxis are lined up outside of arrivals on the lower floor of the airport


  • One fixed price means you can plan and know you are paying the correct amount
  • There are almost always a line of taxis waiting just where you arrive and they leave immediately
  • These are generally a very safe and reliable option


  • You will need to get cash out when you arrive in the terminal
  • The price is higher than other options and fixed
  • Drivers rarely speak English and you won’t have an app to track

If you want to pay a fair, fixed price and arrive at your destination quickly, safely and without any uncertainty then this is your best option.

You step out of arrivals, walk past people offering unregistered taxis and go to the first white taxi in the line. Someone will be there to help coordinate, you give your destination and you are on your way. You can confirm the price but if they are an official taxi they should always charge the same rate. Before traveling you can google the latest price which changes every few months in line with inflation.

You can tell or show your driver the address on your phone and he will take you straight there through the tunnel. The cars are not luxurious but comfortable and modern.

They offer a fixed service at a fixed price and are quite closely monitored. Generally they are very safe. I had one bad experience but this very much feels like exceptional circumstances.

I arrived on a delayed flight and took one of these taxis. As we were leaving I checked the price and he quoted me a significantly higher rate. I took out my phone and said I was calling the taxi company, they told me he was outside of working hours and he got very angry with me. He eventually accepted the correct amount but did so screaming and threatening me outside my house.

While this story is true, I really think I was very unfortunate with one individual in unusual circumstances. Usually the taxis are plentiful, carefully managed and very safe.

Yellow taxi

taxi in medellin
Yellow taxi


  • When traveling to the airport then Medellin yellow taxis are also an option
  • The price will also be fixed at the airport rate and they won’t use the meter as usual
  • You can also book yellow taxis on apps such as Cabify


  • You receive the same price as white taxis
  • The taxi will go the quickest direct route through the tunnel
  • Yellow taxis are everywhere in Medellin and can be the quickest to find


  • There can be concerns with security if you stop one on the street
  • While you can pay by card on the app it is cash only in the taxi (unless you can transfer using Bancolombia)
  • You can’t track the taxi on a linked app to follow your journey

Yellow taxis aren’t allowed to pick up from the airport but they are allowed to take passengers from the city up to the airport. Sometimes they might get lucky and find a fare back from arrivals but they can’t go down to departures.

The yellow taxis should charge the same amount as the white taxis and won’t run on the meter. The cost of the toll for the tunnel pushes up the cost for the drivers, which means they should always stick to the official rate of around 100,000 COP.

While stopping a taxi on the street is generally safe, I have done it hundreds of times without problems, it is always recommended to use an app to book. Yellow taxis can be a good option to go back to the airport, particularly if you are short on time.

Shared taxi (Taxi colectivo)


  • The white airport taxis also offer a service to San Diego mall with the price split between the passengers
  • The cost from the airport to Medellin is 30,000 COP (US$7.50) and from Medellin to the airport is 25,000 COP (US$6.30)
  • Colectivos will wait until they are full before they leave but take the quickest route straight to the city


  • Cheaper than a taxi and a quick, easy option to get to the city
  • They usually operate later into the evening than buses
  • There are always colectivos waiting to be filled and people taking place, so you should be off quite quickly


  • You arrive at San Diego Mall and will need to take another taxi or the metro
  • If it is a quiet time you may have to wait to fill up the taxi
  • When it isn’t possible to fill the taxi you may be asked to cover the missing person by paying 10,000 COP extra (US$2.50)

Shared taxis are a decent option if you want to save some money but I think in that case you should go for the bus. The buses travel the same route and are significantly cheaper.

One advantage with the shared taxis is that they operate later into the evening which means there are times that these can be the cheapest option available.

The driver will collect the fare from each of the passengers on the way down to San Diego Mall. From the mall you will have to take another taxi, bus or the metro to go to your final destination.

When you are traveling to the airport the white taxis will be waiting close to the petrol station and there will be someone waiting to meet you. It can also be a bit of a squeeze if you are in the back with two larger travelers.

Frequently Asked Questions

➡️ Is it safe to take a taxi at Medellin airport?

Yes, I believe it is. If you take an official white taxi from the bay that is currently working then I am confident you will be very safe and have no problems.

➡️ Do I need to speak Spanish to take a taxi at Medellin airport?

Very few drivers will speak English but this should not be a problem. When you get into the taxi make sure you have the address ready to show the driver and you should be good to go. If they are unsure they will use an app such as Waze.

You will go through the long tunnel, down Las Palmas and straight into Poblado.

➡️ Do I need to worry about being ripped off by a taxi at Medellin airport?

The fare from Medellin airport to anywhere in the city is set at 98,000 COP, so there should be no uncertainty or discussion required. You can confirm with the driver by saying “noventa y ocho mil?” and if you get a thumbs up you are good to go. Prices may rise in the coming months but don’t expect to pay much more than 100,000 COP at any point in 2023.

➡️ Can I pay for transportation with a credit card or should I have cash?

Unless you book and pay using an app, then I would recommend you have cash to pay for your travel. There are Bancolombia and BBVA ATMs on the lower floor close to arrivals and more ATMs upstairs near the check in desks.

➡️ How much should I expect to pay for transportation from the airport to the city?

Official taxis are 98,000 COP (US$25) to anywhere in Medellin. The prices of Uber should be similar but can fluctuate from slightly less to slightly more. Didi is another app which tends to be a little less. These options take you directly to your destination.

You can get from the airport to San Diego Mall for 13,000 COP (US$3.30) on the bus or 30,000 COP (US$7.50) in a shared taxi. You can also get a bus to El Centro for 13,000 COP (US$3.30).

➡️ Is Uber reliable in Medellin?

Uber is generally very safe and reliable in Medellin. You may find meeting your Uber slightly more complicated at the airport than elsewhere in the city but it is a good option.

When arriving on an international flight you may not have cell phone data to track your journey to your final destination. That said, the WIFI in and around the terminal is strong which will help to book the Uber.

Bottom line

For ease and convenience take a white airport taxi and if you want to save some money take the bus down to San Diego. You can pay by card when booking on an app, otherwise, you will need to withdraw at the ATM.

There are plenty of safe and reliable options available, your decision will mostly depend on the time of day and your budget.

Finally, my top tip in terms of airports is to use the other one whenever possible. Medellín also has a city airport called Aeropuerto Olaya Herrera (EOH) which only operates domestic routes for smaller airlines.

When booking a flight within Colombia check the EasyFly and Satena websites to compare prices. It takes 10 minutes to get to this airport in a city taxi and prices for flights can often be comparable to those at the larger international airport.

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