Using Uber in Colombia in 2024? Read This First! (Safety Tips)

Uber now operates in over a dozen cities across Colombia and can be an excellent option for both visitors and residents.

I have lived in the country for almost fifteen years and I have taken hundreds of Uber rides in that time.

I will give you my thoughts on the service, explain when it is the best option as well as discuss the pros and cons of the alternatives available in Colombia.

Is There Uber in Colombia? Is It Legal?


You can use Uber in major cities across Colombia.

There have been extensive efforts, largely led by taxi companies, to ban Uber and a 2020 ruling initially halted operations in the country.

At the time there were over 100,000 drivers and it was uncertain what would happen.

Since 2020, Uber has continued to operate and has grown.

The company has found a technical loophole which has largely allowed for unrestricted service in recent years.

Technically in Colombia when you use Uber you are renting a car and a private driver for your trip rather than calling a taxi.

This is even the case when the car you rent is a taxi, which can be the case in cities such as Cali.

Ride-hailings apps are now illegal in Colombia but renting a car using an app, even if it comes with a drive included, is allowed.

There have been instances where the police will stop cars they believe to be Ubers, particularly on roads leaving the airport, although in my experience this is far less likely than it was closer to the 2020 ruling.

Uber drivers will often ask passengers to sit in the front seat to help avoid any questions from the police.

I use Ubers most days to get around Medellin. I have had two routine stops by traffic police while using the service and after a quick ID check we continued on our way with no problems.

Is Uber Safe in Colombia?

In my opinion, Uber is probably the safest form of transportation in Colombia.

That is not to say that problems are impossible but there are many factors which make Uber are very good option.

  • You have full details of your driver and they know they will be accountable for any problems during the trip
  • Your journey is tracked from start to finish and you can track progress on the app
  • The app will message and offer assistance if your car is still or your journey looks unusual
  • By paying by card on the app you don’t have to worry about carrying as much cash or receiving fake notes as change
  • You can verify the car matches the details on the app
  • In my experience, the quality of vehicles is above what you can typically expect from other apps and there is often a greater level of professionalism.

Where Can You Use Uber in Colombia

Uber is now available in many of Colombia’s major cities including:

  • Armenia
  • Barranquilla
  • Bogotá
  • Bucaramanga
  • Cali
  • Cartagena
  • Cúcuta
  • Ibague
  • Medellín
  • Monteria
  • Pereira
  • Popayán
  • Sincelejo
  • Tunja
  • Valledupar

As you would expect, service in major cities such as Bogotá, Medellin, Cali and Cartagena is far quicker and the offerings are more diverse.

In Colombia the following Uber services are available:

UberYa / UberYa Promo / UberYa Hourly

This is the most common, often quickest and affordable private car service provided by Uber.

UberYa Promo offers an additional discount on your journey although it can be slightly slower to find a car.

You can also book a service per hour with UberYa Hourly.


It is possible to book a taxi using the Uber app in cities such as Bogotá, Medellin and Cali.

This service is provided in partnership with TaxExpress and the prices are given within a range depending on traffic.

Prices on the app for this generally range from slightly below the Uber price to slightly above.

Uber Comfort / Uber Comfort Hourly

This service includes a select number of superior vehicles to provide a more comfortable ride.

Uber XL

These are larger vehicles which can take groups of up to 7 people.

Uber Planet / Comfort Planet

Uber Planet is slightly more expensive but the additional charge is used to offset CO2 emissions to reduce user carbon footprint.

Colombia was one of the first countries to introduce this option alongside electric vehicles.

Flash / FlashXL / Flash Moto

In Colombia, Uber also offers a delivery service from one address to another using cars (flash), larger vehicles (FlashXL) or motorbikes (Flash Moto), depending on the size of the package.

Uber in Bogota Colombia

Bogota is a huge city with generally poor public transportation options.

This means the roads are busy but Uber and other ride-sharing apps are very popular.

Expect to find a driver within a minute or two and they are likely to be with you in three or four minutes, with seven or eight usually the most you will wait.

Uber can be a good option from the airport and El Dorado does have free wifi to make the booking. There is a slight surcharge to leave from the airport but this will also be applied to taxis and prices are often slightly cheaper (25,000 – 35,000 COP to Candelaria, depending on the time of day).

Uber in Medellin Colombia

Uber is an excellent option in Medellin and I often use the service multiple times per day.

Journeys are usually around 8,000 COP (US$2) and if you are sharing prices will be comparable to the buses.

Unlike Bogota, Medellin does have extensive public transportation and depending on the time of day the metro may be a quicker way to cross the city.

That said, the major highway alongside the river is usually fairly clear outside of peak times making Ubers a good option.

You can take Ubers from the airport at Medellin and prices are comparable to taxis. Sometimes drivers will ask you to meet them on the second floor or across the street to avoid confrontation with the airport taxi drivers.

Airport taxis offer a “colectivo” service, where they will take you to San Diego Mall in Medellin and split the cost between 4 users. You will have to wait until the taxi is full but this can be a good way to save money or take the bus to the same place.

Uber in Cartagena Colombia

Cartagena is beautiful but it can be quite exhausting as a tourist, with so many locals looking to scam or overcharge you.

This is something experienced by both foreigners and locals from elsewhere in the country.

Uber is a good way to avoid these issues and is my preferred option in the city alongside other taxi booking apps.

Given the large number of foreigners, demand is high in the city and while there are many Ubers operating, I have found it can be slightly slower to book a car.

You can easily book an Uber from the airport. They may prefer to stop slightly further along from arrivals to avoid the official taxis but this shouldn’t be an issue.

Uber in Cali Colombia

I always use Uber in Cali and I have never had any issues.

You can get good service in the center but as you may to the outskirts it can be a little slower.

I have frequently booked Ubers all the way South towards Jamundi and they have reliably turned up, albeit with a fifteen-minute wait.

Prices in the city are fair and there are no issues booking from the airport.

Where CAN’T You Use Uber in Colombia?

Traditional taxi drivers have been resistant and at times actively hostile towards Uber but it does feel most are starting to reach a point of acceptance.

As mentioned, you can now book taxis using the app and there isn’t the same conflict, at least on the ground.

While the service is continuing to expand there are still cities tourists will visit that don’t have Uber. Santa Marta is extremely popular with visitors given close access to Parque Tayrona, Minca and the lost city but the city still has no Uber service.

The reach continues to grow in the country, with Tunja, Sincelejo and Armenia recently added, but important cities such as Salento, Manizales, Neiva and Quibdo still don’t have any Uber coverage.

Uber Prices in Colombia

I have found Uber prices to be generally cheaper than taxis in Medellin in recent years.

You also have the reassurance of knowing the price before committing to the journey.

While meters are now universal in Medellin and Bogota, you may still find taxis in Cartagena without while Cali has a system where the meter shows a number which is used to calculate the fare. While the Cali meters should provide a fixed amount, some drivers will try to use the uncertainty to include added extras.

There are also smaller towns and cities in Colombia which have Uber but many of the taxis don’t have meters. This means you will have to negotiate a price in advance and as a foreigner with limited Spanish there is a good chance you will be overcharged. Uber can give peace of mind and ensure you get a fair rate.

Taking an Uber from the airport will include a surcharge and will usually be the most expensive trip of your visit.

Given some limitations on where Ubers can stop, potential for hassle from the police and in many instances solid alternatives, this may be the journey where you use local taxis.

That said, I still often opt for an Uber and have never had major issues.

How to Use Uber in Colombia

If you have the app on your phone then Uber is ready to go as soon as you arrive.

Payment can be completed through the app with credit or debit card as well as PayPal and an option to pay the driver in cash.

Drivers will be happy to accept cash but it isn’t common and they may not have all of the change they need. If you pull out a green 100,000 COP bill then watch their face drop and you may have to find somewhere with them to get change.

Safety Tips For Using Uber in Colombia

There are also additional steps you can take to ensure peace of mind and safety while using Uber:

  • Ensure you have a Colombian SIM card with data to track your journey on the app
  • Make sure the driver confirms your name when you get in the car
  • Share your journey details with a friend
  • Check the score and reviews of the driver
  • Take a photo of the number plate
  • Use your phone during the journey to show you are able to ask for help if anything goes wrong

As I mentioned previously, I use Ubers all of the time and I have never had any problems at all.

I don’t generally make an effort to follow my own advice outlined above but I do recommend taking care to avoid any issues, particularly if you are in a new country and don’t speak the language.

Alternatives To Uber In Colombia

Colombia now has a range of transport apps which you can consider downloading with each offering a different service.

Didi: A cheaper, reliable alternative to Uber in Colombia


Download: Apple StoreGoogle Play

While the Chinese alternative to Uber does not yet have the same profile, it is a very viable option in Colombia’s major cities.

The app uses a similar process to Uber and is generally very quick.

Prices are usually slightly lower than Uber.

There is also Didi Moto which uses the same app but takes passengers on a motorbike with the driver bringing a helmet.

This is the real competitor to Uber in Colombia and one worth downloading onto your phone.

InDrive: Flexible, cheap but rarely recommended


Download: Apple StoreGoogle Play

The app allows the user to select the route and the price they would like to pay.

Drivers then compete for the fare with closed bids for the user to choose from.

The names, star ratings and prices appear briefly on the screen and you can select the one which works for you.

You can then pay for your trip by cash or bank transfer.

While it can be cheaper and quicker, this is one I would suggest tourists avoid for a number of reasons.

I have two female friends who were aggressively propositioned by drivers who tried to touch them. One of the drivers was using a fake name and she discovered his real identity by looking at the account she transferred payment to. His very unusual name had one Google result and that was a case of abuse against his former girlfriend.

As well as providing fewer protections for users, visitors will not know how much a ride should cost and are likely going to be overcharged.

Finally, there is no option to pay by app which will mean cash or a transfer from a local Bancolombia y Davivienda account.

Cabify: A quick, safe and easy way to book a taxi


Download: Apple StoreGoogle Play

Cabify is the app used directly by taxi services around Colombia.

You can pay by cash, by bank transfer or with a registered debit or credit card.

The prices that appear on the app are approximate based upon the final route and time but you get a good indication before you leave.

This is the safest and most reliable way of using the generally very decent taxis on offer around the country.

Prices are usually around 15% higher than taxis but still affordable and I would recommend this as a good option.

Taxi: Always available and affordable but take care

taxi in medellin
A taxi in Medellin

I have personally stopped taxis on the streets hundreds of times in Colombia and had few problems but this is an option that could be a concern for visitors.

Taxis are usually safe and the meters used in major cities mean you should get a good price.

That said, the journey isn’t recorded and you are relying on the behavior of the driver you don’t know.

In the vast vast majority of cases, this is no issue and the drivers are professional but you have few protections if you are very unfortunate to find one who is problematic.

If you are in a group, it is the day and you feel comfortable then I would recommend taxis.

In the evening on your own, I would use an app when possible or exercise additional caution.

Picap: Quick, cheap motorbike taxis but tourists should avoid


Download: Apple StoreGoogle Play

This is a good option for locals who want to get to their destination and save money but I would recommend tourists avoid it.

It is a very similar service to that provided by Indrive but cheaper, quicker and using motorbikes.

The issue is you can’t be sure the driver is who appears on the app, you have to propose your fare in advance and there are very few protections in place for users.

If you want a motorbike then I would recommend Didi Moto. Many Colombians use this service and appreciate the value it offers but unless you really know where you are and what you are doing then I would avoid it.


While Uber may not be the perfect option in all situations, it is never a bad choice in terms of transport.

There are other solutions that may at times be cheaper or quicker but Uber gives a consistently safe and reliable service across the country.

I would strongly recommend Uber in most circumstances as it is an excellent way to explore the diverse and fascinating cities around Colombia.

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