Learn More About Transportation in Medellin
Getting around town in Medellin can be a great adventure. I have met some of the best people while lost on a local bus or the metro. The first thing to remember is that people in Medellin are very helpful and will lead you in the right direction. I personally have been accompanied 10 whole blocks by a complete stranger to my destination.
Like most major cities, Medellin has many options to get around town. Buses, trains and taxis are all there to ensure you make it to the best restaurants in Medellin and best clubs in Medellin making sure you don’t miss out on the nightlife in Medellin. Here is a little guide on what to look out for when moving about the city. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to navigate this city once you get the hang of it.
A tourists Savior! Taxis!
Taxis are everywhere in this city. You have two options in Medellin, you can either hail one down or you can call one over the phone supplying them with your address. The pickup service usually takes between 5 and 15 minutes depending on where in the city you are located. Expect to wait a little longer during peak night hours Friday and Saturday night when people are going out in droves. Using this type of service is the safest. When you call in the company will give you a 4 digit code which you will then have to give to the driver to ensure he is from the company.
Taxis in Medellin are relatively cheap. A ride can cost you anywhere between 4,400 (the minimum) and 30,000 pesos. I have taken taxis from envigado to bello and it has come out to around 30,000. Mind you this is from one end of the city to the next. Your average 4 mile ride will cost you around 10,000 pesos. You can’t beat that.
Unlike other countries tipping is not customary when it comes to taxis, you pay what the meter states, no more no less. Speaking of meters Medellin is one of the few cities that has meters on their taxis. If you ever visit the coast prepare yourself to do some haggling. There are no meters out there. Out there you pay on what you both agreed upon so make sure to come to a price before you enter the taxi.
The Spotless Metro
This thing is beautiful! Take it from someone who hails from New York City. The Metro in Medellin is spectacular. You will find it difficult to spot a piece of trash or any type of graffiti on these trains. People in Medellin take a lot of pride in their city and go out of their way to reprimand anyone who is defacing the Metro.
For the low cost of 1,800 pesos (about a dollar) you can pretty much travel anywhere in the city using the Metro. Most of the major attractions are set up next to the Metro so visiting the major tourist spots is just a train ride away.
If you are staying a while you can apply for a Civica. This is a reusable card that can be refilled. Your cost per ride will lower as well coming in at 1550 pesos. The Civica also allows for free transfers at specific stations. Just make sure to take some form of ID when signing up for the card, a passport works just fine. You can receive your Civica at the following stations for no charge: San Antonio, San Javier, Niquia, and Itagui. Remember the offices that give out these cards are within the station, so you must be inside to get one.
Just to be on the safe side always make sure you reach the station before 20 minutes before the last train pulls out. The metro runs from 4:30 AM – 11PM Monday to Saturday and 5 AM – 10PM on Sundays.
Those Crazy Buses
I will say it once, these public buses are like nothing you have seen before. They spew exhaust, the go fast!, and they are gear shift ensuring that you feel every shifting of the gears. With that said, I wouldn’t trade the experience of riding in one. Buses are by far my favorite way of transportation in this city. You get to see areas you normally wouldn’t. Plus who can beat whizzing down the street at an incredible fast speed.
I was hesitant of getting on one of these when I first moved to Medellin. Not for its driving but for the simple fact that there are no bus maps in Medellin. Your either know where you are going or you don’t. The buses that go down Poblado Avenue and Las Vegas Avenue are pretty straight forward, they tend to stay on the avenue. The buses titled “circular” can be a bit tricky though, these go around in circles, zigzagging its way around the city.
Just like I stated in the beginning of this article people in Medellin are very helpful. Just ask and someone will be sure to point you in the right direction. Don’t worry about asking the bus driver for directions they too will point you in the right direction and even tell you when you should get off, if you ask them nicely of course.
AHHH! The Freedom of Your Own Ride!
Depending on how long you are thinking of staying in Medellin an investment in a car might be a good idea. The drivers here seem very reckless especially the bikers. Chances are you will see one bike accident every 2 weeks. Your best bet is to stick with a car. Some cars down here run on gasoline while other run on natural gas. The cost of gas is a bit steep hovering around 8,000 pesos a gallon ($ 4.50 a gallon/in dollars) but I guess that’s what you pay for personal space.
The major thing to be aware of is PICO Y PLACA. These are the days that you cannot drive your car during peak hours depending on your license plate number. PICO Y PLACA is from Monday to Friday between the hours of 7:00am – 8:30am and 5:30pm – 7pm. This applies to every car owner twice a week.
As you can tell there are many means of transportation to take, what matters is the destination. We here at Medellin Group know our way around town. With our help you’ll too be an expert on Medellin. Contact us for the following services today!