Are you wondering how to get to Medellin from the Airport? There are several transportation methods. Medellin has two airports: the José María Córdova International Airport in Rionegro and Olaya Herrera Aitport (only has a few domestic flights).
In this post we look at how to get to Medellín from the José María Córdova Airport (MDE).
Landing at the José María Córdova International Airport is one of the best ways to arrive in Medellin. If you are coming from Europe or North America, there is a good chance that you will land in El Dorado International, located in Bogota; that is where you will clear customs and passport control before boarding a flight to Medellin.
Both airports are ultramodern, efficient, and comfortable; however, whereas El Dorado is not too far away from downtown Bogota, the distance between from Medellin airport to city centre is considerable.
We are talking about nearly 26 kilometers from the airport to Medellin, a scenic route that cuts across mountains through the long Orient Tunnel, a marvel of civil engineering that opened to traffic as recently as August 2019.
Prior to the opening of the Orient Tunnel, traveling from Medellin airport to city centre was somewhat of an adventure because of the mountain roads. These days, the tunnel allows you to get from airport to Medellin in about 30 minutes under normal traffic conditions.
Should you arrive on a religious holiday or at night, some of the transportation options below, particularly the private transfers, can take you from Medellin airport to city centre in about 25 minutes.
How to get to Medellín from the airport
Before we get into the various ground transportation options available from airport to Medellin, it is important to mention the topic of safety.
Medellin has made significant strides towards getting back to normal after decades of violent conflict between guerrillas, paramilitary groups, and drug cartels; however, this is still a populous Latin American metropolis in a developing nation, which means that you should still be mindful about personal safety.
With this in mind, we will list your ground transportation options starting with the one that offers greater security for first-time visitors to Medellin.
Even if you are traveling on a limited budget, you should not skimp on your trip from the airport to downtown Medellin and directly to the hotel where you will be staying.
If you are a seasoned traveler and are feeling adventurous, you will find more affordable options towards the bottom of this guide.
1. Medellin Airport Private Transfer Service
This is a premium service that is not only safe but also ideal for travelers who like to arrive in comfort and style.
Even though this is the option with the highest cost, it is reasonably priced; you are looking at 125,000 COP (about $26) per person when you book online through GetYourGuide.com.
Private transfers from the Medellin International Airport to your hotel are available around the clock. To complete your reservation, you will need to provide your flight information along with the hotel where you will stay so that you get a travel voucher.
A professional driver will monitor the status of your flight and wait for you to clear customs if necessary; all you need to do is present your travel voucher and you will be on your way.
This is not only the safest way to get from the airport to Medellin but also the most comfortable because you can expect to ride in late-model cars equipped with frosty air conditioning.
Cost: From 125,000 COP (about $26)
Travel time: 25 min
Frequency: 24 hours
Web: Private transfers from Medellín International Airport
2. Taxi Service
A few taxi companies service the Medellin airport; drivers park their cars outside of the arrivals gate and wait for passengers. The taxi fleet includes modern American, Japanese, and Korean vehicles; most are sedans but you can find minivans in case your group is carrying considerable luggage.
The condition of the cars is not something to be concerned with because the concession granted by airport officials can be strict in this regard.
For your safety, drivers and ground dispatchers will keep unauthorized cabs away from the airport, and the fee to the downtown districts of Medellin is set by law at 98.000 COP (about $21).
The two major taxi companies are AeroTaxi and CoopeBombas; the vehicles of the former are painted yellow and white while the latter include green electric taxis. The regulatory marking calls for the logo to be displayed on the front doors and the taxi registration number on the rear doors.
See also: Where to stay in Medellin
3. Colectivos – Shared Taxis
In essence, a colectivo is a minivan taxi shared with others to make fares more affordable. You can save 75% on your cab fare and get to know other travelers and locals with this service, which in the case of the airport is operated by CoopeBombas.
With four passengers the collectivo taxi fare from the airport to Medellin is set at 30,000 COP per person (about $6).
Unlike a regular airport taxi, you will have to wait for other passengers to fill up the vehicle, and you will also get to know where they are going because the driver will stop there until everyone arrives at their respective destinations, which means that your trip could take longer than 35 minutes.
This is a favorite option among airport employees who wish to get home quickly, and you will find many of these colectivos during daytime hours.
Cost: 30,000 COP per person (about $6)
Travel time: 30 min (could take longer)
Frequency: 24 hours
4. Busetas – Public Bus Transportation
In the Antioquia region, private companies are granted concessions to operate public bus routes. Busetas are urban buses that are reasonably comfortable for shorter trips.
In the case of Combuses, the company that operates the route between Nutibara – Downtown Medellin to the airport, you will find enough space in the luggage racks to stow away a couple of suitcases.
From the airport to Nutibara or the southern San Diego district, the trip will last under an hour without traffic jams or excessive stops, and it will cost 14,000 COP (about $3) per passenger.
Buses leave every 15 minutes from the ground transportation terminal, and they are available around the clock; however, they do not offer the same frequency from the city to the airport.
If your hotel is located near the northern or southern terminals, Combuses offers a transfer to these two locations for a couple of dollars more, and your trip will be extended by another 30 minutes.
The only problem with taking busetas is that you will have to find your way to the hotel once you arrive at Nutibara, a spot where pickpockets are known to frequent.
Cost: 14,000 COP (about $3)
Travel time: 50 – 60 min
Frequency: 15 min. 24 hours
Web: Aeropuerto – Combuses
5. Car Rental
Driving around Medellin can be a nice tourism activity because of the many scenic mountain roads, and it will give you the freedom of reaching other choice Antioquia spots such as Armenia and Santa Fe, both highly recommended.
While you can certainly rent a car at the airport, there is no reason to do so if you only intend to get from airport to Medellin, where you can expect heavier traffic.
Should you run into security checkpoints along the way, you will find that police officers and soldiers will process private transfers, taxis, and buses very quickly, but all other drivers are expected to wait.
Cost: Different prices
Travel time: 25 min
Frequency: 24 hours
Web: Airport car rental