I am a big fan of using public transport when I’m traveling. Not only does it save me money. It also adds to my experience of that country. One of my favorite parts of my day was my bus adventures around Medellín. That said it took me a week or getting on the wrong buses and being utterly confused to get to grips with transport in Medellín. So to help you navigate your way around the city of eternal spring here is my guide to using public transport in Medellin.
Using Medellin Transport – Civica
If you are planning on staying for a while and traveling by metro in Medellin (Medellin Subway) or using the free Medellin city bikes you will need to get a Civica card. It’s pretty straightforward to get one. Just go to San Antonio Metro Station with your passport and stand in line.
You will need to pay for a ticket to cross the barrier and get the card (no logic whatsoever I know). With this card, you can top up at any Medellin Metro kiosk and use all of the metro and cable cars.
Using the Metro in Medellin
The Metro in Medellin is really easy to use. You can buy a one ride ticket or get a Civica card and add money to ride the metro. If you aren’t sure where you are going you can download the Metro app. The metro included the subway system and the Medellin cable cars.
Using Ciclovia in Medellin
If you want to use the free public bikes in Medellin you will need a Civica card.
Then you have two options:
- If you are a tourist you will only be able to get a pass for 1 week.
- If you want to use it for longer than a week you will need to go through the whole process again. The only way of getting the permanent pass is by proving you are a resident. To do that you need a bill with your name and address on it.
You can apply online here they will send you an email confirmation and you will then need to go down to the office and register for it to take effect.
Using Colectivos and Buses in Medellin
I love getting the buses in Medellin. I was always the only “Gringa” on the bus and this often made local people curious. I made so many bus friends just chatting to people on the bus wondering what I’m doing there. Mostly other women who want to practice their English with me.
One of the great things about taking the buses in Medellin is they have fixed prices. This means you can ride the bus without having to say a word! Simply get on the bus hand the driver the money and take a seat. Follow along with google maps and hope for the best!
For the first week, I got it wrong ⅗ times. But by the second week, I knew my way around better. It’s difficult navigating around any new city and using public buses in Medellin is no different. I’m confident though they the reason I know Medellin so well is because of all of the wrong busses I’ve gotten on.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that Colombians are some of the friendliest people I have ever met and will always help you out if you do get lost.
If you aren’t sure all you have to do is ask. I got chatting to a woman one morning who when I was about to get off the bus and walk 15 minutes told me not to because the bus goes closer to where I was going. She then told me the right place to get off. I’ve also had a driver shouting for a friend to come and get me and walk me onto the right bus. In my experience Colombians always go over and above to help people.
Taking Taxis in Medellin
If it all goes wrong on the bus, or you need to get somewhere quickly than taxis are cheap in Colombia. I also always use Medellin taxis at night. Although in my experience getting the bus in Medellin is safe, it is waiting for the bus that makes me nervous. I don’t like to be stood still in any country on my own at night.
A moving target is more difficult to get than a still one!
Most taxis in Medellin have meters so just check the driver resets it. Medellin isn’t like Bogota and I often flagged a taxi down late at night by myself with no problems. You can also use the easy taxi app to pre-book a cab. This is a safer option if you are concerned about flagging down a cab.
Using Uber in Medellin
Uber does operate in Medellin. But it is illegal, so use with caution.
Wondering where to stay in Medellin? I recommend staying in either El Poblado or Laureles and here are a few of my favorite places to stay:
Read my full Medellin Accommodation guide here.
This post was proofread by Grammarly
Book your trip now
Are you ready to book your trip? To help you get the best deals and service here are the companies that I personally use to book all of my travel online. I always shop around before booking anything, but these are my tried and tested starting places.
- Skyscanner – I’m a bit fan of Skyscanner, it is who I use to book all of my flights. I often will check other like Google Flights or Momodo, but I always go here first and it is who I book 99% of my flights with.
- Booking.com – I LOVE booking.com especially when I can book and cancel free up until a certain point, mostly because my plans are forever changing. It’s easy to use and has one of the widest selections.
- Airbnb – I’m not a huge user of Airbnb, but sometimes I do like to use it, and I ALWAYS check it before I book anything else. You can get some really cool places to stay here, and it is especially good in places like Cuba. If you don’t have an account and you click on this link then you will get $36 off your first booking.
- Hostelworld – If you are looking for hostels then this is a great place to check first. They often have additional places that you won’t find on Bookin.com.
- Agoda – Although I don’t use it as much as booking.com, Agonda is especially good if you are traveling in Asia as they really do dominate there.
- Workpackers – If you want to travel on the cheap and save money on accommodation then you need Workpackers in your life. You can read more about it here. If you click this link to sign up and use the code CLAIRESITCHYFEET then you can get a 40% discount on your membership!
- 12Go – If you are traveling in Asia and want to pre-book your transportation then 12Go is a fantastic site to do so. They have buses, trains, and air travel.
- RentalCars – Looking to rent a. car while you are away? I always book through Rental Cars as they do a search of all of the big sites and find the best deals.
- Welcome Pickups – Very occasionally getting from the airport to my accommodation is a total pain in the butt, or I’m traveling in a group and it makes sense to arrange a pickup. When I do I use Welcome pickups.
- World Nomads – If you are looking for flexible travel insurance then it’s World Nomads all the way. I wrote all about insurance here if you want a more thorough review.
- SafetyWing – AsI’m a Digital Nomad and not moving around quite so much anymore I personally use SafetyWing now for my health insurance. I wrote a full review here.
- Viatour – Sometimes it can be a little expensive, but I like Viatour for somethings, especially if you can get a discount code! It’s also great for inspiration.
- Klook – If you are traveling in Asia, then Klook is great! You can book all kinds of tours, activities, and train tickets, plus they even have sim cards and WiFi.