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Medellin Public Transportation: Using the Metro Medellin, Buses, and More

I am a big fan of using public transportation in Colombia when traveling. Not only does it save me money, but it also adds to my experience. One of my favorite parts of visiting Medellin was my bus adventures around the city. That said, it took me a week of getting on the wrong buses and being utterly confused to understand Medellin transportation. This guide to using Medellin public transportation will help you navigate the city confidently.

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 
Best Medellin ToursClick here to check out the top Medellin tours
Best Medellin Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Medellin
Best Medellin Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Medellin

Civica Cards

If you plan on staying for a while and traveling on the Medellin metro or using the city’s free bikes, you must have a Civica card. Getting one is pretty straightforward: go to San Antonio Metro Station with your passport and stand in line. You will pay for a ticket to cross the barrier and get the card. With this card, you can top up at any metro Medellin kiosk and use the local trains and cable cars.

You can only get a pass for one week. You must reapply for the card to use it for more than a week. The only way to get a permanent pass is to prove you are a resident with a bill that has your name and address on it.

You can apply online here. They will send you an email confirmation, and you will then go to the office and register for it to take effect.

Colombia Guides | Using Public Transport in Medellín

Metro Medellin System

The Medellin metro is easy to use. You can get a temporary rechargeable ticket or a Civica card and add money throughout your trip. If you aren’t sure where you are going, download the official metro app or check on Maps. The metro Medellin system includes the subway and cable cars.

Each journey on the metro Medellin system has a fixed cost. As long as you remain within the system, regardless of how far you travel, you will spend COP 3,050.

Colombia Guides | Using Public Transport in Medellín

Medellin Transportation: Colectivos and Buses

I love taking the buses in Medellin. I was always the only “Gringa” on the bus, which often made local people curious. I made many bus friends chatting with the passengers around me—primarily other women who wanted to practice their English.

One of the great things about taking the buses in Medellin is their fixed prices. This means you can ride the bus without saying a word! Get on the bus, hand the driver your money, and take a seat. Follow along with Google Maps and hope for the best!

Colombia Guides | Using Public Transport in Medellín

For the first week, I got it wrong most of the time. By the second week, however, I knew my way around much better. Navigating a new city is challenging, and using the Medellin public transportation system is no different. I’m confident the reason I know Medellin so well is because I took so many wrong buses!

Remember that Colombians are some of the friendliest people I have ever met and will always help you if you become lost. I was chatting with a woman one morning who told me not to because the bus goes closer to my destination when I was about to get off the bus and walk for 15 minutes. She told me where to get off, saving me a lot of time. In my experience, Colombians always go over and above to help people.

Medellin Taxis

If it all goes wrong on the bus, or you need to get somewhere quickly, you’ll be glad to know taxis are a cheap mode of transportation in Colombia. I regularly use Medellin taxis at night. While, in my experience, the bus in Medellin is safe, waiting for the bus makes me nervous.

Most taxis in Medellin have meters, so ensure the driver resets it. Medellin isn’t like Bogota—I’ve flagged a cab down late at night alone with no problems. You can also use the Easy Taxi app to pre-book a cab, which is safer if you have concerns.

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $45.08. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

Is There Uber in Medellin?

The answer to “Is there Uber in Medellin?” is complicated. Uber operates in Medellin; however, it is illegal. Be cautious if you decide to use the rideshare service.

Do you need to know how to get to the airport in Medellin? Read this post about taking a taxi or colectivo to the Medellin airport.

Need Transportation in Colombia?

I highly recommend booking Colombia transportation with GottoGo. You can search for buses, shuttles, ferries, and flights on their website—I love their customer service. I know them personally from my time living in Guatemala, and they genuinely care for their customers. If a delay occurs and you miss your bus, call them for help.

If you book through GottoGo, you will pay more than at the bus station, but it’s worth it for the ease and security. Click here to search for transportation in Colombia.

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:

Parceros Med – Poblado
Los Patios Hostel Boutique
El Jardín de la 10 – El Poblado

Read my complete Medellin Accommodation Guide here.

Quick Tip: View my full Colombia packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my Colombia Essentials shopping list here.

Medellin Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Medellin?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Medellin which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Medellin on Amazon here.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Medellin?

I strongly recommend using GottoGo. You can book almost all transport in the major tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Medellin?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

Medellin Public Transportation: Final Thoughts

While using Medellin transportation takes some getting used to, it’s generally safe and efficient. The metro Medellin system is a fast and convenient way to navigate the city. You can also hop on buses and colectivos throughout Medellin. While Uber is available in the town, it’s technically illegal, so taxis are a safer option.

Using Public Transport in Medellin

This post was proofread by Grammarly.