View of Parque Explora, "Universidad" Metro Station and the Botanical Garden of Medellín.
Metro de Medellín is the only rail-based mass transportation service in Colombia, and it is environmentally friendly because it is powered by electricity from renewable resources rather than from fossil fuels. It has two lines running North to South and Centre to West across the city. The lines cover 27 stations in total, halting at key tourist sites such as the Plaza de Botero and the Botanical Gardens. There are also two metro cable lines attached to the metro lines, and there is no additional cost to transfer to them (with exception of the metro cable to Parque Arvi from Santo Domingo).
There are different ways to use the Metro:
You can buy single passes for a one way trip. A single metro ride costs 1810 COP (about $1 USD). These can be purchased at any metro station, and are the easiest way for a tourist to use the system.
If you need to take a metro and a bus in the same trip, you can ask for an ‘integrated’ ticket. This will be cheaper than buying tickets separately. Note that only certain bus lines accept an integrated ticket and you should inquire at the station before purchasing one.
To avoid queuing at the ticket booth, you can get a ‘Civica’ card at one of the service desks (Puntos de Atención al Cliente – PAC) located in the stations Niquía, San Javier, Itagüí, or San Antonio on weekdays between 6:30 and 20:30, or Saturdays between 9:30 and 16:30. Bring along your passport or a driver's license from any country. The ‘Civica’ card is free and you will receive it immediately with your name and an ID number on it.
The card offers many benefits: you don’t have to stand in long queues and metro trips cost 5 to 10% less per trip. You can refill the card at the ticket counter and there are machines outside every station that allow a quick check of your balance before you enter the turnstile. You can also use the Civica car for the metro cable, giving you exclusive access to certain transfer points. For more information on these benefits please visit the Civica site.
Monday to Saturday: 4:30 – 23:00
Sunday: 5:00 – 23:00, Línea K: 8:30 – 23:00, Línea J: 9:00 – 22:00
MetroCable (Cable cars)
The MetroCable was originally constructed to provide public transportation to communities found on the elevated and steep mountainsides of the city that proved inaccessible to the Metro. It is a cable propelled transit system, connected to the Metro, and is composed of 3 lines (J, K, and L)
You can take the MetroCable to visit tourist sites such as the Biblioteca España (Spanish Library) or simply to get an incredible view of the city. It allows visitors to see Medellín from another perspective: it gives an aerial view of some impoverished areas and the way of living of a big part of the city’s population. The evolution that these neighbourhoods have experienced during the past decades can be observed and tourists can understand why Medellín was chosen as Innovative City of the Year 2003. Regardless of why you choose to take the MetroCable, you’ll be impressed by the panoramic view of the city.
It is a bus rapid transit system (BRT) integrated to the Metro and MetroCable transportation systems through 21 stations. You can purchase a ticket for the MetroPlus buses at any MetroPlus station.
This video of Metro de Medellín will give you a better idea of how the integrated transportation system works:
In Medellín taxis are identified by
(a) their yellow body;
(b) the name of the company to which they are affiliated together with the mobile number 'número del móvil' located in a visible place;
(c) the colour of the license plate: a white background and black characters.
Every vehicle is equipped with a taxi metre ('taximetro') to determine the price of the service according to government regulations. The fees that apply currently to taxi services are:
Start* ('Arranque' or 'banderazo'): COP 2700
Fee every 78 metres: COP 83
Minimum fee ('carrera mínima')**: COP 4600
Fee every 60 seconds of waiting: COP 83
Price by hour: COP 24000
From/To the International Airport José María Córdova: COP 60000
*Start: There’s always an initial fee of 2700 on the taxi metre marking the start of a ride.
*Minimum fee: The minimum fee is different from the start fee. If your route was short costing less than COP 4600 you have to pay the minimum fee irrespective of the amount indicated on the metre.
Taxis in Medellín offer ‘radio taxi’: taxis that will come to your location after you have called the company they are registered with. We recommend you use this service, you can do it from your hotel room or ask the hotel reception to do this for you as well. The list of official taxi companies and their phone numbers can be found here.
With these taxis, you’ll be given a special code to give to your driver to verify that he/she is indeed from the company you’ve called. You can also take taxis on the street, but for safety’s sake, when you can, use a radio taxi. Most restaurants, hotels, museums, etc. will call a taxi for you, so don’t hesitate to ask!
You can also take a taxi at official places where a taxi will be waiting for you under safe conditions. Such places are called 'centros de acopio' (gathering centres) and you can find them all in this map.
Remember to keep cash in local currency when you are going to take a taxi. Taxis in Colombia do not offer card payment facilities.
Buses in Medellín are owned by private companies and each bus has a specific route in the city that can be identified by a square-like poster in the front window. Prices range between COP 1800 and 2500 depending on the bus type. The current fee is always posted in the front window. Most fees must be paid in cash, preferably in coins or with small bills except for some integrated buses that work with Metro cards.
Buses in Medellín do not have fixed stops and you can wave your hand at any place of the route to step in or out of the bus. Therefore, if you are not familiar with the route make sure you ask someone to tell you when to get off if you’re unsure. If you feel you’re too unfamiliar with the city to take chances we suggest using the Metro, MetroCable or MetroPlus systems or hail a taxi.