We provide a curated list of 20 of the best and most popular mobile apps to use when traveling to and living in Medellín and Colombia. These mobile apps can help you navigate the city and country, find the best restaurants, chat with friends, make translations, order taxis and much more.
Only two of these 20 mobile apps are specific to Medellín and the rest can be used throughout Colombia.
In the past couple of weeks I have used these apps to message friends, call my family in the U.S., order home delivery of food from local restaurants, order taxis, translate a few words, find a new restaurant to try out and helped a taxi driver find the best route to an address.
Note we previously provided a comprehensive guide to buying and using cell phones in Colombia.
Mobile apps are very popular for communications in Colombia and we included four popular mobile apps used to communicate.
WhatApp is a very popular messaging map that has taken over SMS texting in Colombia and other countries throughout the world. In addition, with this app you can make calls, send photos and have group chats.
With WhatsApp you can easily send unlimited messages to any part of the world for free. In addition, WhatsApp is the most popular mobile app used in Colombia. Almost everyone with a smartphone in Colombia uses WhatsApp.
With this app there is no cost to message and call friends. So, you can stay in touch with your friends and family. And you don’t even need to have a Colombian cell phone number to use this app.
With Facebook you can see what your friends, family and work colleagues are up to and send messages, share photos, updates and videos.
This is another one of the most popular mobile apps used in Colombia. Most Colombians with a smartphone have this app.
Skype is a popular mobile app that permits you to send messages, make voice calls or video calls. And this is free regardless of what device they use Skype on.
Skype to Skype is free. So, you can use Skype to keep in touch with your family and friends back home without any long distance charges or other fee.
With Skype, you can make conference calls and also video calls. In addition, you can call mobile phone and landlines at low rates.
Instagram permits you to easily share photos with family and friends. And you will be taking a lot of photos in the beautiful city of Medellín and the amazingly beautiful country of Colombia.
Medellin Guru is also on Instagram. So, you can follow us on the Medellin Guru Instagram.
Uber reportedly launched in Medellín in July 2015. It’s a car service used by many expats in Colombia. And it’s linked to your credit card. So, there is no need to use cash.
With this mobile app, there is no need to call, wait in a line, or wave from a curb. Simple tap “request” on your phone from the comfort of indoors and wait for a push notification that your driver is “arriving now.”
EasyTaxi is a mobile app used for hailing taxis in over 30 countries. In Colombia, Easy Taxi can be used in over 20 cities including Medellín.
Easy Taxi was founded in 2011 in Brazil and expanding to over 30 countries and over 420 cities.
With the EasyTaxi mobile you simply request a taxi on your cellphone and you can track the taxi arrival in real time. The app also conveniently provides you with the driver’s name and the license plate of the taxi. And you can use a credit card instead of cash.
Also, we previously provided a guide to Medellín taxis.
Note that Tapsi is another mobile app for hailing taxis in Colombia. Tapsi merged with EasyTaxi and released a new Tapsi mobile app that reportedly has many problems. So, we don’t recommend the Tapsi app.
Moovit is a mobile app used to find the fastest and most convenient bus routes in real time. With this app you enter a destination and it shows the bus route numbers with estimated times to get to your destination.
This mobile app provides step-by-step guidance from A to B. And it provide notifications when to get off the bus. Also, you can add one-tap destinations to your most traveled places.
In addition, this mobile app shows estimated walking and biking times. I use this app fairly frequently to learn bus routes to many locations in Medellín.
Metro de Medellín is a mobile app that that includes a map of the Medellín metro system as well as the current metro fare structure. It also include messages about any metro system problems.
This app is more likely to be used by someone visiting Medellín as a tourist. Once you have lived in Medellín for a while you learn the metro system and likely won’t need this app. Note that the Medellín metro system does post any system problems on the Medellín metro Twitter.
Google Maps is considered the navigation king. The Google Maps mobile app is fairly accurate in Medellín. And I primarily use Google Maps for walking directions and have found that it is pretty reliable.
Google Maps is the most popular navigation app by far. But I prefer the Waze app for use on the road in Medellín, as it seems to do a better job of finding alternate routes to avoid traffic. Google Maps is better for directions when walking.
Waze is a maps mobile app that is popular in Medellín and Colombia. I have started using Waze more often than Google Maps for use in cars.
Waze has a large community of drivers feeding data into the app’s backend. So, Waze is able to better estimate travel times and also find alternate routes to avoid traffic.
The Waze map has real-time color-coded traffic that is normally more accurate than Google Maps. And I have used the alternate routes feature of Waze many times to find faster routes while in taxis.
For example, I used this app twice last week to direct taxi drivers to alternate routes that were faster as they avoided traffic.
Google translate is a very popular app for making translations. It supports 103 languages and even supports translations while offline. With the app you can speak, take a photo, write or type to get a translation.
This is a very popular mobile app for expats visiting Medellín and Colombia for those that don’t speak much Spanish. I speak Spanish at the intermediate level but still use this app on occasion to look up the translations of some words.
Microsoft Translator is a viable alternative to Google Translate. It has many of the same features. With the Microsoft Translator app you can speak, take a photo, type and even carry on conversations. Translated conversations are across devices. For example, one phone to another phone.
Microsoft Translator also supports translations when offline. I use both Google Translate and Microsoft Translator. I have found that some things translate better in Google Translate, while other thing translate better in Microsoft Translator. Both are decent translators.
DuoLingo is a language-learning platform that includes a mobile app, website as well as a language proficiency exam. With this program you can learn Spanish using the DuoLingo mobile app as well as your computer.
DuoLingo is considered a freemium service with ads in the free version. And DuoLingo Plus costs $9.99 per month and offers ad-free sessions and offline access. In addition, you can use DuoLingo on the DuoLingo.com website.
The DuoLingo mobile app supports an offline mode, which allows you to access a handful of lessons without internet or Wi-fi connectivity. However, not all lessons are available in offline mode. And you’ll need to connect to the Internet for those lessons to be recorded and count towards your daily progress.
Several banks in Colombia have mobile apps for access to accounts. But smartphones are stolen frequently in Colombia. So, to me it’s not a good idea to have a banking mobile app on a phone that could be stolen.
XE Currency is a helpful mobile app that lets you see the current live exchange rates for over 180 currencies, as well as view historical exchange rate charts. Also, this app is helpful to know if you are getting a good exchange rate when exchanging money.
When traveling to Colombia you select Colombian Peso (COP). And when you enter a price in COP, you can see the equivalent price in your home currency.
While you need a Wi-Fi connection to see the current exchange rate with the XE Currency app, it also works offline with the last exchange rate.
Zeepod is a mobile app for exchanging money and that I have used with success. Zeepod was actually created by a Colombian in Medellín.
What this mobile app does for you is let you know who is close by and what currency they have to trade. For example, COP for USD. The app will also provide you with the current bank rate.
With the Zeepod app, you choose the person who has the currency you need, then negotiate the exchange rate. Also, no other fees are involved. Usually you won’t get the current rate unless someone is trying to get rid of their COP before they leave. The other people using this app are trying to make money.
But you can get pretty close to the XE exchange rate with Zeepod. And it can be the best deal for exchanging money.
Also, we previously looked at exchanging money, receiving and transferring money in Colombia.
TripAdvisor is a popular travel guide mobile app with countless reviews of hotels, restaurants and things to do in Medellín and other cities in Colombia.
The TripAdvisor mobile app also has a ¨near to me¨ feature that helps you find well-reviewed places nearby. I use this app frequently when looking for a new restaurant to try out in Medellín or other cities I happen to be visiting.
However, be skeptical of ratings on TripAdvisor. For example, I have found that the highest rated restaurants on TripAdvisor may not actually be the best restaurants in town.
Videos and Music
YouTube is a mobile app that lets you see movies on the massive YouTube platform. With YouTube you can upload, view, rate and share videos.
There are more than 400 hours of content uploaded to YouTube each minute, and over one billion hours of content are watched on YouTube every day.
YouTube is very popular in Colombia, particularly for viewing music videos.
Spotify is a mobile app that provides you with free access to several personalized song playlists. And these playlists are automatically generated from what you’ve listened to and what you’ve told Spotify you like.
These playlists include your daily and weekly mixes, and playlists based around your favorite musical genre. You can’t pick what’s in these playlists (beyond suggesting artists and songs you like), but you can play through them in any order you like, and skip through songs an unlimited number of times. But there are ads with the free version of Spotify. The premium version costs $9.99 per month.
Spotify is very popular in Colombia and is one of the most downloaded mobile apps in Colombia. You will find many people listing to music with Spotify on their smartphones in Colombia.
Ciudadanos Científicos is a mobile app created by SIATA and financed by the Aburrá Valley Metropolitan Area that permits you to track the real-time pollution levels at monitoring stations throughout the Medellín metro area.
Pollution is a major concern of expats living in Medellín. And with this mobile app you can track pollution levels in different neighborhoods in the city.
Withe the Domicilios.com mobile app you can order food from over 4,000 restaurants in Colombia for home delivery. There are several hundred restaurants in Medellín found in this app.
Talking on the phone in Spanish to order food to be delivered can be challenging for many expats that don’t speak Spanish very well. So, this mobile app makes ordering food for delivery in Colombia much easier. Also, you can use the website domicilios.com to order delivery services like in the mobile app.
I used this app twice in the past week to order domicilio services for having food delivered at home.
An alternative to Domicilios.com is Rappi, which some expats have used with good service. I tried Rappi in Sabaneta and service was too slow.
The Best of Medellín
Besides this article about the 20 best mobile apps to use in Medellín and Colombia, Medellin Guru has several more articles about the best and top places and things to do in Medellín including:
- 8 Best Pueblos Near Medellín Worth a Visit
- 12 Best Museums of Medellín and the Aburrá Valley
- 13 Best Malls of Medellín – the Ultimate Guide to Medellín Malls
- 5 Best Panoramic Views of Medellín
- 2 Best Walking Tours in Medellín
- 14 Top Churches in Medellín Worth Visiting
- 12 Best Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in El Poblado
- 9 Best Steakhouses in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley
- 9 Best Places for Brunch in El Poblado
- 5 Best Nano/Micro Breweries in Medellín
- 5 Best Independent Coffee Shops in El Poblado
- 8 Top Coffee Shops in Laureles
The Bottom Line: 20 Best Mobile Apps to Use in Medellín and Colombia
The are literally millions of mobile apps available. Our above list of 20 mobile apps are 20 of the most popular mobile apps used by expats in Medellín and Colombia. And all 20 mobile apps we listed are free.
18 of the 20 mobile apps we listed aren’t specific to Medellín but they make visiting and living in the city of Medellín easier and make visiting other cities and pueblos in Colombia easier.
And for women, one other mobile app we have looked at is Bluma, which permits you to book manicures and pedicures in Medellín from the comfort of your home. It’s like the “Uber” for home beauty.
The bottom line is that using popular mobile apps can make your life easier when visiting and living in Medellin and Colombia.
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Editors note: updated on October 8, 2018 to add Rappi as an alternative to Domicilios.com.