There are several ways to get to Medellín from the Airport. Medellín actually has two airports, so we look at how to get to and from both of Medellín’s airports.
Most travelers arriving or departing on international flights will be utilizing the José María Córdova international airport in Rionegro. The trip down from José María Córdova international airport to Medellín provides numerous spectacular views of the Aburrá Valley with nearly four million people in the city of Medellín.
To/From Olaya Herrera Airport (EOH)
Olaya Herrera Airport is located in the city of Medellín. And it is easy to get to and from. But Olaya Herrera only has domestic flights in Colombia with three airlines serving the airport: ADA, EasyFly and Satena.
The easiest way to get to/from Olaya Herrera is via taxi. Depending where you are located in the city, the fare should be 10,000 pesos or less. Uber is another option for a similar price to taxis. In addition, there are some bus routes that go by Olaya Herrera Airport with fares between 2,000 to 2,100 pesos. Also, the South Bus Terminal in Medellín is located only one block from Olaya Herrera Airport.
To/From José María Córdova International Airport (MDE)
José María Córdova international airport is located in the municipality of Rionegro, which is about 21 miles (35 km) east of Medellín at a higher elevation. It normally takes 40 minutes to over an hour on the windy road, depending on traffic, to go from José María Córdova airport to Medellín or the reverse direction.
A new tunnel is being built, Túnel de Oriente, that will reduce the driving time to/from José María Córdova airport by up to half. The tunnel is reportedly scheduled to open the end of 2018.
José María Córdova is the second largest airport in Colombia and it has non-stop flights to 12 international locations in the US, Europe and Latin America as well as many domestic flights in Colombia.
From José María Córdova you can fly non-stop to Fort Lauderdale, Miami and New York (JFK) in the U.S. For non-stop destinations in Latin America, you can fly to Aruba, Curaçao, Lima, Maracaibo, Mexico City, Panama City, San Salvador and Valencia (plus seasonally to Punta Cana). You can also fly non-stop to Madrid in Europe
There are six different transportation options to get to Medellín from the airport (José María Córdova) listed below. Also all six options work in reverse to go from Medellín to José María Córdova airport.
1. White Airport Taxi
At the José María Córdova airport, you will find many white airport taxis that have an agreement to serve the airport. There are at least three companies offering white airport taxi services: Acoa Taxi Aeropuerto, Aerotaxi, and Rápido Medellín Rionegro.
The fare for white taxis to go to Medellín is fixed. Most noteworthy, there is even a sign at the airport with the fares. There is no additional charge for late at night. You should only pay the fixed fare and the fare includes the toll on the road. The following is the current fare from the José María Córdova airport for white taxis to several areas in Medellín:
- To Medellín – 65,000 pesos
- To Envigado – 70,000 pesos
- To Sabaneta – 75,000 pesos
If you are going to the airport via white taxi you can call and schedule a pick-up and they show up consistently on-time in my experience. The fare for the white taxis to the airport is cheaper than from the airport. The following is the discounted fare to the airport for white taxis from several areas in Medellín:
- From Medellín – 55,000 pesos
- From Envigado – 60,000 pesos
- From Sabaneta – 65,000 pesos
All these fares include the toll on the airport road. Also beware that some taxi drivers may try to charge a higher “gringo” fare to tourists. A few white taxi drivers have attempted to charge me a higher fare thinking I was an unsuspecting tourist. Each time I was able to get the driver to accept the fixed fare once I threatened to call his company and told him I have lived in Medellín for many years and know the fare is fixed.
2. Yellow Taxi
The ubiquitous yellow taxis in Medellín are another way to get to/from the airport. There are roughly 30 taxi companies registered with the city of Medellín. And there are several more taxi companies registered in the neighboring municipalities like Envigado and Bello.
The yellow taxi fare to José Maria Córdova airport from Medellín is 70,000 pesos, which includes the toll on the airport road. We also have a detailed Medellín taxi guide.
For the return trip from the airport, the white taxis supposedly have an exclusive deal with the airport. But you can find some yellow taxis looking for a return fare to Medellín and I have been able to negotiate 55,000 pesos from the airport to Medellín in a yellow taxi.
3. Colectivo Taxi
Another option to/from José Maria Córdova airport is a colectivo or shared white taxi. At the airport, you can find colectivo taxis going to Medellín. These are white taxis shared by three or four passengers. The fare is split between the passengers. So, with four passengers the fare is 16,000 pesos each.
The shared taxis from the airport only go to San Diego mall in Medellín. You’ll need to catch another taxi from there to your final destination.
To go to the airport in a shared taxi, make your way to San Diego mall, which is located about four blocks from the Exposiciones metro station. The white shared airport taxis will be waiting for passengers typically in the Texaco gas station parking lot that is located next to San Diego mall.
If you have a lot of luggage, shared taxis aren’t a good option.
The cheapest method to get to/from José Maria Córdova airport is the official Aeropuerto-Combuses airport buses, as the fare is only 9,500 pesos. The airport buses are small with only 19 seats. But this is an inexpensive and reliable option in my experience. The bus from the airport takes about one hour, depending on traffic.
The airport buses departing the airport have two possible destinations. Ask to make sure you get on the correct bus, as they aren’t marked. One destination is San Diego mall where it will stop at a bus stop across from the mall. It is easy to catch a taxi from here to your destination. This is also located near the Exposiciones metro station.
The other destination is behind the Nutibara hotel in El Centro. The Nutibara hotel is located within easy walking distance from the Parque Berrio metro station.
When going the reverse direction to the airport you can go to the bus stop across from San Diego mall or behind the Nutibara hotel in El Centro. The buses from Nutibara also stop at the northern bus terminal. The airport buses that depart from behind Nutibara hotel starting at 3:45am until 9:30pm. And in the reverse direction the buses reportedly run from the airport to behind the Nutibara hotel 24 hours.
Uber is another way to get to/from the airport with rates similar to the taxis. Uber’s rates to/from the airport depend on the location and what type of Uber service you use. For example, from José Maria Córdova International airport to El Poblado the Uber fare estimate via UberBlack is 64,912 to 76,878 pesos and via UberX is 53,385 to 63,511 pesos.
The benefits of Uber include typically better vehicles than taxis (such as a Renault Duster SUV or Daihatsu Terios compact SUV) and a cashless transaction.
6. Private Driver
Using a private driver is typically the most expensive method to get to/from the international airport. From the airport, a private driver will wait for you outside of customers or baggage claim with a sign with your name and transport you direct to your destination. And if going to the airport, a private driver will meet you where you are staying and transport you to the airport.
Furthermore, rates for private drivers to/from the international airport typically are at least 72,000 pesos and even higher. For example, here are the rates at three private airport transport services in Medellín:
However, private drivers typically use better vehicles than many the taxis. And some private drivers are English speaking.
The Bottom Line: How to Get to Medellín from the Airport
There are six different ways to get to Medellín from the international airport ranging from inexpensive buses to taxis and private drivers. These options also have a wide range in price from 9,500 to over 98,000 pesos ($3 to $32).
I normally use the white airport taxis to get to Medellín from the airport. And I have never encountered a problem in over 60 trips to/from the airport in the past seven years. In addition, I have used the bus and colectivo taxis a few times. These options save money but take more time in my experience.
The worst time to go to/from the airport in my experience is during the evening rush hour. Once I left the José María Córdova airport on a Friday at 6 pm and consequently didn’t get home until nearly 8 pm due to heavy traffic.