We provide a comprehensive and up-to-date Medellín taxi guide with current taxi fares and tips for foreigners for using taxis in Medellín.
On December 9, 2019, Medellín is increasing taxi fares in the city. The last time fare increase was on December 1, 2018. Even with this taxi fare increase in December 2019, the taxis in Medellín are very inexpensive compared to the taxi fares found in North America or Europe. Cheap taxis in Medellín is one of 14 surprisingly cheap things in Medellín for expats.
In addition, the yellow taxis are ubiquitous in Medellín. So, it is easy to find taxis in most places in the metro area.
With Resolution 2019-50103953 of 2019, the Secretaría de Movilidad in Medellín increases taxi fares in the city effective on December 9, 2019. The previous time before this that taxi fares were increased in Medellín was on December 1, 2018.
Taxi Guide: Current Medellín Taxi Fares
The following are the taxi fares in Medellín for yellow taxis, which will become effective on December 9, 2019:
- Taximeter starts at 3,600 pesos, which is up from 3,500 pesos
- Minimum fare is 5,600 pesos, up from 5,500 pesos
- Fare for every 78 meters is 110 pesos, up from 100 pesos
- The fare to wait 60 seconds is 200 pesos, unchanged
- Fare for an hour of contracted time is 25,200 pesos, unchanged
- The fare to José María Córdova international airport from Medellín is 80,000 pesos, up from 75,000 pesos
So, several of the taxi fare components in Medellín increased compared the the fares set in December 2018.
These taxi fares apply to yellow taxis with a Medellín license plate and a new 2019 sticker on the front window. Also, other municipalities in the Medellín metro area like Bello, Envigado, Itagüí and Sabaneta are expected to increase taxi fares to match new fares in Medellín.
Furthermore, note that Medellín has the highest taxi fare to its international airport out of all the big cities in Colombia. In Cali, where the airport is also outside the city, the average fare is about 50,000 pesos.
And in Bogotá, the airport fare is what the meter shows for the distance and time traveled plus a 4,400-peso surcharge. In Bogotá, I haven’t experienced an airport taxi fare of higher than 36,000 pesos.
New Green Electric Taxis in Medellín
There is an exception to the minimum taxi fare for new electronic taxis in Medellín, which are green instead of yellow. The first green taxis in Medellín are from the Tax Belén taxi company. Tax Belén initially started with less then 15 of these green taxis. Tax Belén has at total of 9,300 taxis and plans that eventually 200 of its taxis will be green electric taxis.
Tax Belén is offering free taxi rides in its green taxis until June 30, 2019. After June 30, these green taxis will have a higher minimum fare than the yellow taxis in Medellín – the minimum fare in a green electric taxi is 6,800 pesos, which is 1,200 pesos higher than a yellow taxi.
So, to use a green electric taxi without polluting emissions will require a slightly higher minimum fare. But a benefit of these green taxis is that they reportedly will be using air conditioning all the time.
The city of Medellín wants to over time replace 1,500 yellow taxis with the new green electric taxis with plans to have 200 in operation by the end of 2019.
Rules for Taxi Drivers
Taxi drivers in Medellín are only permitted to charge the 2019 taxi fares if they have a 2019 sticker in the windshield, as seen above. In addition, all yellow taxis with Medellín license plates should have updated taximeters by the end of February 2020 with this new window sticker.
To update their taximeters, taxi drivers needed to pay a fee of about 80,000 pesos for transit rights to the Secretaría de Movilidad. In addition, they have to calibrate their taximeter for a cost of about 30,000 pesos and go to one of the Centros de Diagnóstico Automotor (CDA) locations where the taximeter is verified for a cost of about 45,000 pesos.
Reportedly there is a fine of about 368,000 220.832 pesos used to punish drivers who charge new taxi fares without an updated windshield sticker.
You can report taxi drivers charging new fares without a new winder sticker to the Secretaría de Movilidad. To do this you need the license plate number (placa) that is on the sides of the taxi. In addition, you need the location, the fare and approximate time of the fare.
In addition, taxi drivers can be fined 220,832 pesos for not having a notice of the official taxi fares posted for easy reading by passengers. But it seems like this isn’t enforced as I have been in several taxis without the taxi fares posted.
Hailing Taxis on the Street
In most cases, to hail a yellow taxi on the street in the Medellín metro area all you need to do is hold up your arm when you see an unoccupied taxi. During the day, it should be safe finding taxis on the street.
Even at night it is fairly safe hailing taxis but take more care and you may want to call a taxi or use a mobile app instead of hailing one on the street.
The yellow taxis in the Medellín metro area all use taximeters. When you get in the taxi, make sure the taximeter is turned on. If not, you should tell the taxi driver to turn on the taximeter by saying “activar el taxímetro”. If the driver won’t turn on the meter you should find another taxi.
You can also find taxi stands in many places in the Medellín metero area like at the shopping malls and Medellín metro stations where taxis wait in a line for customers. So, at taxi stands it can be even easier to find a taxi. And in some cases, at the taxi stands there will be someone working to keep the taxis organized and to call for additional taxis when needed.
I use taxis frequently. And I have never encountered a problem in hailing taxis on the street in over eight years living in Medellín.
Taxi Guide: Calling for Taxis
Instead of hailing taxis on the street you can also call for taxis. And many restaurants, hotels and other places will even call a taxi for you.
There are many taxi companies in Medellín. There are over 30 taxi companies in the Medellín metro area. Furthermore, you can find numbers for taxi companies in the yellow pages.
Some easy to remember fijo (landline) numbers for taxis in Medellín include 222-2222, 444-4444, 444-5555, 444-9999 and 511-1111. If you call one of these numbers from a home phone landline, they will have your address if you have used the service before.
In addition, taxi companies will typically provide you with a secret code that is typically two to four digits for you to provide to the driver so the driver can confirm you are the right person.
I call for taxis frequently from my apartment and they typically show up in three to six minutes. But during holidays it may be difficult to call for taxis.
Taxi Guide: Using Mobile Apps
Another way to request taxis is to use a mobile app such as Cabify to request a taxi. Cabify is one of 20 mobile apps we recommend for use in Medellín and Colombia.
Cabify merged with EasyTaxi in 2019 and has the most taxis available in Medellín out of the available mobile taxi apps. Cabify was started in Spain and has a major presence in the cities in Latin America.
With the Cabify app 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.
Taxi Guide: White Airport Taxis
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. Also, we have a more detailed guide to the transportation options to/from the Medellín airport.
The fare for white taxis to go to Medellín is fixed. The white taxis reportedly haven’t yet increased their fares. But they are likely to follow Medellín’s lead and increase taxi fares. When the white airport taxi fares increase this article will be updated.
Most noteworthy, there is even a sign at the airport with the fares. In addition, 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 – 80,000 pesos
- To Envigado – 85,000 pesos
- To Sabaneta – 91,000 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 in the other direction to the airport is cheaper than from the airport. For example, the fare in a white taxi to the airport from Medellín is 60,000 pesos.
All these fares include the toll on the airport road. Also, beware that some white taxi drivers may try to charge a higher “gringo” fare to tourists. I have talked to several expat tourists that were charge higher fares from the airport.
Taxi Guide: Nine Medellín Taxi Tips
Here are nine local tips about using taxis in Medellín:
- Close doors carefully – taxis in Colombia are smaller than the sedans and SUVs used for taxis in North America and Europe. And the doors don’t stand up well to being slammed shut repeatedly. In addition, taxi drivers will give you nasty looks and even yell at you if you slam the door shut. So, take care when closing the door.
- Only pay what is on the taximeter – there is no evening surcharge and there is no expectation for tipping. But I typically round up to the nearest 1,000 pesos and the taxi drivers are appreciative.
- Watch out for gringo fares – a few white airport 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 told the driver I have lived in Medellín for many years and know the fare is fixed.
- Avoid getting stuck in traffic – there are normally multiple routes to get to a destination and a mobile app like Waze can help find the quickest route to your destination while factoring in traffic. I have saved countless hours from being stuck in traffic using Waze and directing taxi drivers to alternate routes.
- Watch out for long routes – a few taxi drivers when they realize you are a foreigner may take a longer route than necessary to run up the meter. If you are not familiar with the city, you unlikely will notice this. The mobile app Waze can help avoid this. Also, many taxi drivers don’t have the Waze app or a GPS.
- Lock the door – we recommend locking taxi doors for safety, particular in congested areas like El Centro. Some taxi drivers will lock the doors after you enter the taxi.
- Have some small bills – taxi drivers may not have change for a 50,000 peso note. So, it’s best to have some smaller bills. But keep in mind it is the responsibility of the taxi driver to stop at a shop or gas station where you can get change for your larger bill.
- Practice your Spanish – a majority of taxi drivers will be open to talking with passengers, particularly if you are a foreigner. In my experience, many even initiate a conversation asking where I am from. These conversations can be a good way to practice your Spanish.
- Beat and Didi are viable alternative to taxis – Beat and Didi are mobile apps that are alternatives to Uber that is no longer operating in Colombia.
Bottom Line: Medellín Taxi Guide
We provided this up-to-date Medellín taxi guide due to the increase of taxi fares in Medellín in December 2019. But taxis are still very cheap in Medellín compared to the typical taxi fares in North America and Europe. And taxis in Medellín are generally safe. I haven’t encountered a problem in over eight years.
My taxi fares over the past year typically averaged only about 7,500 pesos ($2.20) per one-way trip. In addition to cheap taxis, Medellín also has an inexpensive metro system and inexpensive buses.
As a result, the inexpensive transportation options in Medellín make it very possible to live in the city without a car. I have lived in Medellín for over seven years without a car and haven’t found the need to rent a car even once during this time.
In addition, our ground transportation costs for a couple have averaged about 75,250 pesos ($22) per month over the past six months. With such low costs for taxis, the metro and buses in Medellín, it would be difficult to justify owning cars.
And reportedly over 80 percent of expats living in Medellín don’t have a car.
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Editors note: updated on March 20, 2018 with new airport taxi fares.
Editors note: completely updated on December 8, 2018 with new 2018 Medellín taxi fares, which is an update of this taxi guide originally published on November 29, 2017.
Editors note: updated in June 5, 2019 to add the new green electric taxis in Medellín.
Editors note: updated on November 11, 2019 to replace the EasyTaxi app with Cabify as these mobile apps have merged.
Editors note: updated on November 23, 2019 with new yellow taxi fares for Medellín that are effective on December 9, 2019.
Editors note: updated on January 19, 2020 with information about Uber leaving the Colombia market.