In late November 2017, Medellín increased taxi fares in the city. So, we are providing an up-to-date Medellín Taxi Guide.

Even with the taxi fare increase, 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 14136 of 2017, the Secretaría de Movilidad in Medellín has increased taxi fares in the city effective on November 27, 2017. The last time that taxi fares were increased in Medellín was on August 10, 2016, about 15 months ago.

Taxi Guide: New 2017 Medellín Taxi Fares

The following are the new taxi fares in Medellín, effective on November 27, 2017:

  • Taximeter starts at 3,200 pesos, which is up from 3,000 pesos
  • Minimum fare is 5,400 pesos, up from 5,000 pesos
  • Fare for every 78 meters is 100 pesos, up from 87 pesos
  • The fare to wait 60 seconds is 200 pesos, up from 150 pesos
  • Fare for an hour of contracted time is 25,200 pesos, down from 27,000 pesos
  • The fare to José María Córdova international airport from Medellín is 70,000 pesos, up from 65,000 pesos

So, all the taxi fare components in Medellín increased with the exception of the fare for an hour of contracted time.

These new 2017 taxi fares apply to taxis with a Medellín license plate. However, in the past, other municipalities in the Medellín metro area like Bello, Envigado, Itagüí and Sabaneta typically increase taxi fares to match new fares in Medellín.

I have confirmed that Envigado has also increased their fares to match the new fares in Medellín, including the 70,000 peso fare to the international airport. Also, Sabaneta has increased fares to match the new fares but the fare to the international airport from Sabaneta is now 80,000 pesos. In addition, other municipalities are expected to follow Medellín’s lead and also increase taxi fares.

Furthermore, note that Medellín has the highest taxi fare to its international airport out of all the cities in Colombia. In Cali, where the airport is also outside the city, the average fare is 50,000 pesos. And in Bogotá, the airport fare is what the meter shows for the distance and time travelled plus a 4,400-peso surcharge. In Bogotá, I haven’t experienced an airport taxi fare of higher than 35,000 pesos.

Taxi Guide: Rules for Taxi Drivers

Taxi drivers in Medellín are only permitted to charge the new 2017 taxi fares if they have a new 2017 sticker in the windshield. In addition, all yellow taxis with Medellín license plates should have taximeters updated by February 15, 2018 with a new window sticker.

To update their taximeters, taxi drivers need to pay 76,200 pesos for transit rights to the Secretaría de Movilidad. In addition, they have to calibrate their taximeter for a cost of 25,000 to 30,000 pesos and go to one of the Centros de Diagnóstico Automotor (CDA) locations where the taximeter is verified for a cost of 44,000 pesos.

Reportedly a fine of about 368,000 pesos will be used to punish drivers who charge the 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 196,728 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.

Taxis lined up at the Sabaneta metro station

Taxis lined up at the Sabaneta metro station

Taxi Guide: 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 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 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 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 seven 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.

Easy Taxi mobil app, photo courtesy of Easy Taxi

Easy Taxi mobil app, photo courtesy of Easy Taxi

Taxi Guide: Using Mobile Apps 

Another way to request taxis is to use a mobile app such as Easy Taxi or Tappsi to request a taxi.

Easy Taxi likely has the most taxis available in Medellín out of the mobile taxi apps. Easy Taxi was started in Brazil and is available in over 30 countries and over 420 cities. It has a major presence in the cities in Latin America.

The benefit of using mobile apps is that they track the taxi in real time. So, you will know how close the taxi is to your place. In addition, they provide the license plate number of the taxi and even a photo of the driver.

White airport taxis lined up at the airport

White airport taxis lined up at the airport

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 AeropuertoAerotaxi, and Rápido Medellín Rionegro.

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:

  • Medellín – 65,000 pesos
  • Envigado – 70,000 pesos
  • 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 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 55,000 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.

Waze mobile app, photo courtesy of Waze

Waze mobile app, photo courtesy of Waze

Taxi Guide: Nine Local Tips

Here are nine local tips about using taxis in Medellín:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Uber is a viable alternative to taxis – many expats I know use Uber. I have used Uber a few times and it has rates that are fairly similar to taxi rates. But it seems that taxis are more readily available in Sabaneta where I live.
Taxis lined up at the San Diego mall

Taxis lined up at the San Diego mall

Bottom Line: Medellín Taxi Guide

We are providing this up-to-date Medellín taxi guide due to the taxi fares in Medellín increasing in November 2017. 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 seven years.

My taxi fares over the past year typically averaged only about 7,500 pesos ($2.50) 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 314,000 pesos ($105) per month over the past three years. 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.