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Medellín Taxi Guide 2017 - Medellin Guru
We provide a comprehensive and up-to-date Medellín taxi guide with new 2021 taxi fares and tips for foreigners for using taxis in Medellín.

Medellín Taxi Guide: Fares and Tips for Using Taxis – 2021 Update

We provide a comprehensive and up-to-date Medellín taxi guide with new 2021 taxi fares and tips for foreigners for using taxis in Medellín.

Starting in December 2021, Medellín is increasing taxi fares in the city. The last time fare increase was in December 2019. Even with this taxi fare increase in December 2021, 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 Resolución 202150176143 of 2021, the Secretaría de Movilidad in Medellín increases taxi fares in the city effective in December 2021. The previous time before this that taxi fares were increased in Medellín was in December 2019.

A normal day in El Poblado in Medellín with many taxis

A normal day in El Poblado in Medellín with many taxis

Taxi Guide: Current Medellín Taxi Fares

The following are the taxi fares in Medellín for yellow taxis, which will become effective in December 2021:

  • Taximeter starts at 3,800 pesos, which is up from 3,600 pesos
  • Minimum fare is 5,800 pesos, up from 5,600 pesos
  • Fare for every 78 meters is 120 pesos, up from 110 pesos
  • The fare to wait 60 seconds is 220 pesos, up from 200 pesos
  • Fare for an hour of contracted time is 25,500 pesos, unchanged
  • The fare to José María Córdova international airport from Medellín is 90,000 pesos, up from 80,000 pesos

These taxi fares apply to yellow taxis with a Medellín license plate and a new 2021 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 60,000 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 40,000 pesos.

A new green electric taxi in Medellín

A new green electric taxi in Medellín

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 2021 taxi fares if they have a 2021 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 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.

Taxis lined up at the Sabaneta metro station

Taxis lined up at the Sabaneta metro station

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.

Cabify mobil app, photo courtesy of Cabify

Cabify mobil app, photo courtesy of Cabify

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.

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. 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 with the new yellow taxi fares this is expected to change to match:

  • 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.

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 Medellín Taxi 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. Also, many taxi drivers don’t have the Waze app or a GPS.
  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, Beat and Didi are viable alternative to taxis – Uber, Beat and Didi are ride-sharing mobile apps that are alternatives to taxis
Taxis lined up at the San Diego mall

Taxis lined up at the San Diego mall

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 2021. 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.

Sign up for the Free Medellin Guru Newsletter – You can see all of the previous Medellin Guru weekly email newsletters and sign up here.

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 November 19, 2021 with new yellow taxi fares for Medellín that are effective in December 2021.

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26 thoughts on “Medellín Taxi Guide: Fares and Tips for Using Taxis – 2021 Update”

    1. Great article. Do drivers have issues driving passengers over shorter distances (1-2 miles). I’ve visited some countries where they’ll just drive off on you if you request a short journey.

      • No, they won’t drive off in Colombia in my experience living here for over eight years, as there is a minimum fare. Has never happened to me for short distances.

    2. Joseph Mathews December 21, 2019

      Uber has been fined and a “cease and desist” order from the Colombian government. They have appealed and I am curious as to how all this will affect their services in Medellein and the surrounding area. Any comments or thoughts?

      • Yes, our article about Uber is updated with this information – https://medellinguru.com/uber-medellin-colombia/

        Colombia ordered Uber to cease its ride-hailing operations in Colombia, effective immediately, after a judge ruled the company violated competition rules. But Uber is appealing the decision.

        No impact yet, Uber is still working. In November 2015, President Santos granted Uber only six months to register as a formal company or be banned from the country. But Uber did not comply and was deemed “illegal” and authorities even seized over 1,200 vehicles in Bogotá in 2016 in a showdown with the government. And Uber continued to operate.

        So, we’ll see what happens this time…

    3. I’ve had lots of taxi rides here in Medellin and in many Latin American cities. My experience had led me to conclude that, apart from a few niggles, The Medellin taxi experience beats them all. First off, the fares are amazingly low for anyone converting to COP from hard currency. The vast majority of drivers are honest and know the city well. When you tell them the address they seem to have a little trick of pretending that they don’t know the address but it’s a strategy to make sure you know where you have to go, so as not to end up in the wrong part of town. As mentioned above, close the door gently.

    4. Great Article – Is it difficult to find a taxi with capacity for 5-6 passengers?

    5. thanks for the article! I would like to say that I was recently ripped off by one of the white airport taxis when I paid my fare. I’ve lived here for more than 3 years, so I’m familiar with fares and currency, and I paid him with two 50mil notes. He gave one back and asked if, perhaps, I have it smaller (the fare is $75 mil). While I was counting out the $26mil I had, he swapped the 50 for a 5 and told me I must have made some mistake. I know it wasn’t possible because a) why would he have given me one of the 50s back if I had only paid 55 mil? and b) I’d just gotten money from the ATM, so I just had that money and a few 2 mil pesos. I’m denouncing him now but I won’t use the service again. I would recommend sticking to uber or refusing to make change. That’s their job.

    6. David Bingham December 14, 2018

      I hate when people move to a new country and expect things to be like home. Yellow taxi drivers are some of the most honest and friendliest taxi’s in the world. These drivers are supporting households. Those that want to use Uber are taking that away. To my knowledge most Uber drivers are part-time making extra money. They do not have the same cost as a yellow taxi driver. RE-Read above the cost for them to change meters and penalty if they do not. It is true a Uber driver can make more money because of this. One local explained the some yellow taxi drivers are ditching their taxis and joining Uber so they can make more money. The secret is to form relationships with taxi drivers that are good. Get their cell number, call them direct when you need a cab. Do any taxi drivers live in your neighborhood? My time spent in Costa Rica I had two good drivers that were available almost 24/7. I lived 3 months in the neighborhood of Guayabal (Medellin) there where 5 yellow taxi drivers living on the same street. Per David Williams comment about long routes, did you ever think that longer route got you there faster! I would rather pay a little more then getting stuck in traffic. David must like sitting in traffic breathing in all those exhaust fumes.

    7. Lawrence R Rose December 8, 2018

      Uber as an alternative? Isn’t it still illegal? And if so we should follow the law… si o no?

      • See our article about Uber towards the end – https://medellinguru.com/uber-medellin-colombia/

        “Uber has been battling the legality of its service in Colombia for several years. In November 2015, President Santos even granted the company only six months to register as a formal company or be banned from the country. But Uber did not comply and was deemed “illegal” and authorities even seized over 1,200 vehicles in Bogotá in 2016 in a showdown with the government. But the company continued to operate.

        Uber has refused to register with the Colombian government as a taxi service. And the company has disputed the characterization of the company as a taxi company. It has previously said that “Uber is a technology company legally constituted in Colombia. There is no administrative or legal act that has declared our operation illegal, nor are there any rules in the country that prohibit or punish citizens who share their private vehicles.”

        Uber also claims it’s not an employer, but a “partner” of its affiliate drivers. So, it says it’s exempt from paying compulsory health and pension benefits to its drivers and taxes to the government. In May 2017, taxi drivers in Colombia went on strike demanding a full Uber shut-down. And most of the confrontations between taxi drivers and Uber in Colombia have been in Bogotá.

        However, the company continues to operate in Colombia.”

    8. Lawrence R Rose December 8, 2018

      After a while you know the best routes to take. Sometimes it’s not the shortest route as you know when and where traffic can be bad, and often the driver will ask what route and tell you why he avoided certain routes. In my six years I have had three incidents where I was ‘Long Routed”. Each time it amounted to less than One US dollar… and of course I let the driver know that I knew what he did. I often round up for a small tip. Not for them though.

      As far as the cost to get to JMC, don’t forget that there is a sizable toll and that the driver pays it.

      Do folks know that a 400 peso increase is virtually nothing? For gringos, certainly, but for taxistas it is needed. Jeff, thanks for the headsup and your fine summary.

      And I for one am glad that yellow taxis don’t need Waze to find their way. One of the things that makes living in Medellin is the taxi service. Not needing a car, not worrying about parking etc help make Medellin an award-winner for Livability.

    9. Hi
      Travelling to Colombia for the first time in Spring 2019 so reading/learning lots. I can’t seem to download taxi apps while still home in North America?? What am I missing?

      • Look at our article about the 20 Best Mobile Apps to Use in Medellín and Colombia: https://medellinguru.com/best-mobile-apps/. It has links to all the apps. You should be able to download the apps from Google Play Store for Android phones or Itunes for Apple phones.

    10. Berry Keller September 1, 2018

      It’s a great update on Medellín Taxi Fares, is the same fare policies are applicable in 2018 or where I can find the 2018 fares details of Medellín area?

      • Thanks, they haven’t changed the taxi fares in Medellín since November 2017. The taxi fares currently are still the same fares as in the article. And the article will be updated if the fares change.

    11. Hi

      Does anyone know if there is a lost & found number to call for the yellow taxis in Medellin? My phone fell out of my pocket while in a taxi today and I cannot find a phone number anywhere online except the 44444444 one.
      I know the phone is probably gone for good but I want to at least try!

      Thanks

      • There are over 30 yellow taxi companies in the Medellín area. So they would have different numbers. There isn’t one taxi number to call. I checked a few and none have a lost and found number.

    12. Regarding Uber – is it true that if you use a taxi you are insured but not when you use Uber? That is, in case of an accident. This is what one taxi driver recently told me when discussing the Uber alternative. He said that in case of an accident you while using a taxi you get money from the insurance company.

      Main problem for me with taxis here: many do not have a safety belt in the back seat!

    13. Nice post. We did not have great experiences with Taxies in Medellin. Too many dirty cabs. Uber was great. Spotless cars and they all have and use Waze. No worries about payment.

    14. Brock Canner November 29, 2017

      Thanks Jeff, very helpful. I used to drive a cab in Boston, years ago, while going to college. It’s a tough but fun way to a living. Why no GPS? Doen’t make much sense. Thought this to be a good post, and thanks for getting it out.
      Cheers!!!

      • Hi Brock, thanks. Yes, it is also surprising to me that so few taxis have a GPS here in Medellín. I have only seen a few with a GPS in over 7 years living here. But you can buy them in some stores here.

        More common is a taxi driver using Waze on their cell phone but I don’t see that often either. I guess some taxi drivers don’t want to spend the extra money and figure they know the roads. But in some cases they don’t, as some taxi drivers have problems finding addresses. And I have to use Waze on my phone to help.

    15. Great info and thank for the update. Remember to be nice to the taxi drivers as being a taxi driver in Medellin is hard work and they don´t really earn that much. Most taxi drivers in Medellin in my experience are very conscientious and just want to get you to your destination. A few have real problems finding addresses so make sure you have Waze on your phone to help out.

    16. David Williams November 29, 2017

      Thanks for the update and taxi guide. I agree with your tips and some taxi drivers do take long routes trying to run up the fare. This has happened a couple times to me. But I now use the Waze app to show the driver the route to take which works well. Not many taxi drivers have a GPS or the Waze app on their phone.

      • Yes, it is surprising how few taxi drivers in Medellín have a GPS or use a mobile app like Waze on their phone to find the best route.

    Comments are closed.

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