Routes to and From Medellin: The Airport Tunnel vs Palmas

Routes to and From Medellin: The Airport Tunnel vs Palmas

TLDR? The airport tunnel takes you from the city center to the international air terminal in 35 minutes!

There are a few routes to Medellín from the international airport. Some routes are cheaper, while others take less time, such as the airport tunnel.

If you’re looking to find out the pros and cons of which route to take to the city after landing at the airport, read ahead, then choose the one that best suits your needs! 

Routes From Jose Maria Cordova Airport to Medellin

Routes From Jose Maria Cordova Airport to Medellin

Medellin’s international airport is in Rionegro, a town located approximately 30 kilometers away.

There are a couple of ways to get to the air terminal – one that takes up to an hour and fifteen minutes, or a faster route that takes only 35 minutes. 

You can get to Jose Maria Cordova by the north highway, exiting through the municipality of Bello, but this is the longest and least used route. 

I recommend getting there through Las Palmas Avenue, or through the eastern tunnel, the second largest vehicular tunnel in Latin America, connecting Medellin with the San Nicolas Valley or the eastern highlands.

Let’s check these last two. 

Arrive at the Airport by Avenida Las Palmas

Arrive at the Airport by Avenida Las Palmas

To take Las Palmas, locate the San Diego Shopping Center and follow the avenue up – it’ll lead directly to the airport. This was the preferred route for travelers before the eastern airport tunnel was finished. 

Las Palmas Avenue is an easy route. The vast majority of the drive is done on a dual carriageway, and after that, you’ll drive approximately 20 minutes on a single-lane curved road in good condition. 

You may run into traffic jams during peak hours due to the number of cars in the area, which may add a bit more time to the journey. 

Transportation to the Airport by Las Palmas

Transportation to the Airport by Las Palmas

This route takes around an hour and can be traveled by bus, taxi, or private car. 

The public routes that go up Avenida Las Palmas to the international airport are:

  • Buses from the San Diego Shopping Center. The fare is approximately $3 USD.
  • Taxis from the San Diego Shopping Center: The fare is approximately $20 USD, and the car can be shared with three people, dividing the price by four. 

These public transport routes usually operate from 3:30 in the morning until 10 at night to the airport, and from the airport to Medellin, they operate until the last scheduled flight arrives. 

Additionally, the buses leave every 20 minutes. 

White taxis are enables to make trips to the airport and have a standard rate. If you take a yellow urban taxi, the rates may change depending on your pickup location. 

Pros of This Route

Pros of This Route
  • You can make strategic stops at any of the shops located along the route: there is a wide range of typical restaurants with traditional food, malls, nurseries, supermarkets, and souvenir shops.
  • You can enjoy a panoramic view of the mountains that surround the city and of Medellín from above.
  • If you go by private car, the toll is cheaper: you pay around $2.70 USD.

Cons of This Route

Cons of This Route
  • It’s a little longer and delayed.
  • It’s possible to find traffic jams at certain times of the day.
  • In recent months the route is sometimes closed for maintenance.

Arrive at the Airport by Eastern Tunnel 

Arrive at the Airport by Eastern Tunnel

The eastern airport tunnel is approximately 5 minutes going up Avenida Las Palmas.

This infrastructure work was put in place a little over three years ago, shortening the journey to the airport to less than half an hour. 

Because of this, travelers now have more time to get ready before getting to the airport, as the journey is faster and more comfortable. 

The tunnel’s 8.2 km distance takes about 12 minutes to drive down. It’s followed by viaducts, another shorter tunnel, and a road interchange apart of the 22.3 km route to the airport. 

It takes about 30 to 35 minutes to get to the air terminal by the airport tunnel. 

Transportation to the Airport by Eastern Tunnel 

Transportation to the Airport by Eastern Tunnel

If you need to get to the airport in a hurry, take the Eastern Tunnel. It has the same rate for both buses and taxis. 

This route has a frequency of 20 minutes, from Medellín to Rionegro and from Rionegro to Medellín, starting operations at 4:20 a.m. and the last shift operates until 9:20 p.m.

Pros of This Route

Pros of This Route
  • It’s much faster to arrive.
  • There are usually no traffic disturbances.
  • There are different routes of public transport.

Cons of This Route

Cons of This Route
  • Although there are beautiful views of the mountains, they can be better appreciated if you take Avenida Las Palmas.
  • If you go by private car, the toll is usually a little more expensive, paying around $4.4 USD.
  • While you can find restaurants at the airport roundabout, its not as many as in Las Palmas.

The Best Route For Tourists

The Best Route For Tourists

If you are visiting the city of Medellin you cannot miss the great view that Las Palmas offers, even if the route will take you longer. To be able to appreciate the view of the place, you’ll want to make some time in your schedule to appreciate it. 

If you’re a bit weird and into construction, you’ll love the tunnel! It’s the longest road tunnel in Latin America and somewhat of a tourist attraction in its own right. 

This infrastructure project has “state of the art technology”, thus providing the greatest security to users. Among other security measures, they have state-of-the-art fans, 100 incident detection cameras, and an operations control center that works 24 hours a day, every day of the week, to monitor the road safety of the project.

A Shorter Ride? Take the Airport Tunnel

The international airport of Medellin, although located in a town, has different alternatives to get there. One of them is the eastern tunnel, which has allowed a journey of no more than 35 minutes to this terminal and is the most used route since its creation three years ago.  

The journey through other routes usually takes one hour or a little more, so it all depends on you analyzing the pros and cons as well as your needs. Which one suits you best? You choose! 

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