The Complete Guide to the Medellin Airport

10 Medellin Airport Tips and Tricks for the Savvy Traveler

TLDR? The Medellin Airport has different amenities to enjoy while you wait for your boarding time, as well as transportation facilities, parking, and even close lodging!

When we plan a trip to a new destination, we think about everything, including what to do at the airport.

If you go to Medellin, you’re probably looking for tips to get around Jose Maria Cordova, the city’s main airport.

If that’s the case, check out these airport tips and tricks so you can move like a Savvy Traveler!

​​How to Locate the Airport on the Map

Airport on the Map

If you’re a frequent traveler, you probably know that big cities may have more than one airport and that some aircraft terminals are on the outskirts of the urban area.

Medellín has the Olaya Herrera airport within the city, where smaller aircraft operate. But if you’re coming from another country, you’ll have to go through an outside complex.

Medellin’s international airport, José María Cordova, is located about 30 minutes from the city, in the town of Rio Negro.

More specifically, it’s 20 minutes from Rionegro downtown on the way to Medellin. Getting to the airport is very easy, and you can ask any local if you get a bit lost.

For practicality, use Google Maps to preview the route that takes you to the airport. That way, you also get an idea of what you’ll find along the way.

Different Routes to and From the Airport

Different Routes to and From the Airport

You can take buses from the airport to the city’s center or others that reach a midpoint between El Poblado and Laureles. In that case, you get off the bus and find taxis that offer transportation directly to your place of lodging.

The ticket for these buses has an approximate value of USD 3.5.

You can take the bus back to the airport in these same places at the end of your trip.

You can also take shared taxis that leave you in specific places, sharing with other people the total rate, or private taxis that take you directly to your hotel or Airbnb, which can be a little more expensive.

If you want to save money, you can try using rideshare apps. Or have a different experience renting a car and driving by yourself.

Currently, the fastest route to the airport is using the Eastern tunnel, which only takes 30 minutes. The entrance to the tunnel is in the Asomadera neighborhood. From the exit in Rionegro, it only takes 10 minutes to reach the airport.

Wi-Fi at the Airport

Wi-Fi at the Airport

Most airports offer Wi-Fi service, and the Medellin airport isn’t far behind! Entering the free ‘Airplan’ network, you can enjoy the internet on any device. 

That’s a highlighted feature if you need to do some work while you wait to board your flight.

Although the connection strength is stable, it may present some problems occasionally.

If you need a faster connection, your best option is to stay in one of the VIP lounges, or you can also try your luck at any of the airport restaurants.

VIP Lounges

VIP Lounges

These places are ideal for spending a very long layover. Whether to have a snack or take a long nap while you wait, the VIP Lounges are the best option if you’re going to be for a few hours at the airport.

These are also widely used by frequent travelers with premium airline accounts or VIP memberships.

If your flight’s delayed, you can access them by paying an additional fee.

There you’ll find beds, showers, Wi-Fi, computers, and snacks, among other services. Most VIP lounges have accessibility and offer amenities such as air conditioning, a bar, monitors with flight information, etc.

You can also access the lounges if you’re a LifeMiles member or travel on a specific airline, such as Star Alliance for the Avianca VIP Lounge.

Some others, like Lounge Medellin International, have rooms for children with different toys and activities to distract them while waiting for their flight.

At the Medellin airport, there are different VIP lounges. Some of them are:

  • Avianca VIP Lounge
  • Copa Club
  • The Lounge Medellin by Global Lounge Network
  • The Lounge Medellin International

Restaurants, Shops, and Facilities

Restaurants, Shops, and Facilities

In José María Cordova, you’ll find different food options in the national and international halls and near the counter areas.

There are also currency exchange services, bookstores, Colombian souvenir shops, electronics stores, perfume shops, clothing shops, and Duty-Free in the international sector.

In the second part of the airport, there are small terraces with open areas to have a drink while you wait to enter the room.

You can also find popular food chains such as Burger King, Burger Joint, and Dunkin Donuts.

Being in a coffee city like Medellin means you’ll find cafes and coffee shops specialized in the best coffee beans of the highest quality. Some of these are Juan Valdez and Grano de Cafe.  

Don’t forget to buy some extra bean bags to take home or give as a souvenir to your family or friends!

Now, If you’re craving lunch, I highly recommend grabbing a bite at Ajiacos y Mondongos, a restaurant located in the national boarding room on the second floor. 

My insider tip is Ajiaco, a soup based on criolla potato, capira potato, pastusa potato, shredded chicken, and sweet corn. I suggest you add capers, milk cream, avocado, and arepa as accompaniments. A typical Colombian delicacy worth trying!

Although the prices are a little higher, at the airport you can find everything you need to make last-minute purchases or do some window shopping while you wait for your flight departure.

You can also find restaurants, parking lots, hotels, car rental agencies, and a mall in the airport roundabout.

Car Rental Agencies

Car Rental Agencies

Getting around Medellin can be a lot of fun if you drive by yourself and dare to venture along the highways and streets of the city. 

Of course, it demands a higher budget since you’ll have other costs, such as gas and tolls, but it gives you the freedom to travel comfortably and making as many stops as you want.

Plus, it’s the best way to get away from the hustle and bustle of Medellin and get to know the coffee towns near the city and others a little further away.

I recommend you consider this option if you’re an experienced driver. The roads of Medellin (and Colombia in general) can be tricky, narrow, and easy to get lost.

In the international arrivals hall, you can find car rental companies. Among them are:

  • Avis
  • Drive & Go
  • Localiza
  • Mina Servicios
  • Vaya Car Rental

You can also find slightly cheaper options at the airport outskirts like Auto Oriente.

Remember to have a valid driver’s license, and make sure that the car has all the legal papers up to date!

Parking Lots and Options

Parking Lots and Options

You may be staying in Medellin and want to make a weekend getaway to another of the tourist cities of Colombia.

If you’ve rented a car, and you go to the airport to take your flight for the express trip, you can leave it in the parking lot without any problem!

This parking lot has an approximate capacity for up to 520 vehicles, and you can pay for parking from hours to full days.

Just make sure to leave your car with the doors closed and the alarms on. Let the parking lot operators know if you’ll leave valuables inside the vehicle.

In the airport roundabout, you’ll find options that vary in price and provide different services. Some are:

  • Las Palmas parking lot
  • La Hortensia parking lot
  • Localiza parking lot
  • Ecopark parking lot
  • El Rompoy parking lot

If for some reason, you need to leave your car parked for a few months, you can also pay a monthly fee.

Information for Passengers With Reduced Mobility

Information for Passengers With Reduced Mobility

The airport is 100% accessible and has ramps, electric stairs, elevators, and special telephones. VIP lounges are also suitable for people with reduced mobility or special needs.

Emotional support pets or service animals are also welcome at the airport. Just keep in mind that they must comply with special regulations to be able to travel and pay some additional costs.

Likewise, if you need special assistance, you can request it with your airline a few days before the flight.

Stays Near the Airport

Stays Near the Airport

Near the José María Cordova airport, there are different hotels to spend the night in case of an emergency. It’s also the safest option since there’s no locker to store luggage, and the restaurants close at night.

The closer you’re to the airport, the pricier the hotels and hostels will be. So if you want to save money, you can try a slightly more modest hotel or Finca

But, the truth is, Medellin really isn’t that far from the airport. Your best bet is to stay at one of the chic hotels just down the hill from the airport tunnel. A few I can personally recommend include:

Any of these are fantastic places to stay and come with some pretty rad amenities!

Airlines That Arrive at Medellin International Airport

Arrive at Medellin International Airport

The José María Cordova has national and international flights with different routes. Among the most prominent airlines that operate in Medellin are:

  • Aeromexico
  • Air Europa
  • American Airlines
  • Avianca
  • Copa Airlines
  • Iberia
  • Interjet
  • JetBlue
  • Latam
  • Wingo
  • Viva Air

Through them, you can reach destinations such as Panama, Madrid, Cancun, New York, and Cuba, among others.

Explore Everything the Medellin Airport Has to Offer

The Medellin International Airport has different spaces and offers to meet the needs and tastes of travelers, as well as several transportation options to the city.

Travel to and from the José María Cordova without complications! 

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