The Ultimate Guide to Jose Maria Cordova Airport

The Ultimate Guide to Jose Maria Cordova Airport

TLDR? Medellin’s international airport is in Rionegro, 30 minutes from the city. 

If you’re traveling to Medellin, you’ll most likely arrive at the international airport on the city’s outskirts.

For some new travelers, it can become a bit complicated to understand how this air terminal works and the means of transport to get to the city.

But you don’t have to worry! Read this guide and find everything you need to know about Jose Maria Cordova Airport!

What Flights Arrive and Depart

Departures board at medellin airport

Medellin has two airports, but only Jose Maria Cordova is suitable for the operation of large aircraft. For that reason, it’s the only one attending national and international flights.

It also receives cargo flights and the Colombian Air Force, whose base is just behind the commercial airport.

The Jose Maria Cordova is in Rionegro, eastern Antioquia, 30 minutes from Medellin through the airport tunnel.

As for international and national flights and airlines, here are some companies and the destinations they offer:

  • Iberia: Europe
  • Aeromexico: Mexico
  • Copa Airlines: National, Central America, and the Caribbean
  • Avianca: National and international such as New York, Madrid, Punta Cana
  • Spirit: Fort Lauderdale
  • Latam: National and international in Latin America and other destinations
  • Air Europa: Europe
  • Viva Air: National and some international such as Cancun, Sao Paulo Orlando, among others
  • Jet Blue: Fort Lauderdale
  • American Airlines: Miami and New York
  • Wingo: Central America and the Caribbean
  • Ultra Air: This new airline offers domestic flights
  • JetSMART: Santiago de Chile

If you’re in one of these cities, you know that you can arrive directly in Medellín or maybe with a stopover. So look for the airline that best suits your tastes and needs!

How to Get to Medellin From the Airport

Medellin airport tunnel

The airport may not be at the city’s heart, but right at the exit, you’ll find different means of transport to get you there. A few common modes of transport include:

  • Bus
  • Taxi
  • Rental Car

Let’s take a closer look at a couple of these ways to get around.


You can take two different bus routes; one goes to the city center, and the other takes you to the San Diego Shopping Center roundabout between the Laureles, El Poblado, Las Palmas, and downtown sectors.

The bus ride takes approximately 30 minutes to get to the city since it goes through the eastern or airport tunnel, built to shorten the trip. You’ll find metro system stations or a line of taxis waiting at either to take you to your final destination regardless of which bus you take.

To return to the airport once you have finished your tour of Medellin, you can take the same routes at the San Diego Shopping Center bus stop.

The bus fare is around USD 3 (subject to change).


You’ll also find white taxis at the airport exit that allow sharing the trip and the final fare with other people. If you prefer privacy and wish to go directly to your destination, you can also take a regular cab.

Or, you can always use a rideshare app. These tend to be a bit cheaper than taxis, but you’ll have to have the app downloaded before you arrive as the airport WiFi is a bit spotty.

Airport Schedules

Medellin airport fisheye

The Jose Maria Cordova airport is open 24/7. However, at night almost all available shops close.

If you have to spend the night at the airport, it’s advisable to enter one of the VIP lounges to avoid inconvenience since there are also no lockers to store luggage.

For domestic flights, it’s recommendable to arrive 2 hours in advance, and for international flights 3 hours in advance. That way, you can avoid rushing and make all the arrangements on time.

Shopping and Airport Amenities

Medellin airport shops

Here’s what you can find at Jose Maria Cordova!


Like all international airports, Medellin has shops with different last-minute items you can pick up. They might be perfect when waiting for your flight, or in case there’s something you forgot.

A few of the shops you can find at the airport include:

  • Restaurants, bars, and cafes with local and international food
  • Currency exchange houses
  • Bookstores
  • Bag and luggage stores
  • Clothes shops
  • Pharmacy
  • Food Terraces
  • Car rentals
  • VIP lounges: Avianca VIP Lounge, Copa Club, The Lounge Medellin by Global Lounge Network, and The Lounge Medellin International
  • Duty-free in the international zone

Mod Cons

Modern amenities at the medellin airport

Shops aren’t the only convenience the airport offers. It has a free Wi-Fi network and several restrooms wide enough to enter with your luggage.

For people with reduced mobility, there are ramps, electric stairs, and elevators available.

There are also parking lots where you pay an hourly or daily rate, in case you decide to go to another city for a weekend and have a rented car.

Rent a Car at The Airport

localiza rent a car in medellin airport

When traveling, one needs to consider mobility. Many people choose to take taxis or public transport, but others prefer to rent a car to have at their disposal.

Here are some places where you can rent a car inside the airport:

  • Alamo 
  • Avislac 
  • Enterprice 
  • Equirent 
  • Localiza 

VIP Lounges

The Airport has three accessible lounges for economy-class travelers. Each one comes with its own perks and has its own costs and regulations for who can use them.

The Lounge Medellin International

Lounge Medellin International

The Lounge Medellin International is a room located on the second floor. This salon is open 24/7 and has a modest fee to access its services.

The services offered by The Lounge Medellin International are:

  • Air-conditioning
  • Internet connection
  • TV
  • Information Monitors
  • Beverages

The lounge accepts international and transit passengers.

Avianca Sala VIP

Avianca vip lounge at medellin airport

In this airport, you’ll also find the Avianca Sala VIP. This room is in the exit area of ​​the José María Córdova.

You need an annual membership to access it, although you can also stay as a guest. The cost of the stay for guests is considerable and depends on space availability.

Although Avianca Sala VIP doesn’t have sleeping facilities, inside this lounge, you’ll find:

  • Air-conditioning
  • Internet connection
  • TV
  • Information Monitors
  • Beverages

Unlike The Lounge Medellin International, this lounge is restricted to domestic flights.

The Lounge Medellin

The lounge medellin airport

The third VIP lounge at the airport is The Lounge Medellin, on the third floor. Like the previous rooms, you can also access them without an appointment. It’s the most expensive of the lounges.

The Lounge Medellin has limited hours, so you won’t be able to stay overnight if you’re catching a red-eye.

In this room, you can make use of services such as:

  • Air-conditioning
  • Internet connection
  • TV
  • Information Monitors
  • Beverages

This lounge is for passengers on domestic flights.

COVID-19 Testing and the Use of Face Masks

Medellin airport covid 19 masks

José María Córdoba Airport no longer offers to test for COVID-19. The service stopped its operations on July 1st of, 2022, when the Ministry of Health lifted the health emergency in Colombia.

If you need to take the COVID-19 test to travel to another country, I suggest you consult with a healthcare provider in the city.

However, using the face mask is mandatory in the country’s airports, “regardless of the progress of vaccination in the municipality.” That includes passing through the terminals and directly on the flights.

Delayed, Oversold, or Canceled Flights

What should you do if something unforeseen happens? Here’s a quick rundown on things to know about issues with your flight in Medellin.


Medellin flight delays

Between 1.25 to 3 hours, you’ll be provided with refreshments and telephone communication. Between 3 and 5 hours, in addition to the above, you’re offered breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

If the delay lasts more than 5 hours, the passenger will receive back 30% of the value of the trip. Payment is in cash unless the passenger accepts another form of payment (miles, vouchers, airline tickets).

If the delay exceeds 10 pm, the airline must provide, in addition to lodging, the transportation costs between the airport and the chosen hotel unless the passenger decides to wait voluntarily.

Compensation for interrupted flights happens accordingly to the time of delay generated until the resumption of the trip.


Medellin airport vip lounge waiting room

If the flight is canceled for reasons attributable to the airline, they must cover the costs of lodging, transfers, and food. They must also compensate 30% of the value of the affected route.


When there’s overselling of seats, the airline must ensure your place on their next flight or with another airline as soon as possible.

When there’s no direct agreement between the airline and the passenger to transfer the quota, the airline must grant 30% of the value of the affected route.

What You Should Know About Parking Lots

parking at mde airport medellin

It cannot be a complete guide without information on the parking lots at José María Córdova Airport. The airport offers a 24-hour parking service.

The parking lot is available to motorcycles, cars, and cargo vehicles. However, cargo vehicles have to go to a special section of the lot.

Lost Objects Inside the Airport

Nobody likes to think about the worst-case scenario, but you always have to be prepared for unforeseen situations. The loss of objects when arriving from a trip is more common than we think, but what should you do if it happens to you?

First, be sure whether you lost it on the plane or inside the airport. In the first case, you must contact the airline directly. If not, the airport gives you the facility to report lost objects: you can write an email or fill out a form.

To report an object, you need a detailed description of it or show something that proves you as the owner.

Arrive Without Getting Lost at Jose Maria Cordova

The Jose Maria Cordova airport is the international air terminal of Medellin that is increasingly acquiring new routes to new countries.

This terminal is small and easy to understand. Follow all the tips and recommendations, and enjoy a good stay in this place once you arrive in Medellin or when you return to your place of origin!

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