The Ultimate Guide to Public Transportation in Medellin

TLDR? The Medellin public transportation system offers easy, budget-friendly options to explore the city!

Navigating a city the size of Medellin is no easy feat, but with its easy-to-use public transportation system, it feels manageable.

Medellin features four different types of public transit: metro, metro cable, bus, and tram. The best travel option will depend on your current location and your final destination.

Google maps can point you towards the most convenient transit type and route, and from there, it’s a cakewalk!

To help you out for now, however, I’ve put together a guide to public transportation around the city. Let’s take a look!

How to Pay for Public Transportation in Medellín

Public Transportation in Medellín

There are a few payment options if you want to take public transportation in the city. If you’re planning on staying in Medellin for a week or more, you might want to grab a Civica card.

Available at the San Antonio, San Javier, Itagüí, and Niquía stations, these handy cards will get you access to all four public transit carriers.

Civica cards are issued for free; all you need to do is present a valid I.D document (a passport or Colombian I.D).

And if you run out of money on your card? Simply recharge at one of the green refill machines located at the stations.

Another perk to the Civica card is you get a discounted rate when you use them at the metro. If you’re only planning on staying in Medellin for a short time, you can get a temporary ticket. 

Getting Around by Bus

Getting Around by Bus

Of the four transportation options offered in Medellin, the bus system might be the most confusing to visitors.

There are three types of buses you’ll encounter on the road:

  1. Integrated buses that are part of the Metro system (SITVA) and
  2. Private buses
  3. Intercity buses

Let’s take a closer look at each of these types of buses.

Integrated Buses

The integrated buses are typically green and have the word “Metro” on the windshield. You can catch integrado buses from the metro stations or at authorized bus stops.

When you’re close to or at your destination, press the red stop button at the back of the bus, and the driver will stop and let you off at the most convenient spot.

The cost for a bus ride is less than one US dollar (subject to change) and you can pay with your Civica card or with cash. Another option is buying an integrado ticket, which will pay for both your metro and bus ride.

Private Buses

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try one of the city’s private buses. These buses come in all colors and sizes, and to hitch a ride, you simply wave your hand out like you’re hailing a taxi.

The cost for a private bus is similar to that of the SITVA buses. They’llhey will have the price listed on the windshield.

Word of advice: make sure you have small bills or coins to pay for bus fare unless you upset your bus driver.

Intercity Buses

Visitors who are looking to take a weekend trip to another city can take a bus from the North Terminal (located at the Caribe Metro Station) or the South Terminal (located at the El Poblado Metro Station).

As the names suggest, the North Terminal typically services northern destinations like Bogota, and the South Terminal will get you to southern cities such as Cali.

You can book your ticket online through the bus services website or you can book your ticket at the station.

Getting Around by Tram

Getting Around by Tram

Medellin is on the front lines of innovation when it comes to its public transportation, and the Tranvía or Ayachucho Tram is proof of that.

These rubber-tired trams took their inaugural ride in 2016 and are part of the city’s sustainable initiatives. The trams are still very new and clean and are extremely easy to use.

Currently, there’s only one tram line, which begins from the San Antonio station and runs to the Oriente station. From the Tranvía, you can access five of the metro cable lines, two of the metro lines, and various buses.

The tram is a great option if you’re traveling around the downtown area of Medellin in the neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, Las Palmas, Boston, Alejandro Echavarría. If you want to experience the entire Tranvía route start at the e San Antonio Metro Station.

Just remember: the Tranvía only accepts Civica cards for payment.

Getting Around by Metro and Metro Cables

Getting Around by Metro and Metro Cables

The Medellin Metro is the most well-connected, quickest, and easiest to use of the public transit options. To get from point A to point B, put your destination in Google maps. From there, you’ll be directed towards the closest metro station and the fastest route.

The metro is integrated with all the other public transportation options, including of course, the metro cable. Once you have already entered the metro, you can ride the cablecar at no extra cost as long as you stay inside the station.

You can pay with either a Civica card, buy a single ride ticket (univiaje), or a ticket that allows access to the bus as well (Integrado).

Public Transportation Tips

To make your ride on the metro even easier, there are a couple of tips to keep in mind:

  • Get a Civica Card: it works with all the public transportation and is the only acceptable method of payment in some places.
  • Avoid rush hour: as soon as 5 pm hits, you’ll get swallowed up by a sea of people. 
  • Keep an eye on your personal belongings: all of the public transportation feels safe for the most part, but pick-pocketing happens in every city. 

As long as you follow these tips, you should be all set to have a great trip around town.

Take a Ride on the Medellín Public Transit System

While it can be scary at first glance, with a bit of practice, you’ll be riding around the city like a pro in no time. Whether you use the bus, metro, tram, or metro cables, getting around Medellín is super affordable and convenient.

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