Air Travel

Medellin Airport (MDE) Guide: Know how to get around! [2022]

Updated on:  
April 19, 2022
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Lauren Mitchell
Lauren Mitchell
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Medellin, a popular tourist destination in Columbia, named the appropriate "City of Eternal Spring." While most guides talk about navigating the city, not many talks about the resources you might need at Medellin's Airport. Find out all of the information info you'll need before you land, especially for first-time travelers!

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Medellin is a beautiful Colombian city situated in the heart of the Andes Mountains. Needless to say, there are tons of things to do in Medellin. The City of Eternal Spring draws millions of tourists to its little corner in the Andes every year. 

With travel restrictions easing up, seeing the world has become more accessible. People can move a little more freely through airport gates. 

Airports are naturally anxiety-inducing, especially in foreign countries. But that's why we at Pilot are here, to help you make your trip as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. 

Here's your handy guide to navigating the Medellin International Airport! 

Sights to see while in Medellin.
Image credit: Brain Kyed - Unsplash

What's Medellin Airport called?

Medellin's airport is officially known as Medellin Jose Maria Cordova International Airport (IATA: MDE). Named after Jose Maria Cordova, a celebrated member of the Colombian Armed Forces.

Where is Medellin Airport located? 

The Medellin Jose Maria Cordova International Airport is 18 miles southeast of Medellin, in the city of Rionegro. There is an airport in Medellin called Olaya Herrera Airport, but they only serve regional and domestic flights. 

Airplane in taxi Medellin.
Image Credit: Fabio Augusto - Unsplash

Airport Layout

It's pretty easy to get lost and confused in an airport. The Medellin Airport is the second busiest airport in Columbia. The airport receives an average of 8 million travelers a year. Add being potentially late for your flight and airport signs written in foreign languages; chaos will ensue. Luckily, the Medellin Airport only has a 3 level passenger terminal, one of those solely dedicated to food.

Arrival & Departure

Medellin Airport's arrival and departure hall simultaneously serves domestic and international flights. The arrival hall is on the 1st floor, while the departures are on the 2nd. If you're looking for a bite to eat after your long flight, head to the 3rd level for some great local and international cuisines. 

Airport amenities

The airport also features all the conventional services, including currency exchange, luggage wrapping, duty-free shops, wheelchair-renting services, smoking areas, public telephones, Wi-Fi services, police services, etc. 

Jose Maria Cordova International Airport Layout.
Image Credit: Airport Guide

Covid Protocol

Like most airports worldwide, travelers must wear a mask when entering the Medellin Airport. There are Covid-19 testing services available at the airport, and Travelers must have a negative Covid-19 test taken within 96 hours of traveling. To enter the country, travelers must have proof of complete vaccination. Without it, you may be denied entry to Colombia. 

Your proof of vaccination needs to have the following details: your name, passport number, date of vaccination, name of vaccine you received as well as how many doses you received. 

If your vaccination took place less than 14 days before travel, you must submit a PCR test. When arriving in Colombia, with all your necessary Covid-19 documentation, you needn't worry about quarantining, as it's not part of the country's covid protocol.

Columbian flag in Medellin.
Image credit: Flavia Carpio - Unsplash

Getting to Medellin city from the airport.

There are several means of traveling to and from Medellin Jose Maria Cordova International Airport. The primary forms of transportation are bus, taxi, or car rental. 


Referred to as "busetas," traveling to and from Medellin Airport by airport bus is standard practice by locals and travelers alike. It costs about 10,000 COP for a one-way adult ticket, and tickets can be purchased from the bus drive onboard. 

Make sure to catch the bus outside the airport, at gates 2A and 2B. The "busetas" traveling from the airport to Medellin's city center run 24 hours a day. You can expect a bus at these stops every 15 minutes. 

These buses are small and can accommodate 19 people. Something to consider should you be traveling with luggage. It takes about an hour to get to Medellin; it could be longer with traffic. Once you reach the city of Medellin, the bus makes two stops, one at San Diego Mall and one at Hotel Nutibara.

Taxis in Medellin airport.
Image Credit: Atharva Whaval - Unsplash

Traveling By Taxi

Traveling by taxi is a quick and easy way to get to and from Medellin Jose Maria Cordova International Airport. There are two types of Medellin taxis, the yellow local taxis and the white airport taxis or "Colectivos," the more affordable option. You can find these airport taxis in the taxis rank, located at the airport's main terminal.

The airport taxis can accommodate all your luggage; however, other travelers often share these taxis. You can expect to pay around 16.000 COP for a one-way trip to or from Medellin; these trips usually take about 45 min. Travel times are essential, especially if you're in a hurry to catch your flight. 

Renting A Car

Renting a car is another convenient way for you to get from Medellin Airport to the city center. A car rental will allow you to explore the city's beauty at your own pace and schedule. While renting a car gives travelers a little more freedom, it is more expensive than traveling by bus or taxi. The car rental desk can be found in the main terminal, located on the first floor. 

Hotels Near Medellin Airport

Should you have a layover at Medellin Airport and need a place to rejuvenate and revitalize, there are several top hotels within 2 km of the airport. 

The Movich Hotel Las Lomas is one such hotel. Located 1.8km from Medellin's airport in Rionegro, this beautiful 5-star hotel has luscious gardens, a gorgeous pool, and comfortable rooms to catch some zzzs before your next flight.

Hotels near Medellin Airport.
Image credit: Alexandra Tran

Travelers Rio Verde Living Suites is another fabulous 5-star hotel, 1.9km outside Medellin's airport. This stunning hotel has a sun terrace, state of the art sauna, and an excellent fitness facility. You'll feel like you're on holiday before your holiday starts. 

Plan your next trip to Medellin

Now that you know the ins and outs of Medellin Airport, let's plan your trip with Pilot!

Pilot is your brand new travel planner that helps you discover and build travel itineraries connecting you to resources everywhere. Make the planning experience more fun by collaborating with your travel buddies! Pilot makes it fun and easy to share and relive your favorite travel memories with many useful features!

Did we mention that it's completely free? Try it out now!

Originally published on:  
March 29, 2022

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