15 Best Mobile Apps to Use in Medellín

Mobile Apps

We have curated the best mobile apps for traveling to and living in Medellín and help you navigate around the city.

In the past week I have used these apps to message my friends, call my family in the U.S. for free, order taxis, order food from restaurants, find a highly rated restaurant nearby, look up a few words for their Spanish translation, and help a taxi driver navigate around some bad traffic.

However, be careful when you use your smartphone to Medellín. You may want to turn off data usage at times as you can experience some hefty data usage and roaming charges. You can set you phone to Wi-Fi only.  Note the above image is by Conceptsource.

WhatsApp Messenger App, courtesy of WhatsApp

WhatsApp Messenger App, courtesy of WhatsApp

Communications

1. WhatsApp Messenger AndroidiPhone – Free

This is a great messaging app that has taken over SMS texting in Colombia. It also allows for calls and group chats and sending photos. And you don’t need to have a Colombian phone number to use it.

Pretty much anyone with a smartphone in Colombia has this app. There is no cost to message and you can stay in touch with your friends and family quicker than with emails.

Facebook App, courtesy of Facebook

Facebook App, courtesy of Facebook

2. FacebookAndroidiPhone – Free

Facebook is another app that most Colombians with smartphones in Colombia have.  With this app you can see what friends are up to and share photos, updates and videos.  Also Medellín Living is on Facebook so you can see our updates.

Skype App, courtesy of Skype

Skype App, courtesy of Skype

3. SkypeAndroidiPhone – Free

With Skype you can send messages, make voice calls or video calls – all for free, no matter what device they use Skype on. So this is what you can use to keep in touch with family and friends back home without long distance charges.

Skype to Skype calls are free. You can also call mobile phones and landlines at low rates.

TripAdvisor App, courtesy of TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor App, courtesy of TripAdvisor

City Guides

4. TripAdvisorAndroidiPhone – Free

This is the catchall mobile app when it comes to travel. You can find countless reviews of hundreds of hotels, restaurants and things to do in Medellín. You can also use TripAdvisor’s Near Me function to find well-reviewed places near by.

I use this app frequently when looking for a new restaurant to try out in the city.

Medellín Guide by Medellín Living

Medellín Guide by Medellín Living

5. Medellín Guide by Medellín LivingiPhone – Free

Of course you’re going to want to have the Medellín Guide on your phone! We’ve included over 200 places in the Medellín area in this app with photos and descriptions and maps.

You already find what you need on the website, now you can have the site in your pocket as well. Unfortunately this app is currently only available for the iPhone.

Ground Transportation

6. UberAndroidiPhone – Free

We’ve covered Uber before; it’s a great service. It’s linked to your credit card and hasn’t had many issues in Medellín. Uber launched in Medellín in January 2015 and it quickly became popular in the city, particularly with expats.

EasyTaxi App, courtesy of EasyTaxi

EasyTaxi App, courtesy of EasyTaxi

7. EasyTaxiAndroidiPhone – Free

This mobile app can be used to request taxis in 20 cities in Colombia, including Medellín. It was originally launched in Brazil and can now be used in 30 countries including 11 other countries in Latin America.

With this app you can book and track your taxi in real time and it will provide info about the driver name and license plate of the taxi.

Tappsi App, courtesy of Tappsi

Tappsi App, courtesy of Tappsi

8. TappsiAndroidiPhone – Free

This is a Colombia-based mobile app competitor to EasyTaxi that actually merged with EasyTaxi to compete with Uber. But Tappsi still operates separately.

The app is similar to EasyTaxi and you can book and track your taxi in real time and it also provides info about the driver name and license plate. I use both EasyTaxi and Tappsi as you never know when one app won’t have a taxi readily available – particularly in less served areas of the city.

Metro de Medellín App, courtesy of Metro de Medellín

Metro de Medellín App, courtesy of Metro de Medellín

9. Metro de MedellínAndroidiPhone – Free

This is an app more likely to be used by someone new to the city. It includes a map of Medellín’s metro system as well as the current fare structure. Once you have used the metro for a while you likely won’t need this app anymore.

Google Maps App, courtesy of Google

Google Maps App, courtesy of Google

Maps

10. Google MapsAndroidiPhone – Free

Google Maps is frequently regarded as one of the best navigation mobile apps around. It’s been the navigation king for a while now. It’s fairly reliable in my experience. And it’s useful to have to help with directions in the city, as many taxi drivers in Medellín won’t have a GPS.

Waze App, courtesy of Waze

Waze App, courtesy of Waze

11. WazeAndroidiPhone – Free

This is a slick navigation map app that I have started using more than Google Maps. This app has a map with real-time color-coded traffic that is usually more accurate than Google Maps. This is due to Waze reportedly having a much bigger community of drivers.

I now sometimes use this app to direct a taxi driver to an alternate route to avoid traffic areas. It’s also usually pretty accurate for calculating travel times.

Google Translate App, courtesy of Google

Google Translate App, courtesy of Google

Languages

12. Google TranslateAndroidiPhone – Free

This app has become one of the most popular apps to use while in Colombia or other countries abroad. It supports 103 languages online and you can download some languages like Spanish to use offline. It also has an instant camera translation to translate text in images.

Microsoft Translator App, courtesy of Microsoft

Microsoft Translator App, courtesy of Microsoft

13. Microsoft TranslatorAndroidiPhone – Free

This app enables you to translate text or speech, have translated conversations, and even download languages to use offline. It’s a viable alternative to Google Translate with many of the same features.

Some expats I have met prefer Microsoft Translator. I use both as I have found some things translate better in one or the other.

Finances

While there are some apps for some banks in Colombia like Bancolombia and Colpatria, I’m not a fan of doing finances on a smartphone as they are stolen frequently in Colombia. I do my banking online with a computer, so I’m not including any bank mobile apps here.

XE Currency App, courtesy of xe.com

XE Currency App, courtesy of xe.com

14. XE CurrencyAndroid iPhone – Free

With this App you can see the current exchange rates. You choose your current currency. When visiting Colombia you will select Colombian Peso (COP). Then you enter the price you are going to spend in COP and you can see the equivalent price in your home currency.

To get the current exchange rate you need a Wi-Fi connection. But you can even use it offline with the last exchange rate.

Domicilios.com App, courtesy of ClickDelivery

Domicilios.com App, courtesy of ClickDelivery

Delivery Services

15. Domicilios.comAndroidiPhone – Free

With the App you can order food from over 3,000 restaurants in Colombia with delivery services, including hundreds of restaurants in Medellín.

It’s much easier to order domicilio using this mobile app then trying to call on the phone. Understanding Spanish on the phone is much more difficult than in-person in my experience.

The Bottom Line on Mobile Apps

There are millions of mobile apps available. But the above are 15 of the most popular mobile apps used by expats in Medellín. While most of the above mobile apps aren’t specific to Medellín, they all make visiting and living in Medellín easier.

I use the above mobile apps frequently to communicate, to request taxis, to find directions, to navigate in the city, to translate, to find restaurants and to order food for delivery.

Also new apps are launched all the time. A new one I am aware of is Zeepod, which is an app to exchange money with other people in person. This permits you to avoid the currency exchange places (casa de cambios) with their typically poor exchange rates.

A friend exchanged $700 USD to pesos using this Zeepod app recently and he got an exchange rate of 2,900 COP when the rate listed on xe.com was 2,913 COP.

We are curious, what other mobile apps do you frequently use in Medellín?

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About Jeff

Jeff first discovered Colombia back in 2006 and has traveled to all the major cities in Colombia. He is fortunate to have a job in the U.S. with location flexibility, which has allowed him to spend over six years living in Medellín. He is also studying Spanish to become fluent.

Comments

  1. I have found Waze to be a lot more useful for navigation, particularly if you are driving outside a city where you may lose your data connection. The Waze map is downloaded to your device, so it keeps working with your GPS even if you don’t have an internet connection. If you set up your route while on wireless you can navigate even if you don’t have a data plan. Google Maps has started offering the option to download maps, but I have had no luck with that so far.

    I’ve also found Waze to have more up-to-date navigation information. More than once I ignored their routing advice because I thought I knew better only to discover that my preferred route was closed or heavily backed up due to construction.

  2. Margarita says:

    Another great one for people who are not sure how to get somewhere in Medellin, is Moovit. When you want to get somewhere, it tells you exactly what bus to get on, how to walk there, where to get off – it even shows you by making a sound as you pass each bus stop so you´re sure you get off in the right spot. If you want to walk less, you can choose a lazy route, or fastest route. I live here now, but I also used it in Bogota and it helped me a lot 🙂

  3. I am planning a move to Medellin in the near future.

    Here in the states, T-Mobile is offering a plan offering unlimited text and data in hundreds of countries.

    Anybody in Medellin using T-Mobile One Plan? How well does it work?

    • Hi Norm,

      I haven’t run into anyone using T-Mobile. But according to T-Mobile’s One Plan on their website for Colombia it offers unlimited data and text in Colombia and $0.20/min calls.

      • I have the T.Mobile plan. Works well, but seems a bit expensive.
        Bill runs about $60 per month with fees and taxes.
        The 20 cents a minute to and from the U.S. adds up so I avoid that as much as possible.
        I get many marketing calls from the U.S. Even if you don’t answer them you get charged the 20 cents.
        If I don’t recognize a number I don’t answer it and then I block it.
        Using WhatAp is great for staying in touch with everyone here and back in the States. and is free
        And of course texting to the states is free. Sending fotos by whatsap is much faster than text.
        Also carry a second small phone for local calls and texting. Just put on the prepaid minutes.

        • Thanks Peter.

          T-Mobile just lowered their rates to two lines for $100 a month, all inclusive. No extra taxes and fees.

          I like the fact that I can get on a plane, fly somewhere, be it Europe or South America and my phone works right away. No fumbling with SIM cards which are easy to misplace when they are out of the phone.

          Nobody gets my real T-Mobile number. I use Google Voice and had my old AT&T number ported to Google Voice. Got a new secret number from T-Mobile.

          Google Voice is free of any monthly fees after the $20 porting fee. I can choose to forward (or not forward) )my incoming calls to any US number no matter where I am physically.

          Google voice also transcribes all my voice mails and can text or e-mail them to me.

          So to beat the 20 cents, use Google Hangouts or Skype. Just turn the forwarding to a US Skype In number. You’ll receive the call via Skype under your free data plan. No 20 cents. Turn off VM on Skype and if the call is not answered, it will go to voicemail on Google Voice. You’ll get the transcripts for free and can return the calls to the States using data access and not the expensive voice network.

          I don’t have a good solution for in-country voice calls, plus my Spanish sucks. But for in country friends of course What’sApp in English.

        • tmobile and google fi are the ways to go.
          I have tmobile, it works great.

  4. Thomas E Mayer Jr says:

    Jeff, could please do an article on using the Metro/bus system with the prepaid fare card? How it works; where to buy; easiest place to add pesos,etc? If Medellin Living already has such an article, please let me know and I will look for it.

    Thanks.
    Tom

    • Hi Tom, there is an updated article about the metro system here: http://medellinliving.com/medellin-metro/

      • Thomas E Mayer Jr says:

        Yeah, I save most your articles but somehow missed this one. I spend a lot of time on travel blogs reading and learning. You guys are number one, the very best. My move to Medellín is going to be so much easier then it ever was to Costa Rica. I will see you I hope at the August get together.

        Thanks,
        Tom

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