Taxis provide great convenience. But what if you knew the best bus routes in Medellín as well?
You could save a lot of money, at least 2 million pesos a year (about $1,000).
If you don’t take the bus, we understand. It’s a complicated system.
We’re not talking about the Metroplus: that has easy-to-follow routes that go to only certain parts of the city.
The Metro is even easier. There are two lines, one that runs north-south, the other east-west, with a couple of Metrocables.
Well that’s why we’re here.
We’ve written about taking the bus before, a long time ago, and there are some good tips in that story. This is a follow-up to it. So instead of telling you how to take the bus, we’re going to tell you the best bus routes in Medellín for foreigners, the ones that get you to your favorite destinations.
Hold on tight…these bus drivers sometimes seem like they’re racing…
1. Ruta Hotelera
Some of the most important stops along these routes include:
- Terminal del Sur: Here you can take buses to other parts of the country or take a domestic flight at the small airport next door, Enrique Olaya Herrera.
- La Milla del Oro: The Golden Mile, an opulent stretch of Avenida Poblado, is known for its business centers, malls, nightclubs and restaurants.
- The Hills: No, not that lame reality show that made a bunch of idiots famous. I’m talking about the hills of Poblado, where you’ll find some of the best shopping and eating, as well as some of the city’s most posh apartments.
- Parques Lleras and Parque Poblado: The two areas are known for their nightlife and restaurants.
- La 70: This is the Parque Lleras of Laureles.
- Avenida Nutibara: One of the main arteries of Laureles, you’ll find clubs, restaurants, grocery stores and a new theater along this stretch.
You can’t miss them. They are the bright yellow buses that run between downtown Medellín and Envigado that say — wait for it — ENVIGADO on the front.
There are four different buses:
Two run along Avenida Poblado. One of them says La Paz on the front. This one goes to the neighborhoods in the southern part of the suburb.
The other one says Rosellon. This one goes to the hills in the eastern part of the city.
These are the same two options for the other two buses, only they run along Avenida Las Vegas.
Along the routes, you’ll pass landmarks such as:
- Ciudad del Rio/Museo del Arte Moderno: Spend a day here and enjoy not just the museum, but Ciudad del Rio’s beautiful park, a delicious lunch at Bonuar, and great coffee at Cariñito Café.
- Universidad EAFIT: Foreigners often take Spanish classes here, although there are other more economical options such as CIE Spanish school and I Speak Paisa.
- Every Metro station from San Antonio in El Centro to Envigado in, well, you know.
- Milla de Oro
- Several major malls (Monterey, Premium Plaza, Punto Clave, San Diego)
- Parque San Antonio
- Parques Lleras and Poblado
3. Circular Sur 302 and 303
Like the other routes, you’ll pass places such as malls (Monterey), parks (Parque de Las Luces and Parque de Los Pies Descalzos) and nightlife districts (La 70), the most important place along the way is Migración Colombia.
If you’re staying in Medellín more than three months, it is essential you familiarize yourself with this office or you will be staying here illegally. It’s really easy to renew your tourist Visa.
Most people take a taxi to the international airport, José María Córdova. There is a cheaper option.
Outside Centro Comercial San Diego, there is a bus stop along Las Palmas where a white bus with green trim and big letters that say AEROPUERTO will take you to the international airport for 9,000 pesos (about $4.50). But you might wait a while if you go there, as a reader pointed out in the comments, hence this late addition to the post.
The bus originates outside the Hotel Nutibara in downtown Medellín, near the Plaza de Botero.
A taxi costs 60,000 pesos (about $30) unless you are in a collectivo, or shared taxi, which will cost 15,000 (about $7.50).
If I’m making a trip that does not require me to take a lot of luggage, I opt for the airport bus.
5. Santa Elena
You’ll find these blue buses at a stop in El Centro, on a street called the Ayacucho. The bus stop is about four blocks east of the Oriental, where the big Iglesia de San José is.
The bus will take you to what is esentially downtown Santa Elena, where you can take other buses toward Parque Arví.
On your way, you should eat at Uchuva Lounge. Just call ahead. These days, they’re open by reservation only for groups of six or more.
You can ride the Santa Elena bus the opposite way as well, if you’ve already taken the Metrocable to Arví and want to take a different route home.