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.
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 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.
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.
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.
5. Medellín Guide by Medellín Living – iPhone – 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?