Editor’s Note: According to a response one of our readers received from Aviatur, this service is no longer being offered as of December 1, 2015.
The following is a guest post by José Leyba.
I’ve been visiting Medellín for several years, so I was intrigued when a friend told me about the new helicopter taxi service in the city.
My buddy had taken the helicopter from the international airport into the city and was totally jazzed by the experience, so I decided to give it a try when I returned to the States earlier this month. Anything that saves time and sounds exciting always appeals to me.
Operated by Aviatur S.A., the helicopter taxi takes up to five passengers to/from Rio Negro José María Córdova International Airport (MDE) to Olaya Herrera Airport (EOH) in the city in less than 10 minutes per trip.
You can book your trip on Aviatur’s website. They offer a variety of transportation services, so you’ll want to click on the “Helicopteros” button to reserve your flight.
Aviatur also has walk-in offices in the departure area of both airports. The one in Rio Negro is not far from the American Airlines ticket counter.
- The flight took less than seven minutes from takeoff to landing. You can see a video of the entire flight above. It was amazing. A very smooth ride, no turbulence to speak of, even though we flew through a minor rain squall.
- Their helicopter is a modern Italian executive model (I think Mauricio mentioned it was made by Agusta?).
- I was the only passenger, so I sat in the front seat next to the pilot.
- Incredible views of Medellin (watch the video).
- Service is exceptional. I was checked in by a friendly Aviatur representative, then walked through the security checkpoint and out to the landing pad by Mauricio, who was pleasant and helpful.
- When I arrived at Rio Negro I was driven to the terminal by the company’s gerente (manager); Aviatur had decided to stop service on Sundays just after I booked my flight. Even so they operated this one flight just for me instead of cancelling it.
- The manager took me in his BMW X1 for the two-minute drive to the airport terminal. I felt like a real VIP.
- At the airport terminal, I found my carry-on waiting for me in the Aviatur office.
- The cost for the service is 150,000 pesos (about $50 USD at current exchange rates – ground taxis charge 60,000 to 70,000 pesos, but of course, the trip takes a lot longer).
- There’s a weight restriction on luggage and carry-ons, so if you have anything weighing more than 10 kilos (22 lbs) you’ll have to check it with Aviatur, and they will deliver these bags to your hotel via ground transportation; if you’re flying from the city to Rio Negro, they will pick up your bags from your hotel or apartment early on the morning of your flight (around 8 a.m.).
- Transporting your bags will cost you 44,000 pesos, although I believe it’s a flat rate, not per bag.
- They only fly from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. If your flight arrives in Rio Negro after 5 p.m., you’re out of luck.
- As of November 1, 2015, they no longer offer service on Sundays or Colombian holidays.
It’s not for everyone, but it was certainly a fun experience. I’ll definitely do it again if I have the chance.
About the Author: Jose Leyba is a technology company executive based in Miami, Florida. He enjoys visiting other countries for work and play, and Medellín is one of his favorite cities in the world. Other than as a satisfied customer, Jose has zero affiliation with or interest in Aviatur.