When first arriving in Medellín, or anywhere in Colombia, it takes a minute or two to understand the set up of the city. And, without a map or a local explaining it to you, it may take even longer.
So how do you locate street addresses in Medellin?
Reading the Map
There are Carreras (Avenues) and Calles (Streets), which run perpendicular to one another, with a few exceptions. It sounds easy enough.
However, when you have to find an address, you will be given something that looks like this:
Kr 72 no. 14-28
Let me break it down for you:
- Kr 72 = Carrera 72
- no. 14 = Calle 14
- 28 = the house/ building number between Calle 14 and Calle 14a or Calle 15
Cl 10a no. 66b-24
- Cl 10a = Calle 10a
- no. 66b – Carrera 66b
- 24 = the house/building number between Carrera 66b and Carrera 66c
Then to make it even more interesting they will throw in a transversal, circular, and a diagonal every once in a while.* The map above will give you an example of a K, Carrera, C, Calle and Circular
The most well-known streets running through Medellin, which usually include many restaurants and clubs are:
- Calle 10
- Calle 30
- Calle 33
- Calle 44 (San Juan)
- Calle 50 (Colombia)
- Carrera 43a (Avenida Poblado)
- Carrera 46 (Oriental, crosses Downtown)
- Carrera 52 (Guayabal)
- Carrera 64 (Regional)
- Carrera 65
- Carrera 76 (crosses Belen)
- Carrera 80
Local Tip #1
Many streets do not have “Walk/ Don’t Walk” signs. Therefore, you have to be very careful and look every which way before crossing the street. Especially around the round-a-bouts.
You may think you have a clearing and then a bus will round the corner at very high speeds forcing you to book it to the other side. Drivers do not slow down for you here. Run.
Local Tip #2
Motorcycles do not always follow the same rules as the other cars. They act more like cyclists in the fact that they may run a red light if they see no cars are coming from the perpendicular street ahead of them. Stay alert, and be extra cautious with them.
Local Tip #3
When walking down the street, always check the street number you are on. Sometimes the Carrera or Calle will change even though you have not switched streets.
Hm. I did wonder about the address where I’m staying Cl7 no. 8-53, but because it’s such a small village and I’m always with someone who lives there, I never really gave much thought to the breakdown so thanks for think. Learn something new every day….
I found spending time on Google Maps helped me get the hang of how the streets are laid out, at least in Medellin. When I was in Jardin last weekend, like most pueblos, a simple grid system makes it easy to get around without worrying about street addresses.
I was given an address that I hope you can help me interpret:
cra 4G #57-40
does the cra 46 stand for the house number?
The house is on carrera 4G, 40 meters from the corner of carrera 57?
Thanks in advance for your help.
Cra is short for Carrera (which heads north/south in the city). Think of it as “avenue”
Calle goes east/west. Think of it as “street”
So Carrera 46 is the name of the avenue. #57 is the name of the closest calle, or cross street. #40 is the address/location of the residence.
It has to be either Carrera 46 or 4G, it can’t be both, at least not the way you wrote it.
Google Maps doesn’t do well with street addresses in Medellin.
Hi David, thanks for your prompt reply!
I gave the flower delivery people this apparently incorrect address and they managed to find it somehow, lol. I asked her about it yesterday and she said 46 is her house number, does this make sense if you remove the cra in front of the number 46?
So the house is on 4G, 40 meters from the corner of carrera 57, number 46? Does this make sense?
Or does it simple have to be one or the other cra 46 or cra 57?
She should know how to tell me her address and I should understand he but, she is kind of young and we are struggling with each others idioms….
“Or does it simple have to be one or the other cra 46 or cra 57?”
what I meant is
Or does it simple have to be one or the other cra 46 or cra 4G?
so confused in socal….
I’ve still never heard of a distance like “40 meters” being referred to in an address. That doesn’t sound right to me.
Almost always, it’s a Carrera + Calle (or vice versa, Calle + Carrera). Plus, there are some odd ones like “Transversal” and “Diagonal”
But it is! That’s how the nomenclature in Colombia was originally designed. Let’s see this address: Carrera 2 # 6-89. This is a building located on Carrera 2 and it’s main door is 89 meters away from the intersection of said carrrera with calle 6. With the passing of time it has degenerated into ‘building 89’ On Carrera 2 between calle 6 y calle 7. And that is a *big* assumption. How do you know the next street over is calle 7 and no calle 6a?..
I need to send a UPS express mail package to Bogota and was given the following address, but can find it on google maps to verify its accuracy.
Carrera #4A #30-14
Casa de la Circulo?
I know I’m missing some information from the address… can you help me!?
Google maps has a hard time with Colombian addresses.
“Carrera #4A #30-14” is the important part. I think as long as you include “La Macarena” which is the neighborhood I believe, and “Bogota, Colombia” you should be OK.
Can’t you verify the address with the receiver?
I was able to verify with the receiver; thanks! I had a time crunch & couldn’t get a hold of them.
Thanks for your prompt reply!!
to locate and address you can visit http://direccionesdecolombia.com
5/26/15–visiting there soon in Sept with a group.How is this address interpreted:
calle 9 Sur No 79c-56
Thanks for the help in advance A/D
Street 9 south near avenue 79C, building #56
I’m guessing “INT 1350” is either an apartment or office number within the building.
Hey David LEE,
Thks- that clears it up We were thinking” INT1350″ was some kind of zip code-HA
make sense now that it is in the bldg like u say. just could be that too-an apartment /office number
How easy it is & sensible when your in the know
Have a great wknd!!! A/D & friends
INT stands for interno (internal), which is an apartment # or office number in a building.
Medellín and the rest of Colombia does have zip codes but almost nobody uses them. Only FedEx to my knowledge usually requires them to ship to Colombia. I recently had something shipped to me in Medellín and FedEx wanted a zip code. But it is difficult to find out your zip code as nobody seems to use them. Administration in my building didn’t know the zip code. I had to search for a while on the Internet to find out my zip code is 050026. Medellín has over 40 zip codes per FedEx and this isn’t counting additional zip codes in other municipalities in the metro like Bello, Envigado, Sabaneta, La Estrella, etc.
I don’t believe USPS International requires a zip code for Colombia, as I’ve used them the last few years.
They’re cheaper than FedEx, for documents at least, and the service has been reliable (includes tracking code). I don’t recall supplying a zip code for FedEx or DHL in the past, but it’s been a few years since I used either.
I had problems with DHL for both sending and receiving so I won’t ever use them again. DHL opened a document package I sent from Medellín to the US with several envelopes inside and opened each individual envelope and mixed up the contents – so I had big problems. And they screwed up a delivery of important documents sent to me in Medlelín that arrived much later than scheduled (6 days late).
Kinda wish GPS coordinates were more of a thing. I used them extensively in Thailand (and Korea, to a lesser extent) since the addressing system in those countries were a joke. (It’s been modernized in Korea, though the old address system of neighborhoods and districts will hang on for years to come. Thailand? Not a chance.)
In the meantime, is there a good syntax or way or typing an address into Google Maps that it recognizes? I’ve tried several ways, and have ended up finding the calle, then scrolling until I found the carrera, or vice versa…
In my experience, no. I’ll usually give Google Maps a shot based on the street address, but I then know to manually verify the marker is in the right spot. Often it’s not, and sometimes it can be all the way across the city. Eventually, the accuracy will be improved, but I don’t get the sense Google has been in any rush.
Actually the number after the dash is commonly used (or referred to) as ‘building number’ but in reality is not.
Calle 34 # 66B-36 is a structure located on calle 34 and it’s door is 36 meters away from the intersection of calle 34 with carrera 66B. If a structure has several ‘doors’ each one has it’s own markings… No split between even/odd as in many countries. You can see -36 and -41 right next to each other.. This throws some people for a loop!
Here’s a good summary:
Ministerio de Technologies addressee
Edificio Murillo Toro building
Cra. 8a entre calles 12 y 13 street intersection between two calles
BOGOTA 111711 locality + postcode
Urban with sub-locality
Calle 32a Sur Transversal 68b-25 street intersection -25 of meters from junction
Alqueria La Fragua sub-locality
LOCALIDAD KENNEDY 110841 locality + postcode
BOGOTA D.C. province
PLANETA RICA 233057 locality + postcode
Streets can be:
Carrera (South-North) normal road
Calle (East-West) normal road
Transversal transversal dual carriage way (same as carrera)
Diagonale diagonal dual carriage way (same as calle)
Calle 32a Sur Transversal 68b-25 Complete intersection address
Calle 32a Sur First road – Calle 32a South
Transversal 68b Second road – crossing the first
-25 Address is 25 meters from intersection of roads
I have an address that i need to find a zipcode for so I can send a parcel.
Any ideas how I go about this?
Carrera 16a no 78-63
Try this site: http://www.geopostcodes.com/Colombia
Hello, I have a shipping address to Columbia I am trying to make sure is correct.
Department from Santander, city bucaramanga
Street 94 number 48-37 680003
How would I write this to make sure it is correct?
Start with spelling Colombia with a ‘o”.
Good day , Please i was wondering if you could help me locste a home address in medellin. (CARRERA 26 E #38 B 81 INTERIOR 201 AVILA , MEDELLIN COLOMBIA) . Thank you , and respectfully. PAUL J. LOMBARDO.