2,250 Colombian Pesos
Quick & simple
Beautiful views with cable metro
Medellin is the only city in Colombia with a metro. And that’s really nice, since you probably have blisters on your feet from climbing Piedra el Peñol. So it’s time to let your feet relax! When you watch your belongings closely and avoid travelling in the rush hour, you’re going to like the Medellin Metro. The routes and stations are really clear and another bonus: it’s cheap. In this article you find everything you need to know about: routes, costs, safety and a bonus tip: the route to Park Arví with the cable metro in Medellin (it’s really cool!).
You can seriously travel the whole city by metro. Even the most remote places in the mountains can be reached because a special cable metro has been constructed. There are several metro lines, bus lines and even a tram line in Medellin. Over the years there’ve been 4 metro cables constructed and even 2 more are now in development. At every station there are a couple of very clear and easy to find maps that give you an overview of all these public transport lines in Medellin:
- 2 metro lines: A and B
- 1 tram line: T-A
- 3 bus lines: 1, 2 and 3
- 4 different cable metro lines: H, J, K and L
- 2 extra cable metro lines coming soon: M and P
You can also check out this map of the Metro de Medellin to see all stops and routes.
Costs Medellin metro
Of course you need a ticket to travel by metro. This ticket has the size of a credit card. You can buy a one-time pass or a pass that you can top up, such as an OV chip card in the Netherlands. When you transfer from the metro to the cable metro you can travel on the same ticket. However, if you transfer to the tram or bus, you will have to pay again (unless you have the OV chip card thing).
You can buy a one-time pass at the ticket counters that you will find at each station. At the gates you can scan your pass or put it in a slot. For a one-time ticket you have to do the latter, your pass will be swallowed up immediately and can then be re-bought & reused by someone else. A single journey on the metro in Medellin currently costs you (April 2019) 2,550 Colombian Pesos. That is less than one euro. You can use this to drive one stop or a hundred, as long as you don’t leave the metro system.
It becomes even cheaper when you buy a card that you can top up. You can compare this with an OV chip card in the Netherlands or a Leap card in Ireland. It can only be purchased at four different stations: San Antonio, Niquía, San Javier and Itagüí. We didn’t buy one in the couple of days of our stay, because there was always a very long line here when we passed San Antonio. The advantage of such a metro card is that you save around 10% on the ticket price (which we were unable to check because we didn’t buy one) and you won’t have to stand in line each time to buy a single ticket (which we can confirm, they can be very long).
Safety in the metro of Medellin
Even the locals have their backpacks in front instead of on their backs as soon as they enter the metro. And even if you’re able to spot one with their bag on the back, you’ll find this will quickly change when a sketchy person enters the metro. In the metro itself there’s no security guards. You’ll find some at each station though.
At each station there are one or two security guards and if something happens a whole bunch of police officers is present. The latter happened once in those 4 days when we were using the metro (unfortunately we never found out what it was about). So it seems that it isn’t uncommon for something sketchy to happen in the metro of Medellin. Therefore we recommend you to always pay close attention to your belongings: put everything in one bag and keep your hand on it or put everything in your backpack and keep it in front of you. If you just pay attention and don’t take the metro in the bad neighbourhoods after dark, it’s quite allright. But I guess that goes for most of the cities around the world with a metro system.
Medellin metro and rush hour
Avoid the metro between 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM or brace yourself for some serious pushing. The metro is quite busy all day long, but with rush hour it’s likely to happen that you’ll have to let one or two trains pass before one comes along that has one tiny space for you. In the Netherlands we compare it with a can of sardines… It is very difficult to watch your belongings when being so close to one-other and a bunch of people getting in and out every 30 seconds. Oh and: The trains run every 2 minutes during rush hour, so having to let one or two pass before you fit in is not so bad.
Cable metro to Arví Park
It is highly recommended to take the cable metro to Arví Park. You buy a ticket for 2,550 Colombian Pesos and travel via metro line A (from the center towards Niquía) and get off at the Acevedo stop. Here you switch to metro cable line K to Santo Domingo. At Santo Domingo you have to change to the next cable metro, line L, which will take you to Arví. For line L you have to pay 6,000 Colombian Pesos per person, because this also applies as entrance fee to the park. And it’s well worth it!
The ride from Acevedo takes about 10 minutes and gives you an extensive view over the remote neighbourhoods in the mountains. You hover over the houses and you can feel the atmosphere of the neighbourhoods that were once very unsafe – and now only a little. The ride from Santo Domingo to Arví brings you over beautiful nature on top of the mountain and is worth 6,000 pesos alone. Then you will arrive in Arví where you can walk many different routes, to archaeological findings and waterfalls. This is a perfect trip for when you’re in Medellin and want to escape the busy city life for an afternoon. It’s definitely recommended!
So how to travel by metro in Medellin?
It’s quite easy actually: you buy a ticket, put it in the machine at the gates and walk to the platform. There are plenty of signs that point you into the right direction and every stop is announced in the metro itself. If you cannot understand the announcement, you can also just look out of the window because there are many signs telling you what station you’re at. It’s really hard to get lost in the metro system. For less than 1 euro you can get from one side to the other side of the city and you can catch different cable subways for great views. The only thing you really have to pay attention to is your stuff.
Always watch your belongings closely
Queueing for a single ticket or queueing even more for a multiple ride ticket