Transportation in Colombia - The Traveller


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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Transportation in Colombia

National Transportation - Airplane

Colombia has five international airports (Bogota, Medellín, Cali, Barranquilla and Cartagena). Its network is one of the most developed in Latin America. 75% of traffic is managed by Alianza Suma, an association of the three main national companies: Avianca, Areo Republica and Intercontinental de Aviacion.

More than on quality or price, it is mostly visited by region that will be the choice of a particular company. The flights are not very economical, but can save considerable time and are the safer choice for travel from city to city. Avianca and Aero Republica offer pass to those who perform several domestic flights. It is best to inquire at the counter of each company at the airport in Bogota.


This is the primary means of locomotion of Colombians, the network extending to the smallest villages. Andean terrain and numerous stops explain the length of trips (over 20 h to connect Bogota to Cartagena!). The laces can cause nausea if you are prone to motion sickness, and country roads, often (very) bad shape, do not make the ride very comfortable.

There are many companies and destinations served are usually several times a day. Except for periods of Christmas and Easter, you can buy a ticket the same day to the central terminal. The prices are very reasonable and even economic.

There are three types of buses:

- Ordinary buses (corriente, sensillo), old and overloaded, stopping regularly to pick up passengers on the road;

- The first class bus (Pullman, metropolitano, directo), more modern and comfortable;

- Air-conditioned buses (climatizado, ejecutivo), the most comfortable, especially at night flowing on very long distances.

Be sure to inquire before departure, that the bus does not pass through sensitive areas and discouraged.

The Pullman company is one of the safest.


The roads are in very good condition, and traffic is often not respected. There are signs international car rental at airports and major cities, but the rates are higher (better then book from France). Renting a car is not reasonable as on country roads where guerrillas and paramilitaries may crack, in the city where driving is difficult and chaotic. If you do decide to rent for long distances, do not leave without spare tire, fuel reserve, mobile phone and provisions.

However, occasionally rent a vehicle to visit the regions can be quiet interesting. In this case, get yourself an international driver's license and try to use a 4x4.

It is not advisable to drive at night.


It is not recommended and practiced.

Urban transport


They are taken to paradors in major cities or along the streets shouting for the driver. Often crowded with loud music, as almost everywhere in South America, this is a distillation of life and color. There are long bus, bus identical to French, collecticos, busetas (connecting two cities) or minibus (taxis), and wooden chivas, national symbol, American schoolbus multicolored display their blessings on the windshield. However, they seem destined to disappear. In Bogota, the new system, the TransMilenio, bus expressways, has won the heart of the people. No more monstrous traffic jams. Transmilenio should soon appear in other cities.


They are yellow and black, practical and not very expensive. Metered in large cities (some forget to turn it!). Safety Tips: Never hail a taxi in the street, and not borrow as radio taxis in advance by telephone. Do not get in a taxi that already has someone in the back, as the cases of robberies are common.

It should be noted that some taxis willing to drive you from one city to another. The ride is more comfortable than buses.

Metro de Medellín

After years of study, Bogota has finally abandoned the construction of its subway.

Medellín, Antioquia department, is the only Colombian city with the metro since 1995. The Metro de Medellín is open Monday to Saturday from 4:30 to 23h and Sundays from 5 am to 22h. Tickets cost the equivalent of U.S. $ 0.82.

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