Airports in Colombia II: Jose Maria Cordova in Medellín & Rafael Núñez in Cartagena

A couple of months ago, I wrote a post about the new international wing of El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá. Today, I want to talk to you about two other major airports in Colombia that you may pass through or enter Colombia through during your travels.

The first airport I want to give you information about is the Jose Maria Cordova International Airport in the city of Medellín. The first thing you need to know about this airport is that it is not actually in Medellín—it is in the municipality of Rionegro, which lies about 45 minutes to an hour outside the city. This means that if you arrive at this airport, you will need to either take a private taxi, shared taxi or a bus to the actual city of Medellín. A taxi can cost you about 54.000 COP (17 GBP / 28 USD) while a bus will cost you 12.000 COP (4 GBP /  6 USD), and a shared taxi about 15.000 COP (5 GBP / 8 USD)1. If you only have carry on luggage or a small suitcase, the bus will be the cheapest and perhaps easiest way to travel into the city. If you have a large suitcase or multiple suitcases, you may want to pay for a shared taxi or private taxi, as the bus does not have that much room for luggage.

Botero Plaza, Medellín

Botero Plaza, Medellín

Now that you know where the airport is and how to get to and from, let’s talk about the airport itself. Inside Jose Maria Cordova Airport, you’ll find a host of services before you go through security. You will find a food court with several fast food options on the second floor of the airport, and on the first you will find everything from small book stores, to coffee shops, gourmet food shops, bakeries, and jewellery and clothing shops. Once you go past security, however, there are not many shops. There is a small bar where you can get coffee, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, and a few snacks such as cold sandwiches, and you’ll also find another small book store and snack shop.

The second airport I want to tell you about is the busiest airport on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia, the Rafael Núñez International Airport in Cartagena. Unlike Jose Maria Cordova International Airport in Medellín, Rafael Núñez International Airport is located within the city of Cartagena and is easily and cheaply accessed by local buses, intercity buses, and taxis. If you are arriving to Rafael Núñez International Airport and are looking to get to the city, be sure you get an official taxi voucher from the taxi stand located near the baggage claim area—this voucher will have the price you should pay, according to your destination; there are no taxi meters in Cartagena, and you should pay no more than 20.000 COP (7 GBP / 11 USD) to get from the airport to anywhere in Bocagrande, Ciudad Amurallada or Getsemaní. You can also catch a local bus by walking from the airport to the main road running through the neighbourhood of El Crespo—70th Street, and this should cost no more than 1.500 COP (0.50p).

View of Bocagrande from the Walled City, Cartagena

View of Bocagrande from the Walled City, Cartagena

I have never personally travelled through Rafael Núñez International Airport, so the information I have concerning services available inside the airport come from friends who have travelled through it. Some of the shops I have been told you can find in the airport include the Colombian luggage brand Totto, the children’s toy shop Imaginarium, a book store, and a souvenir shop. In addition to those stores, I have been told that there are also a variety of restaurants and coffee shops in the airport, mainly once you pass security and enter the national flight wing.

That being said, while El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá is the busiest airport in Colombia and most likely where you will enter the country, Jose Maria Cordova in Medellin and Rafael Núñez International Airport in Cartagena both receive flights from various international destinations including Miami, United States, New York, United States, Panama City, Panama, Lima, Peru, and others. So, I hope that if you pass through either of these airports during your travels in Colombia this post will provide you with some helpful information.

Until next time,

Paige M. Poole

About the author:

 “Paige M. Poole is an Alabamian and traveler at heart who has settled, for now, in Barranquilla, Colombia, and earns her living as an English professor at the Instituto de Idiomas (Language Institute) at la Universidad del Norte (University of the North). When not teaching English, she enjoys blogging, traveling, relaxing on the beach, and spending time with her partner and two cats, Milo and Sophie. You can see more of Paige’s traveling experiences in her personal blog



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