rental car medellin
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Should You Rent a Car in Medellín? (Don’t Do THIS)

If you’re planning to rent a car when visiting Medellín, there are a few things you need to be aware of.

From our experience living in the city, the best way to get around Medellín is by public transport. But if you do need to rent a car to explore things outside of the city, here’s our advice on how to do it with as little hassle as possible.

This guide gives an overview of the rental process and helpful tips to avoid some of the common issues.

We’ll also share our recommended ways to get around Medellín without a rental car.

rental car medellin

Renting a Car in Medellín: What’s the Issue?

Renting a car in Medellín can be quite daunting at first. It’s not going to be the best choice for the average traveler.

The streets are narrow and the traffic can be mad, so it takes a little bit of getting used to.

If your heart is set on it though, then we’ve got some tips to help you navigate the potential pitfalls and dangers.

1. Do Your Research

medellin car rental
Try researching rental car comparison sites

When it comes to renting a car in Medellín, it pays to do your research.

There are a variety of rental companies to choose from, so having a clear understanding of the local rules and regulations is key to finding the right option.

Before renting a car in Medellín, you should consider:

  • The different types of companies to consider
  • Any paperwork that must be filled out
  • What questions you should ask to ensure that you get the best deal

Search for rental cars in Medellín with Discover Cars.

2. Decide what type of car you need

what car medellin

When planning to rent a car, it’s important to decide what kind of car you will need.

Different types of cars can be used for different purposes and the type of car that works best for you will depend on the specific needs you have when traveling.

For example, if you are planning to drive around the city and explore, an economy car may work best for you.

On the other hand, if you are taking a longer road trip to Guatapé for example, an SUV may provide more comfort for your passengers.

guatape colombia
The view from the top of the rock in Guatapé

When deciding what type of car best suits your needs, consider your budget, space requirements for passengers and luggage, and your preference for luxury or affordability.

It’s also important to ensure that the rental company has the type of vehicle that is suitable for your needs rather than just settling on whatever is available.

Search for rental cars in Medellin

For our road trip to Guatape, we rented a minivan.

3. Compare rental companies

decide which rental car colombia

It’s important to compare rental companies and do some research before you rent a car in Medellín, Colombia.

You can easily check reviews and ratings online, or ask friends and family who have rented cars in the city. It’s best to choose a company that suits your needs, budget, travel dates, and the size of vehicle you require.

Search for rental cars in Medellin

4. Medellín Safety Concerns

medellin safety for renting a car

Renting a car in Medellín, Colombia, is not always the best choice. Although there are plenty of car rental options available, there are certain safety considerations you need to think about first.

Here are some of the risks you could encounter:

  • Poor road quality can make driving tricky. The roads within the city streets are winding and narrow and can be damaged by floods or bad weather. Take extra care when following road signs and stick to familiar routes you already know.
  • At rush hour, navigating the city is harder, as traffic clogs up the roads. Make sure you give yourself enough time to reach your destination without having to rush!
  • Carjackings still happen, even though major crimes have decreased in the city. Leaving cars unattended on the streets at night, or driving through potentially dangerous areas is still a risk.
  • Police cars blend in, so don’t drive aggressively if you don’t want to be pulled over.

Before renting a car in Medellín, just consider the possible dangers first.

As with anywhere, if you follow the rules of the road and use your common sense, you should still have a great rental experience.

5. Cost of Renting a Car in Medellín

cost and availability

Renting a car in Medellín, Colombia can be a great choice, but it’s definitely not the cheapest option.

The costs of renting a car are relatively high compared to other forms of transport. For example, petrol costs around 40 pesos per liter, while taxis and Ubers cost around 19 pesos per mile.

Additionally, some rental companies have been known to overcharge customers or add extra fees, so it’s recommended to ask around and research costs before renting.

cost of renting in medellin

Availability is another issue. Medellín has plenty of car rental companies around the city, but it can sometimes be hard to find the right car at the right time.

To avoid disappointment, it’s best to book ahead of time, especially if you are not using big-name companies like Hertz or Avis.

To make sure you don’t miss out, we recommend using Discover Cars.

medellin rental car advice

Alternatives to Renting a Car in Medellín

Driving in Medellín can be tricky, especially if you don’t know the city. That’s why we generally recommend public transport instead.

Let’s take a look at the different public transport options in Medellín.

We’ll also share some of our top tips for getting around Medellín.

1. Public Transportation

medellin public transport

Public transport in Medellin is cheap and convenient. It’s called Metro de Medellín and includes funiculars, cable cars, and buses.

Visa or debit cards are accepted, as well as cash, and you can get the Metro card to make everything more convenient.

Benefits include avoiding traffic, better access to tourist spots, experiencing local living, and sustainability.

medellin bus system

For your own safety, keep possessions close and secure, wear a pocket or money belt for wallets/passports, and try to avoid empty buses/stations at night.

Here are some quick safety tips for Medellín public transport:

  • Keep possessions close and secure.
  • Wear a pocket or money belt for wallets/passports.
  • Avoid empty buses/stations at night.
  • Travel with friends/family for increased security.

How to Get Around Medellín: Our Complete Guide

2. Taxis

taxis in medellin

Taxis are a great alternative to renting a car in Medellín, Colombia as you can find them easily and hail them from anywhere in the city.

The fare usually starts at 5,000 Colombian pesos and is charged incrementally (per km). Before setting off, it’s always best to agree on the fare.

Look for the ‘Taxi’ sign on top, the white number on the side, and an all-yellow paint job to spot one.

Taxis are great for short trips around town or beyond city limits – for example, shopping or a day trip. Drivers from taxi stands tend to be reliable and friendly and you will usually have to pay in cash.

3. Ride-Sharing Services

can you uber in medellin

Ride-sharing services are also very popular in Medellín.

Uber, Lyft, Didi, and Taxify are all available in the city. These apps let you request a ride from a pro driver.

It can be way easier than public transport or driving yourself, and it saves you the hassle of explaining where you’re going.

But, remember that ride-sharing can cost more than other local taxis.

Medellín rental car

How to Rent A Car in Medellín

To conclude, renting a car in Medellín can be a little bit difficult and public transport might be your better option.

Make sure you have a good understanding of the city’s traffic laws and the car rental company’s policies before you set out.

Try to read customer reviews and shop around for the best deal, and always get proper insurance.

Here are some quick tips to keep in mind:

  • Know the city’s traffic laws and rental policies before signing.
  • Understand the costs and get proper insurance.
  • Read customer reviews and shop around for the best deal.
  • Research pick-up times, prices, and additional fees.

Our Medellín Digital Nomad Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to rent a car in Medellín, Colombia?

It can be challenging to rent a car in Medellín, Colombia due to high levels of crime and other road safety issues. It is generally safer to use reliable public transportation or ride hailing apps, unless you are an experienced driver.

What is the best way to get around Medellín, Colombia?

The best way to get around Medellín, Colombia is to use public transportation, such as the metro or the buses. If you want to travel outside the city though, it may require you to use a rental car.

What should I do if I need to rent a car in Medellín, Colombia?

If you need to rent a car in Medellín, Colombia, it is best to use a reliable car service. Make sure to always use a secure and insured car service, and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

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