Back in California, I never took the bus to get anywhere. I had my own car or my friends would pick me up. I probably rode the bus two or three times and that was just to get to soccer practice.
Here in Medellin, I take the bus everyday to everywhere I go. Medellin has many transit systems all around the city. There’s the Metro, Metro Plus, Metro Cable, taxis, Uber, buses, Encilca, and now the Tranvia which will open to the public in November. They are also about to start a Monorail project.
These are all great ways to get around the city and I will further explain each one in a later blog post, but for now I would like to highlight the buses in Medellin.
Buses in Medellin
There are tons of bus routes and different kinds of buses in Medellin. Trust me, it can get confusing and you may get lost, like I have many times before. If you’re not sure which bus to take, simply ask the bus driver, don’t be shy because he will help. You can even ask him to let you know when your spot is coming up. You can also check this website out for the different bus routes in Medellin.
I live in the Laureles neighborhood, which is close to where the soccer stadium is. However, I work in El Poblado neighborhood, which is across town. The best bus for me to take is the Circular Sur 302 or 303, which costs 1.800 COP, which is what all buses fares cost. This bus literally goes around the whole city in one big circle. I get dropped off at the bottom of Calle 10 on Avenida Las Vegas right next to the El Poblado Metro station.
Taking the bus from Laureles to El Poblado takes me a long time, it can take up to almost an hour and half depending on the time of day and the traffic. I could take a cab and get to Poblado in shorter time, but to be honest I enjoy waking up early to catch the bus.
You never know who you will meet on the bus; it could be a new friend, a new girl, or maybe someone that you can do business with.
One of the many things you will notice here in Medellin or throughout Colombia is their driving. I am used to it by now, but to a new visitor they will think Colombians are maniacs behind the wheel. Cars weaving in and out of lanes, most of the times driving in between lanes at high speeds, taxis speeding down the street and honking at every time the light immediately turns green. People on motorcycles maneuvering their way through traffic. It really is chaos on the streets. But the bus drivers surprise me the most, here’s why.
First, bus drivers load their bus with as many people as they can squeeze in. Men, women, children, cripples, pregnant women, the elderly, everyone pile on up! You’ll have people standing your whole ride through, especially after work when everyone is heading home. Once everyone is all aboard, the bus driver immediately takes off, not giving anyone a chance to settle in. The bus driver knows he has all of these people on board, and yet he will still gas it and make his way down through traffic.
And all the while this commotion is going on, you will have some one squeezing their way through trying to sell you candy, gum, crackers, or they’ll be signing, or preaching to you about the word of god hoping you will make a donation to help them provide for their family. I normally don’t mind it and I will give them a couple of pesos, I usually tend to do it more to those who come on the bus and play music.
This may seem crazy and you may think I am crazy for even getting on the bus. But it’s like I said, you never know who you may meet. Tomorrow there could be a hottie on the bus and if I have the balls to do it, I’ll sit next to her and strike up a conversation.
In the end, I love riding around on the buses in Medellin. It definitely is an experience that you should have when visiting Medellin.
This video above is on my bus ride to Santa Elena for the Sancocho Festival. Blog post to come later…