Saturday, March 2, 2024
HomeTRANSPORT REVIEWSAirport TransfersMedellin: Wrong Airport, Bad Uber Location, What's Next?

Medellin: Wrong Airport, Bad Uber Location, What’s Next?

Wrong Airport, Bad Uber Location, What’s Next? is part of the Coupe du Monde Trip Report.

Even though it was 10:30PM, I purposefully left early for the Medellin airport because the city is infamous for its traffic. When I hopped into the Uber, I was confused why the time to destination read 10 minutes. Instead of seeing something and shouting something, I ignored my instinct and did nothing.

The airport is up over the mountain so it made no sense that we were going downhill. Realizing that this was not a detour but the wrong way, I finally spoke up. “Este es el aeropuerto de Medellin?” “Si, pero a donde viaje?” “A las Estados Unidos.”

And that’s when I learned that MDE is not in Medellin, nor is it called Medellin International Airport. It’s called Jose Maria Cordova International Airport, and it’s located in Rionegro and is 30 minutes away.

When I was typing Medellin airport in Uber, it did occur to me to check to see if there were multiple airports listed. Seeing none, I didn’t say any, nor did I shout anything. Instead, I trusted Uber.

TPOL’s Trivia: The regional airport was formerly known as Medellin International Airport prior to the opening of José María Córdova International Airport in the year 1985. Perhaps Uber didn’t get that memo as ‘Medellin Airport’ in the app is not associated with the international terminal.

The driver told me he was unable to take me to the airport and that I would have to order another ride. I said fine but “Necesito ir a lugar seguro.” He said of course and then proceeded to drop me off in Parque Poblado, the sketch park that looked like where dear TPOL was drugged years earlier (see Mystery Solved: TPOL’s Disappearance in Medellin).

I quickly looked for a business landmark to put into the Uber app because setting “my location” and trusting Uber is rarely a good idea. I found a noteworthy landmark, La Tienda Erotica. I waited for the Uber driver there and received a notification that he arrived. Of course, he was nowhere to be found.

a sign on a building
Window shopping while waiting for Uber.

I started to walk in the direction of the driver but given the pathetic TMobile international data service (shout out to my international 4G Blackberry), it did show if I was going in the right direction or if I was getting closer.

Annoyed, I went back towards the shady park and used “my location” because the map did show that the park was behind me. Two minutes later, the Uber driver I had cancelled on arrived. He told me the address for the erotic shop and where I was standing was not the same. We both said ducking Uber and were on our way.

TPOL’s Tip: Put the formal name of the airport in a rideshare app.

TPOL’s Tip: I still believe that using a landmark is better than using my location, though next time I won’t use a sex shop.



  1. Wrong airport … Drugged in Medellin … No visa and denied boarding to Doha. I’ve never met points god Randy Peterson, but I can’t imagine he woke up one day thinking “Ya know what Boarding Area is missing? An absolute bumbling fool, blogging about his (unfunny) comedy of errors while simultaneously offering zero value to avid travelers!”

    Congrats on whatever deal you struck with the devil to secure this public forum for your misadventures. May the affiliate revenue continue to flow like wine in 2023…

    • There’s even more misadventures here.

      This bumbling fool somehow manages to do more than most. I only take offense to being called unfunny. Also, I doubt all these travel savants are candidly documenting their duck ups. There is value for those who find themselves in similar situations.

      Congrats on making it for Festivus 2023.

      Speaking of wine, perhaps you need a drink if you can’t find humor in disasters.

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