There are not many cars on the streets in Tolú, which makes it a more relaxed place. The taxis are bike taxis and I paid 2000 pesos (July 2008) the only time I used it. The speed of the taxi depends on how fit the driver is and the bike. A few, and luckily only a few, of the taxi drivers have music players playing loud music.
I had read somewhere that the bus from Medellín to Tolú takes 8 hours. Maybe the night bus only takes 8 hours, but the day bus doesn’t. Coming back to Medellín from Santa Fe de Antioquia I went to ask for the morning buses to Tolú. At Expreso Brasilia they had buses at 5.15 and 6.45. The price was 77 000 pesos and the journey was 10 hours. I also asked at Rapido Ochoa, which had buses at 5.30, 7.00 and 8.30. The price was 60 000 pesos (so maybe Expreso Brasilia was 67 000) and the journey also took 10 hours.
I was early in the morning and didn’t take the metro as planed, but a taxi from the hotel to Terminal del Norte. It was 7000 pesos (July 2008) and I arrived already at 6am to the terminal. I bought the ticket and breakfast (there is a place selling fruit salads) and sat down to wait.
I was taking the 7.00 bus with Rapido Ochoa, but it didn’t leave until 7.20. At 9am we stopped for breakfast. I had already had breakfast so I didn’t eat and I was sure we were stopping for lunch as well, but no, we didn’t make any more food stops (so I was lucky to have some bread and sweets in the bag). The bus only stopped for new passengers or for passengers to leave and at a few road constructions. As in many places in Colombia the bus was going over the mountains and as the road has a single lane lorries slow down the traffic. There had also been some small landslides along the road (one where half the road was gone). Along the road two movies were shown and a film about tourist attractions in Colombia.
Not until 18.40 did the bus arrive to Tolú, more than 11,5 hours after seven. In Tolú the bus stops just by the main square.
There are two different bus terminals in Tolú, one for the smaller more local buses, and one for the bigger buses going to Medellín and Cartagena. They are both near the plaza. I had asked the day before going to Cartagena for the timetable and Expreso Brasilia had a bus every hour. I came to the terminal and bought a ticket. When I had paid the woman told me I had missed a bus with only five minutes and the next bus would probably be late too. The bus arrived more than half an hour after the timetable. But after the bus finally arrived it took less then three hours to Cartagena. The ticket was 20 000 pesos (August 2008).
In Cartagena I took one of the city buses going to Monument a la India Catalina. They are leaving from outside the terminal, take about 40 minutes to the city centre and the ticket cost 1100 pesos.