Get dirty in Colombia's Volcan de Lodo el Totumo
The Mud volcano or the Volcan de Lodo el Totumo is what looks to be like a small 15m tall volcano, which its crater that generates natural mud instead of lava. Standing high surrounded by a beautiful mangrove scenery, it’s a popular site to get a messy. This is where you can get a relaxing mud bath and (not so great) massage while acquiring the mud’s benefits from its natural therapeutic properties.
Once you climb up a few steep steps you find yourself at the crater with a picture perfect surrounding. As soon as you climb down into the mud, you might find it surprisingly weird at first. Instead of the expected dirty feeling mud slosh, the mud has a very thick and smooth consistency and is very soft and is gentle on the skin. Your body gets covered in mud and you would look like a clay statue. Not knowing how to swim is definitely not an issue, even though its around 2150 meters deep. The mud is so thick you will float effortlessly and you can literally sit in and lie in any position.
The locals are there at your service, at a price of course. Some give you a massage while other take care of your belongings and camera and capture the experience for you.
Once done, 50meters away from the volcano there are large barrels of warm salty water which they get naturally from the ground. Locals wait to wash you off the mud (again at a price), and plunge buckets of water until you are spotless clean.
It is a good idea to take a change of underwear to change after you are done and a few small notes to tip the locals who have taken good care of you.
How to get there:
If you can get there on your own it is a good idea to avoid the peak times, when the tours get there at 10am and 3pm.
The Volcano is just 50km North of Cartagena, just an hour away. Tours go there daily from Cartagena and cost COP60.000
Catching a bus from Cartagena to Barranquilla could be feasible too as the Volcano lies between the two, hence ask the bus driver to stop you at the junction road to the volcano where you would have a 3km walk.
If you are comfortable driving, renting a car could be more worth it despite the high price of COP175000 for 24hours. If you are a group of 4 or 5 this could be cheaper than the tour and would allow you to stop at several beaches along the way, plus avoid the busy hours of the tours.
COP10.000 for the actual mud bath
COP5000 is the tip they ask for pampering you
COP5000 is the tip they ask for showering you
It is definitely an activity in Colombia that every traveller should experience. So if you are in the north area of Colombia make such you get socked dirty at this mud volcano in Santa Catalina.