Into the Mouth of A Volcano In Colombia

Cartagena, Colombia

Volcan del Totumo, Cartagena, Colombia
Sea of humanity, covered in mud

“It’s kinda gross. I don’t think I’m going to jump in.”

That’s what I said as I looked down upon the pit of mud filled with mud-covered limbs that are attached to dozens of mud-covered people.

Jack was unfazed and couldn’t wait to jump in, but do take a look at that picture above. Tell me you don’t feel just a little squeamish?

What is Vulcan del Totumo?

Vulcan del Totumo (or VolcΓ‘n de Lodo El Totumo) is a mini mud volcano located about 45 minute drive from Cartagena, Colombia where we have stayed for the last 4 days. When I said mini — I mean it. It’s only a wee 15 m high off the ground (but one source says that is hundreds of feet deep – I tried not to think about it). Instead of spewing lava and other stuff that can kill you, it gently spews mud.

The price tag deterred us at first, but after we decided to hold off on our travel south until after Semana Santa, we started to look outside of the town of Cartagena for things to do… So, why not?

Chest deep in mud

Well, after much coaxing from Jack, I try to ignore the fact that thousands of bodies have all been in this mud pit, and I climbed in.

Jack and Jill at the Vulcan del Totumo
Hielo from the mud pit

It was not… unpleasant. The mud was lukewarm and of the consistency of yogurt. Jack described it as ‘melted marshmallow’. And once I got over it, it was not bad. It was actually fun. Not like, roller coaster fun, but more like… this is such a weird feeling fun.

The thick mud makes your bodies buoyant and even though you can’t touch the bottom, the mud is so thick you end up standing on top of the viscous liquid. I imagine this what must feel like to be back in your mother’s womb. Minus the other people of course.

It can be hard to move around, not only because of the swarm of bodies around me but because the mud makes your movement unpredictable.

Many times I found myself flat on my stomach and Jack had to help me back to standing position again.

One lady was so freaked out she was clawing at me to help her gain her balance. She should trim her nails. I still have her claw marks on my shoulder.

But I digress. We ended up having a good time being pushed, pulled, losing our balance, and getting our faces splattered by mud. Much more fun than I expected actually.

We were in the pit for about 15-20 minutes and once the novelty wore off we were ready wash the mud off at a nearby lagoon. There were ladies with buckets on hand just in case you needed help. And if you’re traveling by yourself it might be worth it to get their help (2000 COP) because the mud doesn’t just wash off, it needs to get scrubbed off.

Is Cartagena’s Mud Volcano worth a visit?

The cost:
35000 COP pp (40000 COP in high season) + 2000 COP as tip, booked from Casa Viena

1 USD = 1800 COP

That was our biggest question when signing up.

I’m hesitant to give it a strong recommendation. For 40000 COP that’s quite a large sum of money for the area. However, the fact that we got to see the area outside of Cartagena that we would otherwise not have seen and got to meet other travelers made it worthwhile. If you only have a couple of days in Cartagena, exploring the old city would be better use of your time.

But if you’re staying longer, why not check it out?

Jack and Jill in the mud volcano, Colombia
Crazy-ness in the mud mosh pit

When will be the next time you get to muck around in a bottomless mud pit?

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61 Replies to “Into the Mouth of A Volcano In Colombia”

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  2. This looks awesome. I definitely want to check it out. How did you manage to get photos though? I can imagine keeping cameras clean is a bit of an issue!

  3. Even though it looks so busy I still want to go…being in that mud looks incredible!!! Did your skin feel really great afterwards?

  4. When I first went to that volcano years ago there was no one there. I don't even think it was in the guide book. I had the place to myself… kind of a shame to see it packed like that. But still a cool experience.

    1. Lol, except for us, right? The old lady who clawed at me for fear of sinking definitely didn't have a smile on her face.

  5. I said definitely go until I see how much it costs, yuck! Is it because the place is far away? Anything else included?
    We went to a mud volcano in Saint Lucia (Caribbean) and I had the reaction like Jack, eager to jumped in, and Ryan like you. The mud was rather thin there, more like regular water. here and there you can grab thicker mud. But the pool itself was quite runny.

    1. Since we arranged it through a hostel in Getsemani – no doubt! You can get there individually (by taxi or whatever) and the entrance fee is only about 5000 COP I think. It's the getting there part that's tricky. I don't think there's any buses that go there.

  6. Wait – so could you stand up in it or were you "treading water"? or "mud?"

    You mention its really deep…so am very curious.

    Sounds like it might be good for the skin too?

    1. Nope. Not treading it. We were all just 'stuck' in it because the mud is so thick. It's hard to describe. And yes, the mud is supposed to have all sorts of good things for your skin.

  7. I think I would have a hard time too with all of the people and the mud. Did you feel a bit claustrophobic? I think I would go in an empty mud pit but not a crowded one.

  8. Wow! That looks creepy with all those people enveloped in the mud and in such close proximity to each other! It would make a great scene in a zombie horror movie!

    Sure looks like a blast though! πŸ™‚

  9. This makes me think of one hot spring resort I visited. The pools were full of naked people, many of them who were getting too frisky with each other, and it made me a little nervous about jumping in especially after seeing floaties in the water. :/ This actually sounds pretty fun though. I can't believe you have to have the mud scraped off!

  10. AH! So glad you decided to go, where else can you get rubbed and scrubbed by nature? I remember when we went I didn't want the old men massaging me at first then I gave in. But I drew the line at the old ladies by the river! Not paying someone to wash down my parts!!!

  11. At least you can say you've soaked yourself in a volcano. I think I would totally do it, too. Though being in something with the consistency of yogurt might be hard to overcome. Belated welcome to Columbia!

    1. Thanks, Sherry. Colombia has been really great so far. The mud thing didn't bother me so much as the fact of having to share it with so many people. Very high ick factor for me. Still, I'm glad I did it though.

  12. Lol, I guess it's all relative. It's about 2 days worth of accommodation here or about 5 meals. So yes, compared to the US living it's not too bad, but for here in Colombia it's a little bit on the pricey side.

  13. Yeah, the mud is supposed to contain all sorts of minerals that are good for your skin. We really didn't notice it ourselves but I guess it will take longer than a 15 min splashing around to get the benefit. It was still fun though.

  14. That was the biggest factor of 'ick' for me as well – but as soon as I got over it, I was ok with it. And playing with mud was so much fun.

  15. That looks adventurous! You sound like you're in two minds about the experience, but I guess travelling's like that! You get an experience always, but was it an enjoyable one? Still sounds very worthwhile though and I love the pics!

    Paul

  16. Mud is supposed to be really good for your skin! Like Jack, I think I would try it. I wouldn't worry as much about all the other people in it. If it got too crowded I probably wouldn't want to get in but all the mud doesn't bother me. Now the price – that's another issue. πŸ™‚

  17. I don't know if I'd want to go in with that many people, it looks quite crowded. But getting a chance to play in the mud sounds like a lot of fun.

  18. Oh wow. This is definitely now on my to do list! (The secret pig inside me says)
    It's incredible how it is so deep when it looks like everyone is standing on the bottom.

    1. I know. We just heard today from someone that his group tried to push each other down into the mud but they couldn't do it. The mud was just way too thick.

  19. Loved this experience, but holy human soup was it ever packed when you did it. We were lucky when we went in there was only about 7 people and we got massaged and got to lie down and swim around and stuff. Dalene and I really laughed at the rinsing down afterwards too, they were quite aggressive, but it was fun nonetheless.

    1. Yeah — it was packed!! I'm assuming it was because it's high season? Wondering if the afternoon group would've been quieter.

  20. I visited the volcano. Like you, I was hesitant at first because of the price. But we got a group of people together and hired a taxi who waited at the entrance for us while we slopped around in the mud and then drove us home. It was about the same price but the advantage was that we timed it so that we weren't there at the same time as all the other tourists (we arrived as the morning group was leaving and before the afternoon group arrived). We also enjoyed a beer and a laugh with the stall holders. It ended up being a fabulous afternoon! Happy travels!

    @dodgylodgey

    1. We thought about that, but we couldn't find anybody who wanted to go with us πŸ™ Having the volcano by yourself must have been a blast.

    1. Well, there were people working for tips that would take your camera and take pics of you. You'll then get it back after washing up (and after giving them the tip of course). Some of those peeps had about 10 cameras hanging from their wrist at one time.

  21. Wow. Looks… fun? So when you say bottomless… how did you stand? I'm confused. Oh, and what's the exchange of COP's and dollars?

    1. Well, it's so thick and buoyant that you're just… well, stuck in it. You just stand on top of the mud itself — I know it sounds weird, that's why it was such a unique experience. And oh 1USD = 1800 COP, I'll edit the post to mention that. Thanks.

  22. Oh wow I dont know if I could do that… it seems so dirty…lol!!! I think I could, I just wouldn't want that many people in there with me.

    1. Yah, seriously the idea of sharing that small of a space with so many people wearing so little clothing freaked me out a bit. That was probably as close to an orgy as I would ever, ever get.

  23. Yeah ok, it does look a little weird, but I think I would try it. Was your skin softer after washing off the mud? That would be a great incentive for me πŸ˜›

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