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