Tuesday, December 21, 2010

El Totumo Mud Volcano, Colombia

During our first week in Cartagena we visited the famous El Totumo Mud Volcano, a 45 minute drive out of town. The volcano is apparently a natural occurance, and one of only a few in the world. The cone is approx. 50 ft high, and there is a fairly rickety set of steps leading to the top (and another set of slippery and questionable steps leading down).

The mud pool at the top of the hill was like nothing we've ever experienced before! When you first sink yourself in (or do a cannon-ball, as in Tyrone's case!), you can't move because the luke-warm, silky-smooth sludge is too thick, extremely buoyant, and there is no "bottom" to touch with your feet. One of the masseuses in the pit then tells you to "relax" a few times as you try to squirm along and then pushes you across the surface for the next person to get into the muck!

The mud is so buoyant that it is impossible to sink - no matter how hard we tried, we couldn't dunk each other!

The mud pool comfortably fits about a dozen people, and we were joined by a few fellow travellers from Canada, the U.S., and Ireland, as well as a couple of locals.

Regardless of whether or not you want one, you will get a mud massage by one of the male masseuses (or three in Lydia's case)! The part where they squish mud between your toes really tickles!

After you've been sufficiently rubbed down and covered in mud, you then carefully make your way down a set of slippery steps to a large lagoon around the corner. Here we are making our best mud poses:

A group of local women then splash you with buckets of water, rip off and wash your swim suits, and even help get the mud out of your ears for you (which is extremely necessary)!

The mud volcano is both a relaxing and invigorating experience that is not to be missed if travelling in Colombia! We are sure this will be one of the many highlights of our South American travels :)

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