El Totumo

El Totumo is a non-active volcano, located between Cartagena and Barranquilla.  Sounded a little touristy, but hey, we ARE tourists, so Robyn and I decided to check it out. It was so much fun! We arranged a tour with the hostel for convenience.  On the bus, we met Crystal and Imran from Toronto, who seemed like they’d be fun tour buddies!  I had read a little about El Totumo online, but still didn’t know what to expect. When we arrived, the guide told us to strip down to our swimsuits and leave everything on the bus except for our cameras. OK… nothing like walking around in a bikini in front of a bus full of strangers! We then left our shoes at the bottom of the volcano, and climbed up the wooden steps (caked with thick grey mud!) to the top of the volcano. There, you  hand your camera to a many who somehow remembers whose camera is whose, and takes a ton of great photos for you!

You are then guided into the mud pit. It’s the strangest sensation. The mud is so thick that you become very buoyant!

There are attendants  in the mud pit who assist you inside, and then help you float on your back, before covering you with mud and giving you a little arm and leg massage. I thought that would be really weird,  but once you’re there, you just go with it!

You have plenty of time to float around. It’s too thick to swim in, per se, but you just bob around and sort of tread mud. It was actually pretty cool!

After the mud pit, you walk down another set of stairs, and down a path towards a lake. There are ladies there who help get all that mud off!  Crystal and Imran were walking back as we were walking to the lake, and said to be prepared for a very up close and personal experience!  Sure enough, when you get to the lake, a lady walks you in (not far enough into the lake, in my opinion!), where you crouch down and they dump buckets and buckets and buckets of water on you! You can’t even see what they’re doing, b/c you are getting drenched! Next thing you know, she takes off my bikini. One of those times when I’m glad that I’m short and can crouch down into the water! She cleans it off and hands it back. C & I weren’t kidding when they said that it was up close and personal!  I was so concerned about myself that I didn’t even notice the other patrons in the lake!


After that, we walked back to the bus. The sun was so hot that it dried us off pretty quickly. During the walk, I felt a pinch on my side. I got a bee sting! First injury of the trip. It didn’t hurt initially, but once it started to swell, it got really uncomfortable. One of the mud pit attendants realized that I got a bee sting and put some mud on the spot, which he said would make it feel better. It was a very nice gesture!

After the volcano, they took us a pristine, secluded beach. I’m not entirely sure where it was located, but it was completely devoid of tourists save for our bus!

It was nice to cool off before lunch, which was another meal of fresh, made to order, whole fried fish, coconut rice, salad, and plantain cakes – delicious!

I tried the mango drink, which was fabulous! Glad I got to try something new.

The deets… The El Totumo tour was a really fun day trip from Cartagena. I can’t remember the name of our tour company, but we booked the tour through our hostel. It cost 45.000 COP per person. They picked us up at 9am and dropped us off at 3pm.

4 Comments on “El Totumo”

  1. the fish looks amazing! It is making me so hungry! I have never heard of any of these things in Colombia, makes me want to go. The mud pit looks awesome, but the cleaning up afterwards part would definitely be nerve-wracking. So cool you have met so many wonderful people on your travels, that is by far my favorite part of traveling.

    • That is my favorite part of traveling as well 🙂 Don’t let the lake bath prevent you from going… the whole thing is actually pretty hilarious! Nothing like skinny dipping with a lake full of strangers to get over modesty issues!

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