Lying on the top of a mud volcano soaking the soothing minerals of the earth, was by far one of my most memorable travel moments.
While I was in Cartegena, Columbia, I had heard about this active mud volcano called the Totumo Mud Volcano, which was located approximately 50km away in an area. Having no idea at the time what I mud volcano actually was, it only made sense for me to check it out.
A group of us hired a van to take us there, and after some time on the main highway, we turned off onto a dirt road that led us through a totumo forest where located at the end of the road, on the shores of a lagoon, was the Totumo mud volcano.
Its mound has a prominence of 15m, with a staircase leading to the top. The volcano itself goes about a mile and a half into the earth.
The mud is so buoyant that it is impossible to sink.
It is the strangest feeling upon entering the earthy smelling clay. You can literally stand up straight in the mud and try with all your might to push yourself down, yet it will be to no avail. When you come to terms with the fact that you will not be able to sink no matter how hard you try, then you can stretch out and lie on the surface, totally surrendering to the experience. It is truly a surreal feeling.
The temperature of the mud was very intriguing also, as some spots were cool and then when you moved you would suddenly enter a warm spot.
There are locals at the top that offer massages in the mud, which definitely adds to the experience. While you float effortlessly in the volcano, they gently rub you down the front of your stomach and your back at the same time as are you suspended there on the mud. It is well worth the tip they ask for at the end of the massage, as that adds a relaxing charm like none other to the whole experience.
Eventually, you can’t help but get yourself totally submerged in the clay, feeling the mud fill all orifices of your head.
Relaxing in the mud, taking the in the rich nutrients and enjoying some top notch company is healing for the mind body and soul.
After floating around and absorbing the mineral-rich mud deep into your pores for well over an hour, you climb out holding on for dear life as it is slippering when you are coated in mud and so is the surface you are walking on feeling totally blissed out. There is an undeniable surcharge of healing energy pumping through your veins.
Down at the shores where you wash off, there are some local women waiting, whom also for a small tip will give you a good scrub down. Seeing as how this is there only source of income, I could also not decline.
It’s a rigorous cleaning, with buckets of water being poured over you and barely time to take breaths in between, hands rubbing away all the mud, fingers poking and cleaning your ears, and bathing suits and shorts being pulled in all sorts of directions. I will say, watch your lady and gent parts if your shy, as they will unexpectedly do their best to thoroughly clean you like no big deal. There are some areas I can’t help but prefer cleaning myself. You actually walk or possibly stagger away quite stunned at the end.
A few tips if you are visiting the Totumo Mud Volcano.
- Do leave valuables behind as there is no place to keep them at the sight
- Make sure to bring some money for the small entrance fee and the tips for the massage and washing
- Try and time your visit so it is not at the same time as big tour groups from hotels and such
- Go with an open mind and enjoy every minute of it!
The whole experience is as unique as they come in life and one that will leave you feeling totally rejuvenated. It is the epitome of natural healing, health and wellness while you travel.