If you have ever looked for things to do in Cartagena, Colombia, then you have probably discovered something called El Tutomo Mud Volcano on the list. And before you ask, yes its a real volcano with a mud bath instead of hot lava. The story seems to be that it was once filled with hot lava, but a preacher thought it was of the devil so he sprinkled holy water on it, thus turning it into a mud bath with special healing powers. Its only 50 ft. which seems rather small for a volcano, but you will appreciate that as you hike up the many stairs to get to the the opening .
How To Get To El Tutomo ?
- El Tutomo Mud Volcano is actually located in Santa Cantalina, about 45 minutes outside of Cartagena, so most people either hire a driver or take a tour bus to the location. Tour companies walk around all the popular areas recruiting passengers or you can look online at sites like Viator.
- The tour bus is the cheaper option, and can be a bit more social since you get to meet new people from all over the world while you journey to the volcano. This works well for the solo traveler.
- The private driver option allows you to be flexible in your arrival time to avoid big crowds from the tour buses, and stop at places along the way for trinkets or photo opportunities. This works well for group travel as you can split the cost of the driver.
How much does it cost ?
- At the time I went it was 15k Colombian pesos @ $4 USD for basic entry but you could get add-on services like a camera man, a massage, and post bath wash down for 5k -10k additional Colombian pesos. So basically you can go all out and spend less than $10 USD.
What to expect
- If you come during a popular time, expect the attraction to be crowded with a line to get into the mud bath.
- From what I understand they will limit the time for each group to about 5 minutes to keep the party going.
- The construction just looks… suspect but I didn’t feel like it was about to fall apart while climbing up the stairs. They will take your shoes, but don’t worry you will get them back when you get to the bottom.
Once you take the plunge to get in you will find that the mud is cool and gooey. Don’t worry if you cant swim, you are not going to sink, in fact you will have to force yourself to stay up as you will naturally float.
Go ahead and get the massage, just note that it was just the men giving massages. I didn’t have any issues, but I know some people prefer women for full body massages.
After you’ve been floating for a while, getting used to gravity again will be a bit rough, but eventually you will be able to push yourself up and out. Success!
Now for the long walk down the volcano. There are tiny rocks all over the steps. Because they take your shoes, this means you feel each and every one of them on the bottom of your feet. I for one was super pissed about this…. until I got my shoes back on and immediately almost bust my @$#. Then I realized it was for my own safety. So um, thanks for keeping the steps less slippery when I’m covered in mud.
Then its time to get washed up. You have two options, you can either let the local women wash you in the lake or you can clean up in the bathroom. Paying the women supports the local community so I went with that option. It definitely was a smack it up, flip it, rub it down situation in some brown water, but I came out basically free of all mud which im sure our driver appreciated before letting me back in the car. Hopefully you found this breakdown somewhat helpful. Leave any questions or comments below.