The Colombian volcano full of mud where you can bathe

Fans of mud baths will be interested to know that there is a place where such an experience can be practiced with an added attraction: immersing yourself inside a volcanic caldera.

It is true that it is not a relatively large caldera, but after all it is a volcano, although only about 15 meters high. It is the Totumo volcano, located in the municipality of Santa Catalina in northern Colombia.

According to local tradition, until a few centuries ago the volcano suffered strong lava eruptions, until a clever priest poured holy water inside, transforming the lava into mud.

Totumo volcano / photo: Luis Carlos Cobo

The reality is that the mud was formed, and is still being formed, by the action of the gases that emanate from the earth, and that, based on the number of bathers who visit it annually, it does not seem that they are an inconvenience to enjoy the mud and its supposed beneficial properties for the skin.

To dive, it is necessary to climb a staircase carved into the hillside, bounded by rickety railings, and descend another, more rustic and equally wooden and where safety is conspicuous by its absence.

Once inside we will find ourselves in the interior of a volcanic caldera about 4.5 meters in diameter, in which about 20 or 30 people can fit, splashing in the warm and thick gray-brown mud.

Photo Jaroslav Jelinek on Wikimedia Commons

This mud is 45 percent water, 37 percent silica, and the rest are minerals such as aluminum, magnesium, salt, calcium, iron, phosphates, and sulfides. Depending on the time of year, the caldera can be overflowing with mud, like a swimming pool, or have a level that requires going down several meters inside.

In the adjacent swamp of the same name it is also possible to take mud baths. However, and despite the fact that the area abounds in food, drink and massage stalls, and the local inhabitants often offer themselves as guides through the lagoon, the site is not recognized or supported by the Colombian Ministry of Tourism, so the infrastructures are quite spartan.

The administration, for about 30 years, is the responsibility of the Association of Workers of the Totumo Volcano, which brings together the families that live from the tourist exploitation of the place, which benefits from its proximity to Cartagena de Indias. Excursions from there with all inclusive have a cost of about 30 dollars.


Volcano of youth / Totumo Volcano Tour / Wikipedia