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“Funny Experience...And Sort of Gross”

Mud Volcano and Scenic Drive
Ranked #58 of 103 Tours in Cartagena
Attraction details
San Francisco, California
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Funny Experience...And Sort of Gross”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 27, 2011

My boyfriend and I went on a half day excursion to the mud volcano outside of Cartagena with a tour arranged through our hotel (Don Pedro de Heredia - recommended). Here is the quick and dirty: this is not a relaxing, medicinal, or even sanitary experience. But it is fun, and if you have the stomach for it and a strong immune system, maybe worth doing. In retrospect, I personally would have skipped it if I knew what I was in for, but at the same time it made for some very funny experieneces and pictures.

We spent most of our twenty minutes in the volcano laughing - my boyfriend got in first and despite efforts to stay upright, quickly toppled on his back and couldn't get vertical again because the mud is so buoyant. He then received an "optional" massage ($3 - 2,000 pesos - why not) that was impossibe to refuse because you really can't move yourself around in the mud and you're at the attendants' mercy. They rubbed his legs and arms up and down a few times - not sure the massage would win any awards but part of the experience.

I got in next and the same thing happened to me. My boyfriend and I then hung out for a while and tried to dunk each other (unsuccessfully) and laughed with all the other tourists soaking in the thick, lukewarm mud. All the while, a local who had offered to hold our camera and take photos snapped some shots (also $2000 pesos - or $3 - I believe) and had our shoes waiting for us at the bottom of the volcano when we decided to climb out of the mud and down the precarious, slippery staircase to rinse off.

What was gross about this (part one): The mud is that lukewarm temperature that's probably a breeding ground for all kinds of things I'd rather not think about, and we're not exactly talking about filtered, "spa" mud here - this is essentially a big hole in the ground with mud that thousands of people have sat in and done Lord knows what in. The mud is sort of granular and has little "mystery bits" of who knows what. So just know what you're getting into. You're going to sit in a moist pit in a small, rural outpost in a developing country. Not to say that you shouldn't, but if you're a clean freak / germophobe, this isn't for you.

What happens next: After climbing down the volcano, we were then shuttled to rinse off in a small, brown, stagnant freshwater pond. Several ladies quickly surrounded us and started throwing buckets of water over our heads for our "optional" ($3) rinsing service - my bikini top was removed (30% my choice, 70% insistence of the attendants) and I held firm on my bottoms. They scrubbed us down and helped us get the mud off, and also ensured that plenty of the brown water was thrown directly into my eyes, ears, and nose.

What was gross about this (part II): See above description. Also, you will not feel entirely clean until you get home and spend a good 45 minutes in the shower removing mud from every last hiding spot.

After our "rinse" we went with the group to a lunch on a nearby beach (food actually quite good - soup, a whole fried fish, soda, and coconut rice) and then home after a short stint in the sun. The beach is nothing special (and actually, our guide described the water as "sucio" in her Spanish version of the instructions but didn't include "dirty" in her English version) so it's not a great place to go swimming. But it would have been a very quick trip without the lunch so I didn't mind the detour. The only downside was that it delayed our chance to get in the hotel shower and scrub off the remains of our spa experience.

Visited December 2011
1 Thank brosia1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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31 reviews from our community

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English first
Level Contributor
90 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
“An Experience Not To Miss When In Cartagena Columbia”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 22, 2011

Soaking/Swimming/floating in a live volcano is an experience not to miss. While visiting Cartagena Columbia on a cruise in Jan 2011 we signed up for a Volcano Mud Bath. A naturally occuring live volcano which is located about 45 minutes from Cartagena. After a beautiful scenic drive we arrived at the volcano; given an orientation and proceeded up a series of wood framed soil stairs.The center of the volcano, or pot as we saw it, was completley filled with a gray, viscous mud type material. Very warm to the touch and said to have healing properties, you gently entered the 'mud', totally floating due to the thickness of it. Attendants floated you around, covering you completely with the mud; then passing you on to another attendant who then would proceed to give you a volcanic mud massage. Every now and then the volcano would 'erupt' by releasing a huge 'air ball' that bubbled to the surface from it's advertised 2,000 meter depth, exploading and spraying bits of the mud around. All the while our small group (6 couples) guide was taking photos of you with your camera. Amazing how he knew which camera belonged to who, but all of the photos that showed up on our camera were of us. We continued to float/relax after the massage and when we decided to exit, another attendant directed us down to a fresh water lake perhaps 100 yards from the volcano fo a refreshing complete wash down by yet another attendant. Wear an older swim suit, bring a towel and shed everything else including footwear, jewelry, glasses, etc. You DO get covered head to toe. Truly an experience not to miss if you ever get the opportunity.

Visited January 2011
3 Thank Tim_JanAshville_NY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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