If you are booking a trip to Cartagena Colombia, the Mud Volcano Excursion must be on your to do list. This has been the most fun I’ve had in Cartagena.
First off, it’s not in Cartagena. It’s in Santa Catalina…about a 30 minute drive out of town. The road is a little bumpy but you get the chance to see some very beautiful, Colombian country side.
And like other touristy things you can do in Cartagena, the locals at the volcano are much more laid back when it comes to peddling items and trying to suck money/pesos out of you.
We booked through a hostel called Hostel Mamallena (fyi…if you’re a hostel traveler, this is a great one, I wish we would have came here on day 1. They have a lot of information about Cartagena in English and most of the staff speaks English).
The cost was 35,000 COP/ per person, about $17 US.
We showed up at the hostel at 8:25 and the shuttle was there at 8:39 am. The shuttle has to go around and pick others up before you head out. I think we were in the shuttle for an hour and a half to get out to the volcano.
Once you’re there. You change into your clothes or remove your clothes. I just wore a shirt and shorts, basically like you’re going to the beach. Then you put all your personal items in a locker.
Give your camera to the “camera guy.” He will take pictures for you.
Walk up the stairs, climb down the ladder and wade yourself into the mud. There will be a few locals already in the volcano waiting for you. They will lay you on your back and massage you and then flip you over and massage you. Don’t forget to relax. You actually float…it’s the craziest thing ever. No matter how much you try to sink, you cant.
When they are done with you, they will glide/push you to the other side where you “stand up” and hang out for a while. You aren’t standing though because there is nothing below you to “stand” on. Again, you simply float…or hover if you will.
At this point the camera guy will be hollering at you to smile so he can snap some pics. After about 15 or so minutes they ask you to climb out so more people can get in.
1. Take the earliest shuttle you can. We we’re literally the 3rd and 4th person in the volcano which was awesome. More room = more fun.
2. When your massage is done and you’re over on the other side floating, reach down and grab some mud from the bottom and massage yourself or the person you came with. It’s very warm and feels amazing!
3. Go very slow up and down the ladder into the volcano, they are very slick.
When you get out of the volcano, there is still more fun to be had! You’ll go back down the stairs where the “flip-flop guy” will direct you to your flip-flops and down to the wash area. The wash area is simply a big lake next to the volcano. A local woman will accompany you in the wash area. She will wash you off and even wash your clothes…
Wash your clothes…yes she ask you to get naked so she can wash your clothes…don’t worry, you’re body is under water 🙂
When you’re done, you simply go back to your locker, grab your items and hang out until the shuttle is ready to go (about 20-30 minutes).
I recommend snapping some pictures or grabbing food and drink from the local stands there. It’s really cheap and you might as well support them for letting you come into their neighborhood for a lot of enjoyment.
I got a coco frio for $1.50…which is a chilled coconut chopped off with a straw in it…A-mazing. And I got the best empanada I’ve ever laid tongue on…for $1.00!
The locals that helped you out will also come over to your area for their “tip.” Now, unlike the locals I’ve found in Cartagena, these locals were way more laid back and not pushy. Plus our tour guide told us the arrangement before we got there.
Tip the camera guy 3,000 pesos ($1.50), the guy who gives you a massage in the volcano ($1.50), the lady who cleans you off ($1.50) and the flip flop guy if you want. A whopping $6 of tips. Do it, they deserve it…and remember, that’s the minimum.
After the volcano, our shuttle took us down the road to a restaurant on the beach where we had lunch. This was not included in our cost but it was 10,000 COP or $5.00/each. It includes the meal and one drink and no one asked for a tip. Pretty easy decision. You will be hungry, the food is great, spend the $5.
At lunch, you will have 30 minutes of swim/beach tine before lunch is served. Our lunch was very tasty.
We left at around 8:39am and got back a little after 3:00pm. This was by far the best $30 I’ve spent so far.
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