Day 32: Cartagena

Monday, April 29th, 2019.

Day 3 of Colombian Caribbean Highlights by Bamba Experience

Todays itinerary:
Totumo Volcano Tour

After breakfast, at around 9:00 am you will be picked-up from your accommodation and transferred to the famous Totumo Volcano.

The minerals in the mud are said to have therapeutic qualities – whether the Volcano will actually cure your ailments is unclear, but it definitely makes your skin feel great. Climb up and inside this small volcano and jump into the natural mud that lies within to enjoy a relaxing and hilarious experience swimming with your tour mates.

After the mud bath, travel to Manzanillo del Mar for a dip in the beautiful Caribbean Sea before enjoying a delicious lunch on the beach. After having some time to relax and digest, you will be transferred back to your hostel in Cartagena. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure.

Overnight in Cartagena.”

Since we get picked up in front of Selina at 9:00 we went to selina breakfast on the rooftop. Good and cheap, but not comparable to stepping stone.

As it turned out pick-up is not 9:00, but 8:30. They were so friendly to circle the block so long. The tour is operated by Ecoturismo Los Pinos.

The 19 seater bus it completely full, US from Miami, NYc, french canadians and two spanish speaking. Usual mix. The tour guide turns on a recording in spanish and english, which explains the tour.

We drive hour to Totumo mud volcano. There we change, can put all valuables in one locker (one locker for the group), everything else is put on a board. Them go only with shorts (no towel, no flipflops) to the volcano and 18 m stairs up, queue, and go on as adviced.

It is possible to take additional services:
– photo: you give your smartphone, gopro, slr, whatever to a guy who takes approx. 10 pictures of you: 5000 per person, 10000 if you are 3 and one camera
– massage: guys in the mud grope you, 5000
– washing by the ladies afterwards: 5000
Everybody has to enroll on a list for Lunch: grilled chicken, fried chicken pescado (fish) later at a beach (lunch will be ready 12:40, not 12:35).

As we arrive I change in shorts, hand over my gopro to a competent guy, lock away my valuables (watch, money, cell, …).

Then I go up the hill. Our guide pushes, she says, there are other busses arriving. If we have bad luck, we need to wait an hour. The mud pool on top is full with muddy people. As they go out, one of the locals scratches the mud off them to save mud. As one goes in, another local grabs for him, puts him floating on his back and pushes him to 3 massage guys. Doesnot look like a massage, does lock like covering with mud and a little groping.

Very little people like massage. If you say “no massage” they push you in a corner. I go in. “no massage”. I donot go in the corner.

It is weird. Hard to breathe and move. Stinky. Slimy. Confining. I cannot push myself down, buoyancy force is too strong, I cannot really swim either. So I just stand there and try not to get the mud on my head, in my face. The guys takes the pictures. I have to push him. Miami has lots of fun. It is hotter outside in the sun, than inside. The other busses arrived, the queue now seems to be very long, the pool very full. I just waited 5 minutes.

After some time I drift to the exit. Some girls wear shirts. Bad idea. The mud saver has to press the mud out of their shirts. He obviously enjoys. It takes time. Suddenly I am out quickly.

I go down the steep stairs, over a hot concrete road to the river. Water is brackish. In a second an old lady is with me, washing me. She enjoys. She mostly enjoys to wash my face. No mud there. Then she says “shorts”. I get off the shorts, she washes them. The she puts a colored band around my arm and leaves me.

I go deeper into the river an wash myself. The mud goes off easily. I go back to my things to the wardrobe. Dry. Change. A guy approaches and wants to collect for the never done massage. I donot pay. The lady comes and collects her 5000 from their customers. The photo guy comes and collects his 5000.

We wait. As we are all ready, we leave with the bus.

Actually all the horror stories from TripAdvisor and internetstories, not true. It is very touristic. You have to pay, if you let them take the pictures, massage and washing 15.000 pesos (4 eur). if you go in italy to a beach, the rip you off harder. So touristic fun. And I will leave longer, they say.

30 minutes drive late, we arrive at a beach. High tide. Sandy waters. Shadow is 10.000. I pay. I get a coke zero. They have. I talk with US. Suddenly lunch time. Whole fish, coconut rice, fried plantains (cooked nonsweet bananas). Surprisingly good.

I talk with mom&daughter from NY (looking like sisters), Lima (we go there soon, unfortunately she is not fit in english and i am not fit in spanish), chicago and georgia.

Then I am driven home. I go to the rooftop pool. Air conditions are working hard.

GoT episode 3 downloaded well. I check for laundry, they try to fix the trousers, ask for the cost of the socks. I tell them. We will see later.

I go for dinner to pezeterian. They already know me and turn of A/C when I go in.

Then GoT, big battle, #teamarya!

Accomodation: Selina Hostel, Cartagena, Colombia

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