A four star day in Tolu Colombia

When we first started looking into a trip to Colombia, one of the things that interested me was checking out a very unique feature of the carribean coast, mud volcanoes.

There is one 45 minutes south or Cartagena which attracts a lot of tourists. I showed the kids pics I found online before we came here and they said no way! It was crowded, only 15 x 15 feet, and there was actually a line to get in. There is also a huge crater another few hours south in arboletes, but we decided not to go that far.

So when I found out that there was one near Tolu I was thrilled! We got directions from the hotel and it seemed pretty straight forward. We took a 45 minute bus south to Covenas for a few bucks each.

Then in covenas we took another smaller bus, the kind of minivan thingy designed to hold 7 but actually carries 19, to San antero. Actually you don't get off in San Antero, but just tell the driver you want to go to Volcan de lodo (volcano of mud), which is another 30 minute ride. So we are let off in what looks like the absolute middle of nowhere, and we see this sign.

We start walking up the dirt road, which, since we can't see what's over the top, it looks like its going to be a long long march in some god awful heat. The kids swear that if this turns into a hours long trek they are going to hate me forever. I guess I have a bad rep for telling them that these walks will be easy and quick and that the sight or activity at the end will be infinitely rewarding. But the walks are never easy nor quick, and they are usually bitter and unimpressed at the end. But what choice do they have in the middle of nowhere in the jungle colombia?

Soon enough we see a few shacks and a place to buy tickets, which were about $1.70.

But where's the mud? Off to the left there is a fenced in area, and just beyond that fence is the most ridiculous thing.

Yup, it's a huge crater of mud. The kids take one look and cry that this is the worst thing I have ever done to them and that there is no way they are going in there. They stomp off to sulk on a bench in the shade, hating life.

Even Luis looks a little skeptical. All I can do is laugh! But Luis saves the day and breaks the ice....I mean mud. He strips down to his bathing suit and makes his way in.

I am laughing hysterically as he sinks into the deep and bottomless mud pit. This piques the kids interest and they can't help but make their way off the bench to look in. Dad is in the mud!?! Unable to keep their sour attitudes a moment longer they soon join him with huge grins on their faces.

Soon enough I make my way down into the pit. A mud volcano is the most tactile experience I have ever had. Its the consistency of toothpaste, but more dense. You cant really sink, but are more suspended in a kind of weightlessness. You can put your limbs in any position and they will stay suspended. To get past your chest you really have to work at screwing your hips down. It is really really viscous. It has no smell and it practically body temperature. Getting more than a few feet away from the steps takes tremendous effort. It's like you weight 400 pounds and can only move in slow motion.

Let me tell you that I really enjoyed this so much and would rate it as one of the coolest things I have ever done! I stayed in there for at least two hours and I would lounge in one of these every day if I had one in my backyard.

We had the place to ourselves for a little while, but we're soon joined by a group of Colombian tourists who had as good a time as we did.

When you finally make your way out there are outdoor showers and ladies there to help you get the mud off for a small tip.

They really just reach right into your suit and start swishing the mud off. But you let them do it because the amount of mud you have to wash off is a two person job for sure.

Finally clean we make our way down the dirt road and to the main road back to San antero, not exactly sure how we will get back but knowing that soon enough some form of transportation will show up. Within minutes a mini van pulls up and takes us back to San Antero when we find a fantastic place for lunch. San antero is a lovely little town. I see me or two hotels that seem ok. If i had to do it again i would stay here. Its close to the mud volcano and a good beach,playa blanca. The kids are absolutely beat from trying to get around in that mud all afternoon so we cancel our plans for an afternoon at the beach and make our way back to the hotel, knowing we have an hour long two bus ride journey ahead.

When I make my top ten list for Colombia I know this experience will be number one!!

1 comment:

  1. Oh dear. Wish I could say "how cool!" but alas, I am WAY too neat and tidy to EVER desire a dip in the mud. However, so glad you feel it was a worthwhile experience, of course, and that's why you are there and I go to Paris. ;-)