For me, this one will take some beating. Totumo is just so unusual, so unlike anything else we’ve experienced on our travels, that I cannot compare it to anything else.
We went with a small group from our Spanish school in Cartagena. A typical sweltering early afternoon, well over 90 degrees. We had no idea what to expect, maybe a good thing. On arrival, we’re instructed to strip down to our bathing suits. We can’t take anything with us. We’re attacked by swarms of something, either wasps or bees, it’s hard to tell. We race up the 50 steps or so to the ‘Volcan’. It’s an odd sight to say the least. An inverted cone shape with a small pool like structure at the top. You can’t jump in – in fact you are assisted in by a private attendee. He is not the same as the attendee who is now in possession of your camera. The 1st attendee helps you in and lays you down in the mud. You’re floating, it’s physically impossible to sink. He then covers your body, including face with the mud and proceeds to give you a full body massage. For good measure (well not good) one of our group has a bad allergic reaction to the wasp/bees and has to taken off somewhere. Which leaves us, a small group now without our school guide/teacher. It’s great fun, but we are there a while, with our limited Spanish (we are at Spanish school remember) and we don’t really know what’s next. But it becomes apparent we must stay there till our minibus returns and that seems to take a while. I need to pee but we’re not allowed out – yet. I face a moral dilemma but decide I just cannot do it in the mud. So we wait. And wait. It takes forever. Eventually we get the instruction – we can go! We race out, to the lagoon at the bottom to soak off. There we’re bathed by attendant women, who amongst other things, make us take off our bathing suits so they can wash them. They do return them though while we’re in the lagoon.
There’s time for negotiating fees with all the attendants (luckily our teacher is there to help us) before we go. A truly memorable, if totally bizarre experience.
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