Sit Down, Pants Off: Getting Washed Clean Of Volcanic Mud In Colombia

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People often ask me what my funniest travel story is.

It’s difficult to pin point one, because there have been many…like, MANY…and I have the crows feet to prove it 🙂

But one story always sticks out in my mind because it happened in my favourite country: Colombia.

Let me paint the scene. Colombia was the first country I visited on my 6 month round the world trip, back in 2012. I didn’t speak much Spanish back then, so to make sure I saw the best of what the country had to offer – and to meet like minded travellers – I joined a group trip with Intrepid Travel.

There were people from the UK, people from Canada, people from the USA, Switzerland…it was a great group, but there were only two guys: me, and one other Canadian fellow, in his 60’s, who was travelling with his wife.

Towards the end of our group trip, we explored North Colombia. On the Northern Coast of Colombia there is a place called Volcan de Lodo El Totumo (for those of you who have been, you’ll know where this story is going).

It looks like a giant grey ant hill, but it’s basically a small mound filled with warm, clay-like mud (Google it and you’ll see what I mean).

After a relaxing time bathing in volcanic mud with the travellers from my tour group, I was first out of the mud bath, and was led down to a river by an old Colombian lady to wash the mud off.

This is me exiting the volcanic mud bath:

Volcan de Lodo El Totumo - Mud Volcano - Colombia


As I waddled down the cobbled street, trying not to step on any loose stones in my bare feet, whilst covered in head to toe by smelly volcanic mud, we eventually reached the river.

This friendly but stern Colombian woman told me to sit down in the river and promptly began washing the mud off me.

There I was, sat like a baby in a bath, with an old woman I didn’t know scrubbing my back.

A few others from my tour group followed behind me, so we were all sat in the river together, each with our own personal mud cleaner.

Then the washer women decided that our shorts and bathing costumes needed cleaning too, and made us all take them off.

So there we all were, strangers a few days before, sat together, naked in the shallows, getting washed by old women we’d never met.

It was quite the bonding experience!

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