Taking a mud bath in the crater of Volcan de Lodo El Totumo // Taking a mud bath in the crater of Volcan de Lodo El Totumo (2-lKrzysztof Dydynski, LP)

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Taking a mud bath in the crater of Volcan de Lodo El Totumo

You can take a therapeutic mud bath almost anywhere, from the Dead Sea to your own back garden. But there are very few places in the world where you can hop into the crater of a genuine mud volcano for a floating massage.

This rare phenomenon forms when natural gases below ground force mud slowly upwards in warm, sulphurous bubbles. Over time a hard outer cone develops around the central crater.

Probably the best mud volcano to visit is El Totumo in northern Colombia, near the atmospheric port city of Cartagena. This 15-metre high volcano is filled with mineral-rich goo of just the right consistency to allow you to lie or even stand in it without sinking. Attendants will give you a slippery massage and also help you scrub off the sludge in the neighbouring river.

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