Volcan del Totumo and Castillo San Felipe Fortress

Cartagena Travel Blog

 › entry 15 of 71 › view all entries

Had booked us in on the Volcan del Totumo tour today. Basically, it is a mud volcano... pretty obvious huh!? It actually erupted in 1996 and we saw some of the remains from the explosion on our way up which was pretty interesting. I had thought that it was something man made, simply because the pictures I had seen showed the typical cone, but it doesn´t really appear to be.

Firstly we had to climb to the top on these man made steps, which is made hard just because it is so hot due to the beaming sun. Once we get up there, one by one we get into the small crater, and there are men in there to massage you if you so wish, and also a guy taking everyone´s camera to take photos for us all (but for a tip of course)! Nathan and I declined the offer of a massage and are soon pushed lying backward to one end.

It was such an odd experience, like being in melted chocolate and you don´t sink either so it´s really weird and quite hard to move around! We loved it, it was pretty wicked, and a must in our opinion!

Now for the interesting part - trying to get out of te mud without anything slipping down (or so we thought). We then get to the lake to wash it all off and there are ladies there to clean you (again, for a small tip). We all said no (apart from the older people on the tour), but they are so forceful to the point they are quite rude. We were getting out and they told Nathan he still had it all in his ears (which he did, but who really cares) and she hauled him back in, and thus violation number one occurs at this point - the opening up of Nathan´s boxers and in with the bowl of water and her steady hand shaking his pants free of mud.

And I shouldn´t have been laughing because it then bit me right in the backside, when she then grabbed my hand and insisted on cleaning me off. So, whatever she can, we have to pay her anyway is what I was thinking at this point. Bad, bad move. Violation number 2 and 3 occur. She then nearly rips my bikini top down and puts all these bowls of water down IN FRONT of the rest of the tour group (OK, so they didn´t see anything, but someone was still trying to contain herself from turning scarlett red while saying ¨No, no no!¨ while the lady laughed at me saying ¨no, no, no promblemo¨. Violation 3 was pulling the front and back of my bikini bottom and spalshing water in, while the Aussie and Belgium couple were pretty much in hysterics. Oh the shame.
So, she did it in a ¨private¨ fashion yet it felt pretty violating to say the least! So be warned!! Run as fast as you can away from these woman! She got a good laugh out of it all, I literally ran away after the second violation.

We then stopped at a seculded beach for some lunch and back into town by 3:30pm.

After barely a rest, and persuading Nathan to get out to see the fortress we had passed, 30 mins later we were stading at the bottom of San Felipe Fortress. Pretty impressive, and someone (Nathan) was pretty glad we were there too, as he finally admitted after I pointed out he was a childish little kid the way e was running around looking at everything!

Castillo San Felipe fortress was built in the 17th century (plans drew up in 1639 and eventually completed in 1789.

Cartagena suffered invasions and sackings in 1544, 1560 and in 1586 (by Sir Francis Drake). In 1741, the English Commander, Edward Vernon, with 186 ships and 25,000 men laid a three month siege to the city. He was so certain that Cartagena would be his, he had a medal struck commemorating his expected victory. However, the Spaniards, outnumbered seven to one, held firm behind their walls and fortresses. The smaller cannons on the English ships were able to bombard the outer walls of the fortress seen today as you drive along Boca Grande beach but could not reach the distances and heights of Castillo San Felipe. The castle's cannons on the other hand, made prime targets of the English ships whenever they ventured within range. Vernon lost over 70 ships and 10,000 men in his ill fated attempt to take the city. It is a grand site, and a must see.  Lots of chambers within the fort which are illuminated and different sections. The fort was never successfully invaded.

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Me at the back, Nathan just got in…
Me at the back, Nathan just got i…
There we are (top left hand corner)
There we are (top left hand corner)
The boobs are afloat!
The boobs are afloat!
No, no massage!
No, no massage!
Near Cartagena, in Colombia.
Near Cartagena, in Colombia.
Cartagena
photo by: vulindlela