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I'm planning to go to the Salar of Uyuni in April, and I've been told that in the night it might get very cold there. I've read on some blogs that some accommodations might be very uncomfortable with tourists having to sleep in sleeping bags in the cold.

I would like to know if there is a hotel/hostel you can recommend, to stay warm and possibly have a hot shower.

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Do you plan to drive yourself? Otherwise your tour operator usually arranges the accommodation. –  Peter Hahndorf Mar 3 '13 at 17:12
    
@PeterHahndorf No, I will indeed take a tour operator, but I've read some stories of people sleeping in cold accommodations designated by this tour guides –  Patrick Mar 3 '13 at 17:27
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2 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

I've done a tour of the Salt flats in January 2010 which is the summer down there and even then it got cold at night because it is pretty high up - 3,656 meters (11,995 ft).

I did a tour with a local operator as everybody else did, there are dozens of 4x4s out there every day.

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The accommodation was indeed very basic, especially on the second night. We started in Uyuni and went south, the first night you stay in a small village but the second night is in the middle of nowhere with just a few basic buildings for tourists to spend the night. I've been inside some of the other buildings but they all looked pretty much the same. You could mention your concerns to your tour operator and ask for the best accommodation there is, but I don't think there is much choice. It's not a place where you wonder around and ask for a room, it seems all pre-arranged.

I do remember taking some sort of shower and I think it was at least a bit warm. But I don't remember a fireplace or heating. There were basic beds with blankets and I don't think I was cold, (maybe all the wine helped) but I can imagine it to be very cold in the winter.

Several people in our building had severe problems with altitude sickness and going down was no option, so make sure you take some time before going up there.

So, just don't expect any luxury up there and bring warm clothes.

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Unfortunately, I don't think there's many options in Uyuni for accommodation.

I slept in the same place Peter mentions, and I was honestly anxious when it began to get colder and colder outside. The 'common area' was fine though, the tour guides (a really nice couple) gave us some sleeping bags and there were also blankets in the room. It might be because there were 6 of us in the room, or perhaps we were all just very excited about the geysers we were going to visit the next morning (it felt very mystical), but we weren't cold at all. Just in case, we went to sleep with our clothes on (including wool hat that covered the ears - a great accessory to have!), and it was great.

It's worth mentioning that that same place (I can't remember the name, but I think most tours do a night there) is 200 meters away from one of the most amazing things I've seen in my life. When I went, in 2008 or so, there was a very small museum. If you are there, don't miss it. Right behind it are the chulpas, that are tombs constructed inside what used to be corals (from when Uyuni was a prehistoric lake). There was only one person living there and taking care of them, and he showed us the whole place, explaining the history and the importance of the place. It was unbelievable.

There is also another hotel we visited, called Palacio de Sal (palace of salt). We didn't sleep there, but we talked to people from other tours that had, and they said they had an extremely cold night. This might have changed though.

Places like Uyuni might not have (not even remotely) comfortable options. At least not like you might be used to in other places. But you will be sleeping in the middle of one of the most amazing natural wonders, close to the people who actually spend their whole lives there. And it honestly feels really good to feel happy with what you will find. And that is a decently warm bed, excellent food, great company, and adventure.

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