For our 4th night of our 7 day trip from La Paz, Bolivia to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile we stayed at another hostel. While it wasn’t as private as our hostel in Sajama, it was warmer and for that we were happy.
Dona Lupe Hostal – Our Room
When we got our room assignments we put all of our stuff down and checked it out.
After we took a few pictures of the room we noticed that our door did not have an inside lock that worked as the latch piece was missing. The first person that I asked to help me basically said don’t worry about it, it’s alright. That was not a satisfactory answer for me as when I’m sleeping, I need to know that nobody is just going to walk into the room. Fortunately, the second person that we asked was able to remedy the situation. When she left, I bet Andy that when she returned it would be with a rusty nail to close the lock. I almost started laughing out loud when she brought back, as predicted, a rusty nail.
The room had 2 beds which were somewhere between the size of a twin and a full. Since I never sleep as well when Andy isn’t with me, we both crammed on to 1 small bed for the night. Neither of us slept well, I think it was partially due to being crammed and partially using the worst pillows that we have ever used in our lives. They were not thick but weighed approximately 4 pounds each. I joked that we should have a pillow fight but whoever got the first hit in would probably knock the other out cold.
The ceiling was really weird – it was a plastic type material which, when wind blew, was extremely loud. It wasn’t even that windy but I thought at times that the hostel was going to blow away.
Even though we had a plug in our room, it did not work. This meant that we were not able to charge any of our electronic gear. After talking to others in our group, we found out that having a broken plug was a step up, they didn’t have any plugs in their room.
Similar to the hostel that we had before, our lock to the room was a comically small padlock with a key smaller than the size of my pinky nail. As we left the hostel in the morning to watch the sunrise over the salt flats, I again crossed my fingers and hoped that most people in the world were good. Luckily everything was good and everything was safe.
Dona Lupe Hostal – Our Bathroom
While we didn’t have a full bathroom in our room, we had a toilet and sink. The door was comically small, poor Andy hitting his head no less than 2 times when he came out. I guess you never really think about ducking when you leave a bathroom because doors are always a standard height.
Since the hostel wasn’t very full when we were there, the 6 of us in our group all coordinated a shower order as we all had to share the only communal shower. Since it was only 1 night, nobody really thought too much about it.
I was the first one to shower, coming back to report to Andy that while the shower was nice, it was hot to the point of scalding. He is more sensitive to hot water than I am and was barely able to get under the water at all. We warned the girls who were next in line for the hot shower and they agreed that it was too hot but nobody could figure out how to adjust the temperature.
Ironically the last people to shower, a couple from New Zealand, knew exactly how the hot water system worked as it was similar to their RV. They were able to change the temperature to the exact perfect temperature. When we asked them how they changed it, they told us that they pulled the wires out of the wall and adjusted it. With that being said, I knew that I would have never guessed, nor tried to adjust the temperature, knowing that in Bolivia live wires that are easily accessible are not uncommon.
Dona Lupe Hostal – Common Areas
There was a common dining area which also had couches as well as a foosball table. Here we ate the best meals that we had during our 7 day trip. It was not only fresh but also included a good number of vegetables, something that is hard to come by in South America.
The hostel had a nice outdoor area with some seating and flowers. The most interesting thing for me were the dried cactus decorations. I had never seen what happens to a cactus when it dies and it was fascinating. It reminded me of a bone with holes in it – very hard but porous.
We saw a sign which promoted wifi but decided that we would detox, completely unplugging from the world for the full week of our trip. I would guess that the internet connection would have been very slow as is par for the course in Bolivia but don’t know for sure.
The town of Jirira is actually located right on the northern edge of the Uyuni Salt Flats. The morning after we stayed at Hostal Dona Lupe we woke up early to see the sun rise over the salt flats. We were lucky that we were so close, so we didn’t have far to drive and get a good view of the sunrise. It was also close to another town Coqueza, where we did a hike to a viewpoint later that same morning.
Our neighbors found a scorpion in their room after they checked in. Since they were Australian, they were not too concerned about it. In fact, instead of killing it, they put it into a plastic bag before they decided that they couldn’t kill it, deciding instead to release it into the courtyard of the hostel. Needless to say, everyone did a very thorough scorpion check of their rooms before going to bed – luckily, nobody found any others.
Part of the hostel was built out of salt blocks. While it would have been cool to stay in those rooms, we knew that we had salt hostels later on in our trip.
The hostel was completely adequate for our 1 night stay. The bed was not overly comfortable, the shower too hot and we feared that a scorpion would sting us, but we have started getting used to less than perfect lodging conditions. I think the fact that we had a good dinner completely erased all the negatives in my mind – it’s crazy what a good dinner can do to your mental state.