After a homestay for our first night of our 7 day tour tour through Sajama National Park and Uyuni Salt Flats, we had 2 nights at Hostal Sajama. This ended up being the best and most private hostel that we had on our tour.
Hostal Sajama – Inti Hut
Our room was less of a room and more a hut. We thought it was really cool that the construction was the traditional mud bricks and grass roof. While I know that people have been using this building technique for many years, we both had our fingers crossed that it wouldn’t rain. I seriously don’t know what I would have done if the rain penetrated the grass roof and got all of our belongings wet, especially all of our electronics which would have gotten destroyed.
We had both a double bed and a twin bed. This worked out well as we were able to store all of our items from our bags off the floor on the twin bed. While the full size bed had 5 blankets on it and I had Andy next to me, keeping me warm, I was still quite cold at night. I think this is partially due to the very cold night time temperatures and partially due to the traditional construction technique.
The front door was warped and didn’t offer us a ton of security. We had a comically small lock to close the door from the outside. I could have easily broken the lock with a pair of wire cutters but crossed my fingers that people would be honest and not try to break in. Fortunately for us, this was a non-issue.
At night, we utilized our power strip which we brought on the trip to charge all of our electronics. This is because there was only 1 plug in the entire room.
Hostal Sajama – Bathroom
The bathroom while basic, was clean which is the most important thing for us. We had what we nicknamed as a “toilet shower” as you can see the toilet when you take a shower, and there’s no shower curtain separating the shower from the rest of the room. This reminded us of our honeymoon as we had a toilet shower in Cambodia.
Since we always struggle with hot water in South America and it was quite cold in Sajama, I had my fingers crossed that the water would actually be hot, not just warm. I got my wish as the water was extremely hot, bordering on the point of burning. While it wasn’t the best shower of my life, it certainly beat the alternative of taking a cold shower in a cold room.
The door to the bathroom was extremely tricky and I needed Andy to let me out every time I went in. By the end of our stay at the hostel, I finally figured out how to open it myself. It required pushing on the door below the knob, then twisting and pulling the handle… not the most intuitive thing.
Hostal Sajama – Common Areas
Since we were part of a tour, we met in the common area for group meals. The food was nothing to write home about but it was hot, something that we didn’t always have as our tour continued.
The common areas were clean, but like everything else was quite cold. To make up for it, the hostel had a heater which they could turn on when needed. While it didn’t heat up the room much, it was a nice touch as I am sure it made the room warmer than it would have been.
There was also a store where you could purchase food, drinks and essentials that you would need on the road. Since they have a captive audience, the prices are higher than other parts of town and much more than a major city. We bought some 2 liter bottled water for 9B or $1.30 since drinking water was not included in our tour package. Others in our group purchased beers to enjoy during dinner. How they drank beer that was not refrigerated I’ll never know.
Sajama is a very small town so it’s hard to be in a bad location. We were a short walk to the city center which was convenient as we wanted to get away and spend some time on our own during the tour.
The views of the surrounding area were great from the hostel. We had picturesque views of the surrounding mountains including Sajama, the highest peak in all of Bolivia.
While basic, the hostel had everything that we needed to have a comfortable night of sleep. I would have loved to have a heater, but I am learning that many South American countries don’t have any heating or cooling, relying only on blankets to keep warm.
We enjoyed staying in a native style home for 2 nights but am very happy to not have to live in one. It was neat to see how they are built and how others live. After our time there, I realize just how fortunate I am to be able to live in a home that is built western style, including built in heating and cooling.