Salt Hostel Atulcha Bolivia

Salt Hostel in Atulcha, Bolivia

Lynn Travel South America, Bolivia, Uyuni Salt Flats Leave a Comment

As we continued on our 7 day tour from La Paz, Bolivia to San Pedro de Atacama, our accommodations continued to get worse and worse. When we arrived at the hostel without a name, probably because it wasn’t worth naming, we knew that the hostel was going to be average or worse.

Street View of Salt Hostel in Atulcha Bolivia

When our guide told us that we had to pay 10B or $1.50 to shower, I about snapped. We were told that our hostel had a shower but were never told it was a pay shower nor have I ever heard of a shower not being included in a room rate. Since we didn’t want to arrive in Chile with extra Bolivianos which we knew we would get screwed over exchanging, we brought the fewest possible. This meant that in order to shower, a necessity for me, we had to find a way to get more bolivianos.

Our Room

When we walked into our room I was disappointed to see 2 twin beds. I asked if there was a room with a matrimonial bed, the local term for a double but they said no. We accepted that we would have to either cuddle onto a single twin bed or sleep apart for the night.

Beds in Our Room at Salt Hostel in Atulcha Bolivia

The walls were made out of salt and for some strange reason the floor was covered in pea gravel size pieces of salt. While it looked cool, it was not practical as it was extremely uncomfortable to walk on. We pulled out our sandals and had to wear those around the room. Strangely, we were the only ones with a salt pebble floor. The other 3 rooms that our group had all had normal floors.

Salt Floor in Our Room at Salt Hostel in Atulcha Bolivia

Our room had 3 power plugs in our room, all of which worked. This was great as we were not able to charge our electronics the night before and were told that the following night would not have power.

Since we didn’t want to leave all of our gear sitting in the salt pebbles overnight, we opted to stay in a single twin bed and place our gear on the other. While it wasn’t the best night of sleep we had, crammed into a bed made for a single person, it was alright for 1 night.

The curtains on our window were a burlap material. I was shocked when I realized that you could see right through them into the room from the common area. In order to have any sort of privacy when changing we had to go into our bathroom. Why they did not choose a more opaque material to make curtains out of I’m not sure.

Our Bathroom

Similar to our hostel in Jirira the night before, we had a private toilet and sink with a shared shower. The bathroom was average but all that we needed.

Private Bathroom at Salt Hostel in Atulcha Bolivia

Shared Showers

Even though I was pissed that a shower wasn’t included in our room rate, we found a guy in another group whom we were able to trade $6 for bolivianos. This allowed us to take a shower and have a little buffer in our budget.

Shared Pay Showers at Salt Hostel in Atulcha Bolivia

While I was annoyed that I had to pay, I will say that the shower was really nice. The water was the perfect temperature and the water pressure good. Fortunately for us we have towels in our backpacks as the 10B shower did not even include a towel.

Common Areas

All of the bedrooms face the common area and the rooms are not insulated well for sound. If you were to go to bed when people were still up, it would likely be hard to fall asleep.

Dining Area at Salt Hostel in Atulcha Bolivia

We were at the hostel on Thanksgiving and had the worst Thanksgiving dinner ever. It was a casserole of sorts with french fries, canned tomatoes, onions, sliced hot dogs and beef cubes. While I wish that I could say that I am joking, sadly I am not. Our families already know that a true Thanksgiving dinner is one of our meals that we want to have when we return back to the states in April.

There were some cabinets filled with drinks and snacks at the hostel. It was a good idea and if we had bolivianos that we could part with we would have considered buying a Snickers bar and a bottle of wine. I felt bad for the ladies that were manning the shops as nobody at that point had any money that they could spend to purchase snacks or drinks.

Final Thoughts

I didn’t love that our room had a salt pebble floor but it was clean, had a nice shower and the room was warm. Since it was Thanksgiving, Andy and I both had time to reflect on what we were thankful for. I was shocked at the difference in things that I was thankful for this year vs. years past. I am thankful that in the US we have a home with heat, hot water and are able to have a nice dinner with family. Roughing it will make you appreciate all the little things that you take for granted in everyday life.

Even though the hostel wasn’t great, we had a nice goodbye from a friendly cat outside. It was a white kitten with long hair, similar to our cat Gingerbread. She was friendly and wanted to play so we spent some time with her before we hopped in our jeeps and continued on our journey. Since the hostel didn’t have a name, we named it the “Blanco Gato Hostel” or white cat hostel.

White Cat at Salt Hostel in Atulcha Bolivia

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About the Author


Bitten by the travel bug during a semester abroad in college, Lynn was able to travel around much of Europe on a shoestring budget. Her travel motto is "If I haven't been there yet, it's probably on my list". When she isn't daydreaming about her next trip, you can find her cooking in the kitchen, reading blogs on how to travel the world on points or spending time with her fluffy cat Gingerbread.