Perched at 11,995 feet in the high plateau region of the Bolivian Andes, the Uyuni salt flats are the largest salt flats in the world.
Receiving more than 300,000 tourists every year, it’s also one of Bolivia’s most popular destinations. But visitors who opt to stay at Kachi Lodge have this amazing place to themselves when those droves head back into the city after their day trip.
Kachi Lodge is the first permanent structure of its kind built at Uyuni. They offer visitors the opportunity to deeply connect with this landscape, while delivering utmost comfort and a completely sustainable experience.
If you’re heading to Uyuni, don’t book your accommodations until you’ve read about Kuoda’s favorite place to stay.
What is Kachi Lodge?
Kachi Lodge is the first luxury lodge of its kind on the Uyuni Salt Flats. Sitting at the base of the Tunupa volcano, it consists of 6 glamping domes and one oversized lounge dome, all sitting atop a wooden deck.
Each glamping dome is a 300 square foot private bedroom with private bathroom, running hot water, proper heating from a pellet stove, and a luxurious interior with every detail attended to. The beds, for example, are centrally placed for the best views of the night sky. They’re fitted with the most comfortable, state of the art bedding, including a handmade woven blanket made of naturally dyed llama and alpaca wool and a pair of cushions designed and made in La Paz by Andi’Art.
That penchant for detail extends to the bespoke furniture around the room, which is crafted from regional materials. Handcrafted lamps made from reclaimed cactus wood can be found on either side of the bed, the small tables by the bay windows are sculpted of Bolivian wood, and each room has its own unique painting by internationally known, Bolivian-born artist, Gaston Ugalde.
What to Do Around Kachi Lodge
Situated directly on the Uyuni salt flats, Kachi Lodge is obviously the perfect base from which to explore this incredible wonder. In dry or rainy season, this landscape makes you feel like you’re on a different planet. In the wet season, the rain turns the flats into a mirror and you won’t be able to tell where the land ends and the sky begins. When it’s dry, the flats turn into hexagonal cracks of bleached earth.
From the lodge, it’s a half-day hike to the edge of the Tunupa crater, where you can catch a birds eye view of the salt flats along with a stunning sunset or sunrise. The lodge offers mountain bike rentals, so you can take a bike out to see how the salt is harvested by locals or make a trip out to the quinoa fields and llama farms for a taste of local culture. When the flats fill with water, take a paddle board out and experience them in a way that very few people can.
Local tour guides can be hired for many excursions. Kachi Lodge offers sunrise hikes followed by breakfast on an island covered in giant cacti. Or head out to one of many archeological sites, such as the village of Coquesa and its 1,200-year old mummies or the pre-Columbian city of Alcaya near Salinas. In the evening, use the lodge’s telescope to see even deeper into the clear night sky and the hundreds of thousands of stars that are visible from this remote location.
A Sustainable Experience
Besides organizing the best vacation you’ve ever had, Kuoda’s main priority is to make travel more sustainable. Which is why we partner with places like Kachi Lodge, which have gone to great lengths to promote sustainability in terms of water and waste management, energy efficiency, the construction of the lodge, and even the local community.
Amazing Escapes has created opportunities for local communities to engage with the Kachi Lodge project from its outset. They began developing their relationship with the Jirira community in 2015 and, since then, they’ve worked closely with them. Some members of the community hold important positions that are essential to the functioning of Kachi Lodge, others have been hired on as local guides whom they train with the help of tourism professionals, and they even make special efforts to use drivers from Uyuni for all of their transportation needs.
But Kachi Lodge extends its influence outside of the local community and has made efforts to support and promote Bolivian culture and heritage as a whole. For example, they’re currently exhibiting the work of Gaston Ugalde, a contemporary Bolivian artist. They also collaborate with Nativa, a restaurant who works mostly with Bolivian producers.
Kachi Lodge is a permanent structure, but it’s been built in a sustainable way, so as not to disturb the natural landscape on which it sits. Kachi Lodge is completely mobile, for example. It’s perched on a wooden floor and pillars that simply stand atop the Bolivian salt flats. They didn’t drill or anchor into the salt crust, thereby maintaining its integrity and ensuring that should the lodge ever close, every piece can be removed as if it was never there.
In another effort to involve local communities and support the local economy, the structure was built with the help of Bolivian construction companies and as much building material as possible was purchased locally. For example, the wood that the lodge sits on top of is FSC-certified Bolivian wood.
Renewable Energy Sources
Solar panels are currently being installed at Kachi Lodge. Those panels are already heating the water supply for the lodge and all its cabins but, the entire lodge is designed to operate on solar energy. There are also studies being done around the possibility of installing a wind turbine to complete the energy supply.
In each glamping dome, you’ll also find heating stoves. These stoves keep you warm and toasty when temperatures drop in the evenings and they run on wood pellets that are made from reclaimed and recycled wood.
Kachi Lodge starts their waste management efforts upstream. Meaning that they use recyclable packaging for their supplies and they are constantly putting pressure on their suppliers to follow this process as well.
The lodge has also implemented a zero-plastic policy. They don’t use plastic bottles or plastic packaging, unless it’s recyclable. They sort any waste created on site and there are efforts underway to build a waste treatment facility in the near future.
The water system used for the entire Lodge prevents any wastewater flowing into the environment and also minimizes water consumption. The system is a complex weaving of pumps that bring greywater to a tank for dirty water. That tank is then connected to a closed-loop, reverse osmosis filtering system.
Each glamping dome has its own incineration toilet. These toilets burn organic mater instantly and leave behind only ash. That means there’s no black water to treat or discharge.
Stay at Kachi Lodge with Kuoda
The Uyuni salt flats are a must-see if you’re coming to Bolivia. Wet or dry, this landscape transports you to another world. Enjoy that world after the day-trippers have left for the day by booking a stay at Kachi Lodge. It’s the perfect base from which to explore the salt flats, the local community and culture, and nearby natural and archeological sites.
We’re pleased to partner with Kachi Lodge for all its efforts in sustainability and for the luxury experience it offers its guests. Start planning your trip to the salt flats and your stay at Kachi Lodge with Kuoda.
Main Photo Source: Instagram @kachilodge