Picture this: a sprawling salt flat that stretches far into the horizon. It’s located at the base of a dormant volcano of which therein lies a cave of mummies. It sounds like the perfect recipe for a bizarre science fiction story set on some distant planet, but it is in fact the setting for the new Kachi Lodge. Located in Salar de Uyuni, one of the top tourism destinations in southwest Bolivia, the futuristic lodge sits atop the breathtaking natural landscape of the Uyuni Salt Flats, measuring at an altitude of 3,600 metres at the foot of the Tunupa Volcano in southwest Bolivia.
Opened in February, Kachi Lodge is owned by Vincent Raisière, who is also the managing director of bespoke travel company, Amazing Escapes, Raisière has built the campsite to take advantage of the jaw-dropping views of the ‘world’s largest mirror’. It’s a stunning natural phenomenon when the flat is covered by a layer of water while offering guests exclusive access to the lower reaches of the area. Each of the six futuristic domes is connected to one another by wooden walkways, which also lead to the restaurant: a pop-up by Gustu, which ranks 28th on Latin America’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017.
A little known fact about the domes: they are invented in the 1950s by famed American architect, Buckminster Fuller. And are the lightest, strongest, and most cost-effective structure ever devised. It is able to cover more space (without internal support) than any other enclosure. It becomes proportionally lighter and stronger the larger it is. And based on this concept, Amazing Escapes thought it would be perfect to withstand the harsh weather in the salt flat. The pods are not only aerodynamic, it also has a dynamic center of gravity that stands strong against wind, plus its geometry allows proper circulation of the ambient air with little energy input.
An otherworldly experience
With a series of metallic structures featuring transparent panels on the front and top, the Dome camp looks like a space station. When the sun sets and the sky turns dark, it will certainly feel like you are in outer space with the twinkling stars as the backdrop.
The solar powered, igloo-style structures are all elevated on a wooden platform above the salty surface. The design protects the fragile landscape underneath and ensures the lodge can remain open during the annual rainy season, when the Salar’s surface turns into a watery mirror that reflects the vast expanses of Bolivian sky above.
Yet, within each dome lies the makings of a five-star hotel, with private bathrooms and comfortable bedding. Each pod is outfitted with wooden design pieces which celebrate the indigenous influences in Bolivia, a plush double bed positioned to provide maximum views out of the dome’s clear-panelled ‘windows’, cashmere blankets, high-thread count sheets, a woodburning stove to keep the space warm overnight (temperatures can dip as low as zero dgree even during high summer), and en
suite bathrooms complete with running hot and cold water. The latter is a rare luxury that’s out of bounds here. And even oxygen, in light of the 12,000 ft altitude.
A nomadic-chic aesthetic dominates the central dome. Multicoloured Moroccan lanterns illuminate it, and large cushions are strewed around low tables decorated with copper floor lanterns and primitive wooden bowls.
The private bathrooms use solar panels to recycle water, but the highlight above and beyond anything else has to be the unique and completely undisturbed views of a sunrise over the vast expanse of the Salar that you wake up to every morning. It’s something nowhere else can give you,.
Ripe for exploration
The vast white plain offers numerous activities for visitors to enjoy, depending on the seasons. Prehistorically, the salt flats were once a massive lake. As it turned into a salt plain over time, the lakebed has become small islands that dot the surface of the land mass.
Within walking distance of the domes is one such island, covered in giant cacti and offers an even greater view of the Salar, thanks to its elevation. Guests can also visit the more frequented island of Inca Huasi, which is located 30 minutes away, are also possible. The area also contains numerous archaeological areas, such as Alcaya, the ruins of an old, pre-colombian city. The cave of mummies can be found near the village of Coquesa. For the adventurous, the rural charm of the actual village is ripe for exploration.
Be it an escapade into the solitude of the salt flats or a deep discovery of Bolivian prehistory, the Kachi Lodge offers are of the
experience.e most unforgettable travel