Palacio de Sal – Daniel Campos, Bolivia - Atlas Obscura

Daniel Campos, Bolivia

Palacio de Sal

This hotel is located on the edge of the world's largest salt flat and is made out of the only material around. 

Nestled on the edge of a massive field of glimmering salt is the Palacio de Sal, a commercial hotel which is constructed out of blocks of pure salt.

The current Palacio de Sal sits in Bolivia over 15 miles from the nearest town or sign of life, but this is actually the second such salt lodging to be built in the area after the first was abandoned. The Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, is over 4,000 miles of hot, barren crust in which almost nothing can grow. Despite the inhospitable climate, the natural phenomenon has long been a popular tourist destination. In order to capitalize on this trend one enterprising businessman decided to build a small hotel smack dab in the middle of the salty sea. With no other natural resources in the area, the builders simply mined blocks of salt to create everything in the establishment from the walls to the beds to the tables and chairs. There was even a strictly enforced rule against licking the walls and furniture. 

Unfortunately the hard ground made creating proper waste management systems difficult and soon the site was overcome with waste and unsanitary conditions. Built in the early 90’s the original Palacio de Sal was closed by 2002. 

The current Palacio de Sal was built in 2007 closer to civilization and with better plumbing but from the same type of salt blocks as the original. The expanded site features 32 rooms built of salt blocks and is much more upscale than the first one, however the no licking rule is still firmly in place.