Sleep in a Bubble Hotel in Terlingua Texas Desert
Hey travel lovers! Are you ready to hear all about my Bubble Hotel experience? For those of you who have been following me on Instagram knows in 2020 during the pandemic I continued my travels, but in a different way. The focus was discovering hidden gems and unique lodgings within the state of Texas! One unique lodging that has been on my bucket list for YEARS is staying in a Bubble hotel. I have seen Bubbles in other parts of the world and did not know there was one in the state of Texas near Big Bend National Park. Check out my review of our stay in a bubble unit at Basecamp Terlingua in Terlingua, Texas!
GETTING TO TERLINGUA, TEXAS
Terlingua, TX is located on the Texas/Mexico border. As you admire the mountain ranges in the distance or during your visit of Big Bend, just know some of them are in Mexico and some are in the US. The drive to Terlingua is 8.5 hours from Dallas, 7 hours from Austin or 9.5 hours from Houston. Once in Terlingua it is very easy to reach Basecamp Terlingua.
It is advisable that you drive all wheel terrain vehicle and not an economy size car if going to Big Bend. The roads are rough to get to some trails. Also if you are renting car get a car with navigation. Throughout the trip service on my cellphone came and went beginning with the cities right outside of Terlingua. Once you are in Big Bend National Park, there is very little to no service.
So print off directions to the Bubble hotel and important information ahead of time. You can also save websites on your phone for offline access. You never know how frustrating it is to not have internet until you really need it.
BUBBLE X INTERIOR FEATURES
Basecamp Terlingua has grown and now have more Bubble options for you to choose one which makes me feel that they count as a Bubble Hotel label! The one we stayed at, I believe the biggest one, is Bubble X. When you first arrive, they have a shade over each of the bubbles to keep the bubbles cool during hot temperatures. There are 2 A/C units in the inside, but with Texas heat it can get pretty warm in the heat of the day. We took off the shade about 4:30pm which our stay was in October so sunset was at 7pm at the time.
When entering the bubble, there is a chamber that you first get in and zip behind you. It is important to make sure you zip the chamber behind you before entering in the main bubble to prevent it from deflating. There is a little bench in the first chamber that I would sit on to take off my shoes.
The interior decor was beautiful -almost a Moroccan flare with bright colors and rugs which was nice because everything was bright white. You first enter the living room where there is a sofa, coffee table, A/C unit and mini fridge and Keurig machine. The Keurig machine had different pods for flavor coffee and hot cocoa which was nice during the chilling evenings and mornings. The sofa also can fold out to bed as well for an additional two people.
The bathroom was a separate bubble that can be zipped closed for privacy in case you are visiting with friends or with kids. You can also leave it open with no problem from outsiders. You have no neighbors and there are walls so noone can peek inside The front part you have the sink and toilet with towels and soap. The backside is the shower with shower gel, shampoo and conditioner. The shower works great – nice and hot on our chilly morning.
The bedroom is quite spacious! Love the decor and the bedroom has a window that you can velcor up or leave down. There is an additional A/C in the bedroom as well. The bed was nice and comfortable and there was additional covers too.
BUBBLE X AT NIGHT
At night the stars were amazing! Terlingua is voted #1 by Travel & Leisure of having the darkest skies in the US. Terlingua is not a city so very little city lights and at Basecamp Terlingua the lights are kept at a minimum – just the walk ways by your feet and the bathhouses.
The stars inside the bubble seemed so close and bright that you could touch them. The bubble from the outside looked really cool as well! If you have telescope this is a great way to have unobstructed views of the stars and galaxies. You can see shooting stars.
BUBBLE X OUTDOOR KITCHEN & LOUNGE
The main reason why I booked the Bubble X was not only due to the space inside of the bubble but all the extras outside the bubble. With Bubble X, you have a private hot tub. This was so much needed after all the hiking I did and I was very sore. The hot tub really relaxed all my muscles and I felt so much better afterwards. I recommend if you will be spending a lot of time at Big Bend and changing lodgings, save the bubble for last so you can relax the soreness away.
I enjoyed the hot tub in the evening and at sunrise. In the desert, it is quite cold during these hours so the hot tub was perfect. Also there is a private outdoor shower. I have always wanted to experience an outdoor shower and it was so amazing. There is shower gel, shampoo and conditioner available and a small bench to set your things.
Another nice amenity is the outdoor kitchen area. Enjoy dinner and breakfast with amazing views of the mountains. Sunrise and sunsets are so pretty. There is gas grill for you to use with a long table and sink. There are matches, lighter and dish soap for you to use as well.
There are two seating areas too where you can enjoy the sunset and sunrise. There are wooden chairs and then the carved out circle seating with pillows. In front, you have a fire pit that we used to cook our dinner. Firewood is not provided so be sure to bring your own.
GLAMPING OPTIONS AT BASECAMP TERLINGUA
So I know I stated this was a Bubble Hotel, but Basecamp Terlingua does not only have bubbles as lodging options. They also many other glamping options to choose from too! You can choose from tipis, retro trailers, casitas, lotus tents and campsites. They also built few more bubbles and casitas in 2020 too called Rafiki Ridge – AMAZING! In addition to the bubble, we also experienced the campsite and their tipis as well.
Our first stay was at their campgrounds. We booked campsite #4. This is a preferred spot because you have no other campers in your view of the Chisos Mountains. Each campsite has access to water and a firepit. You bring your tent and set up camp. It is a pretty big campsite and they have wagons to help carry your belongings to your spot.
You share this spot and the bathhouse with the Lotus tents which are beautiful. There is also an indoor room where you can have coffee, hot cocoa and wash your hands. The toilets and showers are separate compartments but in the same area by the parking lot.
Our second stay at Basecamp Terlingua was in one of their tipis. They have some of the biggest tipis I have stayed in the state of Texas. We stayed in one of there Luxury Tipis called Big Horn. All tipis are positioned with unobstructed views of the Chisos Mountains. They share a separate bathhouse as well. The setup inside Big Horn was amazing! It is set below ground level so you take a small set of stairs to get to everything.
There is a huge bed, leather seating, sofa small kitchen area where there is a coffee machine, mini fridge and sink. There is also an A/C that keeps the tipi cool. One thing to keep in mind with the tipis as mentioned on their website is there is a hole in the roof where the tipi poles come together.
Also the tipis are not sealed. So you are in the desert so you are sharing the land with all sorts of critters including snakes, spiders and scorpions. They can get inside the tipis. To seal the door, we used the tarp that is for keeping the bed dry during the rain and put it over the opening of our door and sealed it with our luggage and rocks to help keep bigger critters away.
TERLINGUA HIKING & CAMPING TIPS
1.) Buy supplies before departing your home – This area of Texas is very secluded with no Walmart or Walgreens if you forget to bring something. If coming from Dallas and you need one of these stores. find one in Midland because after that there is nothing. The next bigger grocery store is Porter’s on 2nd Street in Alpine, TX. That is where we restocked and bought firewood too.
2.) Bring a large Cooler & Ice – Yes, a cooler will be your best friend in keeping your foods that you want to grill nice and cold as well as your drinks for your hikes. If you will be camping inside Big Bend then definitely get a bear proof cooler. Their sense of smell if very strong. There is a popular gas station in Terlingua near Big Bend that people go to for ice and drinks.
3.) Save on camping plates & utensils – So as a first time camper, I went to the camping section of Walmart and REI’s and of course you say camping and everything is triple the price. You will see disposable camping plates and bowls and they are over $10 for a set. Go to Target and get the same type of plate and bowls for 50 cents each! You’re welcome!
4.) Pack good flashlights – Yes having really good bright flashlights is a must. Don’t get the cheap ones from the Dollar Stores. They will not last long and not as bright. This is something that I would definitely invest in getting good ones because it is pitch black. Terlingua is known to have the darkest skies so that means very little city lights including at campsites such as Basecamp Terlingua. I highly recommend headlights. This is great to be hands free when walking or cooking or needing to go to the bathroom to pee. You don’t want to accidently step on a snake.
5.) Bring First Aid Kits & Critter Kits – The only medical place near Basecamp Terlingua is the EMS Station. If there is an emergency and you do not have phone service which we did not while on the grounds, drive there at least where there are paramedics available. The closest hospitals are in Alpine or Presidio, Texas which are about 1.5 hours away. So pack a first aid kit and snake bite kit just in case. Watch this video to learn about what you can encounter in this area as well so you are prepared.
I hope you enjoyed this review! I will be having a blog on a guide to Big Bend National Park and what beautiful hotels we stayed at. In the meantime, you can check them out on my Instagram Guide here. Also stay tuned for my post on the most Tropical Places in Texas and Unique Lodgings in Texas well. You can find the Instagram guides to those here and here!