Our guide Raul told us a story about the creation of the lodge. When it was first being constructed, local authorities said it had to be built further back from the river as a safety precaution. In order to do this, trees had to be chopped down for enough land to be cleared. Local belief holds that spirits of the deceased may live in the roots of some of these trees and in cutting them down, the spirits were displaced. After the lodge opened, reports started coming from one of the rooms. Guests were reporting hearing footsteps inside their rooms and some even said they felt a hand on their leg, with no hand in sight. It took 6 months of these reports and insistence from the workers that a shaman be brought to purify the room before the owner came to check it out. The first night, he stayed in the room and heard footsteps soon after he went to bed. Later in the night, he heard a knocking on his door. He took a chair over to the door frame to lean over the woodwork to see if someone was there. He saw nothing, yet the knocking continued. The door even began to open, despite anything he did to prop it shut.
Oh, the name of the spirits? Chullachaqui.
Don't worry - Raul said there were fewer reports of strange occurrences now, if they ever really happened at all. I think he was just having fun at our expense. Now, some 6 years after the opening and these alleged events, in a place as unforgiving as the Amazon, the lodge is in very good condition. This is not a luxury lodge, but more of a place to drop your bags, eat some grub, get a little sleep, and take a quick shower here or there. Keep that in mind and you'll realize that the Chullachaqui Lodge is a perfect home base for exploring the jungle that surrounds you.
This was our private room, which had two twins and a double - perfect for families or couples who like to sleep together and need some space to take apart their gear. The beds were on the hard side, but we've had worse beds since then in our Peru travels. There were hooks to dry the provided towels or for wet clothes, but things will dry much faster on sunny days on the railings outside. The windows are also not windows but holes filled with mosquito netting. We never had an issue with bugs in our room, so the netting works perfectly. Also, no light in the rooms, so your headlamp/flashlight is useful for more than just your night walks.
This is the private bathroom we had. The shower is cold water, but that's really refreshing after you've been out trekking through the jungle all day at 90°F and similar humidity with long sleeves, pants, and tall rubber boots. The water comes from a well rich in iron oxide, so the water is tinted red and smells a bit odd, but its fine for washing DEET and sunscreen off. Same goes for the faucet - make sure to use the filtered water for brushing your teeth or if you need a midnight drink.
This is the area where you get your briefings and also where you eat all your meals. The door on the left leads to the hammock room, a fantastic place for a siesta after one of the filling meals you'll get at the lodge. Speaking of food, you won’t be disappointed. The portions are huge - you need tons of energy for all the jungle trekking. We had multiple types of catfish, chicken, mini-piranhas, even alligator one night. Each lunch/dinner comes with a meat, a big mound of rice, usually a starch in the form of potatoes, and maybe something else. You also get a piece of fresh fruit as well as freshly squeezed pitchers of fruit juice made from the fruits of the Amazon. Breakfast was a little less inspiring, as each morning was scrambled eggs, a few pieces of bread, and a few slices of cheese and deli meat. It was good for energy, but it didn't compare to the lunches/dinners in the flavor department. But mostly, I didn't even care, because the fresh juice was that damn delicious.
Making everything work in the lodge is a wonderful staff that is always ready to help you when you need it. Whether it be preparing all of the delicious meals, cleaning the shared and private spaces, or saving the day with their generator when all your camera batteries die, the staff at the lodge are there to help you with anything you might need.
If you want to book a stay at the Chullachaqui Lodge, you can visit http://amazoniantrips.com/ to check them out. Debbie is the US-based owner who coordinates with Walter on the ground in Iquitos. If you pre-book with them, they'll pick you up from the airport and take you to their office to finalize everything before taking you to your hostel/hotel. Then, they'll pick you up the day you start your tour and take you to the pier, bring you back your hotel/hostel after the trip, but they also even took us to the airport on the day we left. We definitely recommend Amazonian Trips as a great Amazon lodge option departing from Iquitos.