Two years ago we visited Iquitos en route to an eco-lodge in the Amazon. Iquitos had its heyday during the rubber boom in the early 1900s. Cinefiles may also know it as the homebase for the film production of “Fitzcarraldo”, directed by Werner Herzog and released in 1982.
“Fitzcarraldo” is famous for the difficulties encountered during the film’s production which took five years to finish. The shooting involved pulling a 320-ton steamship over a hill without the use of special effects.
A number of the crew were injured during the filming and a local tribe chief even offered to kill the star of the film, Klaus Kinski, because he was such a problem alcoholic. Les Blank captured it all in his wonderful documentary called “Burden of Dreams”.
So what does this have to do with the coolest hotel in the Amazon? Well, the Executive Producer of “Fitzcarraldo” – Walter Saxer – has kept the house in Iquitos where the film was shot and turned it into a magical B&B called La Casa Fitzcarraldo.
A wonderful hideaway from the buzz of motorcarts in Iquitos, Walter has really created a jungle escape. We stayed for two days, but wished we had more time to lounge around the pool and eat his wonderfully prepared local fish dishes. What else is unique about La Casa Fitzcarraldo? It has a four story tree house! My husband and I banished our fear of heights to climb to the top.
Another interesting fact about the film “Fitzcarraldo” – Mick Jagger starred in it, but his role got cut because of the length of the shooting. He had to leave to go on tour with the Rolling Stones. Guess whose room we stayed in? Mick’s, of course!
There are also a number of pets on the property – dogs (dyed red from rolling on the red clay ground), cats, a parrot and an ocelot!We had the good fortune of spending an evening with Walter and Ulrich Bergfelder – the Production Designer on “Fitzcarraldo” – who happened to be visiting at the same time. Lucky me!
I’m a total film nerd and was in heaven listening to tales of the production. Did you know that Klaus Kinski insisted on having a gun during the production? Nothing like having to provide a gun for your unstable leading man! Walter was a wonderful host and treated us like dear friends.
For more details about La Casa Fitzcarraldo click here. Iquitos is in the Peruvian Amazon and can only be accessed by boat or plane.