The water in the vast Amazon River system is largely run-off from the Andes Mountains, and some of the most spectacular scenery and interesting wildlife can be found in the region of Northern Peru where these two gigantic geographical features meet - an area known in Spanish as ceja de selva (literally 'jungle's eye-brow') and incorporating a wide range of eco-systems between the altitudes of 500 m (1,640 ft) and 3,000 m (9,840 ft) above sea level.
Even at a slightly higher elevation, the heat can be stifling, and so a nice swimming pool is extremely welcome for the purpose of cooling down and calmly taking in one's surroundings. We therefore list below some of our favourites in the high Amazon provinces of San Martin and Amazonas.
Tarapoto City Hotels:
1. Tucan Suites: Located a mototaxi ride from the centre of town, on the other side of the Shilcayo River, this is probably the best accommodation in Tarapoto, with the pool and loungers being the central feature. My five-year-old daughter spent 10 hours in this pool one day, so I know that it is popular with children! The family apartments are great, too.
2. La Patarashca: a small, family-run hotel, only a couple of blocks from the Plaza de Armas, with the attached Suchiche Cultural Cafe serving good, local cuisine.
Has recently inaugurated a circular pool, surrounded by tropical plants and palm trees.
3. Plaza del Bosque: old-fashioned, but welcoming property, located a bit further from Tarapoto centre.
Accommodation is in red-brick bungalows, with air-conditioning or fan, and the pool is an unusual U-shape.
4. Puerto Palmeras: This 48-room resort, located 10 minutes' drive from Tarapoto Airport, boasts two pools - a main one and a smaller, family one - along with its own artificial lake, all contained within its extensive grounds.
5. El Sauce Resort: located on the banks of Lake Sauce, 54 km (34 miles) from Tarapoto, there are plenty of adventure options, such as jet skiing and quad biking (or 'squad riding', as it says on their website!). However, for those wanting a more chilled-out experience, there is a large, circular pool, within the extensive grounds.
6. Pumarinri: this eco-lodge is situated a 45-minute drive from Tarapoto, on the banks of the Huallaga River, a tributary of the mighty Amazon. Renowned amongst birders and naturalists for the wealth of species in the surrounding area, it is also suitable for relaxation, with all bungalows having terraces with seating and hammocks overlooking the river, and a decent-sized pool, near reception, which is particularly attractive after an excursion into the jungle.
7. Gocta Lodge: the infinity pool here must rate as having one of the most spectacular views in Peru (and competition is stiff): Gocta Falls, one of the world's highest. The altitude here is higher (1,800 m / 5,900 ft), meaning that the eco-system is cloud forest; and temperatures are cooler, so you may not spend as long in this pool as you would the others ... but you'll probably take more photos!
So if any of these pools tickle your fancy, please be sure to get in touch to learn how to experience them. But remember: no running, bombing, or heavy petting!