All along the first block of Malecón Tarapacá there are small bars and restaurants with tables on the walkway where locals and travelers sit down, enjoying a beer and watching the people stroll by.
Arandú Bar (Malecón Tarapacá 113, tel. 065/24-3434, 4 p.m.–2 a.m.) is a classic, decorated with kitsch-like, jungle-motif wall paintings by renowned artist Christian Bendayán. It has hip music, pretty good drinks, and a friendly crowd.
Another good place for drinks in Iquitos is Nikoro Bar (Pevas 100, 9 p.m.–close daily). At Musmuki Bar (Raymondi 382, tel. 065/24-2942, 5 p.m.–2 a.m. daily), all cocktails are mixed with aguardiente, sugarcane distilled alcohol. As strong as it can sound (and taste), drinks are good and the ambience quite hip. On Plaza Castilla, there are some small bars selling cheap beer to plenty of thirsty locals and backpackers.
For a night of dancing, Noa Noa Nightclub (Pevas 292, tel. 065/23-2902, 5 p.m.–2 a.m. daily) is quite an institution. A couple of blocks from the Plaza de Armas, this club plays salsa, cumbia, and other catchy Latin rhythms over a two-level dance floor.
El Pardo is a local favorite if you want to dance to live music. It is actually a huge fenced open space where local salsa and cumbia bands play all night. Any mototaxi can take you there for US$1.50. Tickets go for US$1.50–6, depending which band plays.
Iquitos also has a big screen movie theater, Cine Star Iquitos (Arica 258, 3–10 p.m. daily, US$3), that shows the latest Hollywood blockbusters.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition