Suriname

Centrel Suriname Nature ReserveCentrel Suriname Nature ReserveSuriname is the smallest Sovereign state in terms of area and population, in South America. Situated between French guiana to the east and Guyana to the West. The southern border is shared with Brazil and the northern border is the Atlantic coast. The capital of Suriname is Paramaribo, Suriname, while the official language is Dutch. 

Suriname, set in a natural tropical wilderness, and is known for its splendid combination of the Caribbean and South America, with fascinating reminders of a sometimes turbulent past. Influenced by numerous cultures - African, Amerindian, Asian, Jewish and Dutch - the country reflects this diversity harmoniously in its day to day life.

Setting out to explore the natural beauty of the interior by boat or light aircraft, you encounter the extraordinary natural heritage of Suriname spreading out like a tropical carpet.

Spot the occasional wild cat roaming in the rainforest and hear the unearthly cry of howler monkeys echoing through the trees, see giant tarantula spider webs and huge termite nests. For the more adventurous head to the swamps where crocodiles, piranhas, anacondas and boa constrictors go about their business.

Climate

Suriname has a very hot tropical climate, and temperatures do not vary much throughout the year. It has two wet seasons, from April to August and from November to February. It also has two dry seasons, from August to November and February to April.

Things to see and Do

The Brownsber Nature Park

The Brownsberg Nature Park is located in the Brokopondo District approximately 80 miles south of Paramaribo. The Brownsberg National Park is the northern outpost for several plant and animal species. Covered by geotropically rainforest consisting of hundreds of different species most of which are commercially valuable.Galibi Nature Reserve

The Galibi Nature Reserve is situated in the North East Corner of Suriname, at the Mouth of the Marowijne River bordering French Guyana. 4000 hectares in size, 13 km long and 1 km wide the reserve is known for being the most important nesting beach for the oliver ridley turtle in the western Atlantic region.

Islam mosque in ParamariboIslam mosque in ParamariboParamaribo

This is a bustling city lying on banks the Suriname River. Fabulous colonial buildings including the Presidential Palace remind visitors of its Dutch heritage. Behind the Palace is the Palmentium (Palm Garden).

Also visit St.Peter & Paul Cathedral, which is reputed to be the largest wooden building in the Americas.

Some of South America's finest examples of Hindu temples, mosques and synagogues can also be found in the city.

Finally, the central market with its array of local fruits and vegetables is a must-see.

Joden Savanne

South of Paramaribo is Joden Savanne (Jews' savannah) where the ruins of the first Jewish synagogue (established 1639) in the Western Hemisphere can be seen.

Nieuw Nickerie

Situated on the south bank of the Nickerie River, opposite Guyana is Nieuw Nickerie. The capital of the district Nickerie and Suriname's second largest city. The city has twice been moved (in 1870 and 1879) because of erosion and is now protected by a sea wall.

The beaches of Suriname are not ideal (try Aruba, the Dutch Antilles or St. Maarten instead for pristine sand and surf) and tend to be muddy and somewhat insect-laden side, but they are at least clean and free of crowds. There is some catamaran and Hobie Cat sailing off the coast near Paramaribo.

Shopping in ParamariboShopping in ParamariboShopping

Paramaribo is not really geared for tourism, but it does have a surfeit of exotic shops reminiscent of the old Chinese curio shops. It is a great place to poke about and find unusual items.

Shop for Maroon wood carvings, varnished piranhas, Amerindian necklaces and handicrafts, hand-woven baskets, and Indonesian batiks and sarongs.

Language

The official language of Suriname is Dutch. In the higher-end hotels English is widely spoken. The local dialect is Sranang Tongo (Surinamese, sometimes called Taki-Taki) is native language of Creoles and much of the younger population. East-Indians communicate in Sarnami Hindostani (a dialect of Hindi) and Indonesians speak Javanese

Currency

The Currency used in Suriname is Suriname guilder and can be changed in most large hotels in Paramaribo. You will find that only mainly the larger hotels in Suriname will accept credit cards.

Food

The cuisine is varied a lot in Suriname.. Rice (farmed extensively in the Nickerie region) is the country's staple. Vegetables such as sweet potato, cassava, planatin and red peppers are commonly used. Excellent Indonesian food can be found as can Hindustani dishes.

Don't miss the opportunity to have fresh pineapple available at the Central; market or at stalls on the roadsides leading out of Paramaribo. Other fabulous tropical fruits include maripa and awarra.

Local rum is tasty and good value. Black Cat is recommended. Stay away from the very cheap rum. The local beer - Parbo- a pilsner type brew is also excellent; a must for beer lovers.

Eating Out

There's a nice selection of Brazilian, Dutch, East African, East Indian, Korean, Indonesian (be sure to try the multi-course rijsttafel) and Chinese restaurants in Paramaribo. Experiment with different dishes in the local Creole restaurants-they're excellent.

The local beer is Parbo, though Heineken is also widely available. There are several brands of local rum. Nondrinkers should try Orgeades and Gemberbier, two local soft drinks. They're very refreshing, and we've never tasted anything quite like them.

If you're planning on a trip to the interior then it is wise to have vaccinations for yellow fever, cholera, tetanus and hepatitis A. Malaria prophylaxis should also be taken; it is preferable to take your own rather than rely on obtaining them in Suriname. Mosquitoes can be, at certain times, being ferocious. Taking a mosquito net into is advisable. HIV/AIDS is also prevalent.

Drinking water is safe in Suriname, but asks first before drinking water in outlying areas. Swimming can also be hazardous because of poisonous fish. Again, ask first before swimming.

Visa

A passport, visa and a return ticket for U.S. and Canadian air travellers are required for travel to Suriname. There is a processing fee for business and tourist visas. A business visa requires a letter from the sponsoring company detailing the reason for the visit.

There is an airport departure charge and a terminal fee. Travellers arriving from Guyana, French Guiana and Brazil are required to show proof of a yellow fever vaccination.

Where to Stay

There are an n umber of hotels in Paramaribo - catering mainly for both business travellers and tourists.

Recommended hotels are Eco-Resort, The Torarica, the Krasnapolsky and the Zeelandia Suites. Torarica and Eco-Resort are sister hotels offering residents of the Eco-Resort access to the Torarica's facilities. A new eco resort Bergendal Eco & Cultural River Resort offers guests an opportunity to enjoy a unique eco and cultural experience.Eco ResortEco Resort

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