On the north-east coat of South America (bordered by Brazil and Guyana), Suriname is dominated by pristine rainforest, jungles and mountains with rushing rivers and waterfalls, thick forests and is virtually untouched by man. This is a destination for the true adventurer, there is little tourism infrastructure but it is growing and there are several good ground handlers taking private tours and special interest groups into the interior. It’s all about natural history and much of the wildlife here is found nowhere else on earth. 80% of it’s land is covered with thick rainforest including the Central Suriname Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, part of the Amazon rainforest. Here you may find Jaguar, Giant River Otter and Giant Armadillo.
The capital, Paramaribo (or Par’bo as it’s known), is an old Dutch colonial town from 17th-18th centuries and much of the historic wooden centre remains intact and is great to explore on foot. Find shade under palm trees while wandering past the colonial and brick houses lining the riverbanks and mangroves and along the waterfront. The Presidential Palace was one private but is now open to the public and houses the Garden of Palms.
Birdwatching here is superb with more than 700 species being found here in this tropical country and the beaches are home to nesting sea turtles. The Galibi Nature Reserve is accessible only by boat and is unique and important to their conservation.
An experienced guide is essential to take you into the wilderness, you can travel for 3-10 days in the thick rainforests where there are several eco-lodges – tents and shelters are also available. About 180 miles south of Par’bo there is a pioneering rainforest settlement at Palumeu and a long established Amerindian Camp. There are over 200 of these people living a subsistence lifestyle virtually unchanged for centuries. Visitors can stay nearby for a cultural experience to learn about their daily lives.
Suriname has the largest population of Maroon People in the world, their way of life is much as it was in the mid 18th century and their settlements in the interior remain African customs and a way of life.
The average temperature here ranges from 24-28C and heaviest rainfall is May to mid August, there is a high percentage humidity year round. The official language is Dutch but English is widely spoken and Sranan Tongo is spoken widely – an English based Creole language.