Suriname is a tiny South American country in the heart of the Amazon. Once a colony of Netherlands, it represents a combination of different cultures, traditions and ethnic flavors to marvel at, united in a blend of unforgettable holiday destinations.
With intertwining river streams and thick rainforests, left mostly unscathed by man, this travel destination is not for the feint of heart.
Faced with both natural, geographic and language barriers, visitors who make their way through this pristine land are rewarded by lively landscapes, beautiful beaches, exotic cuisine, rare animals and unique plant life, as wild and remote as Suriname itself.
Paramaribo, the Capital City of Suriname
The traditional stone and brick buildings of Suriname's capital,Paramaribo, are remnants of the country's colonial past. Once a thriving 18th century treasure, it since remained nearly unchanged, with the historic city center still intact.
The presence of fruit trees and little streams running along the streets serve as an introduction to travelers before they set out on a tour to the heart of the Amazon, where true wonders await them.
Beaches in Suriname
The beaches are a common tourist attraction in Suriname and you wouldn't want to miss another sunset once you've seen one.
White Beach, a popular resort near the Suriname River, offers tents, apartments and restaurants at affordable prices. Activities there range from beach volleyball to guided river tours.
Leatherback Sea Turtle
Sea beaches in Suriname are reserved for leatherback sea turtles, the largest surviving breed of its kind.
Their nesting can be witnessed between the months of March and August.
Wildlife of Suriname
Even deeper into Suriname, the Amazon rainforest boasts a wild variety of flora and fauna, such as rubber trees, different kinds of palms, orchids and cacti, as well as river dolphins, piranhas, tarantula spiders, tapirs, armadillos, even jaguars. All of them are guarded by the confines of globally recognized national reserves and are safe for tourists to spy on during guided tours.
Surinamese Culture and Language
After you've taken a tour of this world as a stranger, you could go for a different look at Suriname through the eyes of its natives. Despite a strong presence of the Dutch culture, the population's preferred way of speaking is in Sranang Tongo. Fortunately, it is quite possible for English speakers to get some basic grasp of the language.
The local songs, sung in Sranang Tongo and accompanied by rhythmic drum music, can be heard on special night shows. Like everything else in Suriname, the music has been influenced by a wide array of cultures.
Traditional Food in Suriname
As far as Surinamese food is concerned, restaurants across the country will mostly serve foreign dishes of various origins. The traditional food you may eat in Suriname borrows extensively from Indonesia and China, but is surely a thing of its own.
The locals expect spicy food, though not too spicy, and have a fondness for sugar. It's also a tropical land, where even a glass of fresh orange juice has an incredible unique taste, as do the more exotic passion fruit and Guanabana.
Local Customs in Suriname
Surinamese people have a great deal of respect for their land and will expect the same from those who are visiting.
It would be courteous to ask for the locals' permission for things like photographing places they hold sacred, even if just as a sign of your good intentions.
Tourist guides in Suriname will keep you informed about local customs and anything else you might need to know. Simply heeding their advice and applying some common courtesy will let you in on the diverse Surinamese culture without coming off as a rude intruder.
Amazonian Rainforests in Suriname
Suriname is widely known as the Beating Heart of the Amazon, with all of the perks and beauties that come with that title. The abundance of rivers may be an obstacle to all travel by car, but will turn out to be a blessing once discovered as an intertwined highway for transportation on boats.
Various boat tours of Amazon will bring you closer to Suriname for a much better look at its natural riches, but be careful.
The dangers that lurk in the jungles force most travelers to tread their steps carefully. Those who feel especially adventurous can jump right into the heat of things by descending into the Amazonian wilderness for a truly breathtaking experience.
Tours Through the Wilderness
You can start your daring expedition by chancing a canoe trip into the depths of the beating heart of Amazon.
The activities include fishing of piranha, seeking out alligators, jungle trekking and a survival course. While not presenting a direct risk to your life, this exhilarating adventure will leave you breathless and implant vivid memories of Suriname to bring back home in your heart.
Such tours of Suriname are longer and more cumbersome, but are easily the best way to be introduced to this magnificent world of rainforests and the exotic wildlife within.
While strolling down a tourist path or a river beach until afternoon to spend the rest of the day hiding out in a lodge is always an option, and a pleasant one at that, the world of Suriname has much more to offer.
Suriname, the beating heart of the Amazon, is a land of wild differences coexisting in harmony, willing to open up its heart to any traveler who wishes to see it in its full glory.
John Hansen from Gondwana Land on September 23, 2014:
Wonderful travel hub. Surinam would be an incredible country to visit, in the heart of the Amazon. Thank you for sharing this information and terrific photos.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 23, 2014:
Gorgeous photos! You have not written for while so nice to see you share something different. Regards DDE