As the smallest independent country in South America being thumped by convergence of rivers and Atlantic Ocean, the inhabitants in Suriname is used to living life along the coastline, wading through the rhythm of constant flow of life. Small country as it may seem, Suriname is brought about by waves of ethnic diversity. Colonized by the British and the Dutch in the 17th century and only gaining independence on November 25, 1975 from Netherlands, the country is considered to be a culturally Caribbean one that has extensive trade and cultural exchange with other Caribbean nations. In Paramaribo alone, you will get to experience the most vivacious Dutch influence, with black-and-white colonial Dutch buildings lining up the squares, and so much more. Given this, Suriname lives to its reputation as surely effervescent.
What to see & do
Suriname is a land of natural beauty, with a third of its geographical scope declared as national reserves. The main attraction in the country includes seeing vast natural lands and the diversity of flora and fauna. You can book a daytrip to the Central Suriname Nature Reserve, the most popular of the reserves and is also the home to the famous Raleigh waterfalls and to Mount Voltzberg.
The Dutch capital Paramibo is a pleasant place to explore, with its historic centre declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While in Paramibo, you can simply linger on the Waterkant, also known as the water side street. You can feast your eyes on a number of old, wooden, colonial houses lined along the area, while feasting on a quick munch from one of the food stands. It would also be hard to miss the frenzied Central Market, your quick stop for your convenience needs. The Central Market is divided into distinct areas: the meats, fish, fruit and vegetable section on the main floor, which also sells Asian and Indian products, while on the second floor, a clothing-area bazaar is accessible. The most interesting part of the Central Market, however, would be the Witch’s Market, which is also known as the Maroon Market that sells a wide variety of herbs, bones, shells, and ‘mysterious’ items. The Witch’s Market is accessible in a separate entrance to the west of the Waterkant. A stroll in the Fort Zeelandia would also be nice. Inside the star-shaped 18th century fort, which is believed to be the site where the colonizers alighted, you will see the amazing Stichting Surinaams Museum, which features colonial-era relics, period rooms, and temporary exhibitions.
From Paramibo, you can visit the eastern town of Albina, the capital of the Marowijine District that lies on the west bank of Marowijne River. You can also take a boat trip down the river and get a glimpse of the Maroon and Amerindian villages lying on the riverbanks, or you can go to the depths of the forest to see majority of them.
Albina also has a small airport called the Albina Airstrip. But you can reach Albina by boarding a bus via the East-West Link. In turn, Albina also has a small boat connection to Galibi, with journey time taking only about 1.5 hours. Most travelers visit Galibi to witness the impressive breeding process of Leatherback sea turtles, which comes all over the world to lay their eggs in the country.
How to get around
From Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport, you can reach the town proper by taking a taxi or bus, which you can pay either in US dollars or European dollars. The bus also picks you up at your guesthouse or hotel en route to the airport. But if you want to reach the airport in time, you should consider taking the taxi instead. The bus leaves from its station at Heiligenweg in the centre of Paramaribo.
From Paramaribo, you can roam around the country by bus, since some places of significance are linked by a system of minibuses. If needed, you can also opt by sea travel, since the country doesn’t have too many roads. Every riverbank in the country has available charter boats which you can negotiate to locals at reasonable prices.
How to get there
You can book a flight and reach Suriname via Skyscanner, your online source for cheap flights and tickets. Suriname is being served by Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport, located approximately 45 kilometres south of Paramaribo. The airport is being served by airlines such as Caribbean Airlines, Insel Air, KLM, and Surinam Airways. The aforementioned airlines fly to destinations such as Port of Spain, Curaçao, Aruba, Amsterdam, Belém-Val de Cans, Cayenne, Georgetown-Cheddi Jagan, and Miami.
Suriname also has a small airfield called Zorg-en-Hoop Airfield, which is served bya few private charter companies and domestic flights. Gum Air and Trans Guyana Airways have few daily flights to and from the airfield and Georgetown in Guyana.
Images by Flickr/joanderuiter
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