Suriname is an ethnically mixed society. After the Europeans arrived here, people from several corners of the world were introduced here, principally to work at the plantations.
Of course the Amerindians lived in Suriname first. There used to be a monument for them Albina. When we saw it in 2007 it was already damaged, one man missing an arm. On our last visit in 2012 it had disappeared altogether.
We also saw no monument for the Africans, who were brought to Suriname as slaves.
The first Chinese arrived at Nieuw Amsterdam, precisely on October 23rd, 1853. That is commemorated on a new stela monument near the quay.
Slavery was abolished in 1863, but years earlier is was already clear that the system would not survive, That is why the Dutch government encouraged poor white farmers to migrate to Suriname. These arrived in 1845 and their descendants are now known as "boeroes". A monument for the white pioneers can be seen in Groningen.
The Hindustani started to arrive in June 1873, after the Dutch had made an agreement with the English for recruiting workers in the British Indies. A monument for “Baba and Mai” can be seen at Waterkant near the presidential palace.
But the agreement with England soured, as the English found that the Hindustani workers were not treated well enough.
Then the Dutch started importing Javanese from the Dutch East Indies. The first of them arrived on August 9th, 1890. For them a big monument has been erected at (former plantation) Mariënburg.
This mountain once was sold to win gold here. But John Brown could not find enough gold here and sold the area. So in 1970 Brownsberg Nature Park was established. It is Suriname’s first and only national park. The park (as the name suggests) is located on a mountain. From the top of the mountain (500 m) you have a perfect view of the Brokopondo Lake.
The woods up here are a unique habitat. You will find endemic plant species, but also many birds and diverse wildlife. We saw a snake, agouti, several lizard species, howler monkeys and two other monkey species.
You can reach the park by car from Paramaribo. It is about 120 km, but it is mainly dirt road, so it will take a while. The park has a camp where you can rent a cabin or a place to hang your hammock. This camp is located on the 'cool' top on of the mountain. People from Suriname will tell you it is cold up there, but we thought 20 degrees celcius at night was not too bad ;-)
Take at least two days to visit so you can explore some tracks and have a look at one or more waterfalls. If you are in a real hurry there are one day tours available from Paramaribo.
Make a trip to Matapica or Galibi to see the sea-turtles nest.
Matapica is located just east of the Suriname river estuary on the Atlantic coast within the North Commewijne-Marowijne Multiple Use Management Area (MUMA). It is a highly dynamic beach, which moves to the west with a speed of 1.5 km per year due to beach erosion on the east side and accretion on the west side.
You can participate in a survival expedition to the Nassau mountains. Climb 560 meters to reach the highest peak for a unique view that will leave you speechless. During your trip through the rainforest you will be taught survival techniques.
- A demanding climb to the mountain peak
- A unique view from the mountain peak
- Overnight stay deep in the rain forest
- Traditional hunting
- Paramakan music and dance
Visit the website for more info
Tour is $ 300
The local market in Paramaribo is a huge covered place with hundreds of stands and many more in the adjacent street on the back of the main road.
In the first big hangar you find vegetable, fruit, cloths and so on, in a separate hangars there are meat and fish stands.
It's a pleasure to enjoy fresh products there!
Powaka is an Indian village south of Paramaribo.
It takes almost 1 hour drive and about 20 minutes along the red bumpy road to reach it.
Our fav taxi driver was born there, so we decided to visit it and give him a chance to grab some food to take back to the city from his dad. It is a pretty rural village, very quiet, houses are a bit far the one from the other, the only gathering place is where the church and the school are located.
White Beach is an artificial beach created on the Suriname river and it is a very popular destination.
The strip of water where people are allowed to swim is protected with a net, in order to be kept clean and free from the river water animals.
The beach is about half hour drive from Paramaribo, the entrance is 10srn per person and 5 srn for car parking.
The place is well maintened, there are several facilities, cafe', cabins with toilet and showers and along the beach there are several huts with tables and hammocks for restoration and shelter.
A job well done! The Architectural works of this bridge adds to the wonders of the country, this is the bridge across the Suriname river.
Its true beauty is at nights, crossing to the eastern direction on returning at its peak it would be nice to stop and grasp the panoramic view from here, you will see Paramaribo in its true image.
This bridge was commissioned in 2001.
There is no bridge toll for crossing, so make this a must to see experience.
Make sure to visit the zoological park to see many stunts and antics of the baboon monkeys.
In the Commewijne district you can visit the old sugar factory Mariënburg. The factory is no longer in use since the price of sugar and sugar products sank. But they didn't dismantle the factory, old machines are still standing in an hall that is falling apart. A very special sight.
The factory was established in 1882. In 1902 a riot broke out, the army was called in and 24 workers were killed. A monument for these killed workers is standing in front of the factory.
Rent a bike in Paramaribo, cross the river by boat and discover the Commewijne district by bike.
You can rent a bike at several places but we rented ours at Zus & Zo. (tel: 08815361).
From the Waterkant you can take a ferry, just ask the price, to Commewijne. Commewijne is the district at the other side of the river. It is mainly an agricultural area. Some old plantations are now in use as children's homes.
This is also the district where mainly people from Java live. You will notice the difference. In the garden of many houses you will see prayerflags or small Hindu temples.
Leonsberg is the luxureous neighbourhood in the north of Paramaribo. In the 18th century it used to be a coffee plantation. Driving trough Leonsberg you can see very big villa's, also from ex-military dictator Desi Bouterse.
The last busstop is at the Leonsberg pier. Here you can sit, relax, and enjoy the view, having a nice Suriname meal at the little restaurant.
From the pier you can take the boat (30 SRD) to the plantations and museum in New Amsterdam. It's known as a cheaper shortcut between Paramaribo and new Amsterdam.
It's also possible to take the boat all the way to Matapica.
Beautiful artificial beach at the Surinam River. By car it's about 25 minutes from Paramaribo.
I went by bus (2 SRD) and took me an hour.
Very relaxing for a daytrip, there are also apartements to stay over night.
Private beach on weekdays, more crowded on Sundays, when there is live music and barbeque.
Do go on a boattrip to upper Suriname. This area is called upper Suriname (Boven Suriname) because it is upstream the Suriname river. All transport here is done by boat, there are simply no roads in the rainforest.
The boatsmen have great skill and will navigate through the rapids making it look like an attraction in an amusement park.
There are plenty of tours available and they will typically go from Paramaribo by car or bus to Pokigron, the place to get on the boat. Take at least a three day tour so you can visit some villages and learn about the live of the locals. People living here are mostly descendants of the african slaves that fled here.
There are two kind of villages: the villages where they believe in Christ and the villages where Winti is the faith. Winit villages are recognized by the palmleave gate at the water entrance. Ofcourse the Christian villages are recognized by their church buildings.
Galibi is an Carib indian village at the coast of the Atlantic.
We got there from Albina with a hired canoe from one of the Carib Indians.
From Februari till Augustus special tours are organised to the wild coast to see seaturtles nest.
By night we took the canoe to sail to the wild coast (1 hour from the village),
and there we saw hordes of giant seaturtles nesting.
We watched whole night to see the Letherback nesting
*pictures with flash are not allowed, so trie going to the coast in the early morning.
*very little sand flies sting trough your clothes. So long sleeves, layers, pants tucked in shoes!
*€200,- for this trip is a little too expensive.. Try going there with locals or book at Stinasu office.
Paramaribo's central market is the place for lots of delicious fruits, fresh vegetables, cheap cd's, clothing, clothing, just about anything you can imagine.
There's also an outdoor fishmarket and a big Maroon market where you can find anything for ceremonial and medicinal purposes (bones, sticks, leaves, feathers)...
More Regions in Suriname