• Suriname
    © iStockphoto.com / Kjorgen
  • Suriname
    © iStockphoto.com / Atosan
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Suriname: travel to South America's smallest gem

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile
The smallest country in Southern America, Suriname is in between Guyana, French Guyana and Brazil. To the north, the country opens out on to the Atlantic Ocean. Independent since 1975, the former Dutch Guiana official language is still Dutch. Those who travel to Surinam will meet Amerindian, African, Hindu and European descendants living in this territory which with time has become an epitome of cultural syncretism. As for nature, tortoises offer a wonderful show of the accomplishment of their lives. Further south, dense tropical forests cover the entire country.

Our Editorial team's advice

South of Paramaribo, the Professor Van Blommesteinmmer Lake offers you a superb one-day trip; rent a canoe on its banks to go to Tukunari Island perched in the middle of the lake.
Do not forget mosquito repellants: sprays, cream, a mosquito net and large, light clothing. These tiny insects will drive you mad!

pros

  • +Surinam hosts a mix of cultures - Indian, Pakistani and Chinese immigrants, former slaves from sub-saharan Africa, Amerindians - and this kaleidoscope of cultures makes this country charmingly mysterious.
  • +Coastal Nature Reserves and Brownsberg National Park take tourists to the heart of the wildlife.

cons

  • -The hot and very humid climate can be very difficult to tolerate at times.
  • -Pickpockets have increased in Paramaribo in the past few years. Avoid certain areas.

Food

Surinam cuisine is as rich and varied as the cultures cohabiting in the country. Rice is the staple food. Cassava, sweet potatoes and plantains are also widely consumed. 'Moksie alesie' consists of rice and meat, chicken, white beans, tomatoes and pepper and 'Petjil' is vegetables marinated in peanut sauce. There are numerous tropical fruits in Surinam, including palm nuts and awarra oranges.

Souvenirs

Surinam has coloured Indian fabrics and African wooden sculptures. Amerindian and Maroon crafts include elegant gold and silver jewels. Shops are open from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday to Friday and from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm on Saturday.