The former Dutch colony, and now the independent Republic of Suriname, attracts tourists with endless beaches and lush tropical vegetation, which is home to a colorful fauna. However, the sights of Suriname are not limited to natural beauties.
Who and why should go to Suriname
The fusion of European and South American architecture will impress those who are inspired by the beauty frozen in stone. Churches and temples have a special energy, close to people with a special philosophy of worldview. Moreover, Christian, Muslim and Hindu religious buildings peacefully coexist here.
Those who are interested in distant history will be enchanted by the ancient forts and ancient settlements of Suriname.
An elegant white building with four minarets appeared in Paramaribo in 1984 on the site of an old mosque that no longer accommodated parishioners. The facade of the modern building is decorated with skillful carvings and suras from the Koran, written in large Arabic script. Twin columns and a small patio are an elegant colonial addition to Muslim architectural traditions.
Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul
This Catholic church was built in 1885 from ironwood, which was then sheathed with cedar to give the façade a neat appearance. In those days, there were no brick factories in the country, but tropical forests provided an unlimited amount of building material.
The people of Paramaribo took advantage of this generous offer and built the largest wooden temple in South America. Two side towers, each 44 m high, finally confirmed the status of the cathedral as the largest on the mainland.
The interior decoration is impressive. Capitals and columns of red-brown cedar are covered with filigree carvings. The high ceiling with massive chandeliers seems to rush up to God. The cathedral has a functioning organ.
The Hindu temple in the center of Paramaribo attracts attention with its unusual architecture. The two-story octagonal building with a terracotta roof can be seen from afar — its white facade shines in the rays of the tropical sun. Creating the appearance of the temple, the architect Arthur de Groot was inspired by the religious buildings of the Great Mughals. The worshipers of this mandir worship fire.
On the first floor of the temple there is a library and rooms for various purposes, on the second floor ceremonies are held. In the center of the hall there is a hearth with a flame, around which there are wooden benches. There are Hindu inscriptions on the walls.
Natural attractions and parks
This is one of the largest reservoirs not only in South America, but also in the world. It occupies an area of about 1600 sq. km, and the spillway area exceeds 12 thousand km2. Tourists are invited to take a walk on boats and boats along the trees and small islands flooded in the water. Another available entertainment is fishing.
Brownsburg National Park covers an area of about 12,000 hectares. Its territory is tropical forests, which are inhabited by animals and birds typical of this South American region.
The reserve offers several hiking trails of varying difficulty levels. The longest of them passes through the canyon. Along the way, you can not only admire the natural beauties, but also swim in one of the waterfalls. The highlight of the easy trails is a visit to an Indian village, where the locals will be happy to show guests their way of life.
Those who want to spend a few days in Brownsburg are invited to stay at the estate, the entourage of which refers to colonial times.
Marie Blanche waterfall
Located about 300 km from the capital of Suriname, this majestic waterfall is in the guidebook of every tourist. Its length is about 100 m. The seething streams fall down, forming a deep foamy lake. The area adjacent to the waterfall is famous for its rich fauna: about 10 species of monkeys and about 200 species of birds live in this part of the rainforest.
The Galibi Reserve stretches along the banks of the Marowijne River in the northeastern part of the country. It has become home to thousands of turtles who have chosen its territory for breeding. It is here that Ridley and Byss turtles come from all over the western Atlantic to lay their eggs. In addition to amphibians, primates and birds live in the park. Pristine mangrove forests, swamps, thick jungles and shallow lagoons define the landscape of Ghalibi.
White Beach on the Suriname River
There are many beaches in Suriname, but not all of them can boast of a developed infrastructure. The bottom relief, as well as ocean currents, form waves that will appeal to surfers more than lazy swimmers. For this reason, local authorities decided to develop river tourism.
This is how a beach with white sand, about 500 m long, appeared on the Surin River. There are umbrellas and sun loungers along the coastline, cafes, bars and restaurants work. Metal nets are installed in the water. They form a reliable barrier to crocodiles and piranhas, so swimming on the beach is absolutely safe.
Want to get a bird’s eye view of the tropical jungle? To do this, you need to climb the 700-meter mountain Kasikasima. From here you have a view of the endless green forests, dissolving into the blue of the sky.
There are several climbing routes of varying difficulty — for climbers and ordinary travelers. During the walk you can get acquainted with the rich flora and fauna of Kasikasima.
Historical sights and museums
The fortress was built by the British in the 17th century. But when Suriname came under the influence of the Netherlands, the fort was partially dismantled in order to use its massive stones to build the fortification of Nieuw-Amsterdam. So Zeeland turned into a barracks.
In 1967, the authorities converted the fort into a historical museum. After the coup, the fortress became a prison where political prisoners who opposed the Desi Bouterse regime were kept. Today, the fortress has once again regained the status of a military history museum.
A sugar cane plantation with an adjoining estate appeared in the 18th century. When the industry went into decline, the production shops stopped forever. Today, Marienburg is a tourist attraction, reached by the country’s first railway. Yes, trains still run on it, and it will certainly be interesting to ride on a narrow gauge railway.
In the XVI century. Spain began the persecution of the Jews. Fleeing from the Inquisition, many families sailed with merchant ships to Suriname. There, south of Paramaribo, one of the first Jewish communities in South America appeared. At the beginning of the 19th century, there was a devastating fire here, and people were again forced to leave houses that could not be restored. Today, only a cemetery and the ruins of synagogues remain on the site of the settlement.
At 11 km from Paramaribo, at the confluence of the Suriname and Commewijn rivers, the fort of Nieuw-Amsterdam rises, guarding the peace of the town of the same name. The pentagonal fortress was built in the 18th century, having invested 1 billion guilders in it — a fabulous amount at that time.
The fortification was supposed to prevent the passage of pirates and enemy ships from the Atlantic Ocean inland. But because of the tropical rain forests and proximity to salt water, the walls began to collapse, and the gunpowder quickly dampened, making defense impossible. The fortress fell into disrepair and began to be used as a prison.
During World War II, the Americans, who mined bauxite ore in the mountains of Suriname, installed defensive cannons on the territory of the fort. To this day, they adorn Nieuw-Amsterdam, which has turned into an open-air museum.
SAB is the largest alcohol producer in Suriname. The main place in the product line is occupied by Black Cat rum, which is served in all bars and restaurants of the country. Tourists are invited to the museum of the SAB company to get acquainted with the intoxicating assortment.
Most of the exposition is dedicated to the famous rum. These are bottles of various shapes, advertising posters, photographs and interesting documents. The tour ends in the tasting room. Drinks you like can be purchased at the museum shop.
Historic center of Paramaribo
The architecture of the capital of Suriname is a mix of Dutch classics and South American flavor. You can enjoy its unique style in the old part of Paramaribo. Three-story white buildings, neat balconies and wooden verandas seem to take the traveler back to bygone times. Walking through the quiet streets promises to be pleasant, and the photos are breathtaking.
Paramaribo Central Market
The best way to feel the local flavor and gain new experiences is to go to the bazaar. Paramaribo’s main market features a rich variety of local fruits, vegetables, fish and seafood.
Ready-made meals are also sold here — by the way, a real test for hardened stomachs. The most interesting thing is that trade is carried out not only from stationary trays on the ground, but also from boats scurrying along the river.
The residence of the President of Suriname is a vivid example of the classic Dutch style. The wooden white building on Independence Square attracts attention with its elegant columns and tall windows. Straight lines and clear forms look strictly. The only decoration is the coat of arms of the country on the pediment.
The original building of the 17th century was rebuilt several times, the last global reconstruction took place more than 100 years ago. Of course, you won’t be able to get inside, but you can take a walk near the residence and at the same time inspect the adjacent buildings of the Congress, the Ministry of Finance, the Court and the National Assembly.