Planning your trip

Where to go

Like its neighbours, Suriname has been influenced by a variety of cultures, African, Asian, European and Amerindian. Markets, customs, festivals and food all reflect this. In Paramaribo, the capital, there is some fine wooden architecture, dating from the Dutch colonial period, and important Jewish monuments. Colonial buildings can be seen elsewhere. Probably the main attraction is the tropical, Amazonian flora and fauna in this very sparsely populated country. Much of the interior is untouched and largely uninhabited. Infrastructure is limited, so tourist lodges, Amerindian and Maroon villages can only be reached by small boat or plane. The Maroons, descendants of escaped slaves, have maintained traditional African culture for centuries and, together with the Amerindians, have a special bond with the tropical rainforest and its biodiversity. Nature reserves, such as the Central Suriname Nature Reserve, formed by the Raleigh Falls, Eilerts de Haan mountain and Tafelberg reserves, Brownsberg, Wia-Wia and Galibi are given in the text below. Suriname is famous as nesting ground for marine turtles. There are no beaches to speak of; the sea and rivers around the coast are muddy, and mosquitoes can be a problem. Some recreational facilities have improvised beaches on the riverbanks (eg White Beach Resort, Overbridge, on the Suriname river).

When to go

The climate is tropical and moist, but not very hot, since the northeast trade wind makes itself felt during the whole year. In the coastal area the temperature varies on an average from 23° to 31°C, during the day; the annual mean is 27°C, and the monthly mean ranges from 26° to 28°C. The mean annual rainfall is about 2,340 mm for Paramaribo and 1,930 mm for the western division. The seasons are: minor rainy season, November to February; minor dry season, February to April; main rainy season, April to August; main dry season, August to November. None of these seasons is, however, usually either very dry or very wet. The degree of cloudiness is fairly high and the average humidity is 82. The climate of the interior is similar but with higher rainfall. The high seasons, when everything is more expensive, are 15 March to 15 May, July to September and 15 December to 15 January.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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