Palmentuin, Presidential Palace in Paramaribo © David Stanley
Boasting some impressive natural attractions, Suriname's sparse savannah is interrupted by verdant rainforests teeming with wildlife, while at least five mountain ranges tower above this mysterious land. Yet, despite its exotic appeal, Suriname remains a commonly-overlooked destination which is unfortunate because armed with a little mosquito repellent and a Dutch dictionary extraordinary adventures can be had.
Suriname is popular with eco-tourists who come to marvel at the biodiversity of the pristine Amazonian rainforests along the Brazilian border. Two of the most impressive protected wilderness areas are the UNESCO-listed Central Suriname Nature Reserve and the beautiful Brownsberg Nature Park.
The historic inner city of Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname, is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Paramaribo contains beautiful colonial architecture and makes a great travel base. Take a walk in the Maagdenstraat and buy some handcrafted jewellery, head to the Sunday flea market to pick up some souvenirs, and enjoy a picture-perfect sunset with an ice-cold beer at the Waterkant (waterfront).
Known for its torrid political history, Suriname has been ruled largely peacefully by a democratically-elected government since 1991. The Dutch heritage sets the country apart in South America and gives it a unique cultural flavour. Travel is Suriname is usually trouble-free, though the usual precautions against urban crime should be taken in Paramaribo.
Suriname is delightfully unspoiled and a great off-the-beaten-track destination for adventurous travellers.