#An extraordinary biodiversity
The tropical forest covers about 94% of the country's territory, 91% of which is primary forest. The Amazon rainforest is the richest in the world in terms of biodiversity. Suriname has 200 species of mammals (monkeys, felines, dolphins, capybaras, tapirs), more than 700 species of birds with sumptuous colours, 130 species of reptiles (turtles, snakes, caimans) and about 100 species of amphibians. The vegetation is lush, and to date no less than 5,000 plant species have been recorded, from orchids to heliconia and hibiscus, not to mention the emblematic giant water lily Victoria Amazonica. New species of animals and plants are regularly detected and many are those that remain to be discovered... Nature lovers will be thrilled!
An amazing capital city :
Paramaribo is home to a great ethnic diversity that gives it its own identity, whether religious, cultural or artistic. The historic centre of the capital is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2002 for its unique architecture, the result of the combination of European construction techniques with indigenous materials and know-how. The presence of religious buildings of different faiths (churches, Hindu temples, mosques, synagogue...) illustrates the great tolerance that characterizes the city. Parbo is also a lively capital with a multitude of markets, shops, casinos and restaurants offering the opportunity to taste a variety of cuisines: Indian, Javanese, Creole, Chinese, Dutch... And to escape the urban turmoil, you can also take a boat trip on the Suriname River to watch dolphins at sunset.
A multi-ethnic population
With a population of 579,000, Suriname's population includes many communities. The most important are the Hindustani and Creoles (from the European and African crossbreeding). Then we find the Javanese (Indonesians) and the Black-Maroons, descendants of escaped African slaves. The rest of the people are Amerindians, Chinese and Europeans. This whole community coexists in an exemplary tolerance and gives Suriname a great richness.
Magnificent nature reserves
The Amazonian forest is the country's main asset. The government has understood this and is seeking to preserve this fragile ecosystem on which much of its identity has been forged. Suriname has 1 park and 11 nature reserves, including one of the largest in the world: the Central Suriname Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the heart of the country, it covers 11% of the national territory, or about 15 million hectares! Another example is the Brownsberg Nature Park, located only 130 km from Paramaribo, which is one of the most popular in the country. Ecotourism is Suriname's main attraction, each reserve has its own specificities and many operators offer tours lasting several days. It is by sinking into the interior of the country that we will discover all the beauty of the virgin forest and the richness of the Amerindian culture.
A destination off the beaten track
Suriname is an original destination still spared by mass tourism, and a visit to the country can be a continuation of a trip to French Guiana. Travellers looking for thrills and a change of scenery will not be disappointed! Meeting the last inhabitants of the Amerindian villages, located in the middle of a wild Amazonian forest, is a unique experience. Adventure tourism is also very developed and the possibilities are numerous. Most destinations require a flight in a small cuckoo clock over the jungle beforehand. Some sites are well deserved, such as the mythical Mount Kasikasima, which dominates the virgin forest, only accessible by trekking, and many trips are made by canoe along the rivers where you will cross impressive rapids, such as those of the Corantijn River. Fishing enthusiasts will not be disappointed, more than 350 species of fish inhabit Amazonian waters and it is an activity practiced by many Surinamese. Whatever the activities chosen, the discovery of Suriname will keep its promise of adventure.
© Dominique Auzias & Jean-Paul Labourdette