Suriname, located on the north of South America, is a relatively small and unknown country compared to most other South American countries.
For people who have heard or been to this country, it is known for its diversity in culture, food and its beautiful untouched nature.
In 2017, 287.000 tourists came to Suriname, mostly from the Netherlands in the category VFR (visiting friends and relatives).
With an acreage of 163.800 square meters and a total of approximately 148.000 square meters of forest, including the mighty Amazone Rainforest, Suriname provides many opportunities to become an eco-tourism destination. Suriname also has a total of 16 protected areas, from which the largest is the Central Suriname Nature Reserve with 1.6 million ha of primary tropical forest and a high diversity of plant and animal life.
The protected areas/nature reserves have ecosystems of notable conservation value due to their prestine state. The Central Nature Reserve only, contains more than 5,000 vascular plant species collected to date. The reserve animals ars typical to the region and include the jaguar, giant armadillo, giant river otter, tapir, sloths, 8 species of primates and 400 bird species.
The other protected areas are:
1. Hertenrits Nature Reserve (100 ha., establ.1972)
2. Coppename Monding Nature Reserve (12,000 ha)
3. Wia Wia Nature Reserve (36,000 ha)
4. Galibi Nature Reserve (4,000 ha)
5. Peruvia Nature Reserve (31,000 ha)
6. Boven Coesewijne Nature Reserve (27,000 ha)
7. Copi Nature Reserve (18,000 ha)
8. Wane Kreek Nature Reserve (45,000 ha)
9. Brinckheuvel Nature Reserve (6,000 ha)
10. Brownsberg Nature Park (8,400 ha)
11. Centraal Suriname Nature Reserve (1,600,000 ha, estbl. 1998)
12. Sipaliwini Nature Reserve (100,000 ha)
13. Bigi Pan Multiple-Use Management Area (68,300 ha)
14. Noord Coronie Managed Resource Protected Area (15,000 ha)
15. Noord Saramacca Managed Resource Protected Area (83,000 ha)
16. Noord Commewijne Managed Resource Protected Area (65,000 ha)
(Source: 2002, IBER, Ouboter, Directory of protected Areas of Suriname - Conservation International Suriname)
Suriname has about 732 confirmed bird species, which makes it a perfect place for birdwatchers to spot birds which are particular to the region. The most common species are the Blood-colored Woodpecker, Arrow-head Piculet, Rufous Crab-Hawk, Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock, Capuchinbird, Pale-bellied Mourner, Scarlet Ibis, Blue-backed Tanager, all 6 species of Jacamars, Black and Crimson-hooded Manakin, Saffron-crested Tyrant Manakin, Gray-winged Trumpeter, Red-fan Parrot and Guianan Toucanet.
More information about Suriname's birds:
The 50 most cited bird species are listed on www.surinamebirds.nl
The book ‘Field Guide to the Birds in Suriname’ gives insights on the different species which are present in Suriname.
Giant Sea Turtles
Suriname has the largest leatherback turtle (locally known as the 'Aitkanti') nesting population in the Western Atlantic, representing 40% of the world population of leatherbacks. Aside from the leatherbacks (Demorhelys Coriacea), 4 other sea turtle species walk the shores of Suriname: The Krape (Green, Chelonia mydas), the Warana (Olive Ridely, Lepidochelys olivacea), the Karet (Loggerhead, Caretta Caretta), and the Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata).
The sea turtle is millions of years old and has a direct line to prehistory. Each year, mainly between April and August, they swim thousands of kilometers to come and lay their eggs on the beaches of Suriname.
The Galibi and Matapica beach are two of the few in the world where
4 types if giant sea turles annually return to lay their eggs.
Egg poachers still pose a major threat to the survival of the sea turtle;
efforts are being made by several organizations in Suriname
to battle this.
Phagwa or Holi, originally a hindu festival is celebrated as a national holiday in the multi-cultural community of Suriname. Almost everyone celebrates this festival coloring eachother with colored powder, sprinkling eachother with colored water, fragrances and enjoying various delicious Indian foods. Public and private parties are held in and outside of Paramaribo, varying from family/business parties, street parties to events with popular national and international artists.
The past years, these events are being celebrated bigger and have been attracting (more) tourists who specifically travel to Suriname around that time of year. This creates various business opportunities for sectors such as airlines, hotels, restaurants, tour operators etc.
Owru Yari (december 31st)
'Owru Yari' is Surinamese which translated literally, means ‘old year’, referring to the very last day of the year. The entire day of December 31st, the streets of the inner city of Paramaribo are filled with celebrating people of all ages. Firecrackers (called 'Pagara') are lit in front of almost every business as either a 'competition for the longest lit stretch ' or as combined stretches. Sometimes they are hung from cranes up in the air and further rolled out on the streets. The long stretches of fireworks are lit one after another; and is called Pagara Estafette (Firecrackers Race): an exciting attraction which many re-life year after year. After this, celebrations with music, food and drinks
on the streets of the inner city continue. Later at night, people either head out to the traditional 'gathering spots' such as T' Vat to celebrate and count down. Usually there is also a fireworks show on the Suriname River and many gather on the Independence square to enjoy this free public show. Most people will try to be at home some hours before midnight to light up their firecrackers and
fireworks and welcome the new year with
family and friends, BBQ and champagne.
December in Suriname
The entire month of December is a party month: We have a special party calendar which is published every year by Surifesta. Events range from paid and free concerts, popular christmas eve mas at the famous
Cathedral (Basilica Minora), midnight Christmas event at the NGGGB Church and various
other churches, Red & White Christmas dinners, Brunches and lunches hosted by
various hotels and restaurants, Christmas lights neighborhood walk, special Santa gift events for kids at the Hermitage Mall and other stores etc. etc.
THE GOOD THINGS
Top 10 places to visit in Suriname
1. Historic Inner City of Paramaribo
(UNESCO World Heritage)
St Peter and St Paul Cathedral
Synagogue and Mosque
2. Sea Turtle spotting Galibi Nature Reserve and/or Braamspunt
Every year, mainly between April and August, sea turtles swim thousands of kilometers to lay their eggs on the beaches of Suriname. You can experience this unique happening at night at Galibi and/or Braamspunt.
3. Central Suriname Nature Reserve (UNESCO World Heritage Suriname’s largest Nature Reserve with a stunning diversity of plant and animal species, many of which are endemic to the Guiana Shield and globally vulnerable, threatened or endangered.
This reserve is internationally known for the large variety of monkeys and the 400 bird species. The beautiful waterfalls and the Voltzberg reaching 240 meters above the treetops are renowned. Climbing this mountain is considered a huge challenge! But when the top has been reached after 3 hours of hard work, the reward is a breathtaking view of a green blanket of rainforest. Spending the night in a rustic accommodation midst big trees and unspoiled flora and fauna is an once-in-a-lifetime experience. Not to miss the exciting boat trips (through Rapids) and swimming in rapids.
5. Nieuw Nickerie: Bigi Pan
Big Pan, which means Big Lake, is a 68.000 ha nature protected area formed out of creeks, mangroves and swamps. This area is a rich feeding source for more than 120 different bird species, who migrate from the north to escape the cold winters. The most famous bird at Bigi Pan is the Red Ibis. Besides birds the area is also rich in fish and reptiles. Adventurous boat trips, Kayaking, Bird/Cayman/Snake spotting and Fishing are, among others, things you can do at Bigi Pan.
6. Commewijne River
Sail from the old plantations such as Frederiksdorp and Rust en Werk, to the open air museum while spotting dolphins.
7. Brownsberg Nature Park
This is a nature park with tropical rainforest with more approximately 350 different types of bird and 8 different types of monkeys. A hike through the adventurous jungle and down the hills leads to the most idyllic waterfalls. From the Brownsberg, you have a stunning panoramic views of the Brokopondo Lake.
Jodensavanne was in the 17th century the largest Jewish settlement in this hemisphere, and its synagogue, of which a ruin remains, is the first of architectural significance in the America and one of the oldest in the Western Hemisphere.
In the midst of the beautiful savannah landscape, Colakreek Recreation Park is situated at a distance of 50 km from Paramaribo and just 3 km from the international airport at Zanderij. It is the ideal location to relax in the refreshing waters of the creek or enjoy a recreational activity.
Mariënburg is a former biggest sugar plantation and sugar factory in Commewijne. The factory was closed in 1986. The factory site and the factory halls are now a tourist attraction, despite the derelict state of the whole.
Links to Tour Operators
All Travel Service
Augi's Travel Buro
CHM Travel Agency
Does Travel & Cadushi Tours
METS Tours & Travel
Fabian Vas Experience
HJ de Vries Travel and Tours
Jack Tours & Travel Service
Mary's & Travel Service
National Tours NV
Purity Tours & Services
Travel the Guianas
Rod's Tours & Travel
Myryshi Tours Suriname
Discover Suriname Tours
Tiger Tours and Travel
Unitravel & Tours
Waldo's Worldwide Travel Service
Links to Hospitality , Tourism &
Events - related organizations