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Where mangroves still line the winding Suriname River, Paramaribo's historic core is a UNESCO World Heritage site for its distinctive architecture, with brick buildings seemingly airlifted intact from the canals of Amsterdam, religious landmarks and merchant houses, a colonial fortress, and lush tropical parks full of birds and even monkeys. On top of that, it's a cultural potpourri of East Indians, Indonesians, Creoles, Maroons, Amerindians and Europeans, all of whom live together in relative harmony. In fact, Hindu temples, Islamic mosques, and Israeli synagogues can be found virtually — in some cases literally — side by side. The central ...

Where mangroves still line the winding Suriname River, Paramaribo's historic core is a UNESCO World Heritage site for its distinctive architecture, with brick buildings seemingly airlifted intact from the canals of Amsterdam, religious landmarks and merchant houses, a colonial fortress, and lush tropical parks full of birds and even monkeys. On top of that, it's a cultural potpourri of East Indians, Indonesians, Creoles, Maroons, Amerindians and Europeans, all of whom live together in relative harmony. In fact, Hindu temples, Islamic mosques, and Israeli synagogues can be found virtually — in some cases literally — side by side. The central city's focal point is its Onafhankelijksplein (Independence Square), the former Oranjeplein (Orange Square), renamed after the Netherlands granted independence in 1975, while the adjacent Palmentuin is an attractive public park studded with palms. Fort Zeelandia dates from the 17th century, but Lim-a-Po street, with its weathered wooden buildings, may be the most picturesque area. The Surinaams Museum has fine ethnographic resources, but the cosmopolitan street life, with Javanese food stalls selling satay and Hindu vendors peddling roti, brings it all alive. Paramaribo is also well placed for excursions to eco-tourism destinations such as the rainforest of Brownsberg Nature Park and turtle nesting sites such as Galibi.

Wayne Bernhardson
About the Expert

Wayne Bernhardson is the author of Moon Handbooks to Argentina, Buenos Aires (including coastal Uruguay), Chile (including Easter Island), and Patagonia (including the Falkland Islands).

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Wayne Bernhardson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Capital of Suriname, Northern South America
  • Language: Dutch, English, Sranang Tongo (Surinamese)
  • Currency: Surinam Dollar
  • Research: Paramaribo | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Dry season (February through April and mid-August to December)