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In this former Dutch colony, the capital city of Paramaribo feels like Amsterdam-in-the-tropics, with the added bonus of a vibrant Afro-Caribbean culture, a large East Indian population (both Hindu and Muslim, plus even a Dutch Israeli presence, but mosques and synagogues may stand side by side), and diverse cuisine. There are Dutch colonial ruins at nearby Nieuw Amsterdam, but the country's pride is an exemplary series of nature reserves that protect a diversity of flora, fauna, and natural environments even if their infrastructure needs attention. Managed by the non-profit foundation Stinasu, the most accessible of Suriname's nature parks ...

In this former Dutch colony, the capital city of Paramaribo feels like Amsterdam-in-the-tropics, with the added bonus of a vibrant Afro-Caribbean culture, a large East Indian population (both Hindu and Muslim, plus even a Dutch Israeli presence, but mosques and synagogues may stand side by side), and diverse cuisine. There are Dutch colonial ruins at nearby Nieuw Amsterdam, but the country's pride is an exemplary series of nature reserves that protect a diversity of flora, fauna, and natural environments even if their infrastructure needs attention. Managed by the non-profit foundation Stinasu, the most accessible of Suriname's nature parks is Brownsberg, an area of montane tropical rainforest that's doable in a day trip from the capital. For wildlife enthusiasts, the Galibi Nature Reserve on the northeast coast, bordering French Guiana, is the place to see endangered sea turtles — greens, olive ridleys, and leatherbacks, plus the occasional hawksbill — nesting on the beach in June and July. Visits to interior areas, such as Tafelberg in the Central Suriname Nature Reserve, need more planning because most of the area is roadless. With eight species of monkeys, it's claimed to be the world's largest uninhabited tropical rainforest area.

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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