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  • Writer's pictureTravel Guide

Exploring the Wonders of Paramaribo: 10 Essential Stops for Your Travel to Paramaribo

Updated: Mar 8

In the heart of South America lies a city that captivates the soul with its unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname, is a hidden jewel waiting to be unearthed by intrepid travelers looking to travel to Paramaribo. This city, where Dutch colonial heritage meets vibrant Surinamese culture, offers a myriad of experiences that promise to enchant and inspire. Join us on a journey through Paramaribo's 10 best places to visit, where centuries of history, pristine natural wonders, and delectable flavors converge to create an unforgettable tapestry of adventure. Whether you're a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or a foodie seeking new culinary horizons, Paramaribo has something special in store for you. So, prepare to be transported to a world where past and present coexist harmoniously, and let the exploration begin.

Content

  1. Historic Inner City

  2. Fort Zeelandia

  3. Palmentuin

  4. Jodensavanne

  5. Commewijne River Tour

  6. Brownsberg Nature Park

  7. Peperpot Nature Park

  8. Blaka Watra

  9. Paramaribo's Central Market

  10. Roti Tents

1. Historic Inner City of Paramaribo: Step Back in Time

The Historic Inner City of Paramaribo is a living testament to Suriname's rich and diverse history. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it's a place where you can stroll through centuries. As you wander through its cobblestone streets, you'll be surrounded by a stunning array of well-preserved wooden buildings, many of which date back to the 18th century. The architecture reflects a captivating blend of Dutch colonial influences and indigenous and Afro-Surinamese designs, showcasing the nation's multicultural identity. The facades are adorned with intricate details, and vibrant colors give life to the city's historic heart.

Colonial Charms

One of the best ways to experience the historic inner city is by taking a guided walking tour. Knowledgeable guides will regale you with stories of the past, sharing insights into the architectural marvels and their historical significance. Highlights include St. Peter and Paul Cathedral, Independence Square, and the iconic clock tower of the Ministry of Finance. With its charming streets and a myriad of cafes and restaurants, this area of Paramaribo is a delightful place to explore on foot, whether you're interested in history, and culture, or simply soaking in the unique atmosphere of a bygone era.


Houses in Paramaribo

2. Fort Zeelandia: A Window to Suriname's Colonial Past

Fort Zeelandia, a bastion of Suriname's colonial history, sits majestically at the confluence of the Suriname and Commewijne Rivers. This Dutch fortress dates back to the 17th century and has witnessed the ebb and flow of time. A visit to the fort is a journey back in history, where you can explore its well-preserved structure and even step inside the museum. The exhibits shed light on the fort's pivotal role in the colonial era, the complex relationships between European settlers and indigenous people, and the history of Suriname's complex plantation system. It's a place that provides invaluable insights into the nation's past.


Bastion of History

Fort Zeelandia offers more than just historical artifacts and stories. The setting itself is stunning, with river views and well-manicured grounds. Take a stroll through the fort's courtyards, appreciate the cannons that once defended the colony, and immerse yourself in the peaceful atmosphere. The surrounding park is perfect for a relaxing picnic, and the riverfront location allows for scenic boat rides along the Suriname River. The fort is a symbol of Suriname's past, a place where history and natural beauty converge, making it a significant destination for anyone interested in the nation's cultural heritage.


Fort Zeelandia

3. Palmentuin: An Urban Oasis in the Heart of Paramaribo

Palmentuin, often referred to as the Palm Garden, is an urban oasis in the heart of Paramaribo. This tranquil park is a welcome escape from the city's hustle and bustle. As you step into Palmentuin, you'll find yourself enveloped by a serene ambiance created by the countless swaying palm trees and an array of colorful flora. It's a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, whether you're looking for a peaceful stroll, a relaxing picnic, or a place to read a book beneath the shade of the palms.


Serenity Amidst the Palms

One of the striking features of Palmentuin is its large pond, home to turtles and various bird species. This serene body of water adds to the park's charm and provides a sense of tranquility. It's a great place to simply sit and soak in the surroundings. You can watch the turtles as they lazily swim through the water or enjoy the sight of colorful birds perched on the palm fronds. Palmentuin is a green sanctuary in the heart of Paramaribo, a peaceful place to recharge and connect with nature within the bustling city.


Palmentuin

4. Jodensavanne: Tracing Suriname's Jewish Legacy

Jodensavanne, or "Jewish Savannah," is a historical and cultural treasure located just a short journey from Paramaribo. This site serves as a testament to Suriname's rich Jewish history and the thriving community that once resided here. The remnants of the Jewish settlement include a picturesque synagogue and an ancient cemetery with well-preserved tombstones, each telling stories of Suriname's Jewish heritage. A visit to Jodensavanne provides a rare opportunity to explore the vestiges of this once-thriving community and pay homage to its historical and cultural legacy.


Journey to the Past

The setting of Jodensavanne is both serene and captivating. Surrounded by lush greenery and marked by the tranquility of Cassipora Creek, it's a place where you can truly escape the modern world and step into the past. Take your time to wander through the synagogue and admire its unique architectural details. As you explore the cemetery, you'll come across tombstones dating back to the 17th century, revealing the history of the Jews who made Suriname their home. Jodensavanne is not just a historical site; it's a cultural experience that allows you to connect with the roots of Suriname's diverse heritage.

Synagogue in Paramaribo

5. Commewijne River Tour: River Tales

A boat tour along the serene Commewijne River is a journey through Suriname's picturesque countryside. As you glide through the calm waters, you'll pass by lush plantations and observe an array of bird species. The river tour typically includes visits to historic plantations like Frederiksdorp and Mariënburg, where you can learn about the country's colonial past and the legacy of the plantation system. It's a peaceful and informative adventure that offers a different perspective on Suriname's history and nature.

Exploring Suriname's Countryside

One of the highlights of the Commewijne River tour is the village of Frederiksdorp, which takes you back in time with its well-preserved colonial architecture and cobblestone streets. Here, you can enjoy a delicious Surinamese lunch at one of the charming guesthouses and explore the village's unique character. As you cruise along the river, keep an eye out for the various bird species that inhabit the lush mangroves and forests along the banks. The Commewijne River tour is a delightful blend of history, nature, and culture, offering a deeper understanding of Suriname's diverse landscape.


Commewijne River

6. Brownsberg Nature Park: Into the Wild

For nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers, Brownsberg Nature Park is a paradise waiting to be explored. Just a few hours' drive from Paramaribo, this protected area boasts hiking trails, waterfalls, and a wealth of wildlife. A hike to the magnificent Leo Falls is a highlight, offering a chance to experience the soothing embrace of Suriname's rainforests and the thrill of discovering hidden waterfalls. The park is home to diverse flora and fauna, making it a superb destination for birdwatching and wildlife photography.

Hiking Through Suriname's Paradise

Brownsberg Nature Park offers a range of outdoor activities, including camping, fishing, and guided treks. The trails meander through lush forests, where you can encounter unique wildlife like howler monkeys, colorful parrots, and tropical butterflies. As you ascend to higher points in the park, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of Brokopondo Lake, one of the largest reservoirs in the world. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or simply seeking a day in nature, Brownsberg Nature Park is an excellent opportunity to connect with Suriname's untouched wilderness.


View from Brownsberg

7. Peperpot Nature Park: Where History Meets Nature

Peperpot Nature Park is a testament to Suriname's commitment to preserving its natural heritage. Once a coffee and cocoa plantation, this area has been transformed into a lush nature reserve that invites exploration. The park's walking trails wind through dense jungle, leading to old plantation buildings that provide insights into Suriname's agricultural history and its impact on the environment. It's a place where you can learn about the delicate balance between conservation and the remnants of the country's agricultural past.

Rainforest Retreat

The Peperpot Nature Park is a haven for birdwatchers and nature lovers. The variety of avian species that call this park home is remarkable, and it's common to spot colorful toucans, woodpeckers, and other tropical birds as you explore the trails. The park also offers the chance to glimpse various species of monkeys, such as squirrel monkeys and howler monkeys. Peperpot Nature Park is a serene escape into Suriname's lush rainforests, where you can experience both the country's ecological diversity and its commitment to environmental preservation.


Peperpot Nature park in Surinam

8. Blaka Watra (Black Water): Unveiling the Mystery of Suriname's Black Water

Blaka Watra, which translates to "Black Water," is a unique natural wonder in Suriname. Situated in the Brokopondo District, this serene lake is enveloped by dense rainforest, creating a stunning backdrop. What sets Blaka Watra apart is its water, which appears almost black due to the tannins released by surrounding vegetation. It's an ideal place for a refreshing swim, a tranquil picnic, or simply an opportunity to soak in the beauty of nature while basking in the serenity of this remarkable location.

Nature's Enigma

Visitors to Blaka Watra can unwind on the sandy shoreline, take a leisurely swim in the clear but dark waters, and enjoy a peaceful moment in the shade of the towering trees. The unique color of the lake's water is not only aesthetically captivating but also safe for swimming. As you explore the area, keep an eye out for the various bird species that inhabit the surrounding rainforest. It's a place to escape the city's noise and immerse yourself in Suriname's pristine natural landscapes.


Blackwater in Surinam

9. Paramaribo's Central Market: Culinary Delights

The Central Market in Paramaribo is a sensory journey through Suriname's diverse culinary landscape. Whether you're a food enthusiast or simply curious about the country's flavors, this bustling market is a must-visit. It's a place where you can sample an array of local street food, such as saoto soup, pom, and various traditional dishes. Stroll through the vibrant stalls offering fresh produce, spices, and Surinamese delicacies. The market is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the heart of Surinamese culture, where the sights and smells offer a delightful culinary adventure.

Market Magic

A visit to Paramaribo's Central Market provides a unique insight into the nation's food culture. The market is a vibrant hub where locals gather to purchase fresh ingredients for their daily meals and where street vendors serve up a variety of Surinamese dishes. While you're there, don't miss the chance to try roti, a popular Surinamese dish. It consists of soft flatbread served with curried chicken, vegetables, and an array of flavorful condiments. The Central Market is a cultural and culinary delight that promises a memorable experience for your taste buds.


Crabs in Paramaribo Central market

10. Roti Tents: Tasting Suriname's Signature Dish

No visit to Paramaribo is complete without trying roti, a beloved Surinamese dish. Roti is a flavorful and filling meal that combines soft flatbread with curried chicken, vegetables, and an assortment of condiments. The city boasts numerous roti tents, each with its unique twist on this classic dish. Roti is not only a culinary delight but also a part of Suriname's cultural fabric, reflecting the nation's diverse influences and flavors.


Savoring Suriname

In Paramaribo, you'll find a variety of roti tents, each offering its take on this delicious dish. From traditional recipes passed down through generations to innovative twists on the classics, exploring the different roti tents is a culinary adventure in itself. Whether you prefer your roti spicy or mild, vegetarian or meat-filled, you're sure to find a version that satisfies your taste buds. The roti tents are often humble, family-run establishments where you can engage with locals and savor authentic Surinamese flavors. It's a delightful culinary experience that's a must-try during your stay in Paramaribo.

Roti dish

Conclusion Paramaribo invites you to explore its vibrant Central Market savor the flavors of Surinamese cuisine, especially the renowned roti, and immerse yourself in the rich history of Fort Zeelandia and Jodensavanne. The natural wonders of Brownsberg and Commewijne River, with their lush forests and serene waters, are a testament to Suriname's pristine wilderness. Each place on this list paints a picture of Paramaribo's allure, offering experiences that will stay with you long after your journey ends. So, as you prepare to depart this captivating city, remember that Paramaribo's heart, soul, and flavors will forever linger in your memories.

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