Author: Pieter De Pauw
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I was lucky be sent to Suriname on a business trip around end November, and due to inconvenient flight schedules, I had to stay for some days over the weekend. Despite having only a limited amount of time (one Sunday afternoon, and two Saturday mornings), I still managed to visit a couple of things.
Suriname is a nice country: almost 5 times the size of The Netherlands, it has a small population (slightly over ½ million inhabitants) which is very multi-cultural (several ethnical groups living together). The country has decent infrastructure around the cities and not too many tourists have discovered this place yet. This lack of tourism is mainly due to the absence of lazy sand beaches. 80% of its surface is unexploited tropical rainforest; a real gem for people like me that like nature.
From Paramaribo (Suriname’s capital), I took a short and easy boat trip on the Suriname and Commewijne river where I could spot a couple of dolphins, and then hopped onto a small vessel into the swamps where we came across several birds and caiman. I paid in the range of 500SRD ($150), had a fantastic experience and didn’t see one other tourist.
The second trip brought me to Peperpot Nature Park, a former coffee plantation and only recently converted into a protected nature area, just a couple of kilometers away from Paramaribo (http://peperpotnaturepark.org/). You can take the straight and more open nature trail, or go into the bush (with its many mosquitos – be prepared) and hear and see new things at every step you make: a true wilderness experience! The rainforest hosts monkeys, many different birds (from hummingbirds to colorful parrots), reptiles such as boas and iguanas, and all kinds of insects. The trip would cost 35SRD by taxi and an entrance fee of 18 SRD, giving you a rainforest experience for less than $25 a day. And again, I did not come across a single other person in the park.
I will definitely go back to this undiscovered country, maybe making a trip to the interior. If you like nature, than this is a great destination!!