12 reasons why you should travel to Suriname right now
What is the capital of Suriname? Or what language is spoken in Suriname? How about the colors in the flag of Suriname? These and many more questions pop up hearing the name of this tiny country in South America. The truth is - it has long been overlooked by the tourism masses. And it's finally time we looked deeper into the exciting reasons why one should travel to Suriname right now! And since we know so little about this gem to be discovered, I will also share some basic information about the country. Just buckle up, and let's get on with the explorations!
What is the capital of Suriname?
It makes sense that you might not know what is the capital of Suriname because not too many travel blogs write about this country. The name of Suriname capital is Paramaribo. A little less than half of Suriname people live there. The most popular way to travel to Suriname is by air. In the airports of Suriname airlines like KLM, Caribbean Airlines, and many others are operating. Among others, the most common though is their own Suriname Airways.
What language is spoken in Suriname?
Arriving in such an unknown place, it is important to figure out what language is spoken in Suriname. It is a former Dutch colony, therefore quite logically, the official language is Dutch. Nevertheless, in Suriname language is something as diverse as the population itself. Another 8 regional languages are recognized, but way more are spoken among the indigenous people.
Is it safe to travel to Suriname?
If you have read even just a bit about Suriname, then the question "is it safe to travel to Suriname" comes quite naturally. Let me calm you down - the infamous dictator does not make the place dangerous to tourists. It is actually considered that Suriname is one of the countries in South America with the lowest crime rates. Just keep in mind the regular safety measures - pickpockets are common. And the jungle is also a place where you might encounter some life threat from the wildlife if acting uncautious. Another tip - don't swim in freshwater places, which are not surely designated as safe. They might contain various infections!
What else should I know?
Taking into account the colonial ties, until 1959, the flag of Suriname was the same as the one the Netherlands has. But nowadays, you will recognize the flag of Suriname by the yellow five-point star in the middle of the green-white-red triband flag. But surely you will look up the image on your own. What's important to know is that in Suriname people are extremely proud of their flag, and it was even used to symbolize movement against the violence towards women.
I would love to add another thing. I talked about Suriname Airways already. Just to save you some trouble - it is often falsely called Suriname Airlines.
1. The least likely destination in South America
Not too many people travel to Suriname because it is not as big and might not offer everything that the surrounding Caribbean destinations do. Nevertheless, that gives a lot of room for uniqueness, authenticity, and surprises on your way!
2. It is a great place to stay away from the tourists
That is also a part of the charm. Are you tired of overcrowded destinations full of people looking for the same image portrayed in the books and social media for ages? Suriname is the place for you. Even the Suriname capital city is not crowded - there are just not that many people living there!
3. Heavenly beaches
Even if the beaches in Suriname will not be the same as in the Caribbean, you will definitely enjoy them a lot. Your time in Suriname will be well spent if you devote at least a day of relaxing in the sand!
4. Exploring the jungle is an exciting activity
Actually, most of the country is just a rich rainforest. Exploring this beauty will be inevitable if you add Mount Juliantop to your itinerary (the highest peak) or decide to visit some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Suriname. And while there you can imagine you are in some kind of movie about explorers of the wild!
5. Lush vegetation and wildlife
It is one of the prime destinations to see plants and animals you might have only seen in movies. Or maybe have never seen it at all! The third of this country is nature reserves, and it just proves the unique things you are about to experience there. For example, do you know what a manatee is? Talking about wildlife. Is it safe to travel to Suriname after all? Let me repeat myself - yes! Just explore the paths with someone who is an expert and do some research beforehand too.
6. The mix of cultures is unique
In Suriname people are very diverse. History ensures some of the most interesting combinations of nationalities in this tiny and unlikely corner of the world. Creole, Indonesian, Lebanese, Chinese, and the list goes on. Actually, about 90% of people living there are descendants of some foreign origin! What does it mean for you as a traveler? The Suriname language you will hear on the streets will be hard to pinpoint. And basically, all aspects connected to the culture will have a unique blend that you will probably not see anywhere else in the world.
7. Food is amazing
The same applies to cuisine too! It would be impossible to spend your time in Suriname without ever trying something local, right? Exactly, for the reason of colonial history, Suriname cuisine might be the most exciting thing your taste buds have experienced thus far. It is a blend of Dutch, Chinese, Indian, African, Jewish, Portuguese, and more! Expect lots of coconuts, rice, seafood, yucca, and many other locally sourced ingredients to infiltrate these flavors.
8. The possibility to observe tribal traditions
The time in Suriname passes a little differently if you decide to immerse yourself in the lifestyle of the indigenous tribes for a moment. It is a beautiful chance to observe a totally different culture, but also to get back to the roots. Living in a community where everyone provides for themselves and the families by harvesting and hunting. It might just be the best thing to allow reconnecting with Mother Earth!
9. Super entertaining parties and festivals
Just like anywhere else in the world, also Surinamese love celebrating life. One of the most famous festivities of this country takes place in Suriname capital city. This spectacular street party is called Surifesta and takes place during the long New Year's celebration marathon. This and many other celebrations will be a perfect opportunity for you to dance, party, and enjoy the culture fully! By the way - you will see a lot of locals using the flag of Suriname during various festivals, especially Independence Day. If you plan on joining any of those, you can prepare ahead. Just buy some props when there and blend in with the locals!
10. The architecture will surprise you
You already heard the fact that it is extremely diverse. Just imagine going to a country in South America to see some of the most beautiful Dutch, Hindu, and even Muslim temples in the most unexpected surroundings! Just look up Arya Derwaker and Keizerstraat to see what I am talking about.
11. It is cheap
Even if the travel to Suriname itself might cost you quite a lot (this is what happens with less popular destinations), the spot's activities will not. The abundance of amazing natural produce will allow buying cheap food, but low price levels will generally be easy on your wallet. Just make sure - the level of living is quite low there. Whenever you have a chance, support the local farmers and craftsmen by buying things from them. This way, you can help the local economy!
12. Their hospitality is unparalleled
Another Suriname language is the love towards the guests. Going there will make you feel welcome and cared for. The warm mentality of the locals, aligned with their natural tolerance for cultural diversity, will be one of the greatest travel accompaniments. You can't deny that the locals' eagerness and enthusiasm to share their culture often provide unique experiences abroad. By that, I mean - the experiences that are not particularly constructed for the tourists. In Suriname, it is what you can expect to get! Friendly people who will be happy to let you into their ways of living!
I hope the list has made you curious about this country that very few tourists know! It might be less popular, but it does not mean it is less exciting or beautiful. It just means that you will have a chance to explore a destination that is way more authentic than some of those attractions flooded with Insta-snapping globetrotters. If you are a fan of destinations that are truly off-the-beaten-track, then spending time in Suriname is definitely for you! Just check a flight on the Surinam Airways page (a friendly reminder - it is not Suriname Airlines) and travel to Suriname whenever you get the chance!
Ieva Miltina is an activist and entrepreneur of many sorts. By profession project manager of marketing and culture events, in her heart she is a passionate traveler and a cook, soon to become a pastry chef. Deeply rooted in non-formal education she has been involved in youth work since her teenage years and up till nowadays holds a deep interest in innovative approaches to learning and personal development, which she transfers to people from all Europe during various international trainings. Always looking for new discoveries and adventures she happily shares her positive view on the world and the neverending stories with the people who cross her path. While studying hospitality and tourism management she wrote a thesis on home-chefs, which ignited her dream of owning her cozy and heartwarming home restaurant, which will hopefully materialize very soon. Meanwhile writing articles and doing food photography she is working towards another dream of hers - becoming a published author someday.