Suriname, the self-proclaimed ‘beating heart of the Amazon,’ is just that: a warm, dense convergence of rivers that thumps with the lively rhythm of ethnic diversity. From Paramaribo, the country’s effervescent Dutch-colonial capital, to the fathomless jungles of the interior, smiling descendants of escaped African slaves, Dutch and British colonialists, Indian, Indonesian and Chinese indentured laborers and Amerindians offer a genuine welcome to their tiny country. You get the best of both worlds here: a city that’s chock-full of restaurants, shopping venues and night spots and an untamed jungle utterly away from the things of man. It’s not easy to get around this river-heavy, forest-dense country and the mix of languages can make it hard to communicate, sometimes even for Dutch speakers. Don’t forget that a meeting of culinary traditions means the food here is as spicy and lush as the country itself.
Best places to stay in Suriname
A first-timer's guide to the Guianas
The Guianas: Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana hide so well under their blanket of South American jungle that even geography nerds have a hard time pinpointing them on a map.
Suriname destination guides
Amsterdam meets the Wild West in Paramaribo, the most vivacious and striking capital in the Guianas.
Under the radar: forgotten destinations of the world
They sit nestled in oft-forgotten parts of the world, but don’t miss these low-profile wonders. Suriname Resting atop South America’s eastern shoulder, Suriname is a former Dutch colony turned ethnic melting pot, where indigenous cultures mingle with British, Dutch, Chinese, Indian and Indonesian influences.