Sights

This capital of colonial architecture and lively main streets could fill two days of exploring. Southwest along Waterkant from Fort Zeelandia are some of the city's most impressive colonial buildings, mostly merchants' houses built after the fires of 1821 and 1832. The streets inland from here, particularly Lim-a-Postraat, have many old wooden buildings, some restored, others in picturesque decay.

Sleeping

There's plenty of choice for backpackers in Parbo, with a number of cute and affordable guesthouses in traditional old wooden houses that just ooze charm and atmosphere. There are also a good number of midrange and top end places in the city.

Eating

There are some fantastic dining opportunities in Parbo. Avoid, if possible, the touristy strip across from Hotel Torarica, and head instead for some of the more in-the-know places listed here. The cheapest city-center options are at the frenetic Central Market and the Indonesian stalls along Waterkant. Eating in Suriname (www.eteninsuriname.com) is a useful website with information on restaurants in Paramaribo.

Blauwgrond

Family-run Javanese restaurants (open for dinner only) line Blauwgrond, a laid-back residential area about 10 minutes by taxi from downtown Paramaribo. Rena, Mirioso, Pawiro and Saoto are some of the better known spots, but any of them will serve cheap and delicious noodle, rice and soup dishes. It's worth making this trip for the ambience alone.

Drinking & Nightlife

Casinos are everywhere in Paramaribo and are extremely popular with locals and Dutch tourists. Duck inside a few to see a different side of the city. This is also a town that loves to party, with hopping nightlife from Wednesday through Saturday. For cheap drinks with locals, head to the outdoor stalls near Platte Brug on Waterkant.

Shopping

Good-quality clothing knockoffs can be found for exceptionally low prices along Steenbakkerijstraat and Domineestraat. For high-quality Suriname handicrafts and jewelry, head to the gift shop at Zus & Zo.

Guided Tours

Suriname's exemplary national parks, reserves and cultural offerings are most easily accessed via tours with Paramaribo-based operators. You should shop around, but not too much: prices are competitive, and most of the agencies work together to assemble the minimum number of participants for trips. All charge 5% extra for credit card payments.