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Paramaribo

Amsterdam meets the Wild West in Paramaribo, the most vivacious and striking capital in the Guianas. Black-and-white colonial Dutch buildings line grassy squares, wafts of spices escape from Indian roti shops and mingle with the chaos of the city's market, while Maroon artists sell colorful paintings outside somber Dutch forts.

The friendly, multilingual residents of the Surinamese capital, who call the city 'Parbo,' are proud of their staggering ethnic diversity and the fact that they live in a city where mosques, synagogues, churches and Hindu temples are happy neighbors. The inner city, a Unesco World Heritage site, is a veritable treasure trove of historical architecture, and makes a great place to relax between jaunts to Suriname's rainforest. Welcome to one of the more surprising cities in South America.

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